Government says activists have no right to ‘interfere’ in border affairs

A government spokesman has said that nongovernmental organizations and activists have no right to interfere in the nation’s border affairs after union leader Rong Chhun’s arrest on July 31 led to calls from civil society groups and his supporters that he be freed.

Chhun, who is head of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, was arrested and charged after a Radio Free Asia broadcast aired on July 31 in which he says that Vietnamese soldiers have placed border posts 500 meters into Cambodian territory and expelled villagers from their land.

Speaking during an August 4 press conference on the government’s 2019 and 2020 achievements, Phay Siphan, chief of the government’s spokesperson unit, said border affairs are the obligation of the state and NGOs have no right to be involved.

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