Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN’s Smith meets with CHRC

UN’s Smith meets with CHRC

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
UNHRC’s Cambodia monitor Rhona Smith (third left) meets with Keo Remy (second right), president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, on Tuesday. HONG MENEA

UN’s Smith meets with CHRC

THE UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Cambodia monitor Rhona Smith met with the government’s rights body on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Kingdom.

Smith wrote on Facebook that she had met Keo Remy, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC), to be updated on the current political and human rights situation and how the CHRC’s work had progressed since her last visit in November.

The Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia said the meeting also discussed the CHRC’s report to the UNHRC in Geneva last month, its visits to prisons and correctional centres, as well as its efforts to improve conditions in such institutions.

“In addition, we discussed the implementation of the UN human rights recommendations, including through a partnership with CSOs [civil society organisations] and others, as well as following up on previous discussions on [the UN’s 2030] SDGs [sustainable development goals] and human rights.

“The government had made progress in submitting its report to the UN for independent review by independent experts, and this is, to me, encouraging that the Cambodia situation would be reviewed by a range of experts.

“So, to me, this is a positive move,” Smith said after the meeting, referring to the recommendations Cambodia received during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in late January.

CHRC spokesperson Chin Malin told reporters that it had shared the 172 accepted recommendations with relevant institutions and it had mechanisms in place to follow up on the progress being made.

He said Smith recommended that the CHRC put clear deadlines in place for the institutions responsible for implementing the recommendations.

The Kingdom received 198 recommendations from the UNHRC during the second UPR for Cambodia that was held in late January. However, it noted that 25 of them had a “political agenda”.

Malin said another important issue Smith raised was the situation in prisons and other correctional centres where she recommended making improvements.

“We told her that besides monitoring the situation in prisons, we have plans with the prison department to visit other correctional centres beside prisons,” he said.

Malin said he and Smith did not talk about the latest developments in politics.

“She focused only on technical aspects of exercising of human rights in Cambodia. She recommended that any work, such as preparing reports and monitoring processes, should be done with the participation of civil society organisations and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Phnom Penh.

“She said the results should be widely announced to the public,” he said.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Smith expressed disappointment after a request to meet Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, was rejected.

Sokha has been charged with treason and is currently on bail at his home under court-imposed conditions.

“I find it is very unfortunate because, as an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, I should have the right to access places of detention and also meet with detainees.

“And Kem Sokha is still detained, albeit not directly in prison, but he is still detained and has limitations on his liberty. And consequently, it’s my view that I should be entitled to meet him and have a confidential meeting and discussion with him,” she said.

However, Malin responded that the judge had the right to reject her request as Sokha’s case was still under investigation.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation