The EU would like to thank the Special Rapporteur Ms. Smith for her continued work and engagement on the human rights situation in Cambodia. We also underline the importance of the mandate, which provides accurate and timely information on human rights situation in Cambodia. We appreciate Cambodia’s cooperation in this regard. However there has been very little or no progress in implementing the recommendations as stated by the Special Rapporteur.
The EU remains concerned about the continuous deficits in democracy and human rights in the country. We are worried about a surge of widespread arrests and detentions of religious leaders and human rights defenders, including the arrest of trade union leader, Mr Rong Chhun in late July. We are also troubled by increased surveillance of persons expressing their opinions as well as on persons affiliated with the opposition party.
The EU reiterates its previous calls on the Cambodian authorities to take immediate and concrete action to reopen the political space in the country, to ensure space for civil society, to reinstate the political rights of all opposition members banned from political activities and to fully release all opposition members, supporters and activists recently detained.
Urgent action is needed to restore the political freedoms in the country, to ensure the respect of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to protect the civil society space.
The new State Emergency Law and the Draft of Public Order Law do not meet Cambodian’s international obligations. The EU urges Cambodia to fully align its legislation with international human rights obligations.
The EU appreciated Cambodia’s engagement with the Human rights Council and its mechanisms. We acknowledge Cambodia’s participation in CEDAW, CERD and UPR reviews.
However, in order to achieve a sustainable and flourishing society the authorities need to take substantial steps to restore democracy, rule of law and fully respect and implement all human rights, including all political and civil rights.
Without respectful participation to public life, including political life, there are no real possibilities for any country to end poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms. Smith, we would like to hear your views on how the international community could assist Cambodia in the best way to fully respect its human rights obligations, especially in practice and whether there are best practises in this regard?
I thank you.