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TITLE:  CAMBODIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


In 1993 Cambodia experienced a democratic and human rights 
revolution.  Despite killings, threats, and intimidation by the 
Khmer Rouge, 90 percent of voters participated in the free and 
fair elections in May--the first in decades--thus providing the 
opportunity for long-term democratic evolution.  Political 
violence and intimidation by forces of the Phnom Penh regime 
marred the election campaign.  However, in the latter half of 
1993, the situation dramatically improved and there were no 
substantiated cases of political killings.  The Khmer Rouge 
(KR) (also known as the Party of Democratic Kampuchea--PDK) 
insurgency continues to pose an armed threat to the new 
Government.  Moreover, Cambodia lacks the institutions and 
adequate numbers of trained personnel needed for a mature 

From April 1975 until January 1979 the PDK ruled Cambodia and 
compiled one of the worst records of human rights abuse in this 
century.  Between one-seventh and one-eighth of the population 
died of exhaustion, disease, abuse, and execution.

In 1979 the PDK were ejected from power by the invading 
Vietnamese army.  Hanoi installed an authoritarian regime, made 
up largely of former PDK cadre, called the People's Republic of 
Kampuchea and later renamed the State of Cambodia--SOC.  
Vietnamese arms maintained the SOC in power against remnants of 
the PDK and the non-Communist resistance under Prince 
Sihanouk.  In September 1989, after 11 years of military 
occupation and stalemate, the Vietnamese withdrew the bulk of 
their forces.

Under the October 1991 Paris Accords, the United Nations 
created the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) and 
dispatched a 22,000-strong civilian and military peacekeeping 
force to conduct free and fair elections for a constituent 
assembly.  During this interim period, a Cambodian Supreme 
National Council (SNC) embodied Cambodian sovereignty.  Over 4 
million Cambodians voted in the May 1993 elections, although 
the PDK barred some people in the 10 to 15 percent of the 
country (holding 6 percent of the population) it controls from 
participating.  Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party, the SOC's 
Cambodian People's Party (CPP), and Son Sann's Buddhist Liberal 
Democratic Party (BLDP) were the top vote recipients, 
respectively.  The parties represented in the 120-member 
Assembly formed a Provisional National Government of Cambodia 
(PNGC) on July 1.  The Assembly proceeded to draft and approve 
a new Constitution which was promulgated September 24.  It 
establishes a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of 
a constitutional monarchy.  FUNCINPEC and the CPP share power 
in the new Royal Cambodian Government.  The Constitution 
provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human 

In 1989 the State of Cambodia (SOC) began to institute reforms 
to change the small, predominantly agricultural economy from a 
centrally planned to a market-oriented system.  Legislation in 
1989 restored the right to own and inherit property, and 
agricultural production is now mostly private and family 
based.  These reforms, together with growing foreign investment 
and international aid, spurred a surge of economic activity, 
especially in Phnom Penh.  Nevertheless, Cambodia remains one 
of the world's poorest countries.  Per capita gross domestic 
product is less than $200.

In 1993 Cambodia made great strides in human rights.  The 
fledgling independent media grew to include opposition radio 
and television stations as well as numerous Khmer and 
foreign-language publications.  The membership of indigenous 
human rights groups swelled, and international organizations 
such as Amnesty International and Asia Watch were able to visit 
Cambodia.  The remainder of the 370,000 Cambodian refugees who 
had been living mostly in camps along the Thai-Cambodian border 
were voluntarily repatriated under the direction of the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  In the latter 
half of 1993, for the first time in decades, there were no 
political prisoners being held in Cambodia, except possibly 
persons detained in Khmer Rouge areas.  In 1991 and 1992 SOC 
authorities had released nearly 2,000 political prisoners.  
Without SOC agreement, implementation, and relinquishing of 
significant power in this and other areas, Cambodia's human 
rights progress in 1993, particularly the enormous increase in 
political openness, and ability to compete would not have 

Nevertheless, during the election campaign, SOC security forces 
engaged in extensive intimidation and political violence, 
mostly against the FUNCINPEC and BLDP parties.  Between 
November 1992 and the May elections, UNTAC documented the 
politically motivated killings of 74 opposition party members.  
One hundred twenty-six opposition party members were injured 
during the same period due to political violence.  Many of 
these acts were attributed to SOC police or soldiers.  In some 
cases, the SOC authorities frustrated UNTAC's investigations of 
these incidents.  The SOC did not take effective action against 
any of the perpetrators of this violence.

