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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN to sit again on rights

UN to sit again on rights

T HE child sex trade tops the list of Cambodian human rights concerns contained in

a United Nations report due to be presented today at the General Assembly in New

York.

The report - the first done by Thomas Hammaberg, Michael Kirby's replacement as the

Secretary-General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia - concentrates

on four areas: the rights of the child; rights violated by landmines; the rule of

law and the justice system; and elections, political freedoms, and the freedom of

expression.

Hammarberg called for Phnom Penh to study "the scope and precise nature of the...

growing phenomenon of child prostitution and trafficking"; for social institutions

to mount awareness campaigns; and donors to help plan for effective law enforcement.

He said the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Council of Magistracy should be

"urgently convened", to help ensure an independent and politically neutral

judiciary.

Hammarberg said that a law giving civil servants impunity from prosecution, unless

the Government agrees, should be repealed.

He said that laws allowing full political freedoms for opposition parties, and elections,

be adopted "soon". Also, all police and armed forces, "regular and

irregular", should be told not to interfere with politics.

Hammarberg finally recommends that the Royal Government "give priority to the

early submission of reports under the procedures of the international human rights

treaties which Cambodia has ratified."

It is unclear from Hammarberg's report what will happen if Cambodia fails to act

on the recommendations.

The UN General Assembly had previously resolved to request the Special Representative

to "continue the evaluation of the extent to which recommendations of the previous

Special Representative had been followed up and implemented."

The one concrete agreement that has been struck is that further reports to the UN

will be jointly done with the Ministry of Justice - and not solely by Hammarberg

and his Phnom Penh office.

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