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)
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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid