Following a yearlong span in which government forces shot dead seven people, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday lauded Cambodia’s efforts in strengthening a “culture of nonviolence.”
In a letter released to coincide with the 12th International Day of Peace, the prime minister said the country had continued to promote peace since putting an end to decades of civil war.
“I would like to appeal to all my compatriots to try to keep protecting peace and harmony, and to strengthen the spirit of being accountable for the national fate and to disseminate broadly the awareness of the fundamental pillars supporting peace, such as the strengthening of a culture of nonviolence, patience, mutual understanding, mercy and long-term love in our society,” the letter says.
On January 3, military police brutally suppressed nationwide garment-sector protests by opening fire on a group of rock-throwing demonstrators on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, killing five and wounding dozens more.
On September 15 last year, a motorbike courier named Mao Sok Chan was shot in the head following an opposition CNRP protest in Phnom Penh. Less than two months later, on November 12, police shot dead food vendor Eng Sokhom during a clash with protesting garment workers.
In his letter, Mr. Hun Sen said the current state of peace has brought continued economic growth in Cambodia, which he said remained steady at 6.8 percent between 2008 and 2012.
“The result of peace has strongly contributed to the enhancement of democracy, human rights and the protection of [people’s] dignity,” he wrote.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann told reporters at the National Assembly last week, however, that Cambodia would not achieve true stability until corruption and impunity were stamped out.
“Political stability is good for promoting investment, but political stability without justice is a political stability of instability,” he said.
“If there is no justice for all of the citizens, and the few become richer and richer when the masses become poorer and poorer in a society, we will have no stability.”