“You cannot hide a dead elephant with a lotus leaf, ” according to Mu Sochua, Cambodian parliament member and human rights advocate. This local Cambodian proverb best describes the disconnect she finds between the positive image presented to the international community by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the daily troubles faced by the average person in the country. Mu Sochua spoke last Thursday about her view of the current political situation in Cambodia. Discussing the difficulties women have in receiving the most basic human rights, education and health care, she argued that women must be given healthy bodies and minds in order for them to reach a power-equality. Sochua urged the audience to work with her to fight government corruption, raise the status of women, and support NGOs by writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with whom she recently met in Washington DC, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
For more on Sochua’s trip to Washington and her presentation to the Human Rights Commission, read this post from the blog of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, which awarded Sochua the Vital Voices Human Rights Global Leadership Award in 2005 for her work to end human trafficking.