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US worries on Cambodia rights before Obama trip

Published on Nov 16, 2012 6:28 AM
 
A Cambodian girl paints a word (SOS) under a portrait of United States (US) President Barack Obama on the roof next to the Phnom Penh International Airport on Nov 14, 2012. The US said on Thursday it was pressing Cambodian leader Hun Sen to reverse his "very worrying" direction on human rights as President Barack Obama prepared to visit for a regional summit. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) said on Thursday it was pressing Cambodian leader Hun Sen to reverse his "very worrying" direction on human rights as President Barack Obama prepared to visit for a regional summit.

Mr Obama will on Monday become the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia, where human rights groups accuse the government of stepping up a crackdown on dissidents and on protests, many linked to land disputes.

Ms Samantha Power, a White House official in charge of human rights, told reporters on a conference call that Mr Obama was visiting for the "important" East Asia Summit and related meetings hosted by Mr Hun Sen.

"But our message to him on a bilateral basis is very much about human rights abuses that are being committed within Cambodia's borders and urging him once and for all to actually start to take these concerns seriously rather than continuing to move in very worrying directions," she said.

 
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