Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - After meet, UN rep mum on politics

After meet, UN rep mum on politics

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn meets UNOHCHR representative Wan-Hea Lee yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn meets UNOHCHR representative Wan-Hea Lee yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

After meet, UN rep mum on politics

Keep out of Cambodia’s internal affairs.

This was the message delivered yesterday by Cambodia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn to country director for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Wan-Hea Lee at a meeting to discuss cooperation.

The remarks, conveyed by a Foreign Ministry official, were in line with the government’s recent tough stance against the UN agency, which was threatened with expulsion last year until it signed a new memorandum of understanding highlighting sections of the UN charter regarding non-interference, as per a demand by Cambodian authorities.

Speaking after the meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said the pair discussed work to improve Cambodia’s human rights record, widely decried by the international community.

Cooperation, however, came with conditions, he said.

“To improve bilateral cooperation and build the confidence of both sides, the senior minister asked OHCHR to pay attention to respecting Cambodia’s sovereignty and not to interfere in Cambodia’s internal affairs based on Article 2.7 of the UN Charter,” he said, referring to the non-interference clause.

Addressing reporters, Lee balked at questions about Cambodia’s current human rights situation and the recently revealed proposed amendments to the law on political parties, which critics say will dramatically curtail political rights.

She said such questions could be “explored” when Rhona Smith, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, visits the country soon.

Via email later, Lee similarly declined to address the Political Party Law, and said she had agreed with Sokhonn to hold regular meetings to avoid having issues “snowball into larger problems”.

“We reviewed and, I believe, came to an understanding about the multi-faceted nature of the OHCHR mandate, which is always aimed at assisting the Government to improve its compliance with international human rights standards,” she wrote.

She added the office had “fully resumed” operations following a brief curtailment of programs before the long-stalled MoU was signed in November.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (