Thursday, 02 October 2014

Human Rights

Courts Creating Unstable Environment, Analyst Warns

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Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer
WASHINGTON DC - Cambodia’s court system is failing to deliver justice to the general public, leading to an undermining of national unity and creating an environment that could lead to unrest and strife, a leading political analyst says.

The court has come under heavy criticism in recent months for the jailing of government critics, dissidents and apparent scapegoats, and for exonerating powerful officials, creating a climate similar to that which brought Pol Pot to power, the analyst, Lao Monghay, told “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“When people cannot depend on [the court], how does it work?” he said. “Injustice is a cause of war, and we have suffered through today. We have never known about ourselves.”

The courts have become a divisive element in society, failing to punish some while unjustly punishing others, he said. “We see it today,” he said. “Small people and the weak are quickly imprisoned and those who have relations with high officials are not just quickly arrested, but quickly freed. This is a division of society, so there is no unity.”

As evidence, Lao Monghay pointed to the dropped charges against former Bavet governor, Chhouk Bandith, who was accused of firing into a crowd of demonstrating garment workers in Svay Rieng last year. He pointed to imprisonment of Mam Sonando, an independent radio broadcaster, Yorm Bopha, a housing rights activist, and Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, who are widely considered scapegoats in the murder of a popular labor activist. He also pointed to the failed investigation of murdered environmentalist Chhut Wutty.

The judiciary has far removed itself from the public he said, “as a skeleton that is not attached to the flesh.”

Under the constitution, the courts should be independent and neutral, apart from political or financial influence. Today’s courts are anything but, he said.
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Cambodia Foreign Minister UN Speech Touches More on World Issues, Less on Cambodiai
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29 September 2014
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong's speech to the UN’s General Assembly on Monday in New York touches more on world issues and less on Cambodia. Before delivering his speech at UNGA, Hor Namhong told VOA Khmer that Cambodia was now enjoying peace and political stability after the two winning political parties in 2013 election had agreed to work together. His speech comes as Cambodia’s profile on the world stage has expanded in recent years. Cambodia has and improved economy and a growing participation in UN missions around the world. But Hor Namhong’s speech also comes amid deep criticism of Cambodia’s human rights record and a controversial agreement with Australia to help it resettle refuges in exchange for aid money. (VOA Khmer's Pin Sisovann, Washington)

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