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Title:  Cambodia Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State 
Date:  March 1996 
 
 
 
 
                                CAMBODIA 
 
 
Cambodia completed its second year under democratic rule after 20 years 
of undemocratic regimes and civil war.  The transition to a 
democratically elected government followed the signing of the Paris 
Peace Accords by Cambodia's rival factions in 1991, which led to free 
and fair elections administered by the United Nations in May 1993, and 
the promulgation of a constitution in September 1993.  The Royal 
Cambodian Government is a coalition composed primarily of the FUNCINPEC 
Party, which won the majority of votes in the 1993 election, and the 
Cambodian People's Party (CPP), which had ruled the country since the 
ouster of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese in 1979.  The leader of 
FUNCINPEC, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and former State of Cambodia Prime 
Minister Hun Sen of the CPP are first and second Prime Ministers, 
respectively.  King Norodom Sihanouk is the constitutional monarch and 
Head of State.  Most power lies with the executive branch; the judiciary 
is not independent in practice.  The Khmer Rouge, which signed the Paris 
Accords but refused to implement them, continue to wage a mostly low-
level guerrilla insurgency against the Government.    
 
The police have primary responsibility for internal security, but the 
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), including the military police, also 
have domestic security responsibilities.  In early 1995, the Government 
started efforts to integrate 19,000 former FUNCINPEC and Buddhist 
Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP) personnel into the police force.  The 
Government also continued to implement an ambitious reform plan to 
improve RCAF performance.  Members of the security forces committed 
human rights violations, for which they were rarely prosecuted. 
 
Cambodia has a market economy in which approximately 80 percent of the 
population engage in subsistence farming, with rice as the principal 
crop.  The country has a small, but growing, garment industry; timber 
and rubber are the principal exports.  In April, in an attempt to stop 
illegal timber-cutting activities, the Government imposed a ban on 
exports of round timber and rough-cut lumber.  Foreign aid is an 
important source of national income.  Cambodia is a poor country, with a 
per capita gross domestic product of approximately $275 annually. 
 
The human rights situation worsened in several respects, including 
tolerance for opposition views, but it continued to be better than 
during previous regimes.  There continued to be reports of numerous 
abuses, including political intimidation and instances of extrajudicial 
killings.  There were also credible reports that members of the security 
forces beat detainees.  Prison conditions remained poor, and prolonged 
detention was a problem.  The Government lacked the resources or the 
political will to act aggressively against individuals, particularly 
members of the military, who were responsible for such abuses.  The 
Government imposed some restrictions on freedom of expression and 
prosecuted several journalists critical of the Government.  These cases, 
as well as the removal of an outspoken member of Parliament by his party 
and a grenade attack at an opposition party headquarters, led to concern 
that the Government was becoming less tolerant of opposing views.  
Emerging democratic institutions, particularly the judiciary, still are 
weak.  The judiciary is subject to influence by the executive and marred 
by inefficiency, lack of training, a shortage of resources, and 
corruption related to low wages.  People were effectively denied the 
right to a fair trial.  The ethnic Vietnamese minority faced widespread 
discrimination and some violence, and people with disabilities also 
faced societal discrimination.  Abuse of children is common.  Persons 
living in Khmer Rouge zones were denied virtually all political rights 
and were subject to serious human rights abuses by the Khmer Rouge 
leadership. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
  a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
There was no evidence of a government-sponsored campaign of violence, 
but there was one reported case of a killing by government agents for 
political reasons.  In February two local militia members from Mong 
Russey district, Battambang, were arrested for killing two suspected 
Khmer Rouge members.  They were released pending trial in May but were 
never tried.  There were reports that the military pressured the court 
to release the suspects.   
 
There were a number of credible reports that members of government 
security forces committed extrajudicial killings.  The authorities made 
few arrests in connection with these crimes, due to a combination of 
ineffectiveness of law enforcement, intimidation of civilian authorities 
by the military, and in some cases a lack of prosecutorial vigor. 
 
For example, Sath Soeun, an RCAF officer in Kompong Cham province, was 
implicated in the killing of a 16-year-old boy in July.  A warrant was 
issued for his arrest, but he was not apprehended.  Sath Soeun was also 
implicated in a number of other crimes, including killing journalist 
Chan Dara (see 1994 report) for which he was imprisoned for several 
months before being tried and acquitted. 
 
