Moving Human Rights Books Up Stairs


Get a look at how we work every day to contribute to the development and promotion of human rights. For the next few weeks, Andreas Ljungholm, the head of RWI's office in Phnom Penh, will share his days.

human rights CambodiaFor some reason, there is always plenty of work outside the office during the hot days. Today was no exception. 37 degrees at 07.00.

I met with Dararoth at the office at 07.15 to prepare for the one-week human rights course for court clerks that started today. Dararoth had collected plenty of documents and books that had to be transported to the Royal Academy for Judicial Profession (RAJP). We carried all the books to our office car.

Up and down the narrow stairs from the second floor with RWI’s human rights compilation under our arms. It was now 39 degrees. It is not until you have carried these compilations in 39 degrees heat from the second floor until you realise how comprehensive these compilations are. Great for the reader, but hard for the organisers. At that stage my shirt was completely wet.

We entered RAJP and had to carry all the materials to the second floor. After a while the 32 court clerks entered the room and the training could start. I held a 15-minute speech to open the training in a very wet shirt. I talked about the important role of court clerks in upholding fair trial rights.

After the opening of the workshop, I had to run to the bank. We were out of cash in the office and I am the only person that can withdraw money from the bank. This must be changed.

After 30 minutes at the bank I hurried back to the office where I met Rachana. We prepared some documents and went to the local authorities for the second time in a week.

I need a Sangkat, a document showing where I live, in order to be able to register RWI at the Tax Authorities. We spent more than half an hour in their office without air condition. It was now 41 degrees.

Finally we found out that there we still some documents that were missing and we had to return to the office and get additional documents. Then we went back again. To the very hot office.

After another 30 minutes we could leave. We had then paid the official fee and followed all regulations to obtain a Sangkat. We were told we can pick it up on Thursday morning. I will bring an extra shirt to the office on Thursday.

Luckily, I could spend the afternoon in the office with air conditioning. I dealt with a human resource issue, prepared 14 contracts for authors that will write one chapter each in the first Cambodian Human Rights textbook and communicated with the director of the research centre at Royal University of Law and Economics and the dean of the Faculty of Law at Pannasastra University. Very good partners.

A new author will follow Andreas when his time is up.