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)