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Press briefing notes on Cambodia and Yemen

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 7 January 2014
Subjects:  1) Cambodia
                 2) Yemen

1)   Cambodia

We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations. On Friday 3 January five people were killed when security forces opened fire. A further 20 were injured by gunfire and beatings. We call on the Cambodian authorities and security forces to exercise utmost restraint. Policing of demonstrations must comply at all times with international human rights obligations and international standards in maintaining public order*.

We urge the Cambodian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation and to ensure full accountability of members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force.

We note the challenges faced by the authorities in maintaining public order and join the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Professor Surya Subedi, in calling on all protesters to exercise maximum restraint. However acts of sporadic violence during public gatherings must not be used as an excuse to deprive others of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, a right that must be protected and promoted by the authorities.

The whereabouts of 23 people, including at least one minor, who were detained following the clashes on 2 and 3 January, remain unknown. We urge the Cambodian authorities to allow all those held incommunicado to have access to their families, legal representation and, if needed, medical care. If not charged with a legally defined offence, they should be released immediately.

* The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials

2)   Yemen

We strongly condemn the shelling of a funeral procession that killed 21 civilians and injured 30 others, including children, at Al-Dhalai Governorate on 27 December 2013.

We welcome the establishment of a presidential investigation committee on 28 December 2013 and call upon the Yemeni authorities to ensure that this investigation is prompt, thorough and impartial and that its results are made public. We call upon the authorities to make sure that those responsible are held accountable.

Our Office in Yemen is in regular contact with the authorities and will continue to closely follow up the outcome of this investigation.


For further information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or + 41 79 506 10 88 / rcolville@ohchr.org ) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 or +41 79 618 34 30 / cpouilly@ohchr.org)

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