Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians or the CEROC thank you very much all seven speakers and facilitator who contributed tremendously to the 30 Years Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreements. Your contributions shall be the knowledge, the compass and relentless struggles for rights, freedom and democracy of the younger generations of Cambodia.
UN Calls for End to ‘Punitive Measures’ Used Against Cambodian Environmental Activists
‘Human rights and environmental work are not criminal offenses,’ the UN says in a June 30 statement.2021-06-30
United Nations human rights and environmental officials called on Wednesday for an end to Cambodian authorities’ use of “punitive measures” against protectors of the country’s environment, following the arrests this month of four young environmental activists.
The four activists, members of the Cambodian environmental protection group Mother Nature, were arrested on June 16 after three of the group—Sun Ratha, Ly Chandaravuth, and Sith Chhivmeng—were arrested while filming the drainage of sewage into the Tonle Sap River in front of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace.
Separately, authorities in Kandal province arrested Mother Nature activist Yim Leang Hy at his hometown in the province’s Koh Thom district. Sith Chhivmeng was later released after 24 hours of questioning by police in Phnom Penh.
Sun Ratha, 26, and Yim Leang Hy, 32—have now been charged with conspiracy and with lèse-majesté, or insulting the king, and are being held in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar Prison awaiting trial.
The fourth youth activist arrested and now also held at Prey Sar—Ly Chandaravuth, 22—has been charged with plotting to topple Cambodia’s government.
The group could face between five to 10 years in prison on conviction. Mother Nature founder Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, now living outside Cambodia, also faces charges of conspiracy.
In a June 30 statement, Cynthia Veliko—Southeast Asia Representative for the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok—called on Cambodian authorities to end the use of the “punitive measures routinely leveled against human rights and environmental rights workers in Cambodia.”
“Human rights and environmental work are not criminal offenses,” Veliko said.
“We urge the authorities to ensure that human rights and civil society organizations in Cambodia can operate without fear or intimidation and that their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association are protected and respected.”
The world is now living in the midst of an environmental crisis, added Dechen Tsering, the UN Environment Programme’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, also writing in the June 30 statement.
“Civil society which peacefully advocates for the environment is a fundamental partner in addressing the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” Tsering said.
Cambodia rejects criticisms
Responding to the UN statement, Kata On—spokesperson for Cambodia’s official Human Rights Committee—rejected the statement’s concerns as the thoughts of individuals “whose opinions are not in the best interests of Cambodia.”
“But if these concerns are raised one day at the UN General Assembly or in meetings of the UN Human Rights Council, Cambodia will use the mechanisms [available to it] to defend its record on human rights,” Kata On said.
The concerns expressed in the UN statement are not subjective opinion, however, but the views of skilled UN staff working to fulfill their responsibilities, said Soeung Senkaruna, spokesperson for the Cambodian rights group ADHOC.
“These explanations by the Cambodian government have not won credibility with the international community in the past,” Soeung Senkaruna said.
“If Cambodia is concerned about losing its image on the world stage, or about getting respect on the world stage, it should accept findings like these and work to improve its record,” he said.
Ref: Your official visiting to the Kingdom of Cambodia, June 01, 2021
Objective: Cambodia’s Democracy has been fallen apart
CEROC is aware of your official visiting to the Kingdom of Cambodia this June
01, 2021; and this is identified as the most first senior visiting within
President Joe Biden mandate. Once, Mr. President said that “All human beings
should be treated with respect and dignity, and should be able to live without
fear no matter who they are or whom they love”.