The PDK prohibited the U.N. and international human rights 
monitors from entering its zones.  Based on reports from PDK 
defectors, it is clear that the 6 percent of Cambodians living 
under PDK rule enjoy few basic human rights.  Moreover, the PDK 
carried out a violent campaign to destabilize the SOC 
administration and to discourage Cambodians from voting.  PDK 
violence included the detention of 43 U.N. personnel.  Eighteen 
U.N. personnel died during the mission from hostile action.  
UNTAC attributed 11 of the killings to the PDK.

Racial violence against ethnic Vietnamese remained an egregious 
human rights problem.  Antipathy toward ethnic Vietnamese is 
common in Cambodian society and figured in the rhetoric of 
several political parties.  In 1993 PDK armed forces carried 
out brutal massacres of ethnic Vietnamese civilians which 
claimed the lives of 70 people.  In addition, government armed 
forces have been guilty of looting the civilian population 
during campaigns against the PDK armed forces.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political violence swelled in the period leading up to the 
U.N.-sponsored May elections and then dropped off 
dramatically.  Violence by SOC authorities directed against 
opposition political party members began almost immediately 
with the arrival of opposition parties in Phnom Penh in late 
1991.  In 1992 members of the FUNCINPEC and BLDP parties were 
the main targets of this violence, although the Action for 
Democracy and Development Party and the Liberal Democratic 
Party also complained of attacks.  There was an upsurge of 
violence between November 1992 and January 1993, apparently 
coincident with the evident growing popularity and activity of 
opposition parties in the provinces.  During this period UNTAC 
confirmed the death or injury of 96 FUNCINPEC and BLDP members 
in politically motivated attacks, many of which were attributed 
to the SOC.

Political violence crested again beginning in March with the 
official onset of the political campaign.  Between March and 
the conclusion of the elections at the end of May, UNTAC 
confirmed that 42 FUNCINPEC and BLDP members were killed and 72 
injured in political violence.  UNTAC was able to confirm the 
responsibility of SOC officials or police for 12 of the 

Following the elections, there was a short burst of political 
violence associated with the abortive secession movement led by 
Prince Norodom Chakrapong.  In Prey Veng and Kompong Cham 
provinces, crowds incited by the secession leaders looted UNTAC 
buildings and threatened some UNTAC workers.  The FUNCINPEC 
party alleged that several of its members were killed in the 
violence, a claim that has not been confirmed.  SOC authorities 
took no effective action to apprehend or punish any of the 
perpetrators of this violence.

Throughout 1993 the PDK continued an aggressive campaign of 
attacks on SOC officials at the village and commune level in an 
effort to destabilize the SOC regime.  The PDK policy took on 
greater momentum as the PDK sought to delegitimize the 
electoral process and terrorize Cambodians to dissuade them 
from voting.  UNTAC confirmed 216 such killings and 342 
injuries inflicted by the PDK during UNTAC's mission.  (These 
figures include ethnic Vietnamese victims.)  According to one 
unconfirmed report, the PDK were responsible for killing as 
many as 10 PDK military defectors.

PDK violence also extended to UNTAC personnel.  Eighteen UNTAC 
employees were killed and 67 injured, although responsibility 
for these actions could not always be determined.

     b.  Disappearance

Opposition political parties, especially FUNCINPEC and the 
BLDP, and the CPP claimed that numerous party activists and 
local officials disappeared during the course of the election 
campaign.  UNTAC investigated as many of these allegations as 
possible.  UNTAC concluded that, in approximately 12 months 
from mid-1992 to mid-1993, SOC elements were responsible for 
the abduction or disappearance of 17 opposition activists.  
UNTAC also concluded that the PDK abducted 188 Cambodians and 
ethnic Vietnamese during the same period.  After the elections, 
abductions dropped off.

In one case, SOC military officers abducted four FUNCINPEC 
activists from their homes the evening of January 31-February 1 
in Sangke district, Battambang province.  Based on eyewitness 
testimony, the four were believed to have been taken to a SOC 
military base by seven SOC officers.  SOC officials refused to 
produce the seven and then obstructed UNTAC's attempts to 
locate them.

