Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EU council condemns situation in Cambodia, hints at 'targeted measures'

EU council condemns situation in Cambodia, hints at 'targeted measures'

Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaks to the media today before attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaks to the media today before attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting. European Council

EU council condemns situation in Cambodia, hints at 'targeted measures'

The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union today passed a conclusion condemning “recent worrying political developments and the continuing deterioration of democracy” in Cambodia.

The conclusions, passed by the European Union’s foreign affairs ministers, warn the Cambodian government that the council could consider “specific targeted measures” if the political situation does not improve.

They also demanded the release of jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha, as well as the reversal of the forced dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Sokha was arrested in September on charges of “treason”, despite his parliamentary immunity, based on a publicly available speech he gave several years ago in Australia in which he told supporters he had received US assistance in planning his political career. The Cambodian government has claimed the video is evidence the CNRP was fomenting a foreign-backed "revolution".

In its conclusions, the council invites the European Commission and the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, to “closely monitor the situation” in Cambodia and “continue a thorough and comprehensive assessment of development cooperation programmes”.

With regards to the "Everything But Arms" agreement with Cambodia, which contains human rights clauses that can trigger a suspension of the preferential trade agreement in cases of abuse, the council “invites the Commission to enhance the monitoring of the situation and to step-up the engagement with Cambodia”.

The conclusions also welcome the decision by the European Commission to suspend financial support for the National Election Committee, while requesting the commission expand its support for human rights defenders and civil society.

The council further demands the Cambodian government not to misuse the judicial system as a political instrument to intimidate opponents, civil society, and labour and human rights activists.

A government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Updates to follow.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will