Amnesty: Cambodia must allow aid deliveries to thousands in lockdown

Cambodian army members wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as people are vaccinated inside a red zone with strict lockdown measures, amidst the latest outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on May 1, 2021. - Reuters

PHNOM PENH, May 2 (dpa): Cambodia’s government must allow aid to be delivered to thousands of people in lockdown to avert a humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International has announced.

Cambodia has placed several cities under a colour-coded lockdown system as it battles a worsening Covid-19 outbreak responsible for more than 12,000 cases in 10 weeks.

Roughly 300,000 people are within "red zones" and banned from leaving their homes except for medical emergencies.

The government is struggling to deliver food supplies to those in need. It has blocked aid groups from entering the areas. Police are also using aggressive, sometimes violent, tactics to enforce restrictions.

Amnesty Asia-Pacific regional director Yamini Mishra said authorities need to immediately allow non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to help deliver aid to red zones.

She said the government’s "outrageous mishandling" of the lockdown was causing human rights violations and "untold suffering."

"Right now, residents of ‘red zones’ and others in Cambodia are going hungry because of fundamentally unreasonable policies," Mishra said.

As food runs low, desperation within the zones, some of which have been blocked off with makeshift barriers, has started to boil over into unrest.

About 100 people staged a protest on Thursday, local outlet Voice of Democracy reported. Officials blamed "provocateurs" suggesting the discontent had "a political element," reported the Khmer Times.

Amnesty’s Mishra said authorities needed to focus on delivering vital aid rather than "retaliating against desperate residents for voicing their concerns." - dpa
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Amnesty , Announce , Cambodia , Allow , To Receive , Aid


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