In 1993 the PDK continued its policy of destabilizing the SOC 
administration by killing and abducting members of the SOC 
local and provincial administrations.  Targets frequently 
included village heads or local police.  Attacks on SOC 
villages often involved looting as well.  Abductions attributed 
to the PDK also included kidnaping of villagers for ransom and 
abduction of ethnic Vietnamese who were later killed.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Conditions in Cambodian prisons prior to the arrival of UNTAC 
in late 1991 were deplorable, including shackling, solitary 
confinement, poor sanitation, inadequate food, and limited or 
no health care.  Prisoners regularly died from neglect.  In 
1992 consistent intervention by UNTAC and the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) improved conditions 
substantially.  UNTAC induced SOC authorities to  halt the 
practice of shackling in mid-1992, but they began to practice 
it subsequently as punishment.

With the departure of UNTAC in late 1993, conditions in 
Cambodian prisons deteriorated.  The ICRC and an indigenous 
human rights organization, Licadho, took separate actions to 
improve water, food, and medical treatment.  However, by year's 
end, there were again numerous cases of beri-beri, 
tuberculosis, and other illness resulting in some deaths.

Torture was not common in Cambodian prisons in 1993.  However, 
there were numerous reports of torture in Battambang Provincial 
Prison, including burnings and beatings of prisoners, prior to 
the elections.  UNTAC investigations confirmed the 
allegations.  UNTAC issued a warrant for the arrest of Ten 
Seng, the chief of prison guards.  In September UNTAC handed 
Ten Seng over to Cambodian authorities and, in November, a 
Cambodian court convicted him of aggravated assault and 
sentenced him to 1 year in jail.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Prior to 1993 the criminal justice system in Cambodia was 
essentially dysfunctional.  Warrants for arrest were never 
employed.  Police and secret security forces attached to the 
then Ministry of National Security arrested people in an 
arbitrary fashion.  Detainees were often held incommunicado.  
The formal charging of prisoners with crimes was the exception, 
not the rule.

In September 1992, UNTAC issued a transitional criminal law 
that outlined basic procedures for arrest and prosecution.  The 
Supreme National Council of Cambodia adopted the law and a slow 
process of translation and elaboration ensued.  Unfortunately, 
during 1993 the Government never implemented the law, with the 
exception of the requirement for bail.  Corrupt officials often 
kept the bail money for their own profit.

UNTAC successfully instigated judicial review of numerous cases 
in which prisoners were held without adequate evidence or 
charges, resulting in the release of 370 prisoners.

In 1993 in the non-Communist zones, military officers regularly 
detained individuals accused of crimes and meted out summary 
punishment on the spot.  In June FUNCINPEC authorities 
completed the construction of a grossly inadequate prison in 
the FUNCINPEC-controlled zone.  Under UNTAC direction, the 
Kampuchean Peoples National Liberation Armed Forces (KPNLAF) 
built a prison in Thmar Puok.  The PDK is thought to maintain 
security locations at which prisoners are held.  However, 
little is known about these facilities.

On January 8, UNTAC issued orders to permit a UNTAC special 
prosecutor to initiate arrests in cases of gross human rights 
abuses.  SOC authorities sometimes frustrated UNTAC's efforts 
to apprehend SOC officials accused of human rights violations.  
However, UNTAC successfully arrested four persons.  Of the four 
arrested, one died of natural causes.  The Ministry of Justice 
has accepted the other three for prosecution.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia provides for 
due process and the independence of the judiciary, and it 
establishes the principle of presumed innocence.  However, 
Cambodia lacks the trained professionals to implement these 
principles.  The structure of the future judicial system is to 
be defined by subsequent law.

In 1993, for most of Cambodia, the existing judicial system 
remained that outlined in the 1989 SOC Constitution, which 
provides for provincial courts with judges and assessors named 
by state officials.  In practice, the judiciary was directly 
dependent on political authorities and was an instrument of the 
Government.  This system applied to only about 10 percent of 
those arrested.  For most trials, police files, sometimes 
including confessions coerced from prisoners, were accepted as 
prima facie evidence of guilt.

There was no functioning judicial system in 1993 in the areas 
outside Communist control, where martial law was the rule.  No 
legal system is known to exist in PDK zones.

The Paris Accords mandated the release of all political 
prisoners and prisoners of war.  In 1991 and early 1992, SOC 
authorities released nearly 2,000, half under ICRC 
supervision.  In 1993 there were no political prisoners held by 
Cambodian authorities.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or 

There were numerous cases of arbitrary forced entry into homes 
and offices and seizure of possessions including documents by 
SOC security officials in 1993, particularly in connection with 
the election campaign.  Opposition party offices were often 
targets.  While security forces carried out surveillance of 
some persons, there was evidence that the large security 
apparatus developed by the SOC with Vietnamese assistance over 
the past decade had begun to dissolve.

The competing political parties used various means to increase 
party membership prior to the May elections.  CPP party 
membership swelled to over 3 million, substantially more than 
the CPP vote tally at the polls.  SOC civil servants, students, 
and soldiers were regularly coerced into joining the CPP and 
campaigning for it.  However, after the election, this coercion 

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Despite the Paris Accords prohibition, cease-fire violations 
continued in 1993.  Villagers and townspeople were frequently 
victims of indiscriminate shelling principally by SOC and PDK 
forces in scattered fighting in Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Preah 
Vihear, and Banteay Meanchey provinces.  Forces of the PDK and 
also the SOC continued to lay unmarked minefields, adding to an 
already enormous problem.

The PDK carried out several attacks in 1993 intended 
specifically to terrorize the general population.  On May 5, 
for example, PDK soldiers attacked the train traveling from 
Battambang to Phnom Penh.  Of the 500 people on the train, 20 
were killed and 100 were wounded.  The PDK soldiers and local 
villagers then looted the train.  In another raid, PDK soldiers 
opened fire on a house in which people were watching a video 
film in Kompong Thom province, killing 20 and injuring 35 
others.  However, with the high level of banditry in Cambodia, 
it was not always possible to determine whether actions were 
those of an armed party to the conflict or simply local 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Before 1992 freedom of speech and press were severely 
restricted.  However, the Paris Accords provided for this 
freedom for all persons in Cambodia.  The SNC codified this 
right on January 15, 1992.  The juridical underpinnings of this 
fundamental freedom were further defined in the 1993 
Constitution.  That document states "Cambodian citizens shall 
enjoy freedom of expression, press, publication and 
association."  However, the Constitution limits free speech by 
requiring that speech not adversely affect public security and 
be carried out in accordance with law.  The National Assembly 
has yet to implement legislation to clarify this problem.

In practice, Cambodians enjoyed unprecedented flowering of free 
speech in 1993.  The print media consisted of exactly one 
government controlled newspaper in 1991.  In 1993 there were 
over 57 different newspapers, bulletins, and magazines produced 
by the political parties, indigenous human rights 
organizations, and independent publishers, including one French 
language and three English language newspapers.  The import and 
sale of foreign publications is unrestricted.

Cambodia has one government-run television station, one 
commercial television station operated by a Thai concern, a 
FUNCINPEC television station, and a French-language television 
station operated by the French Government.  Until late 
September, UNTAC operated an extremely popular radio station 
which provided independent news and served as an outlet for all 
20 political parties. Cambodians also had access to a FUNCINPEC 
radio station and PDK radio, both of which had limited 
broadcast ranges inside the country.

Self-censorship remains a concern in Cambodia.  With the 
withdrawal of UNTAC, independent Cambodian media became more 
guarded in their criticism of the Government.  In October a 
government spokesman warned the media that criticism of the 
King is contrary to Khmer traditions.  While there are no 
penalties now envisaged, the Constitution declares that the 
King is "inviolable," possibly laying the basis for future lese 
majeste laws.  The King has disavowed the government criticism.

There is no freedom of speech in areas under PDK control.  
According to PDK defectors, in some instances people in PDK 
areas were prohibited from listening to UNTAC or other radio 
stations.  Given the bloody history of the PDK, Cambodians 
living under PDK control frequently are afraid to discuss 
political matters publicly.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of peaceful assembly was assured by the SNC as well as 
by the new Constitution.  During the 1993 election campaign, 
there were thousands of campaign rallies mounted by the 20 
registered political parties in all provinces of the country, 
despite the threat of Khmer Rouge activities in the cities.  
During the election, thousands of Cambodians participated in a 
peace march across the country.  Nevertheless, there were signs 
of resistance to peaceful assembly, mostly by SOC authorities, 
during the course of the political campaign.  There were 
numerous instances in which local SOC officials demanded the 
right to approve rallies themselves or stopped rallies that had 
not obtained advance approval by UNTAC.

Nevertheless, as a sign of changing attitudes, in October 400 
to 500 students marched in Phnom Penh to protest government 
education policies.  This was the first such demonstration 
since students were fired upon by police during protests in 
December 1991.  In October the march took place peacefully, 
with police clearing the path for the students.  Top government 
officials publicly defended their right to peaceful assembly 
and, as a result, several other peaceful demonstrations took 
place in November and December.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Buddhism is the state religion.  The Constitution provides for 
freedom of religion and forbids discrimination based on 

Buddhism, Christianity, and especially Islam were nearly wiped 
out under PDK rule from 1975 to 1979.  Until 1989 Buddhism made 
only a slow return as the clergy were still regarded with some 
suspicion by the ruling CPP.  However, in 1989 a Buddhist 
renaissance commenced with the assistance of the CPP's front 
organization.  Islam has also regained a strong foothold among 
the Cham population, and mosques are being refurbished around 
the country.  Christianity, ruled "legal" in April 1990, is 
practiced openly.  In 1993 Christian churches began to open in 
some outlying Cambodian provinces.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Travel within government-controlled parts of Cambodia is 
unrestricted.  The presence of mines and bandits makes travel 
in some areas perilous, however.  The PDK severely restricted 
travel within its zones, refused UNTAC access to some PDK 
areas, detained UNTAC personnel who ventured in, and, on 
occasion, fired on UNTAC personnel overflying PDK zones in 
helicopters.  There were reliable reports that, in some cases, 
movement by Cambodians in the PDK zones even to neighboring 
villages required permission from village heads.

UNTAC thoroughly liberalized the SOC's visa and passport 
issuing procedures.  Although corruption continues to be a 
problem in obtaining travel documents, travel outside Cambodia 
is not systematically restricted.  Exile is expressly forbidden 
by the Constitution.

In 1992 over 370,000 Cambodians resided in refugee camps in 
Thailand.  As an integral component of the Paris Accords, all 
the refugees returned to Cambodia in security and dignity under 
the auspices of the UNHCR in time to participate in the May 
1993 elections.

Tens of thousands of ethnic Vietnamese fled Cambodia in early 
1993 due to racial violence.  Many returned overland after the 
elections.  However, several thousand on boats were stopped by 
authorities on the Mekong River and were forbidden entry.  
Although the vast majority of these people were born in 
Cambodia, the Government insisted it would deal with the ethnic 
Vietnamese as an immigration issue.  At year's end, the problem 
was still unresolved.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

In 1993, for the first time in decades, Cambodians had the 
right and the ability peacefully to change their government.  
The electoral process conducted by UNTAC culminated in the 
establishment of the new Royal Government of Cambodia in 

UNTAC and the Cambodians faced many obstacles.  The SOC used 
political violence and intimidation to cow opposition political 
parties and to try to frighten the electorate into voting for 
the CPP.  The PDK used propaganda, obstruction, terror, and 
military attacks to try to prevent the election.  PDK soldiers 
frequently confiscated or destroyed Cambodians' voter cards and 
threatened voters that there would be consequences if they 
voted in the elections.  These efforts largely failed.  While 
UNTAC was unable to achieve "a neutral political environment," 
20 parties competed, 96 percent of eligible voters registered, 
and, despite PDK threats and foul weather, between May 23 and 
28, 90 percent of registered voters cast ballots.  Numerous 
independent observers and the U.N. Security Council declared 
the elections free and fair.  One clear indication of this was 
that an opposition party, FUNCINPEC, won 46 percent of the vote 
compared to only 38 percent for the CPP.

On September 24, the Constitution, drafted and approved by the 
Assembly, was promulgated, establishing a Constitutional 
Monarchy with Norodom Sihanouk as King.  The Constitution 
provides for a multiparty, liberal democratic system with 
separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and a monarch 
who reigns but does not rule.  The document calls for new 
nationwide legislative elections every 5 years.  The Government 
is now preparing plans to institute elections at the village 
and commune level.

