T HE child sex trade tops the list of Cambodian human rights concerns contained in
a United Nations report due to be presented today at the General Assembly in New
The report - the first done by Thomas Hammaberg, Michael Kirby's replacement as the
Secretary-General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia - concentrates
on four areas: the rights of the child; rights violated by landmines; the rule of
law and the justice system; and elections, political freedoms, and the freedom of
Hammarberg called for Phnom Penh to study "the scope and precise nature of the...
growing phenomenon of child prostitution and trafficking"; for social institutions
to mount awareness campaigns; and donors to help plan for effective law enforcement.
He said the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Council of Magistracy should be
"urgently convened", to help ensure an independent and politically neutral
Hammarberg said that a law giving civil servants impunity from prosecution, unless
the Government agrees, should be repealed.
He said that laws allowing full political freedoms for opposition parties, and elections,
be adopted "soon". Also, all police and armed forces, "regular and
irregular", should be told not to interfere with politics.
Hammarberg finally recommends that the Royal Government "give priority to the
early submission of reports under the procedures of the international human rights
treaties which Cambodia has ratified."
It is unclear from Hammarberg's report what will happen if Cambodia fails to act
on the recommendations.
The UN General Assembly had previously resolved to request the Special Representative
to "continue the evaluation of the extent to which recommendations of the previous
Special Representative had been followed up and implemented."
The one concrete agreement that has been struck is that further reports to the UN
will be jointly done with the Ministry of Justice - and not solely by Hammarberg
and his Phnom Penh office.