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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cambodian Rights Groups Petition For Anti-corruption Law

Representatives from more than 20 Cambodian human rights groups and non-government organizations delivered a petition containing 100,000 signatures to the nation's parliament Wednesday demanding action against corruption.

The group met with representatives of both the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and royalist Funcinpec Party. A representative from the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) cancelled at short notice.

Respected rights activist and founder of the local organization Licadho, Kek Galabru, said ordinary Cambodians were committed to stamping out endemic corruption and she hoped the nation's politicians agreed.

"Today we bring more than 100,000 thumbprints of Cambodian people committed to the fight against corruption," she told the meeting in the National Assembly.

"We want to see an anti-corruption law to international standards. We want to see the National Assembly pass the law and then we want to see this country implement that law - not just on paper."

The Cambodian government has been under international pressure to pass an anti-corruption law, but it has so far not been tabled in parliament.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Hun Sen promised the annual Consultative Group meeting of the government and donors that the law would be in place by the end of year, but other laws including a law against adultery appear to have taken priority.

International donors have warned repeatedly that unless Cambodia takes steps to curb corruption, the aid Cambodia relies on may be cut.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said the fight against corruption was "a priority for every Cambodian."

"The country's leaders always talk about reducing or fighting against corruption but these have only been words. It has never become real," he said.

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