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2nd Quarter 5:04

Group decries Cambodia land deal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — An international human rights group charged on Thursday that a massive land redistribution program spearheaded by Cambodia’s strongman prime minister is unfair, open to corruption, and politically motivated.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report that the program, which began a year ago, was designed to be closely identified with Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of national elections next month, with extensive coverage in state media but no oversight.

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The report urged Cambodia’s aid donors — who provide a major portion of the country’s budget — ‘‘to insist that the program be reformed into a professional and apolitical process, or canceled.’’

Tith Sothea, a government spokesman, described the report as ‘‘baseless’’ and ‘‘garbage’’ and accused Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams of ‘‘never speaking positively about Cambodia.’’

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