Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lagarde taken to task by HRW over silence

Lagarde taken to task by HRW over silence

Lagarde taken to task by HRW over silence

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde should have taken a stance against the endemic corruption plaguing the Kingdom during her visit this month if “the IMF’s message on corruption is to be more than rhetoric”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.

In an opinion posted on the New York-based rights watchdog’s website, senior researcher on international financial institutions Jessica Evans said Lagarde failed to “even obliquely” address the Kingdom’s issues with corruption during her first visit heading the IMF, a visit that came during an ongoing political crisis.

“Lagarde missed a major opportunity in Cambodia to highlight governance problems, but she can right this by speaking out when she returns to headquarters,” Evans said.

The opinion points out that the IMF’s silence is particularly noticeable considering the country’s ranking in the annual global index released by Transparency International, which pegged Cambodia’s public sector as the most corrupt in ASEAN.

Indeed, in a blog post published on the IMF’s global economy forum just a day after her departure, Lagarde applauds authorities’ efforts.

“I believe they are resolved to stay on the road of macroeconomic stability and economic growth, to invest in skills and education, and to lay down a firm foundation of good governance,” she wrote at the time.

That sort of muted response to the Kingdom’s endemic corruption, affecting nearly every strata of society, does more harm than good, independent analyst Kem Ley said yesterday.

“This culture of silence so often demonstrated by the international community or United Nations bodies often ignores corruption for the sake of diplomacy instead of [taking a public stance] advocating for stronger government transparency and accountability.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said