Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol addresses the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. Supplied
Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol addresses the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. Supplied

Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Updates here.

More than 40 countries condemned what they characterised as Cambodia's escalating repression of the political opposition, civil society and media in a joint statement presented on Wednesday during a session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement, delivered by New Zealand’s representative on behalf of 45 countries, raises concerns about the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and the forced dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party as well as about “a significant clampdown on the press and civil society across the country”.

“As we near the elections scheduled for 29 July this year, our previous optimism has been replaced by deep concern about the recent serious decline of civil and political rights in Cambodia,” the statement reads.

It calls for an inter-sessional briefing of the Human Rights Council ahead of the elections. “An electoral process from which the main democratic opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be considered genuine or legitimate,” it reads.

The 45 countries include Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US and the United Kingdom. No Southeast Asian countries were signatories.

Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol criticised the statement in a response, rejecting all the group's concerns and accusing the council of being used as "a political tool to meddle in other State’s [sic] domestic affairs".

“Never before has it been like it is today; this Council has been dramatically politicized,” he says in a transcript of his remarks, arguing that the session under which the statement was read out did not have Cambodia on the agenda.

“It is not acceptable and it is not fair for Cambodia where the menu clearly mentions only sardine is to be served, but surprisingly tuna is put on the table, instead,” he said.

He goes on to say he “vehemently opposes” any suggestion of having an inter-sessional briefing on Cambodia, and characterises such a briefing as an effort by unnamed governments to bring about regime change.

“Therefore, Cambodia categorically dismisses this politically motivated statement, which bears ill intent to militate against Government’s effort in maintaining law and order, in fostering peace, stability and development for its people,” he said.

The Human Rights Council is scheduled to discuss Cambodia on Thursday afternoon.

Updates to come.

This version updates the number of signatories to 45.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government set to slash holidays

    The private sector has welcomed the government’s move to reduce the number of public holidays in the in the Kingdom – known for having the most public holidays in the world – by seven days. However, the government had just added the “Day of Remembrance” on

  • Kith Theang being held in PJ prison

    Kith Theang, the brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court late on Monday and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare (PJ) prison over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,