UN Human Rights Rapporteur Mentions the Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia about Human Rights Issues in Cambodia – Saturday, 3.10.2009

Posted on 4 October 2009. Filed under: Week 632 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 632

“The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia of the UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Surya Subedi, could not avoid to openly speak about some disturbing trends in the human rights situation in Cambodia.

“According to a statement released by the United Nations on Friday, available on the Internet, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia of the UN Human Rights Council, Dr. Surya Subedi, [said that Cambodia has made remarkable progress over the last three decades in promoting human rights and democratizing the system of governance, but he also] clearly criticized the judiciary and the restrictions on the freedom of expression in Cambodia.

“Many practical examples he raised are not different from those in official reports of previous UN human rights envoys to Cambodia.

“Being unable to report against the truth to satisfy Cambodian leaders of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party, whose rule led to disturbing trends of human rights violations countrywide, Mr. Subedi expressed concerns about the human rights situation in Cambodia.

“According to his report, the rule of law in Cambodia is weak, and the judiciary is not as independent as it should be.

“While giving examples, Mr. Subedi raised the problems of the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly and of demonstrations that the Constitution of the country allows Khmer citizens to exercise, which are sometimes restricted [‘although people need by law to seek permission to hold public demonstrations, which is sometimes refused on unspecified security grounds, and arbitrary restrictions on travel or holding meetings have sometimes been imposed’].

“Also, he mentioned the case of a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian – from the biggest opposition party in Cambodia – Ms. Mu Sochua, who had been sentenced by a court, controlled by the government of the Cambodian People’s Party, to lose her case unjustly, because she had dared to protest against the powerful in Cambodia.

“The cases of two journalists were also cited as examples to indicate that the judiciary in Cambodia is not independent.

“Especially the laws itself, regulating speech, are considered to fall short of the standards permissible [according to international human rights treaties and practice] where the powers in Cambodia use defamation lawsuits to put unjustifiable punishments against critics who are politicians, civil society officials, or free journalists.

“Also, he described that defamation is used, taking a restrictive approach to the freedom of speech, different from international human rights treaties which Cambodia has signed, which require to openly protect the freedom of speech, expression, and assembly etc…

“These are the processes of reality which were reported by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

“The special rapporteur of the United Nations noticed that critics against high ranking officials of the government or against the government had been accused and prosecuted for defamation and disinformation.

“As a human rights observer to Cambodia, he found the reality of a deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia, as seen by Khmer citizens who are victimized, where even the immunity of senior politicians from the opposition party, who are parliamentarians, had been withdrawn.

“It can be assumed that his remarks will not satisfy the government, though there is not yet any immediate reaction. Mr. Subedi mentioned also the Universal Periodic Review of the Cambodian situation by the UN Human Rights Council [due in December 2009].

“In the past, the Prime Minister and high ranking officials of the government had always reacted immediately, being not satisfied with the reports of the UN human rights envoys to Cambodia.

“Now, people are waiting to see the reactions from the Prime Minister, or from high ranking officials, or from the human rights commission of the government over Mr. Subedi’s report and how the UN Human Rights Council can help to improve the human rights situation in Cambodia.

“Mr. Subedi’s remarks were made, while the National Assembly of Cambodia is rushing to adopt a penal code in which at least 43 articles among more than 600 articles are seen with concern by opposition party politicians, especially the Sam Rainsy Party, independent legal people, and civil society officials. This draft is criticized as narrowing the freedom of expression.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #501, 3.10.2009

Note:

While the Cambodia related parts of the session of the UN Human Rights Council seemed important enough to be reported in detail, we did not find any other press report – the present one does not do justice to the clearly and rationally considered report of the Rapporteur, and his continued effort to build a relation of mutual trust with the Cambodian government for his duties. In the only report available today, information and political judgment of the writer are mixed, so that the report of the Rapporteur with its specific observations, considerations, and suggestions is not broadly reflected.

We will try to rectify and clarify this through the editorial due tomorrow.

Norbert Klein, Editor

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #301, 3.10.2009

  • Cambodia Reacts against Surya Subedi’s Remarks [calling for Cambodia to end the practice of suing and jailing its critics; the spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘I always say that the laziest workers are the staff of UN human rights,’ adding, ‘What he says and claims, he does not realize at all.’]
  • Khmer Prime Minister Is Surprised that Radio Free Asia Does Not Report about the Dismissal of Some of Its Staff Members
  • Helicopters of the Gia Lai Provincial Authorities of Vietnam Loaded Food to Be Distributed to Khmer Citizens Suffering from the Flood in Sesan District [Ratanakiri]
  • The National Assembly of Vietnam Donated US$25,000 to Flood Victims in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2062, 3.10.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Encouraged Khmer Journalists to Jointly Object to the Dismissal of Staff Members of Radio Free Asia
  • Police of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Raided the Operation of a Drugs Producing and Smuggling Chief Who Is Also a Policeman [Phnom Penh]
  • In Cambodia, 60 Garment Factories Closed and 21 Factories Opened, and There Are About 20,000 Unemployed Workers
  • Electronic Companies in Malaysia Agreed to Accept 2,000 Female Workers [from Cambodia in response to a request by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #501, 3.10.2009

  • UN Human Rights Rapporteur Mentions the Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia about Human Rights Issues in Cambodia
  • [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Said She Will Not Continue with Legal Efforts if the Appeals Court Does Not Accept Her Complaint [again Prime Minister Hun Sen for defaming her], Confirming the Municipal Court’s Ruling

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6769, 3-4.10.2009

  • [166] Police Are Sent to Assist in the Areas Attacked [by Typhoon Ketsana] in Kompong Thom
  • There Are About One Million Old People [over the age of 60] in Cambodia at Present [in the population of about 14 million]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 110.10.2009

  • The [South] Korean Muscle Will Enlarge [in terms of investment, tourism, and politics] when President LeeMyung-Bak Arrives in Cambodia in October
  • A Flood Emergency Warning Was Declared for Kratie because of the Typhoon Ketsana; the Ministry [Water Resources and Meteorology] Warned that Two More Typhoons Will Emerge after the Typhoon Ketsana
  • The National Assembly Adopted 166 Articles of Penal Code Draft Which Consists of 50 Chapters and 672 Articles

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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