News / Asia

Cambodian Government, Opposition Mark Human Rights

Sam Rainsy (C), leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), marches during International Human Rights Day in Phnom Penh, Dec. 10, 2013.
Sam Rainsy (C), leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), marches during International Human Rights Day in Phnom Penh, Dec. 10, 2013.
Theara KhounHeng Reaksmey
Thousands of Cambodian opposition supporters and activists marched in Phnom Penh Tuesday to mark Human Rights Day and call for changes in the country’s rights environment.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is president of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), led a crowd of some 6,000 supporters through the capital, despite warnings from authorities not to take to the streets.

Supporters, including CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, used the march to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“We, the Cambodian people, need to change the current leader,” he said.  The “majority” had made the decision for change, but the votes were “stolen” in the July election, he said.  “If they stole the [Rescue Party] votes, this means they’ve stolen the money of government civil servants and our military.”

The opposition is calling for an independent investigation into allegations of election fraud.

Development projects that have forced the evictions of many rural and urban poor were also on the minds of some protesters, including 70-year-old Sek May.

“I demand the government renounce its insults to the people and kick out land concession companies,” he said. “They must stop it.  If not, I’ll vow to change [leaders], because I need to keep something for the next generation.  I won’t live long and for a 99-year concession, oh my Lord, only my great-grandchildren can get it back.”

Despite police warnings, security forces allowed the march to go ahead, preventing the kind of violent clashes that have marked many past demonstrations in Cambodia.

Meanwhile, the government officially marked the day with its own ceremonies in Phnom Penh, both at Olympic Stadium in the center of the capital, and at City Hall.

Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong addressed a crowd of around 2,000 people at the stadium, saying the government has worked to improve human rights in the country.

“The government is intently concentrating on enforcing a full, multi-party democracy and respecting human rights,” he said. “Meanwhile, I encourage all of you here to share your issues and opinions to address the remaining issues for our people.”

The ceremony, attended by nearly 50 local and international organizations, was applauded by some civil society advocates who sometimes find themselves at odds with Cambodian authorities.

Moeun Tola, a labor program officer for the Community Legal Education Center, congratulated the government for celebrating Human Rights Day.

“In the past, it has considered this event useless, but now it is starting to understand its importance; however, as I have said, this celebration alone is not an indicator of human rights protections.”

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1950.  Tuesday also marks 20 years since the signing of the Vienna Declaration, the U.N. pact that committed states to the promotion and protection of human rights for everyone.


This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kevin Oneill from: Phnom Penh
December 14, 2013 11:00 AM
Just a lot of phony phrasemongering bya bunch of state stooges, considering the slew of police shootings of protesters and Transparency International's just-released report on Cambodia's disgusting depths of state corruption. Those NGOs should be ashamed of themselves for lending such a farce legitimacy with their attendance.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid