Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Svay Sitha picked for human rights forum hundred

Svay Sitha picked for human rights forum hundred

Svay Sitha picked for human rights forum hundred

SVAY Sitha, the Council of Ministers Undersecretary of State whose teenage mistress

was mutilated in a vicious acid attack allegedly perpetrated by his wife, has been

chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an official Government observer to an

international human rights conference in New Zealand next week.

Marlene Alejos, Chief of the Cambodian Office of the United Nations High Commission

on Human Rights' (UNHCHR) Monitoring and Protection Unit, told the Post on Aug 3

that UNHCHR had received confirmation that Svay Sitha would be an official observer

at a meeting of the Aug 7-9 UN-sponsored Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights

Institutions in Rotorua, New Zealand.

According to Alejos, Sitha had been selected as an official observer following a

request made by Asia-Pacific Forum organizers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

for suitable candidates.

Sitha gained notoriety with the Dec 5, 1999, acid attack on his 16-year-old mistress,

Tat Marina. Sitha's wife, Khoun Sophal, is alleged to have poured a five-liter can

of nitric acid over the head and shoulders of Marina, a former karaoke video performer,

in a brutal daylight attack.

Cambodian human rights workers expressed dismay at Sitha's selection.

"I'd prefer someone else [attend the conference]," said Dr Lao Mong Hay,

Director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, when informed of Sitha's selection.

"...[Sitha] has his own problems in his own backyard, so someone else should

go."

Dr Kek Galabru, President of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of

Human Rights (Licadho) and the sole other Cambodian invited to the conference, told

the Post that she was "not satisfied" by the prospect of Sitha's participation.

Om Yen Tieng, President of the Cambodian Government's official Human Rights Committee,

told the Post that though Sitha had been selected as a conference observer, he would

be unable to attend because he lacked a visa for New Zealand.

The New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok said they were aware Sitha had been named to go

but had not received a visa application.

Tieng would not comment on the suitability of Sitha's selection.

"I don't think it matters who goes [to the conference]," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub