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Keo Remy, head of the government’s Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC), speaks to the press yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

EU meets rights body

A European Union election expert mission yesterday met with the government’s Cambodia Human Rights Committee in a closed-door meeting as part of its visit to the Kingdom, at the end of which it will submit recommendations to the Cambodian authorities.

According to CHRC head Keo Remy, delegate Renata Tardioli “asked about the issue of human rights” and mechanisms for responding to human rights complaints. The three-person expert mission arrived on April 25 and will stay through June.

Remy said a number of complaints regarding the election had been addressed, but said he wouldn’t discuss them publicly.

In 2015, an EU expert mission – of which Tardioli was part – showed the EU’s concerns regarding elections, such as about voter registration and capacity building of the National Election Committee (NEC).

The EU has supported the NEC financially since 2015. Assessments from this year’s mission will remain confidential, said spokeswoman Charlotte Souibes.

“The role of the EU is really important to ensure election reforms,” NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said.

He acknowledged the NEC still needed reforms, such as increasing female representation amongst staff members. Generally, he said a system was in place for free and fair elections.

“But sometimes democracy in Cambodia is not the same as democracy in other countries,” he said. “I believe we have free and fair elections, but not 100 per cent.”

Soth Koemsoeun

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