I am gravely disappointed by the many inappropriate comments made by Ms. Reddy, including
her off-hand treatment of the issue associated with "high profile cases"
in "UN Human Rights Centre gets New Chief," Phnom Penh Post March 17-30,
2000. I would have expected that someone in her position would have taken the opportunity
to highlight the social dynamics of cases like these in a more profound way.
Poverty is related to unequal access and control of resources, which is often divided
along gender lines and classes. The feminisation of poverty which is a concern worldwide,
and especially of the UN body, is manifested in Cambodia, like in other parts of
the world, by the increase of the number of women taking up prostitution, high or
low class, as the main form of profession to sustain their livelihoods. Most of these
women are victims of the unequal distribution of power and resources in society and
represent "the poorest of the poor."
Ms. Reddy is quoted in the PPP as saying: "The others can find other ways of
obtaining justice." This position seems to undermine the position of the UN
as well as many other Cambodian groups who are working for a civil society in which
the rule of law protects the rights of everyone equally regardless of their gender,
ethnicity and class.