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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid