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

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Covid-19 spreads in Kingdom, infects more children

    The Ministry of Health on March 28 reported another 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20 community outbreak. Among them, two are Chinese and the rest are Cambodian. Preah Sihanouk province recorded the most cases at 43, followed by the capital at 25; three each in Tbong Khmum, Svay