Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan speaks to the media after an event in 2015 in Phnom Penh.
Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan speaks to the media after an event in 2015 in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Government spokesman Phay Siphan lashed out at a host of Western individuals and organisations in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, accusing them of violating the sovereignty of Cambodia and attempting to use the Kingdom as a battleground with China.

The post was responding to recent criticisms of the political climate by Rhona Smith, the UN special rapporteur on human rights, and also targets two rights advocates over quotes in the media. Siphan accused Smith of being part of a “subversive movement”, and said her comments “distort information”. “It was surprising that a partner, instead of doing her part to help Cambodia, she accused Cambodia,” he added by phone yesterday.

Siphan also said the West was manufacturing the narrative of a Cambodian shift towards China in an attempt to use the Kingdom as a geopolitical battleground reminiscent of the Cold War.

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith (right) speaks at a press conference last week in Phnom Penh.
UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith (right) speaks at a press conference last week in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

“They should learn from the past. We don’t respect them and we don’t need them,” he said.

Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson and Adhoc adviser Nicolas Agostini – formerly a UN representative – were also singled out by the spokesman for contributing to the China narrative through their comments. In an email yesterday, Robertson dismissed Siphan as being “wrong, as usual”.

“What I pointed out is some Cambodian government officials are now actively using the excuse of Chinese support to push back against criticism,” he said, adding that Siphan and others use sovereignty as an “excuse” to shirk rights obligations.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially