Gov’t Asked To Create Rights Commission

Human rights groups called on the government during a conference Tuesday to establish an in­de­pendent national human rights commission with real power to in­vestigate all violations and violators.

Pointing to several regional countries that already have such commissions despite strong court systems, NGO staff members said Cam­bo­dia should follow suit.

“We look at our neighboring countries and developed countries in the world and they have better court systems, but they also have hu­man rights commissions,” said Kim Song of the Khmer Kam­pu­chea Krom Human Rights As­so­ciation.

“We must have an institution be­sides NGOs,” he added. “The commission will be more effective be­cause it is at the national level.”

Ny Chakriya of Adhoc said that whenever such commissions are formed, such as the government’s hu­man rights committee, they get co-opted by politicians.

“When we form a committee, political parties always try to take seats,” he said. “There are a lot of commissions already formed but they are not independent.”

But while parliamentarians said the government is committed to such a commission, they warned that it could take a long time to make it a reality.

Justice Ministry Secretary of State Kassie Neou compared such a move to drafting a law, which he said can take up to seven years. He ad­ded that finding neutral people to sit on the commission will be difficult.

Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee and an adviser to Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen, was scheduled to be at the conference but was not present. He could not be reached for comment.

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