OPENING SPEECH OF DR. TOSHU FUKAMI

 CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBODIA

PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR ARTS AND CULTURE, AND

WORLD MATE LEADER

 AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON

“HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT

IN CAMBODIA:

A DECADE OF PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES”

 

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBODIA

CONFERENCE CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBODIA

PHNOM PENH, 17 DECEMBER 2004

 

His Excellency Mr. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of Interior,

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

 

I am deeply honored and pleased to be here at the opening session of the National Conference on “Human Rights and Development in Cambodia: A Decade of Progress and Challenges.” I believe that this national conference is indeed very much timely and highly relevant for Cambodia, a country which has made tremendous progress in both human rights and development in just a decade following the 1993 elections. I am delighted that my own institution, the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) is able to support the work of the University of Cambodia, particularly the convening of this national conference.

 

At the same time, as both the President and Founder of IFAC and Chancellor of the University of Cambodia, I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of Interior, for taking the time to be here with us at this conference and to share his insights and wisdom on human rights and development in Cambodia. I am of the view that the keynote address of His Excellency Sar Kheng will set the tone and the parameter of our conference today and tomorrow.

 

I also wish to thank all of you for participating in this conference, and I hope that you all will take advantage of this meeting to frankly exchange views, to share best practices, and certainly to further help advance human rights and development in Cambodia in the next decade.

 

Since this is only my opening remarks, I will try to be short and succinct. Therefore, I will only make the following points, with regard to human rights and development in Cambodia.

 

First, we should look at human rights and development from a holistic framework and, at the same time, see human rights and development from a proper perspective. Therefore, we should focus on the process as well as the comprehensiveness of human rights and development as much as possible.

 

Second, we should look at human rights and development in Cambodia from a long-term view, with the understanding that there is no perfect model of human rights and development in the world.

 

Third, while recognizing that the country continues to confront certain challenges at present, Cambodia has come a long way in a short period of time in making significant achievements in human rights and development. I think that we should take stock of these achievements, and continue to build on those successes.

 

Fourth, when it comes to human rights and development, I strongly believe that it is only Cambodians themselves that have the complete ownership of it. By having the ownership of the agenda of human rights and development, Cambodia—collectively and individually—can better understand the needs of continuing to improve and advance human rights and development in their own society.

 

Fifth, given Cambodia’s fast integration into the region and the world today and the current level of comfort that the society has achieved in the past ten years with regard to human rights and development, I feel that the process of institutionalization of human rights mechanism in the country has been important and commendable. However, given the desire by Cambodia to establish a national human rights commission in due course, I think that we should congratulate Cambodia for taking the necessary steps toward achieving this goal.

 

Thank you very much for your kind attention.