Rights Groups Condemn Killing of Protesters

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), along with local rights groups Licadho and Adhoc, denounced the Friday shooting of protesting garment workers by police in a joint statement released in Paris on Monday.

“The killing of demonstrators by government authorities is totally unacceptable. The government must use dialogue, not guns and batons, to address workers’ demands and to deal with political dissent,” FIDH president Karim Lahidhi said in the statement.

On Friday morning, military police opened fire on a group of garment factory workers protesting for a higher minimum wage. The protesters had blocked a street in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district and were throwing stones at military police who responded with AK-47 live rounds, killing five people and injuring dozens.

Adhoc demanded there be an investigation into the killings.

“The government must launch a quick, thorough and independent investigation into the 3 January killings and hold those responsible accountable,” Thun Saray, president of Adhoc, said in the statement.

Despite numerous eyewitness accounts, photographs and videos of the shootings, Brigadier General Kheng Tito, spokesman for the military police, has denied government forces were responsible for the deaths and said no investigation into police actions would take place.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and the U.N. have also condemned the recent violence by authorities.

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