A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution.
The Wednesday meeting was held at the CHRC’s headquarters between OHCHR-Cambodia representative Pradeep Wagle and CHRC chairman Keo Remy.
The two discussed the convention against enforced disappearances, the convention against torture, and the convention on rights of persons with disabilities, among others.
Wagle told The Post that the discussion included a follow-up on Cambodia’s third cycle of the 2019 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution, which was recommended by 15 UN member states.
“During the discussion, we welcomed the submission of the report to the Human Rights Committee, which relates to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR] and the recent submission regarding the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [ICESCR],” he said.
Cambodian Centre for Human Rights executive director Chak Sopheap said since Cambodia accepted 173 of its 198 UPR recommendations from over 70 different UN Member States in July last year, it has witnessed some steps towards implementation on a few of the recommendations.
Notable ones include the establishment of three regional appeals courts, increased free legal aid, a budget boost for the support of victimised women and girls, the creation of a legal hotline by the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, the opening of Cambodia’s first mental health rehabilitation facility, and a cash subsidy programme for pregnant women.
She said the government has offered training to local leaders on basic counselling for women and child victims of gender-based violence, the creation of four new courtrooms at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and the setting up of legal offices in all 25 municipal provincial prisons to enable lawyers to have confidential client consultations.
However, Sopheap said she has witnessed regressive steps against a number of UPR recommendations, in particular those pertaining to the restoration of civic space, protection of human rights defenders, and respect for fundamental freedoms.
“We encourage the implementation of all 198 UPR recommendations, including the 25 noted by the Royal Government of Cambodia [RGC]. Implementing these vital recommendations will help improve the human rights situation in Cambodia exponentially,” she said.