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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EU highlights challenge of corruption, human rights

EU highlights challenge of corruption, human rights

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081120_03b.jpg

Officials acknowledge progress, but urge civil society and government to work together to resolve pressing issues

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN 

The EC's charge d'affaires Rafael Dochao Moreno at a news conference Wednesday.

THE European Union delegation to Cambodia has called on civil society groups, government officials and the international community to support the country's future development.

In a two-day political dialogue between the European Commission (EC) - the EU's executive body - and the government, EC officials highlighted major concerns in the areas of judicial reform, human rights, governance and democracy.

"Impunity of people in high positions with political and economic clout is a major concern," said a statement released by the EC.

"Corruption is widespread, undermining the entire fabric of society and hampering development."

The statement also added that each successive election has been marked by decreasing levels of violence but an increasing concentration of power in hands of the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

"We consider it is equally important for civil society to engage with the Cambodian government in order to support Cambodia's shared development work," said Rafael Dochao Moreno, charge d'affaires of the EC delegation to Cambodia in a speech Wednesday.

Ouch Borith, secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a speech that the government has made significant achievements in implementing comprehensive reforms and will soon pass an Anti-Corruption Law and the 2006 draft law regulating the operation of international NGOs in Cambodia.

But Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that the lack of a role for the opposition in key areas of the National Assembly will remove checks and balances in the Cambodian political system and jeopardise the country's national development.

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