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Ode to a champion of human rights

There has been much discussion about an impromptu speech of the United

Nations representative to Cambodia, Lakhan Mehrotra, below, to Prime

Minister Hun Sen, right, before a June 14 donors' meeting in Phnom Penh. The

speech was recorded and a transcript is presented here.

Prime Minister Hun Sen before a June 14 donors' meeting in Phnom Penh

I STAND here,

Your Excellency, [Hun Sen] to thank you for three things. First, for your taking

a 'leaf out of history'... and referring to our meeting in 1993 when we put

together the first pages of administrative, civil service and military reform in

this country.

But it would be very selfish on my part to thank you only

for that, because I must thank you today most heartily for another very good

reason, for making a little bit of history too, because in holding this unique

meeting, this unique gathering together you have created a new model of

consultation between the donor community that was to assist Cambodia and the

Royal Government of Cambodia.

I wish, I very much wish, that this model

can be replicated in other developing societies where a Prime Minister takes

upon himself the task of presenting a platform of development to those who want

to assist in the process.

But I am grateful to you, Excellency, for yet

another and even more important reason that is something would leave the ...

your print behind on the pages of history. Because in this entire debate of a

whole day long probably you're the only one ... probably there has been only one

person on the floor of this room who has deliberately talked of an essential

connection between development, democracy and human rights. And it was Prime

Minister Hun Sen.

Lakhan Mehrotra, the United Nations representative to Cambodia

I say this because very few of us would know ... who

have seen you as, a champion of human rights, Your Excellency, as well as I

have, and I have been familiar with your struggle against genocide and crimes

against humanity for now a decade. So much so that you have brought to silence

the perpetrators of that genocide for the first time in Cambodian

history.

I hope that in future meetings, too, you will continue to remind

our donor colleagues who did not speak at all on this theme, as far as I

remember, that there is an essential link between human rights and democracy,

and between democracy and development.

I am very glad on the progress

that has been registered in one single day on the process of development in this

country which will take it forward and which will put it on the map of a

progressive world.

I can only say that whereas the important decisions

that have been taken today and important light that has been shed today on the

course of development ... History will judge all of us and all of you by what we

do to the human ... to the human beings on the ground.

How we translate

our dreams into action and our decisions into action ... and I can assure you,

Your Excellency, that the entire strength of the United Nations, of all the UN

Agencies, of all the international community that is working with you today is

with you in reshaping the destiny of that individual in Cambodia.

I thank

you most heartily.

 

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