Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EU called on to propose action over ‘human rights violations’

EU called on to propose action over ‘human rights violations’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A delegation representing the European Union visits Cambodia’s Interior Ministry in the capital last month to discuss the Kingdom’s inclusion in the important Everything But Arms trade agreement that grants Cambodia duty-free access to the 28-member bloc. Pha Lina

EU called on to propose action over ‘human rights violations’

The chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri has urged the European Union (EU) to propose measures against what he claimed were human rights violations in Cambodia.

He also pushed for a swift report from the EU Commission and European External Action Service on their findings in an assessment over the Kingdom’s duty-free status in the bloc.

However, the Kingdom’s Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government wasn’t afraid of being taken out of the scheme and would choose to be independent rather than rely on it.

In a press release dated July 30, Panzeri based his argument on the imprisonment of opposition leader Kem Sokha, the alleged weakening of democracy, political rights, and silencing of dissident voices. He called for Sokha’s immediate release.

‘Worrisome deterioration’

“I call on the European Commission and the European External Action Service to report swiftly on their assessment of Cambodia’s compliance with its human rights obligations, as foreseen under the Everything But Arms [EBA] monitoring process and to propose an appropriate response to the worrisome deterioration of the human rights situation in the country,” Panzeri said.

Last month, an EU fact-finding mission completed a seven-day trip to Cambodia to collect information from relevant stakeholders, in the lead up to a decision over whether the EU would suspend the EBA scheme, which grants tax-free imports from Cambodia.

EU Trade Commission press officer Kinga Malinowska said last week that the EU was still assessing the findings from the mission and no decision had been made yet.

Siphan said that the EU should not take politics into consideration when making its decision. “The EBA is clear for us. It should not be used to colonise Cambodia. We already made that clear,” he said.

“Cambodians try hard by ourselves and we imagine that the program would end one day based on the incomes of the people. Cambodia will not accept using EBA to play politics in the Kingdom,” he added.

Siphan said the scheme would end in the future regardless, as Cambodia is moving out of poverty.

“We are not afraid of losing it because Cambodia doesn’t want to be under the favour of any country. Cambodia wants to be self-dependent.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio