Today – 15 September 2014 – is the International Day of Democracy, a day established by the UN General Assembly to encourage governments to strengthen programs aimed at promoting and consolidating democratic processes.
Yet here in Cambodia, today also marks the 1-year anniversary of the death of Mao Sok Chan, who was killed during last year’s post-election protests in Phnom Penh. But his death is the complete opposite of a celebration of democracy; instead it stands as a clear example of the way in which impunity continues to hinder the development of democracy in Cambodia.
On 15 September 2013, Mao Sok Chan was killed by a bullet fired by a security force on the Kbal Thnal bridge in Phnom Penh, which had been blocked off by the police as a demonstration calling for new elections was taking place. A year later, no transparent and independent investigation has been undertaken into the actions of the security forces on that night, despite promises by the government to investigate these events.
Instead, 3,000 riot police officers were given certification of appreciation a month after the fact to recognize their role in “controlling the escalation.”