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Geneva Mission dismisses UN rights office’s election remarks

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An Sokkhoeurn, Cambodian ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva.

Geneva Mission dismisses UN rights office’s election remarks

The Permanent Mission of Cambodia in Geneva has dismissed the “fallacious, politicised and one-sided” remarks made by a UN rights office spokesperson three days ahead of the June 5 commune council elections.

The diplomatic mission in a June 3 statement questioned the timing of the spokesperson’s comments and her “objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity”, and dismissed her allegations as “unwarranted”.

On June 2, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Liz Throssell issued a statement, saying: “We are disturbed by the pattern of threats, intimidation and obstruction targeting opposition candidates ahead of communal elections in Cambodia on 5 June.

“Candidates have faced numerous restrictions and reprisals that have hindered their activities, with imprisonment of a number of candidates that appears designed to curb political campaigning.”

Citing an assessment by the National Election Committee (NEC), the mission said the electoral campaigns had by and large been held in a secure, safe, orderly and peaceful atmosphere, free from intimidation.

“During the [campaign season], including the [June 3] closing date, all political parties, including opposition ones, have fully exercised their rights in line with the laws and registered schedules without any threats and obstruction,” it said.

It added that all UN bodies should provide “genuine cooperation without any hidden agenda” to support member states, and not interfere in their internal affairs.

“The Kingdom remains steadfast in pursuing its irreversible democratic journey with pluralism, including the elections this year and next, in a free, fair, orderly, peaceful and transparent manner,” the mission said.

The commune election campaign season, which kicked off on May 21 and ended on June 3, went smoothly, without violence, and with the highly-active participation of the public, according to the NEC.

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