Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - HRW slams ASEAN invites to US summit

HRW slams ASEAN invites to US summit

US President Barack Obama speaks during an ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur in November of last year. AFP
US President Barack Obama speaks during an ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur in November of last year. AFP

HRW slams ASEAN invites to US summit

Human Rights Watch has called on US President Barack Obama to make sure that human rights are at the top of the agenda when the US leader hosts the heads of ASEAN at a summit in California next month.

In a letter sent to the White House, dated January 19, the New York-based rights group calls out several authoritarian leaders across ASEAN that they say are responsible for “grievous human rights abuses [and] war crimes”.

HRW goes on to say that the summit “contradicts previous US policy” by extending an invitation to Prime Minister Hun Sen “who carried out a coup in 1997 and has ruled abusively in Cambodia for over 30 years”.

They also called on President Obama to hold sessions at the February 15-16 summit with leaders of civil society.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the US manages its human rights concerns through bilateral relationships and the California summit was a diplomatic opportunity for the US to meet with the bloc as a whole.

“It is in the interest of the US to work with ASEAN,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials