Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan speaks to the media after an event in 2015 in Phnom Penh.
Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan speaks to the media after an event in 2015 in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Government spokesman lashes out on Facebook

Government spokesman Phay Siphan lashed out at a host of Western individuals and organisations in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, accusing them of violating the sovereignty of Cambodia and attempting to use the Kingdom as a battleground with China.

The post was responding to recent criticisms of the political climate by Rhona Smith, the UN special rapporteur on human rights, and also targets two rights advocates over quotes in the media. Siphan accused Smith of being part of a “subversive movement”, and said her comments “distort information”. “It was surprising that a partner, instead of doing her part to help Cambodia, she accused Cambodia,” he added by phone yesterday.

Siphan also said the West was manufacturing the narrative of a Cambodian shift towards China in an attempt to use the Kingdom as a geopolitical battleground reminiscent of the Cold War.

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith (right) speaks at a press conference last week in Phnom Penh.
UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith (right) speaks at a press conference last week in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

“They should learn from the past. We don’t respect them and we don’t need them,” he said.

Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson and Adhoc adviser Nicolas Agostini – formerly a UN representative – were also singled out by the spokesman for contributing to the China narrative through their comments. In an email yesterday, Robertson dismissed Siphan as being “wrong, as usual”.

“What I pointed out is some Cambodian government officials are now actively using the excuse of Chinese support to push back against criticism,” he said, adding that Siphan and others use sovereignty as an “excuse” to shirk rights obligations.


  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The