half of Cambodian eligible voters were deprived by the extrajudicial Supreme
Court of Cambodia on 16 November 2017 ruled to dissolve the CNRP in a move Charles Santiago,
Chairman of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, called “the final
nail in the coffin for Cambodian democracy”. Then, today many democrats
and youth environmental activists have been jailed, living in hideout, under state’s
rigid surveillance, forced to live in exile, and threatening party deflection. As
the result of running a façade democracy, the National Election Committee (NEC)
in 2018, could trigger voters’ turnout and declared absolute victory for the
CPP controlling all Parliament Seats. Now, the media has been transformed into
the real party’s propaganda, like in many communist states’, to conceal the
power-abuses and violations of the National Constitution and the Paris Peace
Agreements 23 October 1991 by the elites. The wise, the technical, and the
educated, are put under the rug, typically silent, or could not speak up fearful
would like to implore your intuitive prowess to utilize all means to ensure
American value; the priceless human rights and democracy agenda, be the first
in the discussion table before China-US geopolitical rivalry and political
flip-flops of Hun Sen administration.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during the 26th International Conference on The Future of Asia on May 20. (Photo by Kai Fujii) Nikkei staff writers May 20, 2021 09:30 JST Updated on May 20, 2021 20:28 JST
TOKYO — Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his close relationship with China, pointing to Beijing’s large injections of financial support to his small nation.
China is Cambodia’s key political patron and largest source of development assistance, having helped funnel billions of dollars for infrastructure projects. This has fueled criticism that Phnom Penh has become over-reliant on, and a proxy for, Beijing. But Hun Sen, speaking remotely to Nikkei’s Future of Asia conference on Thursday, called that criticism “unjust.”
“If I don’t rely on China, who will I rely on? If I don’t ask China, who am I to ask?” Hun Sen said to the forum, held in Tokyo and online through Friday.
There have also been suggestions that Cambodia intends to host Chinese military assets at bases on its soil. Hun Sen reiterated previous denials that there were plans to do so at a naval base where the Chinese government is helping to expand facilities.
He pointed to Cambodia’s constitution, which prohibits foreign military bases within the country. He added that any country was welcome to send ships to Cambodia, a sentiment he echoed regarding development aid.
“We do not close the door to anyone in accepting assistance for building the country,” he said.
Hun Sen remained defiant about European Union trade sanctions imposed on the country last August.
Brussels partially suspended preferential access to the EU bloc for 20% of Cambodia’s exports, over what it called systemic human rights violations. The move was a blow for the country’s $10 billion garment manufacturing sector, which relies on the European market.
Among the EU concerns was the forced dissolution of Cambodia’s main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, which came close to winning a national election in 2013. Since the party’s dissolution in 2017, its leader has been charged with treason and senior members have fled abroad to avoid jail. More than 100 supporters have been hauled before courts in mass trials.
Hun Sen said the EU assessment “did not conform with reality” and claimed the existence of more than 20 small political parties was proof that Cambodia remained democratic. In almost the same breath, however, he noted some opponents must be “rehabilitated” in order to participate in politics.
He was dismissive of the impact of the EU’s preference withdrawal, saying it had been eclipsed by the “huge” economic fallout of the pandemic. Cambodia would not seek to overturn the decision, he added.
“We continue to export 20% of our goods to Europe by paying tariffs to them,” he said.
“But we cannot accept that our country cannot implement its own laws. An independent sovereign state has to implement its laws.”
With Cambodia battling an aggressive coronavirus outbreak, he also touched on the need to make COVID-19 vaccines easily available and eliminate restrictions on the movement of medical goods and services across borders.
“Asia needs to attach high priority and utmost importance to ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccines and medications are global public goods, which will be supplied and distributed upon humanitarian cause to every country, particularly the vulnerable ones,” he said.
Cambodia, which recorded fewer than 500 cases and no virus-linked deaths in 2020, is grappling with its worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began, recording more than 20,000 infections since February. Its health authorities are rushing to roll out a vaccine campaign and have delivered at least one shot to more than 2 million citizens.
While the country received some AstraZeneca stocks via the United Nations-backed COVAX program, the bulk of its vaccine supplies are from China, something Hun Sen emphasized.
“Without assistance from China,” he said, “maybe we will not have vaccines for our people.”
Reporting by Shaun Turton.
Read on for a full run-down of the first day’s speeches and discussions.