News / Asia

    UN Rights Envoy Sees Mixed Results After Visit to Cambodia

    UN special rapporteur Surya Subedi walks through a Cambodian national flag upon his arrival in a conference room at the UN headquarter in Phnom Penh (file photo, 2010)
    UN special rapporteur Surya Subedi walks through a Cambodian national flag upon his arrival in a conference room at the UN headquarter in Phnom Penh (file photo, 2010)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Robert Carmichael

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights wrapped up his fourth visit to Cambodia on Thursday saying significant issues remained unresolved.

    Surya Subedi said his fourth visit to Cambodia had produced a mixed bag of results, with limited government cooperation on measures for judicial reform that he had recommended after his last trip here in June.

    On Thursday Subedi highlighted freedom of expression and land rights as key ongoing issues.

    Phnom Penh has for several years pursued its perceived critics through the courts, with some people jailed or forced overseas to avoid prison sentences handed down by a compliant judiciary.

    Subedi said there were still significant problems with freedom of expression, and spoke of his concerns that the space to express criticism was narrowing.

    He said the peaceful expression of opinion should not be dealt with under the criminal code.

    “Those holding public positions should be willing to accept criticism for their decisions. Criticism is not a crime, but an exercise of freedom of conscience, and an act of intelligence,” said Subedi.

    Subedi was in Cambodia on a 10-day visit to assess how effectively parliament upholds human rights. He will report on that aspect later this year.

    During his stay he met senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

    The UN special rapporteur for human rights also spoke with donors, representatives from civil society, members of the political opposition and ordinary Cambodians.

    On the subject of land rights, Subedi said the government needed to ensure improvements were made.

    Tens of thousands of mainly poor Cambodians have been thrown off their land in recent years as the rich and powerful have exploited their position to grab the increasingly valuable resource.

    Subedi did praise an ongoing effort by the government to improve the framework around which land is dealt with, but said the problem in Cambodia was typically not a lack of laws.

    “The challenge in Cambodia as far as I’m concerned is more a matter of the implementation of the existing laws than not having some laws in place in the first place,” he added.

    After Subedi completed his third visit in June, he drafted a series of recommendations to reform the judiciary. He had found that it faced what he called “tremendous challenges” in delivering justice for ordinary Cambodians.

    He said Thursday that he was encouraged by the government’s acknowledgment of problems with the judiciary, and its agreement that those needed to be addressed.

    But Subedi implied Phnom Penh had largely failed to do much to improve the judicial system, telling the media he would have preferred better cooperation from the government in implementing his recommendations.

    Government spokesman Phay Siphan told VOA that Phnom Penh acknowledged the judiciary was inadequate, but said improvements took time.

    Among the changes already underway, Phay Siphan said, are moves to improve the skills of existing prosecutors and efforts to boost training for new judicial staff.

    Subedi is scheduled to leave Cambodia on Friday.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.