The new legitimate Government was formed through negotiation 
between the FUNCINPEC and CPP parties.  This compromise, which 
grants the CPP half of the cabinet positions, was reached 
against the backdrop of an abortive June secession movement, 
led by CPP member Prince Norodom Chakrapong.  Although the 
secession movement quickly collapsed, it constituted an 
illegitimate pressure on the process of forming a new 

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Twenty-seven independent indigenous nongovernmental 
organizations (NGO's) carried out human rights activities in 
Cambodia in 1993.  The four largest of these had combined 
membership of over 150,000.  They engaged in diverse activities 
ranging from basic human rights monitoring to education to 
prison visits to public seminars on the new Constitution.  By 
the end of 1993, the NGO's were able to bring complaints to a 
human rights committee of the National Assembly, and several 
issued periodic bulletins about their activities.

The effectiveness of the nascent human rights NGO's was 
magnified by their ability to work with and receive support 
from UNTAC and the successor U.N. Human Rights Center Field 
Office in Phnom Penh.  UNTAC had a staff of 40 human rights 
monitors until September, present in all 21 provinces.  In 
addition, 3,400 UNTAC civilian police assisted in human rights 
investigations.  The military component of UNTAC used a 
strategic investigation team equipped with helicopters to 
investigate the most egregious human rights violations.  
Amnesty International, Asia Watch, and the Lawyers Committee 
for Human Rights also visited Cambodia in 1993.

While human rights investigators moved freely in 
government-controlled areas, no human rights groups were 
permitted entry into PDK zones.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The new Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, 
color, sex, language, religious belief, or political views.  
However, with no effective means of implementing these 
guarantees, the most vulnerable elements of Cambodian society 
are often victims of discrimination.


The new Constitution contains strong language providing for 
equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, and equal 
status in marriage.  In practice, women have equal property 
rights with men, have the same status in bringing divorce 
proceedings, and have equal access to education and some jobs.  
However, tradition still prohibited many women from reaching 
the highest positions in many areas.  Independent women's 
associations flourished in 1993, and the leaders of two of the 
most prominent human rights NGO's are women.

International aid workers confirm that violence against women, 
including rape as well as domestic violence, is common, 
although there are still no systematic studies to determine the 
extent of the problem.  Authorities normally decline to become 
involved in such "private" disputes.  Prostitution, prohibited 
by the new Constitution, is nevertheless common in Phnom Penh.  


Children are a vulnerable group in Cambodia.  They are often 
victims of landmines and there is evidence of nascent child 
prostitution among street children in Phnom Penh.  The new 
Constitution explicitly protects children's rights.  Ensuring 
the welfare of children is also a specific goal of the 
government's political program.  However, the Government must 
rely on international aid to fund most social welfare programs 
targeted at children, and, therefore, resources devoted to the 
goal are modest.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Vietnamese and Chinese have long been the largest ethnic 
minorities in Cambodia.  Ethnic Chinese are now well accepted.  
However, fear and animosity toward the Vietnamese, who are seen 
as a threat to the Khmer nation and culture, remain among 
Cambodians.  In 1993 the PDK sought to exploit these feelings 
through a calculated campaign of racial violence directed 
against ethnic Vietnamese civilians.  The PDK, whose legitimacy 
suffered in the May elections, sought to show that they were 
the true nationalists and to provoke opposition to the SOC, 
which was installed in 1979 by a Vietnamese invasion.

Amnesty International has documented 15 racially motivated 
attacks in 1993 resulting in 70 deaths and 60 wounded.  
Innocent women, children, and elderly persons were beaten or 
shot to death.  A typical incident occurred March 10 in the 
floating village of Chong Khneas on the Tonle Sap lake in Siem 
Reap province when 20 men entered the village at dusk on boats 
and opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on villagers in their 
houseboats and in a video parlor for 15 to 30 minutes.  
Eighteen people were killed and 15 were injured.

The Cambodian authorities did not react energetically to these 
attacks.  SOC police just 300 meters from Chong Khneas village 
did not attempt to intervene.  King Sihanouk publicly condemned 
the killings of ethnic Vietnamese.  However, it was only on 
July 24, after four major attacks, that the provisional 
government publicly condemned the attacks.  Only one person was 
arrested in connection with all these attacks--and then by 
UNTAC.  (The accused subsequently died of natural causes.)   
Constituent Assembly members debated whether rights provided 
for in the new Constitution extended to ethnic Vietnamese.  The 
Assembly decided to defer the matter for future legislation.

