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Report Links Businesses With Rights Abuse

Children sit
on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping
fill into Boeung Kak lake, in early November 2010.
Government officials and businesses,
backed by a biased court system, are behind many of the most egregious
rights violations in the country, a new report has found.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights found what it called a governance
gap, where the authorities are unable to protect citizens from rights
violations brought about by powerful business interests.

The group also found financial ties between individuals in government and businesses responsible for rights violations, exacerbating the problem. In some situations, it was hard to tell the difference between the government and business, the center said in its report, “Business and Human Rights in Cambodia.”

rights violations brought on by economic motives have become endemic,
the report said. And land cases and their respective crackdowns have
meant curbs on land and labor rights and the freedom of expression and
assembly, the report said.

“Victims of evictions are rarely
given an opportunity for participation or consultation beforehand and
any information which is provided to residents
is often incomplete and inaccurate,” it said. “When consultations with
communities facing the threat of eviction do occur, they are often
manipulative or coercive. Evictions are regularly conducted by armed
Cambodian troops and police, while the political and economic elite
benefit from forced evictions.”

Rights activists, meanwhile,
face regular threats of physical violence or criminal charges when they
voice their opposition to harmful developments, it said.

of land or labor violations who seek to demonstrate or protest meet
“public and private forces [that] collude to deny them these rights,”
it said, adding that the courts were also not free of political or
financial influence.

“The judicial mechanisms in Cambodia are in
practice utilized by the political, economic and social elite to ensure
impunity,” the report said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan called the report an “attack from a non-governmental organization.”

Source: By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Categories: Local News
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