The Cambodian Permanent Mission to the UN Office and other International Organisations in Geneva praised the government for its substantial efforts in human rights.

The commendation focused particularly on its initiatives to ensure the wellbeing of women and girls, and foster a nurturing environment for all, according to the Mission’s July 17 press release.

Titled “Cambodia’s efforts and progress in human rights accentuated at the Human Rights Council [HRC]”, the release noted that during four-week interaction of the 53rd session of the HRC from June 19 to July 14, Cambodia delivered 20 statements.

These statements detailed the government’s achievements and progress across all human rights categories – civil, political, social, economic, and cultural, including the right to development.

Among the highlights, it stated that in 2023, Cambodia maintained a high employment rate. The country took pride in its resilient and high-income labour market, with better working conditions prioritised for both formal and informal workers.

The statement reported an increase of two percent in the employment of people with disabilities in public institutions from 2020 to 2022, and noted that over 200 private enterprises also employ people with disabilities.

The release confirmed Cambodia’s commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It emphasised the steps taken to safeguard the rights and well-being of women and children, aiming to provide a nurturing environment for all.

The country’s effort in addressing human trafficking was also mentioned, highlighting its commitments to the Global Compact for Migration and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

The statement highlighted the vibrant roles of 6,000 NGOs and over 2,000 media outlets operating freely in Cambodia, contributing to the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance, and policymaking.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, acknowledged the government’s effort to improve human rights.

However, he also raised concerns about what he called ‘limited spaces’ of human rights, freedom, civil society organisations, trade unions, and media freedom in Cambodia, urging the government to take them into more account.

In the 53rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Cambodia signed 13 joint statements proposed by ASEAN, Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter, and countries of the Like Minded-Group of Developing Countries on a wide range of topics from family and human rights, women’s rights, poverty reduction, clean energy, climate change, international solidarity, to technical co-operation and capacity-building.