     People with Disabilities

Cambodia has the highest percentage of handicapped persons in 
the world; one in 286 Cambodians is missing at least one limb.  
Programs administered by various NGO's have brought about 
dramatic improvements in the treatment and rehabilitation of 
amputees.  Although the handicapped are often looked upon as a 
burden by poor families, rehabilitation programs have improved 
how they are perceived.  Accessibility for the handicapped is 
not mandated either legislatively or otherwise.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Eighty percent of Cambodians are subsistence rice farmers.  A 
large proportion of the urban population are engaged in 
low-level commerce or are self-employed as craftspeople.  A 
majority of salaried workers are employed by the State, 
although there is a growing service sector and a small 
industrial sector.  The new Constitution provides for the 
organization of trade unions "as stipulated by law."  Until 
future implementing legislation is passed, the relevant law is 
the Labor Law passed by the SOC in August 1992.

The 1992 law reflected consultations with the International 
Labor Organization and international labor law experts and is 
similar to labor laws in market economy countries.  It states 
that workers have the right to form unions of their own 
choosing without previous authorization.  The law does not 
require that unions join a single trade union structure and 
contains no provisions regarding whether a union may 
participate in political activity.  However, there is a wide 
gap between the provisions of the labor law and the reality of 
labor conditions in Cambodia today.  No other unions currently 
exist apart from those in the formerly SOC-controlled 
Kampuchean Federation of Trade Unions, an organization which 
was inactive in 1993.  A new organization of pedicab drivers 
and other transport workers holds the potential of developing 
into an independent union.

The new Constitution guarantees the right to strike, "in 
accordance with law."  Implementing legislation is still 
lacking.  During 1993 some workers from state enterprises took 
action when their factories were sold and closed.  They carried 
out informal strikes which were promptly settled with 
government intervention, usually via cash payments.

The Labor Law permits unions to join federations but does not 
address whether they may be affiliated with international 
bodies.  The Kampuchean Federation of Trade Unions is a member 
of the formerly Soviet-controlled World Federation of Trade 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is protected under the labor law, 
although any agreement reached between workers and employers is 
subject to approval by the Government.  However, collective 
bargaining does not currently exist in practice.  Civil servant 
wages are set by the Government.  Wage rates in other sectors 
are set largely by the market.  The Labor Law prohibits 
antiunion discrimination by employers.  A number of offices in 
the new Government have conducted elections for workers' 
representatives.  They participate in all decisions.

No export processing zones exist.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Labor Law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, but there 
is inadequate inspection to enforce it.  The Labor Law contains 
penal sanctions for offenders.  There are no reports that 
domestic or foreign workers are being forced to remain in 
situations amounting to coerced labor.  Prisons in 
SOC-controlled areas were inspected by UNTAC and international 
human rights groups, and there were no reports of prison 
labor.  There are widespread reports that the PDK compels 
people under its control to serve as porters for military and 
other supplies.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The Labor Law states that the minimum age for employment is 16, 
except for persons under age 16 working in an enterprise in 
which all workers are members of a family and under the 
supervision of a father, mother, or guardian.  Although 
penalties exist for violators of these provisions, the 
Government has not yet established an apparatus to enforce 
them.  Out of economic necessity, persons under the age of 16 
years engage in a variety of jobs.  These include street 
trading, construction, and small-scale manufacturing.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Labor Law does not provide for a nationwide minimum wage.  
However, it does require that every laborer receive a minimum 
wage that assures a decent living standard.  The wage can vary 
according to regions.  Currently, market-determined wage rates 
at lower levels are not sufficient to provide a decent living 
for a worker and family.

The Labor Law provides for a standard legal work week of 48 
hours and a 24-hour rest period.  The law requires overtime 
payment at a rate set by the Government.  These standards are 
not enforced and workers commonly work more than 48 hours per 
week and 8 hours per day.  The law states that the workplace 
should have health and safety standards necessary to ensure the 
workers' well-being.  However, the Government has yet to set 
specific standards.  Penalties are specified in the law, but 
there are no provisions to protect workers who complain about 
unsafe or unhealthful conditions.  Conditions in factories and 
small-scale industries are generally poor.  Ventilation and 
lighting are inadequate, sanitation facilities are poor, and 
noise levels are significantly above international standards. (###)

[end of document]


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