WASHINGTON DC —
Rights workers say that 23 years after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia is improving, but still has work to do to fulfill the promises of the treaty.
The accords ended decades of violence in the country and paved the way for a constitutional democracy.
Critics say the countries who signed the accord have not fully pushed for its mandates and that Cambodia still has work to do.
However, Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, told “Hello VOA” Thursday much good has come from the accords.
Foreign countries consistently watch the evolution of Cambodia, and when something happens like the 1997 coup, “the international community did not ignore it,” he said.
And when Cambodia and Thailand were engaged in a standoff over the border a few years ago, international mechanisms helped them resolve the problem, he said.
More people understand their fundamental human rights, and more NGOs are working in the country to help improve it, he said. That’s a big difference from the early days, when authorities used police, soldiers and tanks to prevent Adhoc from opening offices in the provinces, he said.
“So if we compare that to the present, we see thousands of NGOs that can operate and do activities in every sector,” he said.
Politicians have developed as well, and are now capable of compromise, which has helped the country develop, he said.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Center for Development and Peace, said the accords brought stability to Cambodia and a chance for a constitution and free market, but more needs to be done.
“The remaining issues that Cambodia has not fulfilled are the protection of sovereignty, in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords, and we have problems and skepticisms that have not been tackled,” he said. “Second, we see the violations of people are increasing, especially the land grabs from the poor and the weak.”