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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amb. Chheang Vun responds to Leuprecht's report

Amb. Chheang Vun responds to Leuprecht's report

Excerpts from the response made by HE Chheang Vun, Cambodian Ambassador to

the UN, April 19, 2005.

It is regrettable to note that there always

remains the sentiment that accepting the image of a Cambodia that has truly and

positively changed remains difficult [to accept]. To continue to maintain this

negative perception of Cambodia without doubt does not aid in the efforts for

development and reconstruction. The report of the Special Representative of the

UN Secretary-General does not reflect the real situation in Cambodia. This

report does not consider Cambodia within the context of its historic tragedy

which explains the complexity of the situation and the difficulties with which

Cambodia has had to face in order to resolve following the years of troubles and

total destruction. One can not ask a country that was almost totally destroyed

by three decades of armed conflict, nor a people who suffered the worst

humiliations under the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, to realize the impossible

from one day to the next.

It is true that difficulties persist and that

the situation still remains precarious. That is why the Royal Government has

affirmed its unfailing commitment to social and economic development, to a

pluralistic and liberal democracy, to freedom of expression and the press, to

the profound reform of the judicial system and public administration, and to

reinforcing the state of law and respect for the rule of law.

It is

interesting to note that in Cambodia today, the growth in democracy largely

surpasses that of the economy. It is therefore with reason that we regret the

impatience, the manner of intolerance and realism of Special Representative

Peter Leuprecht. It is disappointing to find in his report that not one notable

[item of] progress has been stated. This negative evaluation is the only pretext

for him to justify his traditional Western philosophical thinking to defend

human rights within a class struggle:

"To defend human rights, one must

struggle against the State"

And yet, we think that to struggle to defend

human rights does not necessarily imply a struggle against the State. Cambodia

invites Special Representative Peter Leuprecht to struggle beside us, not

against us, for democracy, the respect of human rights, social justice, and the

rule of law in Cambodia, in the spirit of tolerance, cooperation, with the

support, the assistance and the encouragement of the UN Secretary-General,

friendly and partner countries, national and international organizations

including non-governmental organizations.



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