Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian representatives criticise UN panel on ‘devolution of democracy’

Cambodian representatives criticise UN panel on ‘devolution of democracy’

Kem Monovithya, former Cambodia National Rescue Party public affairs official and daughter of deputy party leader Kem Sokha, attends an opposition rally in 2013 in Phnom Penh. She is scheduled to speak on a United Nations panel on the “Devolution of Democracy in Cambodia” later today.
Kem Monovithya, former Cambodia National Rescue Party public affairs official and daughter of imprisoned former party leader Kem Sokha, attends an opposition rally in 2013 in Phnom Penh. She is scheduled to speak on a United Nations panel on the “Devolution of Democracy in Cambodia” later today. Photo supplied

Cambodian representatives criticise UN panel on ‘devolution of democracy’

The Permanent Mission of Cambodia to the United Nations preemptively lashed out at an upcoming panel organised by its US and EU counterparts on the “Devolution of Democracy in Cambodia”, calling the event “arrogant and disrespectful”.

The panelists who will speak are Kem Monovithya, former Cambodia National Rescue Party public affairs official and daughter of jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha; Cambodian Center for Independent Media head Pa Nguon Teang; and Human Rights Watch Asia Advocacy Director John Sifton. According to Kem, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to Cambodia Rhona Smith is also expected to speak at the panel, which will be held today at 11:30am in New York City.

“The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia registers its strong protest against such panel discussion, which is politically motivated with the clear intent to mislead international public opinion,” the statement reads. “The Permanent Mission considers this arrogant and disrespectful behaviour as a serious interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which runs counter to the principle of respect for sovereignty and non-interference as stipulated in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The panel is set to discuss the “current situation in Cambodia”, which has seen the country’s only viable opposition party summarily dissolved on widely decried accusations that it was fomenting foreign-backed “revolution”. Noting next year's scheduled national elections, the event announcement highlights that “it is important to ensure that the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly, free association and of the press be upheld and that genuine competition in a multi-party democracy be seen as the necessity that it is”.

Cambodia’s permanent mission, for its part, insisted those rights have been respected, maintaining that any restrictions have been imposed according to the law. The arrest of Sokha, for example, was justified by his “treason”, the statement contends.

“[He] openly boasted in a recorded video addressed to a Cambodian community audience in Australia that he had been coached by a super power to overthrow the elected Cambodian Government by ways of inciting popular violence modeling after the example of the events in Yugoslavia and Serbia, unveiling his complete and total obedience to his super power,” the statement reads.

In the 2013 speech used to justify his arrest, Sokha had actually talked about receiving advice from the United States to develop a political strategy to challenge the ruling party, though he did not mention using violence in any form or operating outside the democratic process.

Updates to follow.

MOST VIEWED

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is