News / Asia

Rights Group Urges Obama to Address Abuses in Cambodia

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (2012 file photo)Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (2012 file photo)
x
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (2012 file photo)
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (2012 file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Human Rights Watch is urging U.S. President Barack Obama to use his upcoming visit to Cambodia to call for an end to longstanding human rights abuses, including alleged extrajudicial killings, torture, and abductions.

The New York-based rights group said in a report Tuesday more than 300 people have been killed in politically motivated attacks in Cambodia in the past two decades of Prime Minister Hun Sen's rule. The group says rather than investigate the crimes, Cambodia's government has instead ignored them and in some cases even promoted those believed to be responsible.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson tells VOA that President Obama, who next week will become the first ever U.S. president to visit Cambodia, is in a unique position to publicly demand human rights improvements.

"We're calling on President Obama to really strongly and publicly raise these human rights concerns, to press for accountability, and to insist that it can't be business as usual with the Cambodian government, given the gravity of these human rights violations," Robertson said.

The report praised the U.S. for being "one of the most outspoken critics of the Cambodian government's human rights record." But Robertson says Washington's actions have not always been consistent with its words.

"For instance, when the U.S. gave national police chief Hok Lundy an award [in 2006] for his contribution to anti-terror work. I mean, Hok Lundy was well-known throughout Cambodia as a brutal killer, someone who struck fear in the hearts of ordinary Cambodians. He was certainly no one who deserves any sort of accolade from the United States government," Robertson said.

During his 27 years in power, Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly promised reforms, such as creating an independent judicial system and more accountable police force. But Human Rights Watch says he has not followed through on those promises, and that foreign governments have failed to hold him accountable.

Robertson says it is time for the U.S. and other governments and donors, which he says account for up to 50 percent of the Cambodian national budget, to insist on changes.

"The president should ... make it quite clear to Hun Sen that the U.S. is not fooled, that the U.S. is not having the wool pulled over its eyes, that it understands in a very clear way the human rights challenges that exist in Cambodia and that it is prepared to comment on those," Robertson said.

Cambodian officials have suggested that Prime Minister Hun Sen will hold bilateral talks with President Obama when the U.S. leader travels to Phnom Penh for the ASEAN and East Asia summits beginning next Monday.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid