Cambodia’s political mess closely watched by international community

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cambodia-demonstrationA group of 36 countries, including the United States and Japan, issued a statement expressing their concern about the current escalation of political tensions in Cambodia.

“We are deeply concerned about the current escalation of political tensions in Cambodia, which threatens legitimate activities by opposition parties and human rights NGOs,” the statement by UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) issued on September 14, read.

“There is particular concern about the appearance that legal action is being disproportionately pursued against critics of the government,” it added.

The statement was signed by 36 states comprising Albania, Australia, Canada, Japan, Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, the 28 EU member states and the US.

“We also call upon Cambodia to uphold its commitments to the Cambodian people and to the international community to conduct free and fair elections which would ensure the legitimacy of the next government. We stand ready to assist Cambodia and its people to address these concerns in a way that is consistent with international human rights law,” it said.

Ney Sam Ol, Cambodian’s permanent representative to the UN Office for Human Rights in Geneva, said “as a democratic country, the government has an obligation to enforce the rule of law to maintain stability and security for private and public interests.”

“Equally, my delegation denies any act of politicisation, double standards, selectivity and interference in our internal affairs betraying the spirit of the charter of the United Nations,” he added.

Echoing his statement, Keo Remy, chairman of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said that the human rights situation in Cambodia was better than many other countries in the region and also better than certain countries who are the signatories to the statement.

The UN statement was referring to a number of sensitive issues that have taken place in Cambodia recently, including potential violations of freedom of speech, the right to protest and some legal action taken against leaders and other members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) ahead of the communal election and general election set for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

More than 10 members of the CNRP are currently in jail, while both Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, the president and vice president of the CNRP, respectively, have been the subject of legal cases and public scandals.

Rainsy is in self-imposed exile abroad, while Sokha is effectively under house arrest in the CNRP’s headquarters.

CNRP leaders fear that if such a political situation continues, free and fair elections will not be possible. The party has warned it may hold mass demonstrations in the near future to demand a return to a more normal political environment.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that he would order the use of force to crush such protests in order to secure peace, stability and social order, which he said are desired by the people and the nation.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A group of 36 countries, including the United States and Japan, issued a statement expressing their concern about the current escalation of political tensions in Cambodia.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

cambodia-demonstrationA group of 36 countries, including the United States and Japan, issued a statement expressing their concern about the current escalation of political tensions in Cambodia.

“We are deeply concerned about the current escalation of political tensions in Cambodia, which threatens legitimate activities by opposition parties and human rights NGOs,” the statement by UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) issued on September 14, read.

“There is particular concern about the appearance that legal action is being disproportionately pursued against critics of the government,” it added.

The statement was signed by 36 states comprising Albania, Australia, Canada, Japan, Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, the 28 EU member states and the US.

“We also call upon Cambodia to uphold its commitments to the Cambodian people and to the international community to conduct free and fair elections which would ensure the legitimacy of the next government. We stand ready to assist Cambodia and its people to address these concerns in a way that is consistent with international human rights law,” it said.

Ney Sam Ol, Cambodian’s permanent representative to the UN Office for Human Rights in Geneva, said “as a democratic country, the government has an obligation to enforce the rule of law to maintain stability and security for private and public interests.”

“Equally, my delegation denies any act of politicisation, double standards, selectivity and interference in our internal affairs betraying the spirit of the charter of the United Nations,” he added.

Echoing his statement, Keo Remy, chairman of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said that the human rights situation in Cambodia was better than many other countries in the region and also better than certain countries who are the signatories to the statement.

The UN statement was referring to a number of sensitive issues that have taken place in Cambodia recently, including potential violations of freedom of speech, the right to protest and some legal action taken against leaders and other members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) ahead of the communal election and general election set for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

More than 10 members of the CNRP are currently in jail, while both Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, the president and vice president of the CNRP, respectively, have been the subject of legal cases and public scandals.

Rainsy is in self-imposed exile abroad, while Sokha is effectively under house arrest in the CNRP’s headquarters.

CNRP leaders fear that if such a political situation continues, free and fair elections will not be possible. The party has warned it may hold mass demonstrations in the near future to demand a return to a more normal political environment.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that he would order the use of force to crush such protests in order to secure peace, stability and social order, which he said are desired by the people and the nation.

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