The Council of Ministers on Friday approved two related sub-decrees that allow the ministries of Interior and Defense to manage peoples’ weapons and evacuate areas deemed dangerous by their proximity to UXO and other suspected explosives.
“The sub-decrees are aimed at protecting the public and preventing danger that could harm lives or property,” read a Council of Ministers statement dated Friday.
Defense Minister Tea Banh said Sunday by telephone that the new sub-decree, which allows relevant authorities to evacuate both public and private land, will help provide people with security.
“In cases of emergency, we will evacuate people, people who are living close to the UXO zone or an old weapons warehouse that could be dangerous,” he said.
Tea Banh said the other sub-decree is aimed at controlling the proliferation of arms within Cambodia. The Interior and Defense ministries will jointly spearhead efforts to collect unauthorized arms and register all the weapons in Cambodia.
“The sub-decree is aimed at controlling military weapons. We will control the weapons for those who are not authorized to use weapons,” he said, adding that both sub-decrees are unrelated to recent border disputes with Thailand.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann, who chairs the National Assembly’s interior and defense commission, said Sunday that the real need for arms restrictions is among military officials who use their weapons to intimidate and harm innocent people.
“The rich people and the RCAF officials unethically kill the innocent people. The killers are not brought to justice…. The ministry should prosecute those perpetrators. There is no restriction on the weapons officials can use to harm the public,” he said.
Yim Sovann also warned that the sub-decree authorizing evacuations could potentially serve as cover for officials to unlawfully confiscate villagers’ land.
“I am concerned that they would evacuate people to have their land,” he said.