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Sweden worried over CNRP’s dissolution

Annika Ben David (right), Sweden’s ambassador for human rights, attends a meeting with Keo Remy, head of the government’s Cambodian Human Rights Committee, on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.
Annika Ben David (right), Sweden’s ambassador for human rights, attends a meeting with Keo Remy, head of the government’s Cambodian Human Rights Committee, on Wednesday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Sweden worried over CNRP’s dissolution

A Swedish diplomat yesterday warned that the potential dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party could lead the Scandinavian country to rethink its relationship with the Kingdom, though she didn’t detail which actions were on the table.

Annika Ben David, Sweden’s ambassador for human rights, yesterday concluded a visit to Cambodia that included a bilateral dialogue with the government, where she expressed deep concern at the unfolding political events in the country.

“I have stressed to the representatives of the government of Cambodia that should Cambodia National Rescue Party be dissolved, this will force my government to rethink our engagement in Cambodia,” she said, meeting journalists in Phnom Penh.

CNRP President Kem Sokha was arrested in early September for allegedly plotting an overthrow of the government, and as a result amendments have been passed by the National Assembly in the event that the Supreme Court approves the dissolution of the key opposition party, with the Senate expected to vote on these changes today.

“The international community just raises ideas and they cannot interfere into the internal affairs of Cambodia because Cambodia has its sovereignty, so they cannot interfere,” said Senate spokesman Mam Bunneang.

Last month, Swedish State Secretary for the International Development Cooperation, Ulrika Modéer, said that development aid to Cambodia was being reviewed and that no decision had been taken to cease its programmes in the country.

Ben David said that her findings would be conveyed to the Swedish government before it reaches a decision.

At the same time, at a session in Russia, the Inter-Parliamentary Union said it had deep concerns over repression and escalation of human rights violations against opposition members of parliament in Cambodia, and said it would send a fact-finding mission to the country soon.

“We are appalled at the lack of clear and convincing responses by the Cambodian authorities on these developments,” said Bernd Fabritius, vice president of the group’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, in a speech to the assembly.

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