In May fisheries department officials shot and killed a fisherman in 
Kompong Chnang.  Officials claimed that they had intended to fire a 
warning shot after the boat ignored calls to stop.  The victim's family 
did not file charges against the officials but received a small cash 
settlement. 
 
There was little progress in the investigation of cases of extrajudicial 
killing in 1994.  For example, there were no further developments in the 
unsolved 1994 killing of journalist Nuon Chan. 
 
The Khmer Rouge continued to execute summarily civilians in areas under 
its control.  The Khmer Rouge also continued to carry out its policy, 
announced in 1994, to execute systematically government officials in the 
countryside.  On May 20, approximately 30 Khmer Rouge entered a village 
in Kompong Thom province and fired on villagers, killing 4 ethnic 
Vietnamese and a Khmer policeman.  In July a Sihanoukville court found a 
former Khmer Rouge soldier guilty of the November 1994 murders of three 
foreign tourists.  He was sentenced to 15 years in prison along with 
five other Khmer Rouge members who were tried in absentia. 
 
In January an American tourist and a Cambodian guide traveling outside 
the Angkor Wat Temple complex were killed in an ambush by a group of 
bandits which may have included Khmer Rouge.  Several people were 
arrested, tried, and sentenced to long prison terms in connection with 
these killings.  Other suspects in the killings, however, escaped from 
the Siem Reap prison and were tried and convicted in absentia. 
 
  b.  Disappearance 
 
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.  However, 
there was one known instance in which RCAF officers abducted a farmer 
from Kompong Chnang province and then moved him to an unknown location.  
He has not been heard of since.  The military officials acknowledged 
taking the farmer into custody for suspected links to the Khmer Rouge 
but claimed that he had escaped. 
 
The Khmer Rouge often abducted people for periods of 2 weeks to a month, 
mostly to serve as porters.  In Koh Kong province, over 40 people 
disappeared and were assumed to have been killed by the Khmer Rouge in a 
revenge attack following attacks by government troops. 
 
Beginning in mid-1995, there were several kidnapings of foreign Asian 
businessmen; most of whom were subsequently released.  An executive at a 
large casino was abducted and held for 2 days before being rescued by 
the police.  Seven people, including a military police officer, were 
arrested in the case but had not been tried by year's end.   
 
There were no developments in the disappearances of 17 political party 
activists before the May 1993 election, which United Nations personnel 
attributed to authorities of the former State of Cambodia. 
 
  c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
The Government does not systematically use torture, but there were 
credible reports that security officials often severely beat criminal 
detainees, particularly during interrogation.  In one particularly 
egregious case, police beat severely a 15-year-old suspected of theft 
and his mother.  The mother had internal injuries as a result.  The 
police later returned to the home of the 15-year-old, beat and tortured 
him, including use of electric shock, and took him into police custody, 
where he was held for 3 days without food and water.  Police denied 
wrongdoing in connection with the case and the authorities took no 
action against the perpetrators. 
 
A pregnant woman arrested for theft was reportedly slapped, burned with 
cigarettes, and denied food by the police in an attempt to extract a 
confession.  She was released on bail after she began to hemorrhage, and 
suffered a miscarriage shortly thereafter. 
 
A human rights worker reported that, following a prison break in Siem 
Reap in May, prison officials severely beat the prisoners who were 
rearrested.  One prisoner was reportedly shot twice in the leg after 
surrendering.  The police often use excessive force in the apprehension 
of criminal suspects.  In August four foreigners were shot and injured 
by police and soldiers while they were riding motorcycles past the house 
of the second Prime Minister.  The security personnel claimed that they 
had mistaken the victims for thieves after they ran a roadblock.  By the 
end of the year, no action had been taken against the perpetrators.  
Four men, three of whom worked as bodyguards for opposition politician 
Sam Rainsy, reported that they were taken on the night of July 13 to a 
military facility by 30 to 40 soldiers and beaten and interrogated for 
16 hours.  The men stated that during the interrogation, the soldiers 
tried to extract a statement linking Rainsy with the Khmer Rouge. 
 
The Government continued efforts to improve prison conditions albeit 
with limited financial resources.  Conditions in many prisons remained 
poor.  The U.N. Human Rights Center, the U.N. Secretary General's 
Special Representative for human rights, and an international 
nongovernmental organization (NGO) cited a number of serious problems 
including overcrowding, food and water shortages, and poor security.  
Human rights workers reported that the practice of using shackles and 
holding prisoners in small, dark cells, widespread in the State of 
Cambodia period but virtually eliminated by the U.N. Transition 
Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), had resumed in some prisons.  However, 
the Government allowed human rights groups to visit prisons and to 
provide human rights training to prison guards.     
 
