Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM criticised for stance on rights office

PM criticised for stance on rights office

PM criticised for stance on rights office

A FRANCE-based NGO has condemned comments by Prime Minister Hun Sen during a meeting with visiting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week in which he threatened to shut down the UN rights office and called for the removal of its chief.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong later said Christophe Peschoux, the long-time head of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, had acted as a “spokesperson for the opposition”.

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French acronym FIDH, called the remarks “another example of the government’s growing intolerance” and “the restrictive measures it uses to silence constructive criticism and peaceful dissent”.

“These baseless accusations against the OHCHR office emanating from the highest levels of government are indicative of the increasingly authoritarian tendency of the current regime,” FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen was quoted as saying.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, yesterday dismissed the FIDH statement. Phay Siphan also emphasised that Cambodia was not obliged to host the OHCHR.

“Cambodia does not have any mandate forcing it to have a human rights office,” he said.

He added that Peschoux had not adhered to his UN mandate, and had used the office “to attack, insult or oppose the government”.

Peschoux said via email yesterday that the OHCHR was “working with the government in a spirit of mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation”.

“In this spirit, in the past three years, we have developed our cooperation to unprecedented levels, and have provided technical assistance to the correctional reform, to the legal and judicial reform, the land reform and housing rights, the establishment of a national mechanism to prevent torture, Cambodia’s reporting obligations under the treaties it has ratified, and support to Cambodia’s preparation to the Universal Periodic review,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber

  • Kim Sok to keep up fight ‘for change’ from Finland

    Kim Sok, wanted by the Kingdom’s authorities for defaming the government, reiterated on Sunday his determination to continue helping to make “a real change” to Cambodian politics after receiving asylum in Finland, even as a government spokesman mocked the political analyst over the development.

  • Government urges end to wildlife trade

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng said on Friday that the Kingdom had fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and called on relevant parties in Cambodia and beyond to help stop the crime. Speaking at the 4th Illegal Wildlife Trade conference attended by leaders from more than 80 countries