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PM Hun Sen's Attack on U.N. Representative Must be Condemned

At the end of his second mission as the Special Representative of the Secretary General on human rights in Cambodia, Mr. Yash Ghai pointed to the stark fear present throughout Cambodia due to the one-man rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which prevents the growth of democracy and the possibility of human rights protection in the country.

The prime minister responded by telling the special representative hs is no longer welcome in the country.

The Asian Human Rights Commission's (AHRC) long involvement and study of Cambodia confirms the valitity of the special representative's comments.

In order to move away from the present framework of repression, it is also necessary that such comments be made strongly.

Mr. Ghai's comments on the obligations of donor countries, which provide more than half of Cambodia's total budget, to effectively engage with the Cambodian government to bring an end to the absolute control and repression by one indivudual, are particularly significant.

Had such a position been taken earlier, the situation in Cambodia today may have been different. It its previous statements on Cambodia, the AHRC has referred to the connivance of the donor community in preventing genuine democracy and human rights from taking root in Cambodia through its unwillingness to impose aid conditionally.

The AHRC strongly condemns Prime Minister Hun Sen for attacking the special representative for comments he made in the course of duty.

Mr. Hun Sen says that the U.N. human rights monitors are merely 'long-term tourists]. He recommended U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to sack the special representative. This attack calls for international condemnation, as well as a response from the U.N. itself.