Com­pen­sa­tion given for dead peace­keeper

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Niem Ch­heng

THE min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion has hit out at crit­i­cism over a de­layed com­pen­sa­tion pay­ment made to the fam­ily of a Cam­bo­dia peace­keeper who died of malaria in Sene­gal in 2015.

Giv­ing a speech on Tues­day dur­ing the han­dover cer­e­mony with the fam­ily of the late sec­ond lieu­tenant, Suon Sambo, Min­is­ter Prak Sokhonn said: “What I re­gret is that the Na­tional Cen­tre for Peace­keep­ing Forces [NPMEC] tried to fa­cil­i­tate [com­pen­sa­tion] be­fore the UN had de­cided on it.

“We tried to protest to get the com­pen­sa­tion, but in­stead there was an in­citer to the fam­ily, in­citers on Face­book, and an in­citer who filed a com­plaint to the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Unit (ACU) about this com­pen­sa­tion.”

He said the de­lay in pay­ment for Sambo was due to tech­ni­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive er­rors “and the in­con­sis­tency in the au­topsy re­port”.

Cam­bo­dia found out that Sambo died of malaria, but the Sene­gal hos­pi­tal’s au­topsy re­port said he died nat­u­rally, which is not cov­ered in the com­pen­sa­tion scheme, he said.

He said the Cam­bo­dian govern­ment gave each peace­keeper $300 pocket money be­fore de­par­ture, and that the govern­ment of­ten had to step in when United Na­tions sala- ries were de­layed.

At the event, NPMEC Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Sem So­vann said the King­dom has sent 5,486 troops on 10 sep­a­rate UN mis­sions to eight coun­tries.

Since 2014, nine have died dur­ing their de­ploy­ment. Of those, the fam­i­lies of seven have been com­pen­sated with $70,000 each.

Sokhonn said the two who didn’t re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion were not el­i­gi­ble be­cause of dis­ci­plinary is­sues. Cur­rently there are 813 Cam­bo­dian peace­keep­ers serv­ing with the UN in five coun­tries.

HENG CHIVOAN

The fam­ily of the late Sec­ond Lieu­tenant Suon Sam­bod, who died from malaria while serv­ing as a peace­keeper in Sene­gal, re­ceives $70,000 from the United Na­tions on Tues­day.

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