Violence in Cambodia has caused the death of another prominent victim. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says the U.S. wants the violence to stop:
"The United States strongly condemns the killing. . .in Phnom Penh of Mr. Chea Vichea. . . . He was a champion of labor rights and the free trade union movement in Cambodia, and this is a movement which the United States strongly supports. We deplore this cowardly act of violence and we call upon the Cambodian Government to undertake immediate and effective action to bring the perpetrators of Chea Vichea's murder to justice."
"Chea Vichea was one of the best-known and most outspoken voices for workers in Cambodia," said Sara Colm of Human Rights Watch. He headed one of the country's most active labor unions and did much to organize Cambodia's garment workers. Vichea had close ties to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party and was a vigorous critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People's Party.
Other victims of Cambodian violence include a journalist from a radio station of the opposition FUNCINPEC party killed in October. That same month, a popular singer affiliated with FUNCINPEC was shot and wounded. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says Cambodian authorities must end the climate of impunity that took the lives of Chea Vichea and others:
"We think it's important that. . .the authorities in Cambodia take every step possible to find out who did it, why, and bring them to justice so that this, as well as other acts of violence. . .do not go unpunished."
At the funeral of Chea Vichea, Men Nath, representing a coalition of political activists, said, "the government must end the culture of impunity and the anarchy and killing in Cambodia."