Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC hits out at NGOs over vote observation




NEC hits out at NGOs over vote observation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
NEC officials addressed stakeholders at a press conference yesterday. Pha Lina

NEC hits out at NGOs over vote observation

The NEC criticised two NGOs on Thursday, in a pre-emptive move in case they issue statements about the upcoming national elections without sending observers, even while one of the accused organisations vowed to send unofficial monitors.

Addressing stakeholders at a press conference, NEC officials called out Comfrel and Nicfec, two entities whose missions relate to free and fair elections, over their refusal to send official monitors to observe voting.

Nicfec on Wednesday joined Comfrel in deciding not to register poll observers, citing a lack of volunteers resulting from, they say, fear of being accused of being part of a colour revolution or rebel groups.

The NEC’s spokesperson questioned any future statements from Comfrel or Nicfec saying, “if they do not go to observe the election, what can they put in their statement?”

He added that the absence of observers from the two watchdogs would not have any effect on the election or other NEC operations.

“Many organisations will be sending thousands of people,” Puthea said. “Higher Education Community alone, for example, said it will send its observers to all the polling places, which cost them about $200,000.”

Sam Kuntheamy, director of Nicfec, said although his NGO will not send observers to the election, it would keep observing it unofficially and educate people about the election.

“But we will not release any report or assessment,” he said, adding he would send informal observers to about 100 polling places.

“If they [observers] notice any irregularity during the campaign, we will report to the NEC to take action.”

Kuntheamy said he was not worried about his organisation breaking the law, as it was working on educating the Cambodian people about the election as well as training the staff of other organisations in proper observation.

Comfrel officials could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but Kuntheamy said Comfrel’s planning is “similar” to that of his organisation.

Kieu Sopheak, spokesperson from the Ministry of Interior, said his ministry would cooperate with NEC to take action if NGOs put out misinformed statements.

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is currently the leader of the Cambodian National Rescue Movement, responded to the statements by echoing the concerns of United Nations Special Rapporteur to Cambodia Rhona Smith: “No election can be genuine if the main opposition party is barred from taking part.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM slams HRW ‘double standards’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has chided Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Brad Adams for keeping quiet over protest crackdowns in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Addressing reporters while inspecting infrastructure development in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday,

  • Bank robber of $6M asks to be released

    An accused bank robber who admitted to stealing $6 million has asked the Supreme Court to release him temporarily because he had returned the money. In a court hearing on Tuesday Chan Simuntha, 39, told the judge that on January 18, his wife Teang Vathanaknearyroth told him that

  • WHO: Antibiotics cause more deaths

    Increased antibiotics use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming

  • Children in poverty said to rise by 86M

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children warned that if urgent measures are not taken, the number of children living in poverty across low- and middle-income countries could increase by 86 million, a 15 per cent jump, by the end of the year. In

  • Four more Cambodian peacekeepers get Covid-19 in Mali

    Four more Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeepers in Mali have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Cambodian UN peacekeepers to 10. National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Tuesday

  • Huge tracks of undocumented land a concern for registration officials

    Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith expressed concern that land registration plans for residents scheduled to be completed by late 2021 could not be achieved because 80 per cent of the land had not been registered. Land dispute issues are a major factor that poses a