- 1991 - 1997
Human Rights Component
S-1881 contains subject files of the UNTAC Human Rights Component. The Human Rights Component endeavored to: encourage the Supreme National Council (SNC) of Cambodia to ratify relevant international human rights instruments; conduct an extensive campaign of human rights education; investigate allegations of human rights abuses; and exercise general oversight of human rights aspects of every component of UNTAC. The UNTAC Human Rights Component was headquartered in Phnom Penh and employed Provincial Human Rights Officers (PHRO) at the headquarters of the mission’s provincial offices.
The records of the Human Rights Component were produced by the Director of Human Rights and Provincial Human Rights Officers (PHRO), and primarily concern UNTAC-led human rights education initiatives and investigations of human rights abuses.
Memoranda, exchanged between Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Yasushi Akashi, Director of Human Rights Dennis McNamara, UNTAC staff, and Cambodian officials, concern: freedom of operation for Cambodian human rights groups; the independence of the judiciary; and the “UNTAC Fair Access Plan for Cambodia Campaign of 1993,” regarding fair journalistic coverage of political parties. There are yearly and final reports prepared by the Human Rights Component and the Provincial Human Rights Officers (PHRO). The reports summarize case investigations and relevant prosecution, human rights training, prison visits, activities of non-governmental organizations and political parties, and planning for the dissolution of UNTAC. There are also statistics and reports on the treatment, health, locations, and number of returnees, refugees, internally displaced persons, and Vietnamese living in Cambodia.
The administration of human rights case investigations is also documented. The minutes for meetings of the Action Committee, which convened representatives of the UNTAC components, detail proposals to the SRSG regarding specific cases of human rights violations. For example, the Committee could propose that the SRSG request: that the Cambodian existing administrative structures (EAS) conduct a particular investigation, that an administrative sanction be taken against an official, or that legal action be taken by the EAS. Prepared by the Special Prosecutor for the SRSG, a report dated 1 February 1993 focuses on the prosecution of cases. It is titled “Decision on the future of UN prosecutions of crimes involving human rights breaches during the transitional period.” In addition, memoranda and information circulars contain guidelines for reporting human rights violations.
Other records document training and initiatives in human rights. Agenda, reports, and invitations are included for the International Symposia on Human Rights in Cambodia. Hosted by UNTAC in 1992 and 1993, the symposia promoted understanding and support between international and regional human rights organizations, and Cambodian human rights groups. In addition, there are curricula, case studies, agenda, statistics, and evaluations of human rights training seminars. The seminars were held for Cambodian non-governmental organizations, Cambodian women’s groups, teachers, police, prison wardens, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. There are also: minutes of meetings between the Human Rights Component and Cambodian non-governmental organizations about training priorities; radio and video scripts about human rights; radio and video interviews with Cambodian officials and UNTAC staff; and memoranda about the planning of educational and outreach initiatives. Human rights outreach initiatives included a human rights drawing contest and Human Rights Day celebrations.
The series also includes records of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in Cambodia (UNCHR). These primarily relate to its establishment in 1993 by resolution 1993/6 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Additionally, there are records of Justice Michael Kirby, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia. These records consist of the SRSG’s reports to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, as well as State of Cambodia (SOC) officials’ comments on the reports. There is also correspondence sent from Justice Kirby to the King of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk, bringing to his attention violations of human rights reported by the UNCHR and recommending responses.