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Human rights not only relevant to Khmers

Human rights not only relevant to Khmers

Dear Editor,

I was

concerned to read in the Centre for Social Justice advertisement of

December 19 that, once again, the organisation's executive director

apparently holds the view that human rights in Cambodia are a matter

relevant only to the Khmer.

There are many people living in

Cambodia who are not considered to be Khmer - those of mixed

Vietnamese-Cambodian or full Vietnamese parentage, for example - but

whose rights deserve as much respect as those of the ethnic majority.

Surely

it would have been appropriate to repeatedly use the term Cambodian

rather than Khmer in the speech at the Wat Ounalum. Any individual can

take Cambodian nationality, but it is virtually impossible for someone

who is ethnically Vietnamese to ever be regarded as ethnically Khmer.

One

would expect more sensitivity about this matter from both the executive

director and the board of this particular NGO and, whatever their

personal opinions are, to ensure inclusive rather than exclusive terms

are used.

I wonder if any of the 500 diplomats, human rights workers

and others involved in the field picked up on the irony that the theme

of the meeting was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Michael Hansen

Phnom Penh

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