The leadership of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) met with representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia to prepare for the December 8 celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights Day.

The two institutions will collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to ensure the occasion is a special one.

According to a CHRC announcement, the August 28 meeting was led by CHRC president Keo Remy and OHCHR representative to Cambodia Rouieda El Hage.

The CHRC said that El Hage congratulated Cambodia on being the first country to take the initiative and celebrate the anniversary, noting that by appointing a focal point person to prepare activities to mark the day, the government is demonstrating its willingness to promote and respect human rights.

Remy thanked the OHCHR representatives, saying they have always cooperated on the human rights sector.

“We will continue to work together,” he said.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary, the CHRC has already launched two campaigns. It is holding a 365-day workshop on civil and political rights in Battambang province, as well as sharing a national report on the implementation of the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racism, in Banteay Meanchey province.

The CHRC has also launched an app, designed to receive complaints and enquiries in the capital and provinces.

During the meeting, the two groups also discussed the filing of CHRC complaint boxes in prisons in Phnom Penh municipal prison, which it deems an effective mechanism for inmates to report human rights abuses while incarcerated.

El Hage also expressed her expectation that the two institutions would continue to work together to further enhance and strengthen the human rights situation in Cambodia.

The CHRC and the OHCHR are scheduled to host workshops which will disseminate a report on economic, social and cultural rights, as well as conduct consultations on the coming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report.

LICADHO deputy director Am Sam Ath opined that while Human Rights Day celebrations are held annually, human rights remain an issue to be addressed as they are still not free from the criticism of the international community, especially the UN Human Rights Council.

“If we look at the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia and several other human rights’ specialists, as well as the reports of local organisations, it can be observed that some of these issues are not improving,” he said on August 28.

He noted that this year’s Human Rights Day coincides with a change of leadership and the seventh mandate of the Cambodian government. He said it remains to be seen whether the human rights situation would change as a result.