Image source By Barry Blitt.
“The court has always been used as a political tool,” said Theary C. Seng, whose leadership of a human rights group, the Center for Social Development, is being challenged in what she says is a politically motivated court case. “But recently, there is a concentration of cases which seem to be very political and which seem to use the court as a political tool to silence opposition voices.”
The court cases come at a time when countries in the region are looking increasingly toward China as a political and economic model and questioning the democratic and humanitarian values of the West.
In recent years, China has become a major donor and investor in Cambodia in projects that do not place the kinds of demands on governing and management that generally accompany assistance from Western nations and aid organizations.
“We have been fearing all along that Cambodia’s government is looking eastward toward China and Vietnam as models,” with their strong central governments and intolerance of dissent, said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.
Together with land seizures that are driving tens of thousands of people from their homes, analysts say these actions demonstrate a sense of impunity in a government that has resisted efforts to strengthen the rule of law in Cambodia. From this New York Times article » By Seth Mydans.
• The New York Times – Learning Network – Understanding the Quest to Protect Human Rights –
Overview: Students explore the concept of human rights by developing and defending their own “Bills of Human Rights” and by writing a reflective essay that compares their notions of human rights and the protection of them… Go to this Law and Society Lesson.