Human Rights

Today DDP was invited to a meeting at the UN office for Human Rights and it was quite an interesting and productive meeting. I am not aware of the UN Commission on Human Rights bringing us together before but today they talked about plans for a campaign to promote the human rights of people with disabilities. That is tricky in Cambodia. That type of advocacy is defined as conspiracy by some government officials.

What’s Cambodia Like #4?

I don’t intend to dwell only on the negative aspects of life and culture in Cambodia but there are so many of them. They certainly can’t be ignored in daily life.

It seems almost every day, literally, there is another story of some government official or military officer or village chief arrested for fraud, selling government land, appropriating land of indigenous peoples, cutting protected forests–you name it.

An interesting Saturday…

Yesterday turned out to be a very interesting Saturday. President Biden flew in on Air Force One in the morning for the ASEAN summit meeting held in Phnom Penh this weekend. He is Catholic and I had read that he tries to go to mass on Sundays wherever he is, so I was not too surprised when the US Embassy here asked me to have mass with him yesterday. The time for the mass changed three times during the week but finally we had a morning mass at the Raffles Hotel where the United States delegation was staying.

President Biden is a very warm and personable person, a good human being guided by gospel values. We had a group of ten people for mass, staff from the White House and the Phnom Penh U.S. Embassy. At the end of mass, noting that it was lunch time, President Biden invited me to eat with them!
This is The Beast, the vehicle used to transport President Biden on the ground. It rated its own separate enclosure on the grounds of the Raffles Hotel. I was hoping they would offer me a ride home in The Beast but I had to settle for the usual tuk-tuk.
The U.S. delegation took over the entire Raffles Hotel and made many adjustments. Here the main lobby and reception desk is blocked off by partitions erected to move people like me through security. Secret Service personnel were everywhere!

Quite an interesting day!