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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cambodia observes int'l human rights day

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Cambodians on Saturday marched and gathered in different places throughout the country to celebrate the 63th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day.

One of the events at Phnom Penh's Freedom Park organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and other 21 Non- Governmental Organizations and trade unions were attended by approximately 4,000 participants from the Senate, the National Assembly, government, United Nations officials, NGOs, unions, students, indigenous communities, and foreign diplomats.

The celebration was under the theme "Independent Judiciary and Freedom of Expression are Foundations for Social Justice and Respect for Human Rights".

Speaking at the celebration, Prince Norodom Chakrapong, representative of Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, said Cambodia has been actively working towards a society that is full of democracy and human rights respect.

He called for people from all walks of life to join force to promote human rights and to build the culture of mutual respect for a society of peace, harmony and rule of law.

During the celebration, Surya Subedi, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia, said Cambodia has seen significant progress since the conclusion of the Paris Accord in 1991 in so many different areas of human activities.

"The country has seen sound economic growth and a political stability over the past decade," he said. "The challenging issue for the country is to advance economic development and human rights agenda hand in hand."

"The respect of human rights should walk as the same pace as the development of economic growth," he said.

The gatherings marked the achievements made to advance human rights in Cambodia, but also focused on critical issues still facing Cambodian citizens, including exploitation of land and natural resources; labor abuses; restrictions to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and violations committed against women and children, it said.

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