The UN human rights envoy to Cambodia attacked the government’s ineffectual anti-corruption crackdown, the country’s rampant problems with impunity and the government’s growing authoritarianism at a news conference in Geneva on Monday.
“The regime seems to be increasingly autocratic with a growing concentration of power in the hand of the Prime Minister Hun Sen behind a shaky facade of democracy,” Agence France-Presse quoted Peter Leuprecht as saying.
Leuprecht’s statements repeated portions of his latest end-of-year human rights situation report, which was made public last month and was to be presented to the 61st session of the UN Human Rights Commission on Monday.
Leuprecht’s presentation was postponed to Tuesday, though he conducted the scheduled news conference anyway.
“Impunity is a gangrene undermining the fabric of Cambodian society,” Leuprecht was quoted as saying. He was also quoted by AFP as saying that Hun Sen’s anti-corruption crackdown last September lacked credibility and that impunity is a core element of the government system.
“There is no separation of powers in Cambodia, and the rule of law, also in this respect, is elusive,” Voice of America radio quoted Leuprecht as saying.
He also attacked the government’s land concession policy, describing it as “massive” corruption that “reaches also the highest levels of state.”
While Leuprecht’s report will be presented to the UN rights commission, for the second year in a row the UN’s General Assembly will not receive the report, meaning representatives from only 53 of 191 nations will hear Leuprecht’s presentation.
Hun Sen’s adviser, Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee, called the envoy’s report a lie.
“What [Leuprecht] evaluated of Cambodian issues is too personal and arbitrary. He just satisfied himself. His evaluation of Cambodia does not reflect the reality,” Om Yentieng said Tuesday.
“Cambodia is proud of itself for having democratic values for a long time.”