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Copyright (c) 1996 The Buffalo Journal of International Law
The Buffalo Journal of International Law

ARTICLE: THE U.N. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CAMBODIA, 1975-1980

Summer, 1996

3 Buff. Jour. Int'l L. 67

Author

Jamie Frederic Metzl +

Excerpt

On 3 March 1978, Evan Luard, the British Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stepped to the podium to address the U.N. Commission on Human Rights regarding the situation in Cambodia. Luard, a United Nations scholar and proponent of furthering human rights principles through foreign policy, 1 was not one to take such violations lightly. After referring to "reports of systematic and arbitrary executions, and of other gross violations of human rights, involving many thousands of deaths within Democratic Kampuchea," Luard asserted that,
The facts which I have described - and they are facts confirmed by innumerable witnesses - represent a challenge to this Commission. The need for the allegations to be investigated and clarified if this Commission is to do its job is clear . . .

It is for the Commission on Human Rights to take the initiative in instituting such an investigation. There is no other body that can do so . . . The Commission is the organ of the United Nations concerned with such matters and as such bears a unique responsibility. The United Kingdom therefore proposes that the Commission should make a thorough study of the human rights situation in Cambodia. 2



In many ways, Luard's statement in Geneva represented the high point of Western human rights response to the mass abuses committed under the Democratic Kampuchea regime (1975-1978).

Such responses had only slowly and gradually developed. Immediately following the full American withdrawal from Vietnam and Cambodia and the ...
 
 
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