PM Criticizes Human Rights Groups in New York

Prime Minister Hun Sen ac­cused international human rights organizations of violating the sovereignty of their host countries during an Asean-UN meeting at the UN headquarters in New York last week, a government official said Thursday.

Talking to reporters gathered at the airport for the premier’s return, Hun Sen’s adviser Prak Sokhonn said the premier had declared: “A number of international organizations have worked beyond their mandate, violating the country’s sovereignty.”

According to Prak Sokhonn, he singled out the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying: “If they report good human rights, it would make them jobless.”

Hun Sen also said that “a number of individuals in the UN Hu­man Rights Center” needed to change their attitude, Prak Sok­honn told reporters.

The premier would also have said that many countries beside Cambodia had voiced similar concerns at the meeting.

Speaking of the premier’s meeting with French President Jacques Chirac in France, which took place after his visit to New York, Prak Sokhonn said that Chirac would consider Cambo­dia’s requests for increased im­ports and aid with “maximum good will.”

In an interview with Radio France International recorded in Paris and broadcast Thursday evening on TVK, the premier defended his plans to sign a border deal with Vietnam based on controversial 1980s agreements, arguing that doing so would allow Cambodia to regain “several thousand square meters” of territory.

“Please don’t yell from Paris,” Hun Sen said, referring to un­named expatriate border activists. “Go to the border. Nobody will ban you.”

Some border activists and op­position politicians have claimed that these agreements, signed while Cambodia was under Viet­na­mese occupation, benefit Viet­nam at Cambodia’s expense. They argue that they were effectively annulled by the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement.

“It is unfortunate that a number of expatriate Khmer people are deeming themselves the leaders elected by the people,” Hun Sen said when asked about the border issue.

“You know, those who live along the border with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand all voted for the Cambodian People’s Party,” even if people in Phnom Penh and abroad did not, Hun Sen said. “So it means a government, led by the CPP and Funcinpec, did not lose any land.”

Prak Sokhonn said he had heard of but not seen any demonstration against Hun Sen during his trips to New York and Paris.



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