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Human Rights Council 36: Human Rights in Cambodia

This UK statement was delivered at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia on 27 September 2017.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The United Kingdom supports the earlier EU statement and thanks the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Rhona Smith, for her report.

The UK remains greatly concerned about the human rights situation in Cambodia. We share the Special Rapporteur’s concerns about the amendments to the Law on Political Parties and we urge the Government of Cambodia to ensure an environment conducive to the conduct of political activities by all political parties.

We are deeply concerned about the use of judicial proceedings against opposition leader Kem Sokha and other opposition politicians and NGO figures, in ways that appear to be politically motivated. Together with harsh restrictions on media outlets and NGOs, including the enforced closure of Cambodia Daily and the National Democratic Institute, these measures imperil multi-party democracy and free debate.

The UK urges the Government of Cambodia to build on the encouraging progress we saw at Cambodia’s nationwide elections, just over three months ago, by taking immediate steps to ensure that free, fair, and credible elections take place in July 2018. A democratic environment in which human rights are respected helps to create a stable society and thriving economy, and will aid investment in Cambodia. We encourage the Government of Cambodia to explore ways in which the international community can assist in implementing the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.

The UK would like to ask the Special Rapporteur: Given the threats and intimidation faced by human rights defenders in Cambodia, how do you minimise the risk of reprisals for those you meet from civil society during your country visits?

Published 27 September 2017