Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Global Witness slams forum for hosting PM



Global Witness slams forum for hosting PM

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen at a group session held at the World Economic Forum earlier this week in Switzerland. Facebook

Global Witness slams forum for hosting PM

Global Witness slammed the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday for allowing Prime Minister Hun Sen to host an event at this year’s meeting, accusing it of providing “a platform for brutal tyrants to find new international business partners”.

In a release, the group urged the WEF to turn away Hun Sen and other “despots”, based on human rights violations. The group also repeated claims from their 2016 investigation that Hun Sen and his family “own or control . . . most of Cambodia’s most lucrative industries”.

The WEF meeting is an annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, of business leaders, economists and political leaders to discuss various world issues.

“The Davos summit claims to be ‘committed to improving the state of the world’. If this is true, it should close its doors to despots like Hun Sen,” said Global Witness representative Alice Harrison in the press release.

In response, government spokesman Phay Siphan took to Facebook yesterday, calling Global Witness “a devil NGO” and praising Hun Sen’s “international and dynamic leadership”.

Justin Wood, head of the WEF’s Asia-Pacific department, said Harrison’s characterisation of his organisation was “inaccurate”.

“We are a platform that brings together all stakeholders in society to work collectively on big challenges,” he said via email yesterday. Wood also explained that the WEF’s partnership with the Cambodian government allowed his organisation to work on projects that benefit all Cambodians, such as infrastructure development.

Later this year, Cambodia will host the WEF’s ASEAN summit, something that Wan-Hea Lee, the UN’s human rights representative in Cambodia, said could help draw attention to rights issues in the business sector. “Corruption, in particular, has been identified as a key impediment to the ease of doing business in Cambodia. The conference could serve to encourage improvements in this area.”

Opposition party spokesman, Yim Sovann, also accused the ruling party of human rights violations, but he stopped short of echoing Global Witness’s call for a ban on participating in the WEF. “We want to attract good investors to Cambodia,” he acknowledged yesterday.

“[The WEF] should advise him to improve the political and business environment.”

Harrison said she supported efforts to develop Cambodia but warned that funds are often misused. “We would urge WEF to conduct thorough checks to ensure that their support is genuinely helping the people who need it, and not enriching the country’s elites.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there