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UN rights office urges Cambodia authorities to show restraint dealing with protesters

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official websites] on Tuesday urged Cambodian authorities to show restraint when dealing with protesters after several demonstrations ended in violence. Rupert Colville, spokesman for the OHCHR, has reminded Cambodian authorities [AFP report] that "[p]olicing of demonstrations must comply at all times with international human rights obligations and international standards in maintaining public order." Cambodia has been wracked with daily protests by striking garment factory workers [BBC report] demanding higher wages and demonstrations by citizens disputing the validity of the results of Cambodia's September elections [Al Jazeera report], several of which have turned violent. On Friday, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia Surya Subedi [official profile] appealed to Cambodian authorities to exercise restraint when dealing with protesters, and also urged protesters [press release] to exercise their right to protest but to ensure that those protests remain peaceful.

The political atmosphere in Cambodia has been tense since its disputed September elections. On Saturday, Cambodia banned rallies and marches [Al Jazeera report] in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, and authorities removed more than 1,000 anti-government protesters [BBC report] from the capital the same day. Phnom Penh's governor Pa Socheatvong further stated that until "public order is restored to normal", the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) [official website, in Khmer] would not be permitted to hold demonstrations [AFP report].

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