Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN decries Facebook jailing

UN decries Facebook jailing

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith speaks to the media at the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights during a previous visit in September.
UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith speaks to the media at the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights during a previous visit in September. Victoria Mørck Madsen

UN decries Facebook jailing

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement of concern on Friday regarding the jailing of Kong Raiya, 25, over a Facebook status in August seemingly calling for a “colour revolution”.

The statement described Raiya’s case as “a clear diminishing of democratic space in Cambodia”.

Raiya was sentenced to 18 months in Prey Sar prison last Tuesday. The OHCHR statement equated Raiya’s incarceration with criminalisaing his right to freedom of expression.

Raiya’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, was pleased with the statement. He said yesterday he would like to take Raiya’s case to international human rights courts, but was unsure of the logistics and financing.

“I need support,” Sokong said. “It would be a model case if it came to an international court. Not just for Cambodia, other countries could take it as an example.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak was not so thrilled with the OHCHR’s statement.

“The UN, they have a different view from Cambodia on this. Cambodia, we are implementing our law. We don’t allow people to cause chaos. Surely it is our internal affair of Cambodia, it’s under the jurisdiction of our court,” said Sopheak.

“Of course, they brought the human rights to Libya with a colour revolution, look at Libya today.”

OHCHR regional spokesman Jeremy Laurence did not say what response the statement had garnered from the government.

However, he did say via email that “a number of worrisome developments have been taking place in Cambodia recently”, including problematic laws and misuses of the judicial system, all of which “impact on freedom of expression, assembly and association”.

The OHCHR’s remarks echoed UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith’s comments last November that the Kingdom was headed for a “dangerous tipping point”.

Smith is expected to arrive today for a 10-day visit focusing on racial and ethnic discrimination faced by women and indigenous people. “Full equality of rights and freedoms remains problematic,” she said yesterday.

“This mission includes field visits to develop my understanding of the problems and good practice in protecting the rights of women and indigenous peoples,” she said.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights legal consultant Pat de Brun will meet with Smith today. “I think it’s welcome that light will be shed on issues involving these two groups,” said de Brun.

However, he added, there were other human rights issues in the country, and hoped Smith would use her influence to improve the Kingdom’s overall human rights situation.

The findings from Smith’s visit will be presented in a September report to the Human Rights Council.

Additional reporting by Kong Meta

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Jica seeks to turn PP, towns into smart cities

    Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) representatives have sought support from Siem Reap’s Apsara National Authority (ANA) to transform the ancient capital into a smart city. The call was made in February last year after the government approved three cities to join the Asean Smart