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Human rights timeline

Human rights timeline

October 1993: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia

is established after the withdrawal of United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia


December 1993: OHCHR issues first human rights report on Cambodia.

1993-1996: United Nations (UN) Special Representative is Michael Kirby; visits Cambodia


1996-1999: UN Special Representative Thomas Hammarberg.

January 1998: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Mary Robinson visits

Phnom Penh.

April 1998: Armed security officers seriously beat an OHCHR staff member in Phnom

Penh. Mary Robinson says the attack on a UN human rights worker is deeply disturbing

and completely unacceptable.

July 1998: Election officials are attacked in Anlong Veng; unconfirmed reports suggest

the attackers were part of an organization of former Khmer Rouge. Hammarberg condemns

the attack.

November 1998: An agreement is signed between the Cambodian government and the OHCHR

on an inquiry into possible legal proceedings against the Khmer Rouge, as well as

a review of the Cambodian legal system and improvements to criminal investigation


1999: Hammarberg affirms the UN position that Khmer Rouge leaders should stand trial

in court proceedings which meet international standards. Cambodia rejects this proposal.

2001-2005: UN Special Representative is Peter Leuprecht. Hun Sen comments: "He

accused us of evicting thousands of people to live in a minefield. What stupidity."

2002: Mary Robinson visits Cambodia again.

April 2005: Peter Leuprecht comments on government corruption: "Impunity is

a gangrene that undermines the fabric of Cambodian society. Although this phenomenon

is well-documented, the Prime Minister and his government persist, in an ostrich-like

way, to deny it and to say it does not exist."

Response from Chheang Vun, Cambodian ambassador to the UN: "The report of the

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General does not reflect the real situation

in Cambodia. This report does not consider Cambodia within the context of its historic

tragedy which explains the complexity of the situation and the difficulties which

Cambodia has had to face ... following the years of troubles and total destruction."

September 2005: Prime Minister Hun Sen claims an unnamed UN representative has come

to Cambodia purely for money, saying, "He regarded Cambodians as thieves."

November 2005: Peter Leuprecht is replaced as UN Special Representative by Kenyan

attorney Yash Ghai.

March 28, 2006: Ghai comments on Hun Sen's refusal to meet him: "I am not aware

of the reasons why I have not been able to see him; it may be that he has contempt

for the office I hold or for the holder of the office."

Response from government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith: "It

was reasonable that the Prime Minister refused to meet him, because his organization

is useless. His group knows nothing and does nothing to help the government, they

just sit and get salaries."

March 29, 2006: Hun Sen calls on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to replace Yash

Ghai saying, "I am leaving him a message ... I refuse to meet you, I refuse

to meet you for ever."

March 30, 2006: Hun Sen: "I don't like Ghai... When we were in difficulties

you didn't come to monitor human rights in Cambodia. When Pol Pot killed people,

where were you?"

May 19-25, 2006: New UNHCHR Louise Arbour visits Cambodia; first UNHCHR visit since



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