Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘EBA will stay if human rights improve’

‘EBA will stay if human rights improve’

‘EBA will stay if human rights improve’

UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday reiterated that access to the EU’s preferential Everything But Arms trade agreement would not be withdrawn if the situation in the Kingdom improved.

Answering reporters’ questions at a press conference in Phnom Penh, Smith said it was a matter for the Cambodian government to comply with human right standards if the Kingdom wanted to maintain access to EBA.

“My understanding is that the decision of the EU Commission is in part based on the compliance of Cambodia to human rights standards. So, in my opinion, should Cambodia take swift, genuine and substantial efforts to address the concerns of the EU, then in terms of halting [access to] EBA, my understanding is that that decision would not be taken.”

She said the EU was still looking at evidence and “if the situation changed and improved, [EBA] would not be an issue”.

An EU spokesman told The Post last month that the procedure for withdrawing EBA access takes 18 months to fully complete.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said the EU and Cambodia are partners, with each side working based on an agreed-upon MoU.

He said the EU could not pressure or threaten Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that EBA has been used as a psychological weapon to attack the government.

On Wednesday, he told garment factory workers not to worry about the effect of EBA withdrawal on their jobs as it “is not yet lost.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Smith calls for ‘release’ of Sokha as visit ends

    At a press conference to conclude her 11-day visit to Cambodia, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday called for treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped and for him to be released from “restricted detention”.

  • PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

    Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.