Outgoing UN human rights envoy Surya Subedi yesterday called on the government and opposition party to allow the public to take “ownership” of political reforms.
“Cambodia has come a long way during [my tenure]. The reform agenda has advanced with the enactment of the three fundamental laws on the judiciary, the amendment of the Constitution to grant the National Election Committee a constitutional status, implementation of the land-titling programme . . . and adoption of some guidelines on land evictions,” he said in a statement.
But “Cambodia still has some way to go to meet the international benchmark flowing from the international human rights treaties ratified by the country and to make the ideals of a liberal democracy a reality for its people”, he added.
“My parting advice to the leaders of the country, both in the Government and the opposition, would be to be principled in what they do . . . The reform agenda is not the business of the ruling and opposition parties alone. It is a national agenda to which people from all walks of life should have an opportunity to contribute and have ownership.”
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said “no government on earth is without flaws. But in Cambodia, we have committed to make reforms. Even though it hasn’t been 100 per cent of what the special rapporteur wished it to be, it has moved in the right direction.”
Subedi’s successor is British law academic Rhona Smith.