Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dr Lao Mong Hay - political analyst

One of Cambodia's loudest voices for democracy and human rights comes from the diminutive figure of Dr Lao Mong Hay, a man not afraid to speak his mind. Oft-quoted in the international press on a wide range of issues, Dr Lao has openly criticised the current political leadership on many occasions, since he returned to live in Cambodia after the 1991 Paris Peace Accords. In fact, he was a leading figure in the peace process, as the head of delegation of the Son Sann-led KPNLF, one of the signatories to the peace agreements, having lived and worked at the Site 2 refugee camp on the Thai border from 1988 to 1992.

Currently serving an internship with the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, Dr Lao (pictured) was studying for his doctorate in economics at the University of Wales when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in the mid-70s and remained in Britain for the next decade. Following his return to Cambodia, he was Director of the Cambodia Mine Action Centre until the end of 1994 before founding and leading the Khmer Institute of Democracy, an independent think-tank, for the next seven years. For two years from 1995, Dr Lao was the host of a current affairs programme on state-run television called Problems & Solutions. More recently, he's acted as the Head of the Legal Unit for the NGO, Center for Social Development, played a part in regional and international missions and conferences and was awarded the UNHCR Nansen Medal in 2000 for his work with refugees. He continues to speak his mind on issues ranging from the monarchy to the trafficking of women and children and of course, his country's political twists and turns.

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