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UN urges Cambodia to uphold human rights as stipulated in Constitution

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Fri, September 25, 2020

PHNOM PENH – Amid countrywide celebrations of Constitutional Day yesterday, the UN released a statement urging the Kingdom to adhere to human rights and liberal multi-party democracy.

The statement said: “The UN encourages Cambodia to uphold and respect human rights enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of human rights, international treaties as well as and liberal multi-party democracy as recognised and stipulated in its Constitution.”

The statement follows comments from the spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, who said in a statement on September 11 that the current situation within Cambodia is evident of deepening government intolerance of dissent, which has meant repression of the rights of the people in freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The statement said it is mainly directed at human rights organisations, environmentalists and human rights defenders.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin responded to the statement yesterday, explaining that for the past 27 years Cambodia has consistently applied all the modern fundamental principles of democracy as enshrined in the Cambodian Constitution, including rights, freedoms, free and fair democratic elections, the separation of powers and the rule of law.

“The UN message is nothing new. It always sends such a message to all UN state members, not just Cambodia. It always encourages its members to make efforts to improve human rights and democracy,” he said.

“UN thinks that no countries have the perfect application of human rights and democracy, and the UN does not have a mechanism to sanction against the matter,” Malin said. “The UN only encourages member states to make an effort to improve the situation.”

“We have always endeavored to apply the UN’s recommendations and we will continue to do so,” he said.

The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan told Khmer Times yesterday the government has accurately followed the constitution, which has in turn ensured peace in the Kingdom.

“Due to proper application of the constitution, we have gained peace alongside political and national development,” he said.

“If we didn’t rightly apply the constitution, there would be no political stability and the people would not be living in peace,” he added.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy President Pa Chanroeun said yesterday that despite the numerous amendments over the last 27 years, he still considers the Kingdom’s Constitution a landmark achievement which has helped build the foundations of the nation and is a guideline for Cambodian politics.

“Not only I, as a scholar on democracy, but also many others have witnessed that the implementation of fundamental principles, such as multiparty democratic concepts and the respect of basic human rights, have been so far limited. Studies to support this have been conducted by famous international institutes when evaluating the degree of democracy in Cambodia,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote in a Facebook post yesterday that the Constitution Day in 1993 is when Cambodia returned to the “Kingdom of Cambodia” again.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin wrote in a Facebook post yesterday that the Constitution is the foundation of political stability, legal and institutional frameworks on multiparty liberal democracy as well as the rule of law. He said it has allowed the Kingdom to achieve peace, progress, stability and prosperity.

“Over the past 27 years, the National Assembly has fulfilled its role in accordance with the Constitution, he said. It has passed 575 laws to meet the needs of society regarding politics, society, economy, trade and commerce and international relations,” he added.

“Let’s continue to respect, protect and abide by the Constitution in order to build and promote the rule of law, ensuring peace, development and prosperity in the future,” Samrin said.

Source: Khmer Times Fri, September 25, 2020

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