Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN report highlights escalation of tensions in Cambodia

UN report highlights escalation of tensions in Cambodia

Manabu Horii, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Manabu Horii says Japan will closely monitor the situation in Cambodia. UN Web TV
Manabu Horii, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Manabu Horii says Japan will closely monitor the situation in Cambodia. UN Web TV

UN report highlights escalation of tensions in Cambodia

Shrinking political and civic space in the Kingdom is highlighted in a new report from the United Nations’ human rights commissioner and secretary-general ahead of a UN Human Rights Council discussion this month on Cambodia.

The report, signed on February 2 and published on Monday, covers a reporting period by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia from the start of July 2017 until the end of the year.

“The reporting period witnessed a continued escalation in political tensions and curtailment of civic space,” they write.

This escalation, they write, included the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha in September and the dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party, as well as the the intimidation of other politicians and civil society members.

“Some former members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party informed OHCHR that they were being intimidated by the police, with some threatened with arrest,” the report reads. “OHCHR has received a greater number of reports of intimidation of civil society organisations, and resulting fear among their staff.”

Cambodia is scheduled as the topic of a session at the Human Rights Council on March 21, where the report will be presented.

During a segment last week at the Human Rights Council, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Manabu Horii also briefly addressed the situation in the Kingdom.

“In Cambodia, it is vital to conduct general elections this July in a way that appropriately reflects the will of the people,” he said. “Japan will watch the situation with great interest and continue to reach out to the Cambodian government, as necessary. Going forward, Japan will consistently strive to establish fundamental values, such as human rights, and the rule of law, in the region.”

Japan has continued to provide election funding for the national ballot, even after the European Union and United States have pulled their assistance.

During the same meeting, the United Kingdom’s Tariq Ahmad, the minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, warned Southeast Asia’s economic growth “could be put at risk if political and civil space is eroded”, pointing to the dissolution of the CNRP and other regional developments.

“We hope that Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia will enable free discussion and open political debate in the run-up to their elections, which will demonstrate that democracy in the region is alive and well,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the concerns, however, saying that “the Cambodian part has enough proof to explain [the arrest of Sokha] and the dissolution” of the CNRP.

He directed further questions to Keo Remy of the government’s Cambodian Human Rights Committee, who did not comment as of press time.

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara