UN Chief Invited to Cambodia to Check on Rights
Posted by khmernews on June 29, 2011
Los Angeles Times, Saturday, October 10, 1978
Deputy Premier Ieng Sary of Cambodia said Friday he has invited UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to visit the country and “see with his own eyes the truth of human rights charges” against its Communist government.
A UN spokesman said Waldheim was considering the invitation.
A Canadian report made to the UN Commission on Human Rights last month accused the Cambodian government of “violating almost every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” The declaration is a key UN document adopted in 1948.
On Thursday, 80 senators called for international action to stop what they called genocide by the Cambodian government against its people. The 48 Democrats and 32 Republicans signed a letter initiated by Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) asking the Administration to place Cambodia’s behavior on the agenda of the UN Security Council.
Ieng Sary, making his third visit to the United Nations as deputy premier in charge of foreign relations, said at a news conference that “indeed there were difficulties in 1975 and 1976.”
He referred to the forced evacuation of Cambodian cities right after the Communist takeover and said this had presented “some difficulties.”
But he said, “If we did not drive away the people from the city surely many would have been killed by now.” He did not explain the point further.
He said that after initial difficulties, “now these people from the city see they can live in the countryside more easily than before.”
In reply to questions, Ieng Sary told reporters that the country’s former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, is living comfortably in his palace, that Western journalists can visit the country and that Cambodia would welcome diplomatic relations with the United States.
He said the devastation of war had left the country without facilities to handle visiting correspondents and that the number who could come was still restricted. But he added, “We have nothing to hide,” and Japanese correspondents had recently toured the country.
He said requests to visit the country were being handled as rapidly as facilities permitted and “perhaps the turn for America will come in November or December. We are opening progressively our doors and invite you to visit our country,” he said.
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