The EU thanks the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive first report on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.
While commending Cambodia for its successful vaccination programme against Codiv-19 and the nascent economic growth, the EU notes the concerns expressed in the Special Rapporteur’s report on the further deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia. Shrinking civic and democratic space, crack down on political opposition, increased online surveillance, lack of independent media and restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, association and peaceful assembly are alarming. We are also seriously concerned about the reports on arbitrary detentions and other attacks on human rights defenders, including youth and environmental defenders, while independent, thorough and effective investigations on killings and enforced disappearances of human rights defenders remain lacking.
The upcoming elections in June 2022 and later in 2023 in Cambodia are fundamental to democractic consolidation and we encourage the Government of Cambodia to ensure fair, inclusive and transparent elections with full respect and protection of all civil and political and rights, in line with Cambodia’s international obligations as well as the UPR recommendations.
It is of utmost importance to allow independent media and journalists, human rights defenders, independent trade unions, political opposition, NGOs and all other civil society actors to exercise all their rights without fear of intimidation, harassment, arbitrary detentions nor reprisals of any kind.
Finally, the EU wishes that the Special Rapporteur will be able to conduct a country visit, and
would like to ask the Special Rapporteur to elaborate on the best and most fruitful ways to support Cambodia in ensuring the realisation of civil and political rights in the context of the upcoming elections?
I thank you.