Although an alleged illegal detention facility in Battambang province 
was closed in 1994, there were unconfirmed reports of the existence of 
small, illegal detention facilities in several provinces. 
 
  d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
A Penal Code drafted by UNTAC and approved by the interim Supreme 
National Council remains in effect, as does a Criminal Procedure Law 
dating from the State of Cambodia period.  The Criminal Procedure Law in 
theory provides adequate protection for criminal suspects, but in 
practice the Government frequently ignored these provisions. 
 
Although lengthy detention without charge is illegal, suspects are often 
held for long periods before being charged.  Accused persons are legally 
entitled to a lawyer, although in practice they often have no access to 
legal representation.  In family cases, the parties are denied by law 
the right to have legal representation.  Prisoners are routinely held 
for several days before gaining access to a lawyer or family members.  
There is a bail system, although many prisoners, particularly those 
without legal representation, often have no opportunity to seek release 
on bail.  The introduction into the legal system of a corps of nonlawyer 
pro bono defenders, trained by NGO's, resulted in significant 
improvements for those defendants who were provided with counsel, 
including a reduction in the pretrial detention period and improved 
access to bail. 
 
The Government did not generally use detention without charge as a means 
of political control; however, there was one case in which six persons 
were detained for the peaceful expression of political views.  On the 
night of August 5, the Government apprehended six persons who were 
distributing political leaflets critical of the Government, accusing 
them of "incitement" and imprisoning them for 6 weeks before a court 
released them unconditionally.  In October police in Kompong Cham 
province arrested a policeman who was making insulting remarks about 
First Prime Minister Ranariddh in a restaurant while intoxicated.  Human 
rights workers who followed up on the case stated that the policeman was 
imprisoned for several weeks and then held under administrative 
detention before being released in December.   
 
In November FUNCINPEC Secretary General Norodom Sirivudh was arrested 
for alleged involvement in an assassination plot against Second Prime 
Minister Hun Sen.  Human rights groups expressed concern about several 
aspects of his detention, including the fact that he was held under 
house arrest for several days before his parliamentary immunity was 
lifted by the National Assembly.  Sirivudh was allowed to depart for 
France in December while investigation of the case still continued. 
 
Exile is prohibited by the Constitution and not practiced. 
 
No legal system is known to exist in Khmer Rouge zones.  Khmer Rouge 
forces often seize hostages in order to intimidate villagers into 
cooperating with them. 
 
  e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary.  However, in 
practice the Government does not ensure due process and an independent 
judiciary.  The courts are subject to influence by the executive, and 
there is widespread corruption among judges who do not receive a living 
wage.  Civilian courts are often unable to try members of the military.  
In a report issued in September, Justice Michael Kirby, the U.N. 
Secretary General's Special Representative in Cambodia, highlighted the 
need for judicial reform, including increased salaries for judges, as 
one of the most pressing human rights issues in Cambodia. 
 
The court system consists of lower courts, an appeals court, and a 
Supreme Court.  The Constitution also mandates a Constitutional Council, 
which is empowered to review the constitutionality of laws, and a 
Supreme Council of Magistrates, which appoints and disciplines judges.  
These two bodies have not yet been established.  A serious lack of 
resources and poor training contribute to inefficiency in the judicial 
branch.  For example, judges often lack copies of the laws on which they 
are supposed to hand down rulings.  The judiciary as a whole is marred 
by the lack of a clear and consistent set of procedures by which a case 
makes its way through the system.  As a result of these weaknesses in 
the judicial system, people were often effectively denied the right to a 
fair trial. 
 
There is also a military court system, which suffers from the same 
deficiencies as the civilian court system. 
 
The courts often pressure victims of crimes to accept small cash 
settlements from the accused.  When a case does make its way to court, 
the verdict is often determined by a judge before the case is heard, 
sometimes on the basis of a bribe by the accuser or the defendant.  
Sworn, written statements from witnesses and the accused are usually the 
extent of evidence presented in trials.  Often these statements result 
from beatings or threats by investigating officials, and illiterate 
defendants are often not informed of the content of written confessions 
they are forced to sign.  In cases involving the military, military 
officers often exert pressure on judges to have the defendant released. 
 
Trials are public.  Defendants have the right to be present and the 
right to consult with an attorney.  The serious shortage of  
 
attorneys is somewhat alleviated by the provision of nonlawyer defenders 
by the Government or, more frequently, human rights organizations.  In 
June the National Assembly passed a bar statute that allows NGO-trained 
defenders to practice through 1997.  Defendants are allowed to confront 
and question witnesses against them and to present witnesses and 
evidence on their own behalf.  However, trials are typically perfunctory 
(about an hour on average), and extensive cross-examination usually does 
not take place. 
 
Defendants are legally entitled to a presumption of innocence and the 
right of appeal.  However, because of extensive corruption, defendants 
are often expected to bribe the judge for a favorable verdict and 
therefore are effectively denied the presumption of innocence. 
 
There were no reports of political prisoners.  
 
  f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Government does not coerce or forbid membership in political 
organizations.  However, membership in the Khmer Rouge, which is 
conducting an armed insurgency against the Government, is illegal.  
There were unconfirmed reports that the Government arbitrarily monitored 
private electronic communication including in the case of Prince 
Sirividh (see Section 1.d.).  According to human rights observers, the 
police routinely conducted warrantless searches and seizures.  Although 
people are largely free to live where they wish, there were reports that 
the municipality of Phnom Penh had forcibly removed over 1,000 indigent 
and homeless persons from Phnom Penh to rural areas in July; many of 
them subsequently returned to Phnom Penh. 
 
  g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
Fighting between government forces and the Khmer Rouge insurgency 
continued.  As in previous years, many civilians were killed or wounded 
by indiscriminate shelling and by land mines laid by both sides.  
Villages were subjected to burning and looting by the Khmer Rouge.  
These attacks escalated following an October 1994 Khmer Rouge policy 
decision to harass local officials and terrorize the local population.  
The media reported that more than 40 villagers were killed in Koh Kong 
province in a May campaign against persons suspected of being spies.  An 
NGO reported in March that since October 1994, the Khmer Rouge forced 
between 40,000 and 60,000 villagers to leave their homes, following 
campaigns to loot, burn, and destroy property.  On April 20, guerrillas 
loosely affiliated with the Khmer Rouge attacked a Chinese-owned rock 
crushing plant on  
 
Phnom Srang Mountain, killing two Chinese workers and injuring a third. 
 
Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
  a.  Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of expression, press, and 
publication, but the Government sometimes limits press freedom in 
practice.  The Constitution implicitly limits free speech by requiring 
that speech not adversely affect public security.  The Constitution also 
declares that the King is "inviolable."  A press law that went into 
effect in September provided journalists with a number of rights, 
including a prohibition on prepublication censorship and the right not 
to be imprisoned for expressing opinion.  However, the law included a 
vaguely worded prohibition on publishing articles that affect national 
security and political stability.  These provisions were strongly 
criticized by human rights groups and journalists.  The Government 
pledged to issue a new law or subdecree defining these terms, but had 
not done so by year's end. 
 
Cambodia's news organizations, including approximately 50 newspapers, 
remained active.  Most newspapers were independent, but the Government, 
the military, and political parties continued to dominate the broadcast 
media.  Although many newspapers remained critical of the Government, 
throughout the year violence against the press and government pressure 
created a climate of fear among members of the press which led to self-
censorship by some journalists.  There are three journalists' 
associations which actively lobbied for a liberal press law and against 
the detention of journalists. 
 
The Government continued its intimidation of newspapers overtly critical 
of the Government, mostly through legal action.  In January the 
Government filed defamation suits against two newspapers, the Voice of 
Khmer Youth and the New Liberty News, and confiscated that week's issues 
of the newspapers, after they ran articles and cartoons attacking the 
co-Prime Ministers.  On February 27, the editor of the Voice of Khmer 
Youth, Chan Rotana, was sentenced to a year in prison for 
"disinformation" under the UNTAC-era Press Law.  The editor of New 
Liberty News, Hen Vipheak, was sentenced to a year in prison on May 20 
for publishing an article critical of the two Prime Ministers.  Both 
editors were released pending appeal.   After their initial appeal was 
denied at the end of 1995, the two editors remained free pending appeal 
to the Supreme Court.  The editor of the newspaper Khmer Ideal was 
convicted of defamation and publishing false information following 
publication of opinion pieces critical of the Government.  He was fined 
$4,000 and told that he would have to serve a year in prison if he was 
unable to pay the fine.  This conviction was upheld by the Court of 
Appeals.  The editor appealed to the Supreme Court.   
 
