Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists say govt flouting UN pact

Activists say govt flouting UN pact

Activists say govt flouting UN pact

LOCAL rights activists say the government has shown little commitment to its international human rights obligations, declining to send a special delegation to Geneva for an upcoming UN rights review.

Cambodia comes before the UN Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights for the first time Monday, following the submission of its initial report to the committee in early January.

The report, summarising Cambodia's compliance with the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, was originally due in 1994 - two years after its ratification of the covenant.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed Sunday that Sun Suon, Cambodia's ambassador to the UN, would be sent to participate in the hearing, adding that he had "enough ability" to make the government's presentation during the hearings.

But rights groups said the decision not to send a specialised delegation to the review session - on top of the 15-year delay - showed the government did not take its international rights agreements seriously.

"[The government] doesn't want to tell the international community the truth because the human rights situation in Cambodia is not good," said Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

He highlighted illegal forced evictions as a continuing concern but said sending a proper government delegation would demonstrate its willingness to engage with the world community on such issues.

Although many countries are behind schedule in their rights compliance reporting, Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said 15 years was an unusually long time to wait for the report.

"They don't have an excuse. They didn't take the time to write a report because it is very embarrassing for them [deciding] what to say," she

said.

Dan Nicholson, Asia and Pacific program director at the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), added that the report was only filed because the committee threatened to review the country's rights record without input from the government. But ultimately, he said the lack of informed representation at the session would make it a "missed opportunity" for constructive discussion.

"Everyone appreciates that Cambodia, like every country, is a work in progress in this area, [but] if there's not a proper delegation in Geneva ... the opportunity could be missed."

A delegation of seven Cambodian and international civil society and community representatives testified before the UN committee on Friday.

According to a statement released by COHRE and international rights group Bridges Across Borders on Sunday,  the delegation raised concerns about "violations of land, housing, food, natural resources and indigenous rights".

The government's 167-page report to the committee claims "all rights set out in the international covenants on human rights are recognised and implemented" in Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh