Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King, PM greet Swiss president

King, PM greet Swiss president

King, PM greet Swiss president

king.jpg
king.jpg

In her first official international visit since becoming Switzerland's second female

president last month, Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey arrived in the Kingdom

on February 6 and met with King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey meets with employees of the Hagar Soya factory, who offered pictures and papers documenting Hagar's committment to women's and children's rights, hallmark issues of Calmy-Rey's long career in politics.

The president's arrival marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic recognition of

Cambodia by Switzerland. According to the Swiss delegation spokesperson Lars Knuchel,

Calmy-Rey expressed strong support for women's rights and the Khmer Rouge trials,

and that a bilateral agreement on air traffic control was reached.

"Matters of governance and human rights issues, particularly in regard to the

Khmer tribunal, were discussed," said Knuchel. "The president is in full

support of Cambodia's efforts to deal with the past and the documentation of this

by the UN."

Knuchel said the Swiss government is financing a communication specialist to assist

with the trial's outreach efforts.

Outside the Hagar Soya factory in Phnom Penh, hundreds of children waving Swiss and

Cambodian flags greeted Calmy-Rey and presented her with drawings and hand-written

notes.

Calmy-Rey visited other Swiss-funded initiatives including the Kantha Bopha Children's

Hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and Hagar International. In a speech at Hagar

Women's Shelter the president described women's rights as "close to her heart,"

acknowledged the work of Hagar in this area, and promised continued support.

Hagar Shelter provides housing, support, vocational training and education to 51

women and 71 children who have been victims of domestic violence, rape, or human

trafficking.

"The president is very pro-active in women's rights," Elise Elzinga, communications

coordinator for Hagar International said. "Her visit to the Hagar facilities

was to see how Swiss contributions have fostered hope for women in Cambodia."

Calmy-Rey has been a defender of women's rights since her entry into politics in

1981. At the Geneva 2004 Human Rights Commission she instigated a declaration on

violence against women. In 2006, with other female ministers, she launched a declaration

called "Women's Rights and the Reform of the United Nations."

"We feel very privileged to have the president come and visit us. It is a unique

experience," said Pierre Tami, director of Hagar International who accompanied

Calmy-Rey throughout her visit.

"The kind of message the president speaks about falls in line with what Hagar

is doing. She is the right person to visit Hagar due to her personal beliefs."

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty