Cambodia has accused the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday of having “undermined the principle of objectivity”.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had only paid attention to particular groups over others to reprimand Cambodia on its human rights record.
“Cambodian human rights, democracy and the rule of law should be evaluated through a holistic approach rather than [through isolated] cases.
“You will not get a real [understanding] of the issue if you prioritise a single tree over thoroughly examining the [whole forest] and try to link it to your selective agenda,” it said.
The statement came a day after OHCHR High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet reported that she was concerned about the “pressure put on members and supporters of the former CNRP”.
“I am still worried about the pressure put on members and supporters of the former CNRP [Cambodia National Rescue Party] which was dissolved in late 2017.
“Since early this year, the police and courts have questioned more than 130 people.
“At least 22 members or supporters of the CNRP are being detained on charges of many offences.
“They were found criminally guilty in connection directly or indirectly with their political expression of speech,” she had claimed in her report.
Bachelet said the right to development required participation from all people and requested the government act to ensure real discussions and respect citizens’ fundamental rights.
Her concerns were raised after Human rights organisations submitted reports to the UN Human Rights Council on July 28 on the human rights situation in the Kingdom.
The reports touched on concerns over a perceived lack of freedom of assembly, union laws, the Supreme Court-dissolved CNRP and its president Kem Sokha who is on court-supervised bail.
Cambodia Human Rights Committee spokesperson Chin Malin said on Thursday: “The government will continue to cooperate with the OHCHR and relevant international mechanisms [regarding] human rights to show that realities in Cambodia [do not reflect the] baseless allegations.
“Bachelet’s remarks do not mirror the realities of Cambodia. As we explained some time ago, the concern is Cambodian law enforcement rather than restrictions on freedom as mentioned by anti-government civil society organisations,” Malin said.
Marie-Dominique Parent, the deputy director of the OHCHR in Cambodia, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Neither Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator in rights group Licadho, nor Adhoc spokesman Soeng Sen Karuna could be reached for comment either.