Human rights

Why is it important to support development of human rights in Cambodia?
The human rights situation is complex in Cambodia. In some areas, improvements have been made while other areas have deteriorated. In recent years, there have been significant challenges in the priority areas of Sweden such as the rule of law and freedom of expression. In addition to rule of law and freedom of expression the issue of land rights is one of the most important human rights issues in Cambodia. It has economic, social and environmental implications and often involves the abuse of poor people's rights.

Sweden's support and results

Swedish support in the area of human rights has mainly entailed support to and through UN agencies and civil society. Cooperation with civil society in Cambodia has increased the domestic expertise and capacity to engage in advocacy for better laws and policies and to provide legal aid to poor and vulnerable groups. The support has also increased awareness of rights and access to legal advice.

Since 2008 Sweden has a bilateral dialogue with Cambodia on human rights. The three priority areas for the dialogue are; freedom of expression, labour rights and human rights education.

In recent years, Sweden has also increased its cooperation with other actors in order to strengthen respect for human rights. Sweden; has for example initiated human rights dialogue with the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, but also with universities in order to support education and research in the field.


What we do now and what we plan to do

The cooperation with Cambodia aims to increase capacity in terms of human rights and the rule of law in public administration and support a civil society engaged in norm-based advocacy for increased democratization or that works to improve public capacity for political accountability and responsibility.

Ongoing projects:

• Forum Syd Democracy and Human Rights Programme

Forum Syd both works to strengthen local NGOs capacity as well as supporting their activities within the areas of human rights, democracy and climate. The impact goal for the programme is for poor and marginalised people in Cambodia to have increased access to democratic influence, rights and natural resources.

The timeframe for this support is 2014-2017 with a total budget of 45 000 000 SEK. 

For more information about Forum Syd, visit: www.southeastasia.forumsyd.org.

• Diakonia Human Rights and Democracy Programme in Cambodia

Diakonia both strengthens the capacity of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and supports their activities within the areas of human rights and democracy. The goal of the programme is to increase and deepened democratic participation among grassroots to facilitate a strong local development, leading to a reduction of poverty, increased self-determination and better material and emotional standards of living. 

The timeframe for this support is 2014-2016 with a total budget of 36 000 000 SEK.

For more information about Diakonia, visit: www.diakonia.se.

• Diakonia secure reporting Information Communications Technology (ICT)

The intervention aims at supporting human rights defenders so that they can report and monitor the human rights situation in Cambodia in a secure way.

The specific objectives of this support are:

  1. To build flexible secure in-country Information Communications Technology (ICT) for four NGOs, fully-compatible and with back-up, using a cadre of 358 computer-literature operatives reaching 20 community activists groups they serve.
  2. To ensure that concerned citizens do have immediate secure means to raise alertness when confronted by most serious threats to their fundamental rights and freedoms.
  3. To establish systems; strong date-collection tools, and human resource capacities to maximise advocacy and legal defence through high-speed connections, including geo-located sources; live-streaming and visualisation tools.

The timeframe for this support is 2013-2015 with a total budget of 6 700 000 SEK .

• Parliamentary Institute of Cambodia (PIC)

The support to PIC is to contribute to building a strong and democratic parliament in Cambodia namely the National Assembly and the Senate. PIC is an independent organisation that was formed in February 2011 to support the Cambodian parliament in order to increase its capacity and to fully play the role of a democratic parliament. It carries out capacity building training for Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators as well as conducting various researches for the MPs and Senators in regard to particular interests, upon the requests of the MPs or Senators, especially legal researches concerning relevant draft legislations.

The timeframe for this support is 2015-2017 with a total budget of 13 500 000 SEK.

For more information about PIC, visit: www.pic.org.kh.

• The Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI)

 The support aims to assist in strengthening human rights education and research capacity at Pannasastra University of Cambodia and, to some extent, similar cooperation with the Mekong University. The support also has the aim of increasing and strengthening the capacity of the Committee to deal with the current human rights challenges in Cambodia.

The timeframe for this support is 2013-2017 with a total budget of 43 300 000 SEK.

For more information about RWI, visit: www.rwi.lu.se.

• The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Sweden supports OHCHR in promoting and respecting human rights in Cambodia. OHCHR in Cambodia focuses on five main areas: support for prison reform: protection of fundamental freedoms and the development of civil society, the protection of rights relating to land and housing, support for legal and judicial reform, and promoting the legacy of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

The timeframe for this support is 2012-2015 with a total budget of 12 000 000 SEK.

For more information, visit: http://cambodia.ohchr.org.

• Loy9

 Loy9 is a media venture in television, radio and on the internet that aims to strengthen youth’s political knowledge, participation and involvement in the community. Loy9 is produced by the BBC Media Action, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and it is one of the most popular TV-shows in Cambodia that every week has high rates of viewers, especially youth.

The timeframe for this support is 2013-2014 with a budget of 7 000 000 SEK + a bridging support of 3 200 000 SEK.

For more information, visit: www.bbcmediaaction.org.

• Klahan9

The objective with this project is to increase knowledge and efficiency among Cambodian young people (especially young women), individually as well as collectively, in negotiating eith decition makers for better employment conditions and livelihood enhancement. Klahan9 is produced by the BBC Media Action, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The timeframe for this support is 2014-2016 with a total budget of 11 000 000 SEK.

For more information, visit: www.bbcmediaaction.org.

• Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or popularly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is established in the existing court structure of Cambodia to bring to trial senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime and those who were most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of Cambodian laws related to crimes, international humanitarian law and custom, and international conventions recognized by Cambodia, that were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. It is a hybrid court with both international and national components. The purpose of the ECCC is, moreover, to enhance the national judicial reform through the capacity building and transfer of knowledge and know-how from the ECCC as a model court to the domestic courts.

The timeframe for this support is 2014-2015 with a total budget of 30 000 000 SEK.

For more information, visit: www.eccc.gov.kh.

• ILO/H&M and IF Metall

This intervention aims at creating conditions for industrial peace through training and other capacity building activities of the main stakeholders: government, trade unions and factory owners. The aim is to improve dialogue between enterprises and trade unions and increase collective bargaining agreements.  

The timeframe for this support is from 2013-2015 with a total budget of 3 150 000 SEK.

For more information, visit: www.betterfactories.org/ilo.

• UNESCO Access to Information 

The objective with this programme is to support the development and implementation of an Access to Information Law in Cambodia.

The timeframe for this support is 2014-2017 with the total budget of 9 000 000 SEK.

• Strategic Fund

The Strategic Fund is used to finance smaller activities of relevance to specific programmes such as pre-studies and seminars, or for implementation of the Swedish cooperation strategy in general.

Examples of support from this fund:

- International Training Programmes

- Contribution to the Cambodian ASEAN Pride Week.

- Workshop on media and media´s role in ensuring freedom of expression.

- The Stockholm Summit for Top Level School Leaders.

 The timeframe for the fund is 2015-2017 with a total budget of 4 500 000 SEK.