UN Envoy Slams Gov’t at Geneva Conference

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.”


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