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“As we near the elections scheduled for 29 July this year, our previous optimism has been replaced by deep concern about the recent serious decline of civil and political rights in Cambodia,” the statement reads.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 to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration