Officials from the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) and the Australian embassy held discussions about work relating to human rights in Cambodia and progress on a draft law on establishing a national human rights institution.
CHRC spokesman Chin Malin told The Post on June 14 that during the meeting both sides had discussed progress in drafting the national human rights institution as Australia had provided input through the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) based in Australia.
He said Cambodia had received input from Australian counterparts and completed the draft. However, both sides will hold further internal discussions before discussing it further with other organisations.
He continued that both sides had exchanged views on the political and general human rights environment in Cambodia where Australia saw a lot of positive developments, though it had also expressed concerns over exercising rights and the political situation in Cambodia.
“Australia has not expressed criticism relating to the political situation or the general environment but just expressed its opinion,” Malin said.
The CHRC, he added, had explained to Australia not to be concerned over the issue as Cambodia was always upholding the rule of law.
In its Facebook post on June 14, the embassy said that during a frank and constructive dialogue Australian Chargé d’Affaires Luke Arnold shared his assessment of human rights in Cambodia, saying progress had been made.
He noted that while there was progress, improvements are required to ensure Cambodia’s compliance with international human rights obligations it has voluntarily signed up to, including on political freedoms, freedom of association, and freedom of expression.
Arnold also noted the committee’s progress in developing draft legislation for Cambodia’s proposed national human rights institution, as well as the necessity for the institution to comply with the 1991 Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions, which include genuine independence from government, adequate powers and resources, and a diverse membership.