Bunthea Keo

Conduct and Discipline Officer at United Nations/African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)

Active in Country: Cambodian working in Sudan

DTP Alumnus: 2005 15th Annual Program - Timor Leste

Bunthea Keo attended DTP’s 15th Annual Regional Human Rights and Peoples Diplomacy Training Program in Timor Leste in 2005.   Bunthea was working for a leading Cambodian human rights NGO.

I felt enlightened having attended the DTP program as I learned the framework on a human rights based approach to development.  During the time of the training, Cambodia was gearing towards economic development after three decades of civil war when there were massive human rights violations. The training was a helpful resource for me to review cases related to development in Cambodia.

After the training Bunthea returned to Cambodia – and then joined the UN as a UN Volunteer and served in a number of countries before returning to work as a pro bono lawyer in Cambodia litigating land grabbing issues and helping land grabbing victims file their cases to legally determine their land ownership.  Bunthea has helped 140 families whose lands were grabbed, filing a powerful class action case to stop arbitrary forced eviction.

The networks I have established at DTP have been most helpful.  I have been able to exchange ideas, discuss current issues and trends that affect the work of human rights defenders.

Bunthea is currently working on strengthening accountability and oversight of discipline in UN peacekeeping operations in Darfur.  His responsibilities include providing overall direction for conduct and discipline issues in field missions, formulating policies, training and outreach activities, and handling allegations of misconduct by UN peacekeepers.

The program helped me understand regional and international mechanisms around children’s rights, women’s rights and the rights of migrant workers.  I gained confidence and knowledge to use international mechanisms (such as the UN Commission on Human Rights and UN treaty bodies) when advocating for human rights issues.  I shared my DTP experience amongst my colleagues back in Cambodia and explained the benefits of the program and how it can help them be more effective in making a difference for human rights. 



Profile written May 2017.  Picture withheld for security reasons.