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Ministry rejects Khmer Thavrak protest violence claims

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Activists from the Khmer Thavrak youth group reenact scenes of violence in front of the women’s affairs ministry in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district on August 25. KHMER THAVRAK

Ministry rejects Khmer Thavrak protest violence claims

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs said the recent enacting of scenes of violence by members of a lesser-known youth group in relation to protests by laid-off NagaWorld employees “deviated from the truth”.

The staging in front of the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh on August 25 was “intentionally slanderous” and “inciting confusion among the public”, while “seriously affecting the honour” of authorities, it added.

The rejection came after seven members of the Khmer Thavrak youth group gathered to follow up on an April petition, which called on the ministry to intervene and take action against authorities who allegedly used violence against the protesting female employees of the integrated casino resort.

At the gathering, two young people enacted a scene of a man using violence against a woman.

“We completely deny the allegations made by this handful of individuals against the ministry and relevant authorities without clear basis and evidence.

“The ministry has actively worked in accordance with its mandate and achieved a lot … in promoting the status of women and the protection of women’s and girls’ rights in Cambodia,” it said in a statement dated August 25.

It said it had always promoted the protection of women’s rights and had never ignored incidents that contravened them – cooperating with relevant institutions and supporting services for women and girls affected by gender-based violence at all levels without discrimination on the basis of race, colour or political affiliation.

Banners at the gathering said the ministry had not yet issued a response to the alleged violence against the NagaWorld protesters. Others called for an end to violence against protesters and asked minister Ing Kantha Phavi to intervene.

Svay Samnang, who participated, said the gathering was held in response to a perceived delay from the ministry in finding a resolution.

“This was held because we have been waiting on the procedure for more than four months, and while the women’s affairs ministry has referred to other institutions, there has still been no resolution.”

The ministry, however, dismissed the gathering as an “attempt at propaganda”.

“[We] fervently deny the allegations made by a handful of individuals against the competent the ministry and relevant authorities, and calls on the public not to believe this attempt at propaganda.

“We believe that the public, both inside and outside of the country, will carry on supporting and trusting the ministry as it continues in its mission to bring about further achievements for the Kingdom,” it said.

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