By the end of 1995, there had been no convictions for the killings of 
two journalists in 1994.  A powerful soldier in Kompong Cham province, 
Sath Soeun, was acquitted of the 1994 killing of journalist Chan Dara 
(see Section 1.e.).  No one was tried for the 1994 killing of journalist 
Nuon Chan. 
 
In September the office and home of journalist Nguon Nonn, editor of the 
newspaper Morning News, was damaged by a hand grenade thrown over his 
fence by a rider on a motorcycle.  By the end of the year, there had 
been no arrest in connection with this crime.  On October 23, 
approximately 100 residents of the village of Kraingyov, the site of a 
development project overseen by second Prime Minister Hun Sen, ransacked 
the office of the New Liberty News, which had criticized the Kraingyov 
project.  Following the attack, Hun Sen told the villagers that the 
attack on the newspaper had been justified.  After this incident, the 
newspaper's printer refused to continue printing New Liberty News and 
other opposition papers.  The papers subsequently made other 
arrangements and continued printing. 
 
Also in September the media reported that the Government had issued a 
directive instructing teachers, including private school teachers, not 
to talk about politics in class. 
 
The KR do not allow freedom of speech or press in zones they control. 
 
  b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom 
of association.  Large, organized political demonstrations are rare, 
although small demonstrations by villagers in front of the houses of the 
two Prime Ministers were tolerated by the Government.   
 
In October a faction of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, which 
earlier in the year split into two rival groups, was denied permission 
to hold a party congress in the Phnom Penh stadium.  Although the 
Government cited security concerns and improper use of the party name, 
the Government's refusal to allow the congress may have been undertaken 
for political reasons, since the governing coalition supported the other 
BLDP faction.  On September 30, unknown persons lobbed 2 or 3 grenades 
at the faction's headquarters and a nearby Buddhist pagoda, injuring at 
least 30 faction supporters.  First Prime Minister Ranariddh, speaking 
on behalf of the Government, condemned the attack.  Despite the attack, 
the BLDP faction proceeded with its congress in an abbreviated manner 
the following day.  No one has been arrested in connection with the 
incident.   
 
The Government requires indigenous NGO's to register with the Ministry 
of Interior.  The Government delayed the registration of some NGO's in 
1995 on the grounds that it was in the process of drafting legislation 
regulating NGO's.  However, no action has been taken to date against 
unregistered NGO's. 
 
In Khmer Rouge-controlled areas, freedom of assembly and association do 
not exist. 
 
  c.  Freedom of Religion. 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits 
discrimination based on religion.  The Government respects this right in 
practice.  Buddhism is the state religion. 
 
  d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The Government does not restrict travel outside Cambodia or within parts 
of Cambodia it controls, although the presence of land mines and bandits 
makes travel in some areas perilous.  The Khmer Rouge, who refused to 
comply with the Paris Accords by opening the areas they control, 
continued to restrict access to, from, and within these zones. 
 
Tens of thousands of ethnic Vietnamese fled Cambodia in early 1993 due 
to racial violence directed at Vietnamese.  Many returned after the 
elections.  However, the Cambodian authorities stopped and forbade 
reentry to several thousand boats on the Mekong River.  Although most of 
these people have been allowed to return and others reentered quietly 
over land, some remain stranded in the border area. 
 
The Government allows non-Cambodians to apply to the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for refugee status in Cambodia. 
 
Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to change their 
government, and most citizens exercised this right by participating in 
the 1993 U.N.-administered elections.  In those areas of the country 
controlled by the Khmer Rouge, citizens cannot exercise this right. 
 
In the 1993 election, each province elected constituent assembly members 
through proportional representation.  Some 20 parties took part; 4 won 
seats.  The United Nations certified the election as free and fair.  
After the drafting of a constitution, the Constituent Assembly became 
the National Assembly.  Members of all four parties that won seats in 
the Assembly entered a coalition government, which remained in power 
through 1995. 
 
The legislature was weak in comparison with the executive branch.  Most 
legislation considered or adopted originated in the ministries rather 
than in the Assembly.  However, the Assembly successfully negotiated 
several important changes to draft laws, including the removal of 
criminal penalties from the Press Law and an amendment to the Bar 
Statute allowing NGO-trained defenders to continue practicing for 
several years. 
 
