2 must-watch videos: forced evictions in Cambodia & the road to the ATT

Directed by Christine Chansou and Vincent Trintignant-Corneau, “Even a Bird Needs a Nest” (or “Même un oiseau a besoin de son nid” in French) won the prize for best documentary at the 35th Annual Films de Femmes Festival. The documentary focuses on Boeung Kak Lake and the activism of women like Tep Vanny – who by the way just won the 2013 Vital Voices Award!

Here’s to hoping French politicians are paying attention to what’s going on in Cambodia …

ps: props to Keo Chan on Khmeropean for writing about this first.


Just a few days ago, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Amnesty International produced a video highlighting the Control Arms campaign that helped us get here. The ATT has been a long-time coming and I think there’s a lot to be learnt from that campaign for similar efforts in the future.

Happy International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action!



France’s UPR (Part II)

A few days ago, I blogged (here) about France’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which took place on the 21st, and the implications for and insight into its foreign relations. The unedited, draft report from that UPR is now available publically here. France has until the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council in June 2013 to provide responses, which will make for a much more interesting analysis, but in the meantime, here’s a few highlights and initial thoughts.

During the “interactive dialogue” portion of the UPR, 84 states made statements, which are summarized in the draft report. The draft report also includes 165 recommendations. Although a lot of the recommendations repeat each other, it’s quite insightful to see which issues are most commented upon, as well as which countries care about which issues. Building on the last post I wrote on this topic, I’ve focused on the recommendations related to discrimination, minority rights and religious freedom below.

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France’s UPR, National Policies & Foreign Relations

On 21 January 2013, France underwent its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the first having been in 2008. You can watch the video of the whole thing (about 3.5 hours) here. I’ll write a follow-post to this one once the outcome report (see below) is published as my internet connection here in Cambodia is a bit too dodgy for internet streaming, but here’s a few thoughts about the UPR process in general (as it relates to foreign relations) and about the recommendations to France from its 2008 UPR.

First things first, for those that don’t know or unclear on what is a Universal Periodic Review … Since April 2008, the United Nations – through the Human Rights Council – has been reviewing the human rights practices of all countries in the world. Each state is reviewed every four and a half years, with 42 states being reviewed each year during 3 “working group” sessions of 14 states each. Results of each UPR are published in an “outcome report” which lists recommendations – provided by other states – the country under review is expected to address before its next UPR. The website UPR Info has a detailed explanation of the entire process for those interested in learning more, as well as all national reports, outcome reports, etc.

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