UN To Scrutinize Cambodia’s Human Rights

Two UN bodies are to assess Cambodia’s record on human rights, according to a Web site statement from the UN Office of the High Com­missioner for Hu­man Rights in Cambodia.

A UN committee charged with monitoring implementation of the International Covenant on Eco­nomic, Social and Cultural Rights has asked the government to submit a report on its implementation of the treaty by August.

Cambodia became a party to the covenant, which covers rights such as the right to work, welfare, social security as well as social insurance, food and housing in 1992 but failed to make a report in 1994, 1999 and 2004. The committee will consider Cambodia’s record at its session in May 2009, regardless of whether a report is submitted.

The OHCHR also reported that Cambodia is scheduled for consideration next year under the new Uni­versal Periodic Review, where all UN member states are examined via a common mechanism.

Cambodian Defenders Project Director Sok Sam Oeun said the move demonstrated the UN’s increasing concern about human rights abuses here. “The government criticize [UN rights envoy to Cambodia] Yash Ghai a lot, so more evaluators can show if [Ghai] is wrong or the government” is wrong, Sok Sam Oeun said.

Licadho President Kek Galabru urged credibility in the report to the UN. “We can’t always deny everything,” she said.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap defended the government’s previous failure to report on the treaty’s implementation. “If it stated clearly that a report was required, we would have done so,” he said. “If Cambodia did no abide by the conditions of this treaty for all these years, why are we only hearing about it now?”

“The government has never ig­nored the economic, social and cultural rights of its citizens,” he added.


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