UN Uses Dated Reports, Says Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Hor Nam­hong said he told UN human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht Thursday that the world body relies on outdated reports to condemn human rights in Cam­bodia.

A review would find that con­ditions have greatly improved over the past few years, Hor Namhong suggested.

“Some reports are very old, for example about mob killing and police violence, which have ended a long, long time ago,” he said. “I also asked the UN office to carefully weigh their words before making the report [on human rights in Cambodia].”

Leuprecht met with the foreign minister and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh in separate talks Thursday.

Hor Namhong said he and Leuprecht exchanged plans for continuing the operation of the office of the UN High Commis­sion for Human Rights in Phnom Penh, whose mandate has ex­pired. No decisions were made. Hor Namhong said he will talk with Prime Minister Hun Sen about the future of the UN office in Cambodia.

Leuprecht, speaking after his meeting with Hor Namnong, praised Cambodia for efforts to educate voters about the upcoming commune elections in Feb­ruary. He said he was pleased with the registration of 83 percent of eligible voters.

“But I think that probably the local authorities may also need as-sistance, advice from international institutions. It is after all the first time that local elections are con­ducted in this country,” he said.

Leuprecht said the Phnom Penh office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights will likely hire 20 monitors, both from Cambodia and abroad, for the commune elections.

“I think there will be many monitors around and I think that’s a good thing. It should not be seen as negative,” he said.

Prince Ranariddh told repor­ters after his meeting with Leu­precht that they discussed the commune elections, justice issues and education.

The prince said the two also discussed the media’s role in the elections, with the prince saying a fairer system should be developed to allow all registered political parties equal time in the media.

Ranariddh was asked if he thought the royalists would win the commune elections. “In 1993, Funcinpec had the least amount of media. That is my short an­swer,” he said. Funcinpec tallied the most votes in 1993.

Leuprecht, who travels to Kampot this weekend to study efforts there to prepare for the commune elections, ends his fourth visit to Cambodia on Nov 28.

 

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