PHNOM PENH - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has reduced staffing in its Phnom Penh office in favor of support for the Cambodian office tasked with aiding refugees, a UN spokeswoman says.
"We have downsized because of the overall financial situation, but we still have about two staff members in this office," the UNHCR spokeswoman, Vivian Tan, told VOA Khmer. "We’re downsizing, not closing." The office is also "re-organizing how we support the Cambodian authorities in order to better complement government arrangements through the Cambodian Refugee Office," she said.
Invoking a rule concerning the transparency of proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, newly appointed International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon has released a list of 14 crime sites now under investigation in government-opposed Case 004.
The Kraing Ta Chan security centre in Takeo province. Photograph: DC-Cam
Security centres and prisons, work sites and execution sites in Battambang, Pursat, Takeo, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces are among the sites listed in the case against former zone leaders Im Chaem, Ta An and Ta Tith. Many of the crime sites relate to the brutal treatment of the Khmer Krom.
Every year, Human Rights Day on December 10, people around the world commemorate the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The Human Rights Day is also organized to recognize the work of human rights defenders who work tirelessly and bravely to defend for the fundamental rights as enshrined in the UDHR.
The first visit of a head of government to the Court and the first hearing over the Khmer Krom genocide investigation were the main events this month to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) for the prosecution of top surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975 – 1979.) The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, joined US President Barack Obama, Australian Primer Minister Julia Gillard and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the ASEAN summit, then the premier paid a visit to the Court and announced a new pledge of NZ$ 200,000 (US $ 164,220.)
From left: Mr. Tran Mannrinh, Mr. Tran Giap, Mr. Kok Ksor (President of Degar Foundation) and Mr. Duong Hoang
After becoming a member of WTO in 2007, the Vietnamese government has systematically and tactically used the so-called “National Security Laws” to oppress the human rights advocates, especially the Khmer-Krom (Indigenous Peoples of Mekong Delta) and Degar (Indigenous Peoples of Central Highlands), people who advocate for the freedom of expression, association, and land rights. In recent years, the Khmer-Krom and Degar advocates were summoned to interrogate and facing imprisonment. Some of them had to escape to Thailand seeking for refugee status with the UNHCR in Bangkok.
Washington, Sep 11 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill to promote democracy, freedom and human rights in Vietnam—“The Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2012”— authored by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), was approved by the House of Representatives in a voice vote Tuesday night.
“It is imperative that the United States Government send an unequivocal message to the Vietnamese regime that it must end its human rights abuses against its own citizens,” said Smith on the floor of the House. He is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who chairs its Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights. “H.R. 1410 would institute effective measures towards improving human rights in Vietnam. As reported by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, this bill prohibits any increase in non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of Vietnam above Fiscal Year 2011 levels unless the government makes substantial progress in establishing a democracy and promoting human rights.” Click here to read Smith’s remarks.
Prime minister tells police to investigate anti-government sites and bring 'offenders' to justice
Vietnam's communist rulers have ordered a crackdown on anti-government blogs, two of which immediately pledged defiance against the one-party state.
The government does not allow freedom of expression or a free media, but has been struggling against dissent being propagated over the internet. The Communist party fears that public criticism or even honest discussion about its failings could lead to social instability and ultimately loss of power. It labels democracy and free speech activists as "terrorists".
The Security Council's latest fumble on Syria might represent the U.N.'s biggest failure of the last month, but it's hardly the only one. So as a reminder of all the little things the U.N. also gets wrong, we present the latest machinations involving a U.N. group ostensibly concerned with human rights.
Vietnam's Communist Party-led government recently blackballed a nongovernmental organization's attempt to secure accreditation to the U.N. The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, or KKF, is a small group based in New Jersey that tracks the plight of the Khmer ethnic minority in Vietnam. Mainly that involves compiling and disseminating well-respected reports of rights abuses such as Hanoi's harassment of Khmer Buddhists who refuse to join state-sanctioned religious organizations.
The latest drama played out on the international stage this week, no more shocking then who are the actors involved: Vietnam versus the human rights defender Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF).
Flying just under the international radar for over 20 years, KKF hits the stage and received world wide support from the most powerful countries including United States and the European Union when Vietnam tries to get them kicked out of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).