Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries.
He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’ self-determination.
Hun Sen made the remarks as the UN marked its 75th anniversary under the theme The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.
He said after the devastation of World War II, world leaders said the use of an “international mechanism for the promotion of economic and social advancement of all peoples” was an essential means of securing peace, upholding human rights and ensuring social progress.
While the vision was still relevant, Hun Sen said the “international mechanism” and the commitment to it were imperilled and in need of serious attention.
Multilateralism has come under severe assault, especially due to the nationalist and protectionist undertakings of some global superpowers, he said.
“Instead of receiving support, developing nations often become the targets of punishment for their imperfections in the nation-building process which do not meet the standards of developed countries.
“Their [developing nations] limited capacity to protect fundamental human rights such as the rights to peace, life, food, shelter, and jobs, has always been insufficient.
“This is a significant factor that has contributed to severely destroying national restoration and development efforts of poor countries due to the politicisation of human rights as per the geopolitical agendas of some developed countries,” Hun Sen said.
He said superpower rivalries had hampered developing countries’ self-determination in terms of their ability to make independent and sovereign choices for their development paths as well as choose friendly partners for fostering peace and development.
“I am of the view that this is the real obstacle for developing nations to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 [UN] Agenda on top of the pressing challenges posed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its eventual socio-economic impacts,” he said.
Member states, he said, must come in line with the provisions of the Declaration on the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the UN adopted for this meeting.
He said the success of the implementation of the ambitious goals that are adopted would pave the way for future generations to live in prosperous, inclusive and harmonious societies.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia said Hun Sen’s remarks reflected the reality of practices by some superpowers in some developing countries like Cambodia.
He noted that some superpowers had used human rights and democracy as a tool to smear and attack developing countries, in addition to their trade measures such as the suspension of preferential trade agreements.
“Like in Cambodia, when we have a good relationship with China, who provides us with economic and political benefits and trade strategies, we see some western countries like the US and the European Union take measures to sour the China-Cambodia relationship.
“They pull us away from our foreign policy line, which serves the interest of our people and the nation. They want us to follow the line of their political agenda that they made for the sake of their geopolitical influence,” he said.
Phea said the suspension of 20 per cent of the Everything But Arms scheme by the EU and the recent sanctions levied against a private company by the US would hamper the pace of Cambodia’s development.
It would make it harder, he said, to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and 2050.