Gov’t To Form Human Rights Committees

In a speech to more than 200 Ministry of Interior officials, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday said that the government will set up a human rights network at the grass-roots level.

The national human rights committee will soon set up lower committees at the provincial and district level, Hun Sen said. Those committees will recruit human rights activists to work at the commune and village level.

“We really want government officials, civil servants and police to be human rights activists,” Hun Sen said. “If administration officials and police fulfill their job properly as human rights act­ivists, they will get more re­spect from the people.”

The Interior officials were gathered for a two-day meeting for the ministry’s annual congress in which they review the past year and plan for the future.

Hun Sen thanked Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, who is also co-Minister of Interior, National Police Director General Hok Lundy, and Interior officials and police officers for maintaining security and social order.

The prime minister also gave out medals awarding officials for their hard work to Hok Lundy, Interior secretaries of state Kieng Vang and Em Sam An, Teng Sav­ong, deputy director-general of national police, and others.

Hun Sen also thanked Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara and his municipal colleagues for improving the quality of life and beautifying Phnom Penh.

“This development has gotten attention from the national and international public,” Hun Sen said.

Chea Sophara, however, did not receive a medal.

“I don’t care about whether I have a medal,” Chea Sophara said. “Even though I don’t have such a medal or praise, I will keep developing the city.”

Hun Sen also said the 1999 crime statistics showed the government made progress in its crackdown on robberies, kidnappings and other offenses.

An Interior Ministry report released Wednesday said crime fell from 7,077 cases in 1998 to 6,029 in 1999. The 1999 crimes included 896 murders and 1,524 motorbike thefts.

“However we have to keep trying to crack down, keep fighting crime in order to have full safety for society,” Hun Sen said.

Although Hun Sen did not mention the Sam Rainsy Party by name, he appealed “to certain political parties to stop causing disorder.”

Both CPP and Funcinpec have criticized Sam Rainsy for a New Year statement, which they say was insulting to the nation, Buddhism and the monarchy.

There were light moments during the speech, including Hun Sen’s mention of the length of his 20 minute talk.

“This is the first time I’ve made such a brief speech,” said the prime minister, who usually speaks for at least one hour in public occasions.



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