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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior