Thank You Mr. Special Rapporteur

Mr. Surya Subedi, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations to Cambodia, has recently released a report on human rights situation in Cambodia. He was in the sixth mission to Cambodia in December 2011 and his seventh mission was in May 2012.

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 1991, the UN has sent many Special Envoys to monitor and report about the human rights situation and the democratization process in this country to the UN bodies. I do not remember how many envoys have been involved in the last twenty years, but not less than five, for sure. Some of them could not finish their terms because of frustration and lack of cooperation from the government’s side. I admire all these people who have been working for the sake of the Cambodian people. Unfortunately, their works were criticized by the government of being “bias”, “speaker of the opposition”, “do not know the real situation of Cambodia”, “stupid or unrealistic report” etc, etc.

In his newly excellent report (dated on July 16, 2012), which was released on 27 August in Cambodia, he raised many points in a comprehensive way concerning human rights abuse (land rights, housing rights, impunity culture, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly, role of media, National Election Committee, the dependence of Judiciary, the oppression of opposition and others). He talked the truth, which is why it is not pleasant at all for the government.

The focus of his last mission was the reform of the electoral process to ensure true democratic development practices.  “Cambodia has benefited from recommendations made by bilateral and multilateral agencies to reform the electoral process in view of the shortcomings identified in previous elections. It is regrettable, however, that most of those recommendations remain unimplemented”, stated Mr. Subedy. I went through all his 18 pages report and could not deny the fact that what he said is 100% true. He put it also in a diplomatic language. Thank you, Mr. Subedy, for bringing these messages once again to the world. We hope that one day, a real democratic change will come to Cambodia, though UNTAC has failed to do so between 1991-93.

Among other recommendations on NEC’s reform, two main ones are very crucial and is quoted below:

65. The National Election Committee should have independent and autonomous status in the constitutional and legal structure of Cambodia, with its own independent budget allocated by the parliament. The president and members of the Committee should be drawn from a pool of retired senior judges, senior and distinguished members of the Cambodian bar and senior professors of law, politics and public administration.

66. There should be consensus among the major political parties represented in the parliament on the appointment of the president and members of the National Election Committee and the provincial election committees.


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