Rights Groups To March in Parade Today

Human rights organizations will be allowed to hold a parade in Phnom Penh today as part of the celebrations for the 60th Interna­tional Human Rights Day, police said Tuesday.

The police received orders from City Hall to allow the parade and to ensure the safety of march­ers, who are meeting at Wat Lan­ka and are set to walk a few hundred meters to Wat Botum, Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth said Tuesday.

Organizers said they were pleased with City Hall for granting last-minute permission and said the parade would start as planned at 7 am.

“They called us [Tuesday] and said we could have the parade, but they only allow 2,000 people to march,” said Sok Sam Oeun, president of Cambodia Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 21 local NGOs.

He said he wasn’t sure how many people would turn out for the parade, and he added that he didn’t think there would be any problems.

Phnom Penh’s Municipal Gov­er­nor Kep Chuktema initially de­nied the request for a 2,000-person pa­rade, which prompted the UN Office of the High Commis­sioner for Human Rights to write to In­terior Minister Sar Kheng requesting that the parade be al­lowed. Sar Kheng, in turn, asked Kep Chuktema to re­verse his decision.

The parade is one of many events taking place throughout Cambodia to mark the 60th an­niversary of the day the UN Gen­eral Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

In Phnom Penh, residents will meet in the much-maligned An­dong relocation site on the city outskirts, at Build Bright Uni­versity, and at the embattled Dey Krahorm community in Tonle Bas­sac commune to discuss everything from human rights, land rights and women’s rights to what individuals can do to im­prove their situations, according to a news release from the Eu­ropean Commission.

  (Additional reporting by Phorn Bopha and Prak Chan Thul)

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