Statement to The Royal Government of Cambodia must prosecute the perpetrators in the case of a shooting of a child by armed forces

We strongly condemn the shooting of the 14-year old Heng Chantha by armed forces on May 17th, 2012 in Kratie province. Heng Chantha was fatally shot in Prama village, Kampong Domrey commune, Chhlong district, when military police opened fire on villagers during a forced eviction relating to a long-running land dispute. She was at her home and was not involved in the villagers’ protest when she was hit with a bullet in her stomach. She died on her way to the hospital.

We are very concerned about the use of excessive force by armed forces against civilians, and in this case on a 14-year old girl, as this violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Cambodia has ratified. Under Article 6, every child has the inherent right to life, and Cambodia’s obligations under the Convention include “[ensuring] to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.” Thus, Cambodia is under a legal obligation to ensure that children are protected from harm.

In addition, we are alarmed about the gunning down of a young girl, as this also constitutes gender discrimination committed by one or more of Cambodian state actors. Heng Chantha was not at the scene of the protest and yet, she was targeted by military police. She was the only person fatally wounded during the clash. We call on the Royal Government of Cambodia
to launch an impartial investigation to establish how and why the victim was shot.

We also remind the Royal Government of Cambodia that it is under a legal obligation to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice. We urge the Government to send a strong message to its military personnel and to the international community that it will not tolerate the shooting of children or girls. Otherwise, there is little hope from the public that the State can be trusted to prevent this crime from happening again.

For additional information, please contact person as below mention:
Mrs. Thida Khus, SILIKA,, (855) 12 838 464
Ms. Vichuta Ly, LSCW,, (855) 12 222 173
Mrs. Sopheap Ros,, (855) 12 627 857