Cambodian Delegation Make Thai Fail 3 Points in the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Paris PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 27 June 2011 20:14

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MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM

CAMBODIAN DELEGATION TO THE 35th SESSION OF THE WORLD HERITAGE
COMMITTEE, UNESCO, PARIS

Following the highest decision of Samdech Techo HUN SEN dated 2 June 2011,
His Excellency Academician Dr. SOK AN headed a delegation of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee, from 19-29 June 2011, achieving a historic success at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris. The Cambodia delegates to the session are the following:

1. Lok Chumteav. ANNIE Sok An, Vice President of Cambodia Red Cross,
2. H.E VAR Kimhong, Senior minister in charge of border affairs,
3. H.E LONG Visalo, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation,
4. H.E CHUCH Phoeurn, President of the National Authority of Preah Vihear,
5. H.E CHAN Tani, Secretary of State, Office of the Council of Ministers,
6. Lok Chumteav, TAN Theany, Secretary General, National Commission for
UNESCO,
7. H.E ROS Borath, President, the National Committee for World Heritage,
8. Professor. Azedine Beschaouch, Standing Secretary of the ICC- Angkor,
9. H.E Bretton Scaroni, Adviser to the Government,
10. Lok Chumteav. Helen Jarvis, Advisor to the Government
11. H.E Teruo Jinnai, Adviser to the Government,
12. H.E BUN Narith, Secretary General of the National Authority of APSARA,
13. H.E KEM Reath Viseth, Cabinet chief and adviser to H.E SOK An,
14. H.E SUOS Yara, Under Secretary of State, Office of the Council of Ministers,
15. H.E SUM Map, Under Secretary of State, Office of the Council of Ministers,
16. Lok Chumteav. CHAU Sun Kerya, Deputy-Secretary General, National Authority of
APSARA
17. H.E SAN Sorphorn, Secretary General, Cambodian National Committee for World
Heritage,
18. Mr. SUON Sovann, Deputy Secretary General, Cambodian National Committee for
World Heritage,
19. Mr. SOK Sangvar, Deputy Director of Department of Tourism Industry, Ministry of
Tourism.

The delegation is also assisted by the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of
Cambodia to UNESCO:

20- H.E NOUTH Narang, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate
21- H.E KET Sophann, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Delegate,
22- Mr. MEASKETH David, Counselor

The Session of the World Heritage Committee is held annually with the participation of 186 States Parties to the Convention 1972 concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, of which the Kingdom of Cambodia is a member and also Vice Chairperson of the Session in 2011. The role of the Committee is to examine, debate and adopt propositions for inscription on the world heritage list, and it is also mandated with examination of the state of conservation of inscribed properties. In this year’s session, the Temple of Preah Vihear was scheduled for discussion on the state of conservation, including restoration after severe damage by Thai aggression.
For the whole week from the start of the Session, the situation for the Cambodian delegation was tough due to repeated intoxication and lobbies with lies and falsifications by the Thai delegation. They repeated continuously that there was no damage to the Temple of Preah Vihear caused by artillery shells of Thai army, on the contrary the damage was caused by conflicts between Cambodians in the past. Thailand used psychological messages all of kinds, blatantly lying that the World Heritage Committee supported postponing and rejecting the Management Plan of Preah Vihear.

Thailand even announced its threat to withdraw from the Convention 1972. For the whole week, expressing arrogant behaviour, not only in private meetings but also around the UNESCO headquarters, and especially by bringing up to 28 people to the negotiating room, accompanied by seven undisciplined video journalists, Thailand tried furiously to pull Cambodia’s Management Plan from the agenda. Further, Thailand argued that the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear did not respect the Operational Guidelines of the Convention 1972 and repeatedly argued that a trans-boundary inscription should have been done instead. This so-called transboundary inscription, which was definitively refuted by the World Heritage Committee, has been raised every year since the 2007 session of the Committee in Christchurch, New Zealand. Furthermore, Thailand continued to assert without any foundation that the Temple’s Management Plan encroached on Thai sovereignty.

In order to overcome these harsh conditions, the Cambodian delegation carried out dynamic lobbying, explaining the truth to all delegations, particularly those from the 19 members of the Committee (21 members, excluding Cambodia and Thailand). In addition, the Cambodian delegation had to meet internally and to organize the production and distribution of many supporting documents. In fact, with mediation by the Director General’s representatives, we carefully prepared a series of draft decisions in response to the Thai drafts. As a result, Thailand was totally defeated in all its attempts to delay discussion the topic in the agenda under the pretext that the Thai Prime Minister was on the phone waiting to speak the Director General of UNESCO, to hold up the adoption of the Management Plan. The Thai lies were immediately rebuffed by the Director of the World Heritage Centre, who said that there was no such a phone arrangement.

Though the Thai delegation walked out of the session, the Committee still continued its discussion as scheduled in the agenda, reaffirming the Decisions of the 31st , 32nd , 33rd and 34th sessions, held respectively in Christchurch, Quebec, Seville and Brasilia, which include acceptance of the Management Plan submitted by the State Party of Cambodia in 2010.

The World Heritage Committee recognizes the damage to the Temple by Thailand’s artillery shells and, under the Operational Guidelines of the Convention 1972, the body also should result in an urgent dispatch of experts for reparation and restoration of the Temple of Preah Vihear. Incapable of gaining the support of the international community on the Management Plan to protect and safeguard the Temple, the Thai delegation showed their outrage, blaming the Committee as being unjust, and announced their withdrawal from the 1972 Convention. Such a pronouncement severely tarnishes the honor and prestige of Thailand in the international arena, particularly of course when Thailand is still a member of the World Heritage Committee.

It is worth recalling that Thailand in 1962 announced its withdrawal from the International Court of Justice after the latter decided to award the Temple to Cambodia, and now in 2011 this country is pulling out of the 1972 Convention right after Thai delegation run out of its playing cards and accepted repeated failures in the WHC sessions in Quebec, Seville, Brasilia
and this time again in Paris.

By making such an intemperate statement, and carrying out such an ill-mannered act as to walk away from the ongoing session really shows contempt for UNESCO, the World Heritage Committee and all the 186 States Parties of the Convention 1972. These actions by the Thai delegation also reflects on the image of the current caretaker government in Bangkok and on the ruling party.

During the session of the Committee, the Cambodian delegation was able to educate the world community about the violence caused by Thai armed forces on the Temple, a world heritage of Cambodia and also of humanity. The victories of the Cambodian delegation, including 1- halting all Thai attempts to postpone the Management Plan of the Temple of Preah Vihear, 2- overcoming all Thai obstruction to send experts to the Temple, and 3- displaying all lies and manoeuvres of the Thai aggressors, has clearly increased confidence in the effective leadership of the Royal Government of Cambodia led by Samdech Prime Minister HUN SEN who raises the prestige of the Kingdom in the international arena.