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.
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.