The Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia are to hold a national-level workshop on Wednesday to ensure the implementation of recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The 173 recommendations came at the 32nd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland in January.
Cambodian Human Rights Committee spokesperson Chin Malin said the workshop would be held over Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday’s meeting is to concentrate on disseminating the UPR recommendations among relevant stakeholders and the sharing of responsibility for their implementation.
Thursday morning will focus on the preparing of plans for their implementation with the participation of specialists from the UNHRC.
Malin said the workshops will be attended by some 200 representatives from state institutions, embassies, civil society and the international community. He added their participation would ensure the recommendations are implemented effectively.
“The 173 recommendations involve almost all ministries, institutions and all areas of rights and government reforms. So our first objective is to disseminate all the recommendations for their implementation. The second is planning their implementation. How do we effectively implement the accepted recommendations and monitoring mechanisms put in place?
“Civil society groups can participate by presenting ideas and monitoring the government’s implementation of the recommendations. They can also participate in their implementation with the government because some of the recommendations can be brought in together like education and training for example,” Malin said.
After the first national-level workshop, more are set to be held on planning implementation and monitoring execution.
Malin said that it would be explained at the workshop why Cambodia had accepted 173 recommendations and “noted” another 25.
In January, 73 countries provided 198 recommendations for Cambodia, but only 173 were accepted.
Twenty-five other recommendations were “noted” because they either involved politics or did not reflect the realities in the Kingdom, he said.
These included the release of Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and certain changes to the law.
CCHR executive director Chak Sopheap said her organisation would attend the workshop.
“We will continue to encourage the Cambodian government to take concrete measures to ensure effective implementation of all the accepted recommendations in the coming years in order to ensure the full protection of all human rights throughout Cambodia,” she said.
It was disheartening that the government had decided to note certain recommendations, Sopheap said. She nevertheless encouraged it to consider the recommendations and take measures to implement some of them in order to meaningfully restore civic space, uphold respect for fundamental freedoms and improve the human rights situation in the country as a whole.
OHCHR-Cambodia Human Rights Officer and Officer in Charge Claudia de La Fuente said a mid-term report was due by July 2021.
“The objective of the workshop is to disseminate all the recommendations made to the Royal Government of Cambodia at the Universal Periodic Review session in January 2019 and to initiate discussions on a follow-up action plan.
“The mid-term report on the implementation of the recommendations, submitted on a voluntary basis, will be due by July 2021 and the next UPR will take place in 2024. States are encouraged to submit mid-term reports to show progress in implementation, and they also serve as an occasion to reinvigorate UPR momentum at the national level,” De La Fuente said.