Sopheap Chak

Riding the wave of change in Cambodia

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Honor Killings: Gender and Universal Human Rights

It comes to my interest on gender issue with universal rights.
Is there universal rights recognized by all people?
This question have been raised since I had taken a study course on Human Rights and my involvement with human rights work.

On July 17 2006, there was a news report on Honor Killing! This incidents occurred in Turkey:

“Kill yourself and clean our shame or we will kill you first”
“Families of disgraced girls are choosing between sacrificing a son to a life in prison by designating him to kill his sister or forcing their daughter to kill themselves”, once she was accused of shaming the family.

Again, the incident was reported on BCC News on Oct 12 2007: Honour crime fear of Syria women.

But don’t come now, or the family will definitely kill you

It show a conflict of culture set with universal declaration. According to the Universal declaration on human rights, mainly Article 2, 3, and 5 states that:

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, […..].

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

How can we make the universal rights be a universal acceptance?
First, I am sure that political willingness and commitment to respect the universal rights will be the first prioritized, then it can be the basis for any local law setting. Law without implementation is useless. So, there is a need to disseminate and educate people, especially the executive branch. I agree that culture is a strong belief for which we find difficult to change.
Though, it is not static. It keep changing from time to time. Hence, once we agree to universal setting of human rights regardless of sex or other criteria, we can create a culture of human rights. Do not you all think we can have a culture of human rights?

Cambodians Gathering for Non-violent Action in Burma

The world is standing with Burmese people

Through networking and assisting of advanced technology including internet and telephone, people had disseminated message around to respond to the violent crackdown on Burmese protestors who have been suppressed by its military-ruled government.

“In support of the incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear a red shirt on Friday, Sep 28. Please forward”

“We will have gathering at 2pm in front of Burmese Embassy, please join and forward to many as possible”

“We are planning a prayer on Saturday at 11am in front of Angkor for the Burmese with delegates from at least 20 countries. Join us and spread the word”


These messages were spread around and it did happen. In the afternoon of September 28, around 100 people including Burmese with red shirt gathered in front of the Burmese Embassy in Phnom Penh. The event was coincident with other movements around word. Even the God could not stay clam–It was raining on the day that helped to bind people to stay close together under the plastic rainy coat. Though raining and restriction from the police not to come close to the Embassy, people insisted to give a statement to the Burmese Ambassador demanding peace and non-violent act for the Burmese Protesters.

Phnom Penh: People gathered in front of Burmese Embassy, photo by Sopheap

Mean Lux, who i took his picture from behind, helped to spread the message for Red-shirt today

Honestly, it was my first experience to gather for international sack for peace. I was so excited to join the event since I have known two Burmese friends who got exiled due to their work for human rights. Somehow, once I was told that they could not reveal themselves as human rights activists and they could not even return to their home—Burma—I was shock and I feel a little bit lucky that Cambodian situation is not worse so and I do hope that the Cambodia government will prove its real commitment for democracy and development. i just found that Beth has wrote me a post about the event.

In addition, on Saturday in front of Angkor, national and international delegates of “ASEM Seminar on Human Rights: “Freedom of Expression”, organized by Asia-Europe Foundation were gathering and preying for Burmese people. Yellow ribbon which is used as symbol for freedom of expression and peace were distributed during the event. They also issue a statement, condemning the violence that has claimed the lives of demonstrators. To read more , please click here.

Last but not least, I do hope that the world responds will help to relieve the situation and it is very important that ASEAN and UN should play its role. Again, The world movements were shown clearly that Burmese people is not alone.

Thanks Blogher n Techsoup

Though it is a little bit late to say thank to Blogher and Techsoup through Beth who brought me a nice bag and shirt during the 2007-August Clogger summit in Cambodia, it is worth that i say now.

I have just started to use Blogher’s bag on Thurday last week after my own bag was damaged by a mouse. I forget a cake in it then it became the party’s cake for the mouse:)

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