Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'Undiluted evil' imperils human rights: Leuprecht

'Undiluted evil' imperils human rights: Leuprecht

'Undiluted evil' imperils human rights: Leuprecht

un.jpg
un.jpg

Cambodia risks donor funding cuts if the Kingdom's "enormous" human rights

problems are not seriously addressed by the government, warns the United Nations

High Commission for Human Rights' Special Representative, Peter Leuprecht.

Peter Leuprecht

"If I were in the seat of government I'd be very worried...Over the years foreign

aid has gone down steadily and foreign investment has [also] gone down," Leuprecht

said during a Feb 21 Post interview. "I don't believe donors don't take human

rights seriously...Japan and the EU emphasize very much democracy and human rights."

Leuprecht's assessment of the threat posed by unchecked human rights abuses in the

Kingdom to future donor funding came during a Feb 16-23 visit to Cambodia, his second

since taking over from Thomas Hammarberg as UNHCHR's Special Representative in August

2000.

Unwilling to comment on whether he believed Cambodia's human rights situation has

worsened in the wake of the post-Nov 24 CFF crackdown ("...my opinion would

be nuanced and my time [as UNHCHR Special Representative] too short to say [the human

rights situation] is deteriorating"), Leuprecht says that a comprehensive report

he has submitted to the UN on Cambodia's human rights situation pulls no punches.

"When my report is [released] it will say that the [human rights] problems are

enormous," he said.

"Not just specific institutions [are at fault], but undiluted evil, poverty,

violence, corruption and lawlessness [threaten human rights]."

And while praising Cambodia's "vibrant civil society" in promoting and

defending human rights, Leuprecht emphasised that verbal attacks on Cambodian human

rights NGOs by Prime Minister Hun Sen in recent months had not gone down well with

the UN.

"What strikes me is [Hun Sen's statements] can seem a bit uneven. I look at

[Hun Sen's] speeches...his Pursat speech [Dec 5 in which Hun Sen accused human rights

organizations of harboring CFF "terrorists"] gave rise to concerns in human

rights quarters, while his Human Rights Day speech raised hopes," Leuprecht

said. "These human rights NGOs are important contributors to [society] and in

my report I say we need to develop consensus on some basic values like pluralism,

democracy and respect for human rights [and] one of the ways to do this is ...constructive

and non-adversarial dialogue."

Leuprecht also made it clear that he had not overlooked recent public statements

by Hun Sen which were critical of UNHCHR and Leuprecht personally.

"I wrote to Hun Sen about this and I hope to get a reply," he said. "I

also raised the issue with Mr. Om Yen Tieng (Chairman of the govt Human Rights Committee)."

Leuprecht's report is expected to be released in four to six weeks.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the