Workshops set to implement UNHCR recommendations in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - A national-level workshop to be held by the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia to ensure the implementation of recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR).

The Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) and the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia are to hold a national-level
workshop on Wednesday to ensure the implementation of recommendations by
the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR).

The 173 recommendations came at the 32nd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland in January.

Cambodian Human Rights Committee spokesperson Chin Malin said the workshop would be held over Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday’s meeting is to concentrate on disseminating the UPR
recommendations among relevant stakeholders and the sharing of
responsibility for their implementation.

Thursday morning will focus on the preparing of plans for
their implementation with the participation of specialists from the
UNHCR.

Malin said the workshops will be attended by some 200 representatives
from state institutions, embassies, civil society and the international
community. He added their participation would ensure the
recommendations are implemented effectively.

“The 173 recommendations involve almost all ministries, institutions
and all areas of rights and government reforms. So our first objective
is to disseminate all the recommendations for their implementation. The
second is planning their implementation. How do we effectively implement
the accepted recommendations and monitoring mechanisms put in place?

“Civil society groups can participate by presenting ideas and
monitoring the government’s implementation of the recommendations. They
can also participate in their implementation with the government because
some of the recommendations can be brought in together like education
and training for example,” Malin said.

After the first national-level workshop, more are set to be held on planning implementation and monitoring execution.

Malin said that it would be explained at the workshop why Cambodia had accepted 173 recommendations and “noted” another 25.

In January, 73 countries provided 198 recommendations for Cambodia, but only 173 were accepted.

Twenty-five other recommendations were “noted” because they either
involved politics or did not reflect the realities in the Kingdom, he
said.

These included the release of Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme
Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and certain
changes to the law.

CCHR executive director Chak Sopheap said her organisation would attend the workshop.

“We will continue to encourage the Cambodian government to take
concrete measures to ensure effective implementation of all the accepted
recommendations in the coming years in order to ensure the full
protection of all human rights throughout Cambodia,” she said.

It was disheartening that the government had decided to note certain
recommendations, Sopheap said. She nevertheless encouraged it to
consider the recommendations and take measures to implement some of them
in order to meaningfully restore civic space, uphold respect for
fundamental freedoms and improve the human rights situation in the
country as a whole.

OHCHR-Cambodia Human Rights Officer and Officer in Charge Claudia de La Fuente said a mid-term report was due by July 2021.

“The objective of the workshop is to disseminate all the
recommendations made to the Royal Government of Cambodia at the
Universal Periodic Review session in January 2019 and to initiate
discussions on a follow-up action plan.

“The mid-term report on the implementation of the recommendations,
submitted on a voluntary basis, will be due by July 2021 and the next
UPR will take place in 2024. States are encouraged to submit mid-term
reports to show progress in implementation, and they also serve as an
occasion to reinvigorate UPR momentum at the national level,” De La
Fuente said.

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