Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol addresses the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. Supplied
Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol addresses the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. Supplied

Joint UN statement condemns Cambodia's political ‘repression’

Updates here.

More than 40 countries condemned what they characterised as Cambodia's escalating repression of the political opposition, civil society and media in a joint statement presented on Wednesday during a session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement, delivered by New Zealand’s representative on behalf of 45 countries, raises concerns about the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and the forced dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party as well as about “a significant clampdown on the press and civil society across the country”.

“As we near the elections scheduled for 29 July this year, our previous optimism has been replaced by deep concern about the recent serious decline of civil and political rights in Cambodia,” the statement reads.

It calls for an inter-sessional briefing of the Human Rights Council ahead of the elections. “An electoral process from which the main democratic opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be considered genuine or legitimate,” it reads.

The 45 countries include Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US and the United Kingdom. No Southeast Asian countries were signatories.

Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the UN Ney Sam Ol criticised the statement in a response, rejecting all the group's concerns and accusing the council of being used as "a political tool to meddle in other State’s [sic] domestic affairs".

“Never before has it been like it is today; this Council has been dramatically politicized,” he says in a transcript of his remarks, arguing that the session under which the statement was read out did not have Cambodia on the agenda.

“It is not acceptable and it is not fair for Cambodia where the menu clearly mentions only sardine is to be served, but surprisingly tuna is put on the table, instead,” he said.

He goes on to say he “vehemently opposes” any suggestion of having an inter-sessional briefing on Cambodia, and characterises such a briefing as an effort by unnamed governments to bring about regime change.

“Therefore, Cambodia categorically dismisses this politically motivated statement, which bears ill intent to militate against Government’s effort in maintaining law and order, in fostering peace, stability and development for its people,” he said.

The Human Rights Council is scheduled to discuss Cambodia on Thursday afternoon.

Updates to come.

This version updates the number of signatories to 45.

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

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • 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