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Cambodia's emerging 'killing fields'

Guardians of environment among last to challenge regime

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen   © Reuters

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- Political opponents have been jailed or driven into exile, the media is muzzled and the voices of civil society are barely heard these days. Cambodia's authoritarian regime has swept clear the field of potential political rivals as Prime Minister Hun Sen prepares for general elections in July.

But among the silent majority, a few individuals have continued to speak out and act against the country's power brokers. These are the guardians of its increasingly devastated environment -- and they have paid a deadly price. Around 20 environmental advocates and campaigners have been killed in Cambodia since 2005 and others have been jailed, attacked or threatened with assassination.

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