The executive branch of the Government appointed the provincial 
governors were appointed by .  Governorships are divided between the two 
main coalition parties.  District and commune officials are appointed; 
most of these officials are State of Cambodia appointees.  In late 1995, 
the Interior Ministry announced plans to appoint FUNCINPEC personnel to 
roughly half of the district chief positions.  The Government pledged in 
October to hold commune-level elections in early 1997. 
 
In June outspoken Member of Parliament Sam Rainsy was removed from the 
legislature following expulsion from his party, on the grounds that he 
had been elected on a party slate and the party had the right to decide 
who occupied his seat.  The legality of this move was unclear, but the 
absence of a functioning Constitutional Council meant that there was no 
body competent to make a legal ruling.  Some politicians and human 
rights groups expressed concern that the removal of Rainsy was an 
indication that the governing coalition was unwilling to tolerate 
dissent among members of the parties in the coalition. 
 
Traditional cultural practices inhibit the role of women in government.  
There are 7 women among the 120 members of the National Assembly.  There 
are no women governors or cabinet ministers.  There are a few women at 
the state secretary and deputy governor levels.  There are several 
members of Cambodia's ethnic and religious minorities in the Cabinet and 
the National Assembly. 
 
Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
Cambodia's large international and indigenous human rights community, 
which first began operating under UNTAC, remained active and engaged in 
diverse activities.  Numerous indigenous and international human rights 
organizations and the U.N. Human Rights Center conducted highly 
effective human rights training for civil servants, members of the 
security forces, villagers, and other groups.  There are 40 Cambodian 
human rights NGO's which carried out investigations of human rights 
abuses.  The National Assembly's Human Rights Commission, headed by a 
former NGO leader, served as a liaison between the Assembly and the 
human rights community.  According to NGO leaders, communication between 
human rights NGO's and the executive branch of the Government improved 
in 1995.  Most human rights NGO's reported little overt intimidation, 
although many felt that the sensitive issues they covered required them 
to exercise caution in carrying out their activities. 
 
In early 1995, the Government requested that the U.N. Human Rights 
Center in Cambodia depart before the end of its mandate.  Following the 
expression of concern from the Cambodian and international human rights 
communities, from Cambodian political figures, and from foreign 
governments, the Government announced that it would allow the Center to 
complete its mandate. 
 
The Khmer Rouge do not permit any investigation of human rights 
violations within their zones. 
 
Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, 
language, religious beliefs, or political views.  Although the 
Government does not systematically engage in discrimination, it often 
fails to protect these rights in practice. 
 
  Women 
 
International and Cambodian NGO workers report that violence against 
women, including rape and domestic violence, is common.  There have been 
several studies on domestic violence, but there are no reliable 
statistics on the extent of the problem.  Authorities normally decline 
to become involved in domestic disputes.  NGO's reported that 
prostitution and trafficking in women were becoming increasingly serious 
problems.  At the end of the year, a bill on trafficking in women had 
been drafted but not enacted. 
 
The 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, cultural traditions continued to 
affect adversely women's ability to reach senior positions in 
government, business, and other areas.  There were a large number of 
women's NGO's, which concentrated on training poor women and widows and 
addressing social problems such as spousal abuse and prostitution.  
Within the Government, the Secretariat of State for Women's Affairs is 
responsible for women's issues. 
 
 
  Children 
 
The Constitution explicitly provides for children's rights, and ensuring 
the welfare of children is a specific goal of the Government's political 
program.  However, the Government relies on international aid to fund 
most social welfare programs targeted at children and; therefore, the 
resources devoted to this are modest.  Children frequently suffer from 
the inadequacy of Cambodia's health care system.  Infant mortality is 
reported at 123 per thousand and 1 of 5 children does not live to see 
his or her fifth birthday.  Child mortality from preventable diseases is 
high.   
 
Children are also the victims of an inadequate educational system.  Only 
about one percent of primary school teachers have completed high school.  
Schools are overcrowded and short of equipment.  The Government does not 
deny girls equal access to education, but, in practice, families with 
limited resources often give priority to educating boys. 
 
