Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foreign Ministry hits back at critical report



Foreign Ministry hits back at critical report

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CNRP lawmaker Kong Saphea receives medical assistance after he was attacked by protesters outside National Assembly in 2015, some of whom were later revealed to be members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit. Photo supplied

Foreign Ministry hits back at critical report

The Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday released a strongly worded, albeit vague, rebuttal to a harsh report released by ASEAN parliamentarians on Monday, which chided the government for its legal onslaught against the opposition and alleged the “systematic dismantling [of] democracy” in the Kingdom.

The report, titled Death Knell for Democracy, criticised the government for the sustained use of dubious legal cases against the Cambodia National Rescue Party, as well as targeting the opposition with legislative actions, such as lifting parliamentary immunity, and recent changes to the Law on Political Parties that enable the dissolution of parties whose leaders have criminal convictions.

The ministry’s statement dismissed the report, released by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), as factually inaccurate and based on “unfounded accusations”.

“The incredible assessment contained in APHR’s report reflects only the dark concept of a few individuals who have not let facts get in the way of making their wild allegations,” it said.

Despite questioning the report, the statement does not exactly point out inaccuracies or errors, only to state that the government was part of international human rights mechanisms and treaties.

Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

APHR’s chair Charles Santiago said he stood by the report as “fully sourced and fact-based”.

“The government’s wholesale rejection of the report is especially disappointing because it demonstrates their lack of ability to take constructive criticism or engage in measures to improve in areas where most, if not all, countries have room to improve,” he said via email.

Reacting to the Foreign Ministry’s condemnation of Santiago for not upholding an “ASEAN sacred principle” of non-interference, the APHR head pointedly noted that human rights and democracy were also ASEAN principles.

CNRP lawmaker and APHR member Mu Sochua said the government response was expected, but wondered how the ministry could question the report’s veracity. “

Did the two MPs get attacked outside parliament? Yes. Did they change the Law on Political Parties? Yes,” she said. “Were there legal cases against the opposition? Yes.”

Human Right Watch’s Phil Robertson, who was present at the launch of the report, was also slammed by the ministry.

Robertson yesterday characterised the criticism as “more of the same pathetic ‘shoot the messenger’ response that they invariably resort to”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese