Mu Sochua, the vice-president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has requested UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to intervene in the case of former CNRP news presenter Yu Chantheany.
On September 13, Chantheany was charged with “conspiracy and incitement to provoke serious chaos to national and social security” and placed in pre-trial detention the next day.
In the letter obtained by The Post on Thursday, Sohua called on UN Women to raise its voice and take action to secure Chantheany’s “immediate and unconditional release”.
“We call on UN Women to question Cambodia as a member state during the 74th UN General Assembly on the arrest of Chantheany and the atmosphere of fear that is rapidly spreading inside Cambodia,” the letter said.
Sochua also requested that UN Women reassess its support for Cambodia and demanded accountability for all women to have equal participation in programmes funded by UN Women.
She noted that UN Sustainable Goal 16, which addresses peace, justice and strong institutions, directs member states to ensure that women and girls can turn to fair and effective institutions to access justice and essential services.
“Only with independent institutions and respect of women’s rights as human rights can young women like Chantheany who have chosen to enter politics be empowered to make their choices and not be put behind bars,” Sochua concluded in her letter.
Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin told The Post that action against Chantheany was taken per the law.
He said that Sochua had the right to file a complaint with the UN agency, but UN protocol dictates that it request clarification from the government.
“The action taken was not in violation of women’s rights or the political rights of women.
“It was legal enforcement because her action had enough criminal elements, such as supporting an illegal group and planning to topple the government,” Malin said.
Instead of complaining to the UN, he said Sochua should provide legal assistance to Chantheany as well as other CNRP activists who were behind bars.
“Those people violated Cambodian law because they acted on the orders and plans of [Sam Rainsy]. Those orders and plans are against the Kingdom’s laws,” he stressed.