Child abuse is believed to be common, although there are no statistics 
on the extent of this problem.  NGO's believe that child prostitution 
became an increasingly serious problem during the year.  A recent report 
found that one-third of prostitutes in Cambodia were under 17.  In 1995 
several persons were arrested for hiring children as prostitutes, and at 
least one person was arrested for trafficking in children.  A U.N. 
regional forum on trafficking in children was held in Phnom Penh in 
December. 
 
  People with Disabilities 
 
The Government does not mandate accessibility to buildings or government 
services for people with disabilities.  According to international human 
rights groups, 1 in 236 Cambodians is missing at least 1 limb.  This 
figure reflects the continuing impact of land mines on the population.  
Programs administered by various NGO's have brought about dramatic 
improvements in the treatment and rehabilitation of amputees.  However, 
they face considerable societal discrimination, particularly in 
obtaining skilled employment. 
 
  National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
People of Vietnamese and Chinese background have long comprised the 
largest ethnic minorities in Cambodia.  Ethnic Chinese are well 
accepted.  However, fear and animosity toward the Vietnamese, who are 
seen as a threat to the Khmer nation and culture, continue.  In the 
absence of a nationality law, which is still under consideration by the 
Government, the legal and constitutional rights of ethnic Vietnamese 
remain unclear.  Constitutional protections are extended only to "Khmer 
people." 
 
The Khmer Rouge continued a calculated campaign of inflammatory 
propaganda directed against ethnic Vietnamese, although there were fewer 
reported racially motivated killings of Vietnamese by the Khmer Rouge or 
others than in previous years (see Section 2.d.). 
 
Several thousand ethnic Vietnamese fled to the Vietnam-Cambodia border 
following massacres in early 1993:  they continued to be denied 
permission to return to their homes, but most had in fact returned home 
by the end of the year (see Section l.d.). 
 
Section 6  Worker Rights 
 
  a.  The Right of Association 
 
The Government continued work on a new labor law with assistance from 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Asian-American Free 
Labor Institute (AAFLI).  At year's end, the bill had not been 
considered by the National Assembly. 
 
The current Labor Law was passed by the State of Cambodia in 1992.  
Workers have the right to form worker organizations of their own 
choosing without previous authorization.  Worker organizations are not 
required to join a single trade union structure. 
 
There were few, if any, active independent trade unions.  The majority 
of salaried workers are employed by the State, although there is a 
growing service sector.  A large proportion of the urban population is 
engaged in low-level commerce or self-employed skilled labor. 
 
  b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
The Labor Law provides for collective bargaining, although any agreement 
reached between workers and employees is subject to government approval.  
In practice, collective bargaining does not take place.  The Government 
sets wages for civil servants.  Wage rates in other sectors are set 
largely by the market.  The Labor Law prohibits antiunion discrimination 
by employers, but there is no mechanism for enforcing this provision. 
 
There are no export processing zones. 
 
  c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
The Labor Law prohibits forced or compulsory labor and contains penal 
sanctions for offenders.  However, the Government does not adequately 
enforce these provisions.  While there were no reports of coerced 
domestic or foreign workers, there were some reports of women being 
forced to work as prostitutes.  The Khmer Rouge compel people under 
their control to serve as porters for military and other supplies and to 
clear land for farming. 
 
  d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The Labor Law states that the minimum age for employment is 16, except 
for those workers in family enterprises.  Although penalties exist for 
violation of these provisions, the Government has not established an 
apparatus to enforce them. Cambodians under the age of 16 years 
routinely engage in a variety of jobs, including street trading, 
construction, and small-scale manufacturing.  According to an NGO study 
published in 1993, at least 86 children, most 11 to 14 years of age, 
worked in the Phnom Penh dump collecting recyclable materials under 
extremely unhealthful, dangerous, and unsanitary conditions. 
 
  e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The Labor Law does not provide for a nationwide minimum wage but 
requires a wage that assures a decent living standard.  This standard 
wage varies according to region.  The Government, however, does not 
enforce this requirement.  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 workweek of 48 hours and a 
24-hour rest period and requires overtime pay.  The Government does not 
enforce these standards, and workers commonly work more than 48 hours 
per week.  The Law states that the workplace should have health and 
safety standards adequate to ensure the workers' well-being.  However, 
the Government has not yet set specific standards.  Penalties are 
specified in the law, but there are no provisions to protect workers who 
complain about unsafe and unhealthful conditions.  Conditions in 
factories and small-scale industries are generally poor and often do not 
meet international standards.  
 
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[end of document]

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