Tags: obama | cambodia | human | rights

Obama Presses Cambodia's Hun Sen to Improve Rights Record

Monday, 19 Nov 2012 09:34 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
U.S. President Barack Obama urged Cambodian leader Hun Sen on Monday to hold fair elections and release political prisoners as he took a firm line on human rights abuses that activists say have increased in recent years in the Southeast Asian country.

Fresh from a visit to Myanmar, where many freedoms have blossomed in the country's dramatic return to democracy, Obama told Hun Sen that Cambodia's record on human rights would be an impediment to deeper ties with the United States.

"He (Obama) highlighted a set of issues that he's concerned about within Cambodia," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Obama.

"In particular, I would say the need for them to move toward elections that are fair and free, the need for an independent election commission associated with those elections, the need to allow for the release of political prisoners and for opposition parties to be able to operate."

Rhodes, who agreed the talks could be described as "tense",

said Obama had focused all of his comments on human rights and had told Hun Sen that Cambodia has "much further to go on that set of issues".

In response, Hun Sen said concerns over human rights were exaggerated and that Cambodia had a better record than many countries, U.S. and Cambodian officials said.

Hun Sen also reiterated a request for Obama to forgive most of the country's debt of more than $370 million to the United States. Cambodia last year offered to repay 30 percent of the debt, calling this a compromise over money it says was used by a pro-American government in the 1970s to repress its own people.

International rights groups met U.S. officials last week to urge Obama to bring up rights issues with Hun Sen, who has tolerated little dissent since consolidating power in a 1997 coup but has brought stability and economic growth to Cambodia.

Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier regarded as a shrewd tactician, is on course to remain one of the world's longest-serving leaders after elections next year that his critics say are heavily skewed in favour of his ruling party.

In a report last week, Human Rights Watch said more than 300 people had been killed in politically motivated attacks since an agreement in 1991 that ended a civil war, but not one person had been convicted. It pointed the finger at Cambodian security forces and called on Obama to demand an end to impunity for abusive officials.

Hun Sen's government has also been criticised for ignoring the land rights of hundreds of thousands of poor Cambodians by leasing out huge land concessions to well-connected companies that have proceeded to evict residents.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell Pens 'Call to All' on Nevada Ranch Standoff

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 12:52 PM

A week after a tense standoff between gun-toting states' rights advocates and federal Bureau of Land Management police,  . . .

Krugman, Liberals Fawning Over Hot New Economics Book that Gets It All Wrong

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 11:57 AM

It's hard to think of another book on economics published in the past several decades that's been praised as lavishly as . . .

Albert R. Hunt: Obama Isn't Getting Through With the Good News

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 11:55 AM

Here's a bit of good news for nervous Democrats: President Barack Obama's health-care law isn't going to be the albatros . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved