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Cambodia: Major News Items, 4/1/96 - 4/7/96

Death Toll From Khmer Rouge Reign
Dr. Craig Etcheson, who is leading Yale University's Cambodia Genocide Program, has said that the findings of their teams in Cambodia suggest that the death toll during the Khmer Rouge reign may be higher than previously believed. The number of victims executed by the Khmer Rouge is now estimated as at least 1.5 million. Many others died from disease and starvation brought on by Khmer Rouge policies. (Philip Sherwell, posted to camnews mailing list, April 3.)

Human Rights Issues
Michael Kirby, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia, worned on April 1 that Cambodia is in danger of returning to autocracy. Kirby noted progress in areas such as women's rights and human rights education, but voiced concern over the expulsion of several elected officals from the National Assembly, and over government attempts to control the media. Kirby is due to be replaced in May by Sweden's Thomas Hammarburg. (UN Information Service, 4/1/96.)

First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh suggested on April 3 that his FUNCINPEC party would try to resolve conflicts with Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party through talks. Ranariddh expects to meet with Hun Sen and National Assembly Chairman Chea Sim some time next week. (Xinhua, April 3.)

Aid to Khmer Rouge Defectors
The US began distributing 23 tons of humanitarian aid for recent Khmer Rouge defectors and their families. US Ambassador Kenneth Quinn presided over the ceremony in Kompong Speu province. Some 300 guerrillas and 1,300 dependents defected to the government in February. (Reuter, April 5.)

Power Plant Renovation Completed
A Japanese project to upgrade Phnom Penh's electric utilities is now officially finished. The project is expected to cost about $38.5 million. A separate project funded by the Asian Development Bank was inaugurated on April 2, and another project funded by a World Bank loan should vastly improve power service in the capital by the end of the year. (Reuter, April 6.)


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