Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian Permanent Mission to UN hits out at Smith statement

Cambodian Permanent Mission to UN hits out at Smith statement

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office at Geneva has said it had learned “with great dismay” a statement by Rhona Smith, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia. Rhona Smith via Facebook

Cambodian Permanent Mission to UN hits out at Smith statement

The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) said it had learned “with great dismay” the statement by Rhona Smith, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

Smith released a statement on Friday expressing “grave concerns about the heightened political crackdown” in Cambodia and called on the government to respect people’s rights and the freedom of opinion, expression and assembly.

She claimed there were more than 200 cases of harassment and judicial action against members or supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) since the beginning of the year.

She also expressed concerns over troop deployments at the Thai border at the time when CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy is purportedly attempting to return to Cambodia.

However, in its response to Smith’s statement, the Permanent Mission stressed that Cambodia only acted against those who breached its laws.

The government's actions, it said, could not be deemed a “political crackdown” as they were no different from those taken by any other democracy.

It said Smith should have voiced support for Cambodia upholding the rule of law rather than slandering its law enforcement operations.

Human rights, including freedom of opinion, expression and assembly, it said, were not absolute, but contingent.

“Therefore, political discourse and commenting on public affairs with insults, instigated violence, racial discrimination and a call for rebellion against a democratically elected government do not equate to freedom of expression.

“The law-breakers are duly charged and prosecuted, not on the basis of who they are, but on the offences they had committed and with concrete evidence,” the Permanent Mission stressed.

It said the mandate of the Special Rapporteur should be to assist Cambodia in the promotion and protection of human rights through dialogue and cooperation, and “not to make any public statement which could mislead public opinion and be viewed as an act of interfering into the domestic jurisdiction of a sovereign state”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment