Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom, Japan hold rights dialogue

Kingdom, Japan hold rights dialogue

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CHRC President Keo Remy shakes hands with Masato Otaka, Deputy Assistant Minister of the Foreign Policy Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. fresh news

Kingdom, Japan hold rights dialogue

The 10th Japan-Kingdom of Cambodia Human Rights Dialogue was held in Phnom Penh on Tuesday at the office of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC).

CHRC President Keo Remy said after the meeting that he and the Japanese team – led by Masato Otaka, Ambassador in charge of UN Affairs and Deputy Assistant Minister of the Foreign Policy Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – discussed human rights issues in the Kingdom.

Remy said Otaka raised concerns with regards to the Supreme Court’s 2017 dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the ongoing house-arrest of CNRP President Kem Sokha on charges of treason, and the 2016 murder of political analyst Kem Ley.

Remy said he responded to Otaka’s concerns by stating that each case was handled under Cambodian law.

He said he told Otaka that Cambodia was committed to protecting the peace, security, stability and political and social order as the country attempted to move into upper-middle-income country status by 2030.

“Otaka raised the dissolution of the CNRP, Kem Sokha, Kem Ley, freedom of expression and the assembly of civil society groups. We told him the reasons for each action in reference to legal enforcement by the court,” Remy said.

He continued that he appreciated Japan’s reporting on the Kingdom’s human rights situation, saying it was “balanced” and “reflected the truth about Cambodia”.

“I told Otaka that Japan should support the good actions that Cambodia has taken. We accepted that we still have some points to improve on, and we will try better,” he said

The Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday issued a press release saying both countries had exchanged views on human rights issues, including freedom of political activity, expression, assembly and association, as well as judicial independence.

The statement also said the two countries had fruitful discussions on Japan’s capacity building and development assistance to Cambodia.

Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, said it was not only Japan that had raised concerns about

the human rights situation in Cambodia, but other countries too.

“The issues they raised were to make Cambodia think twice, but we have seen that the government did not accept their recommendations. Instead, it rejected the concerns and claimed that it was legal enforcement in Cambodia.

“There is nothing that can’t be solved. If we keep pushing our country deeper [into rights abuses], it will affect the economy,” he said.

Chanrath said even though Japan had shown restraint in its criticism, it did not mean that the issues were of any less importance.

He said it was right for politicians to soften their stance towards each other to solve problems, rather than ask for help from the outside.

Chak Sopheap, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) director, said she welcomed Japan’s interest and enthusiasm in raising human rights issues with the government.

But she said the process could be further improved with a more transparent and participatory approach, including more regular dialogues with human rights communities.

She said Japan, as one of the signatories to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements and a facilitator of a 2018 UN Human Rights Council resolution on Cambodia, should further assist to bring about greater respect for human rights in the Kingdom.

“Japan must go beyond providing infrastructure and human resources support, to actively advocate for an end to human rights violations in Cambodia,” she said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the Japanese delegation would now have a better understanding of Cambodian laws and whether they adhered to international norms and standards.

He said this knowledge would help Japan develop an appropriate approach to help normalise ongoing difficult relations between Cambodia, the EU and the US over what the West regards as a deterioration of human rights in Cambodia.

“The timing [of this meeting] is not altogether inappropriate when the EU and the US have respectively appointed their new ambassadors to Cambodia, and the issue of the alleged Chinese military installation being allowed to be built on Cambodia’s territory has sucked Cambodia into the quagmire of the Sino-American conflict,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group