Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - U.N. Plants Seed for Long-Term Rights Work

U.N. Plants Seed for Long-Term Rights Work

U.N. Plants Seed for Long-Term Rights Work

Symposium lays foundation for post-UNTAC support for Khmer Human Rights Groups

The first-ever international symposium on human rights was held in Phnom Penh

last week in a landmark effort by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia

(UNTAC) to nurture indigenous Cambodian human rights organizations.

Dennis McNamara, UNTAC Human Rights Component director said the process of building

human rights in Cambodia "remains fragile in the extreme."

"It is therefore imperative to us that this symposium starts the process of

formalizing an international and regional support network for Cambodian human rights

activities," McNamara said.

The three-day symposium, held Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, brought together more than

40 human rights activists from around the world, U.N. officials and the leaders of

the four non-profit, human rights organizations that have been established in Cambodia

since the peace accords were signed last year.

Representatives from three of the four political parties who signed the peace accords

were also present. The Khmer Rouge declined to participate.

UNTAC hopes that by bringing together human rights groups from the region to meet

with Khmers working towards similar ends, Cambodian human rights organizations can

benefit from the support and experience of more well-established and well-funded

institutions.

"We need NGOs as operational partners to provide future expertise, networks,

national advocacy and advice, as well as to implement education and training programs,"

McNamara said.

"This is useful for us," said Thun Saray, president of the Cambodian Human

Rights Association (CHRA). "We can share experiences and compare approaches.

"We plan to set up our own network," Saray said when asked how foreign

NGOs could help Cambodian human rights organizations. "But we want additional

support before UNTAC leaves. We need to strengthen, to consolidate our organizations.

We need technical assistance, training, information and financial support. We also

want moral support."

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong