CHRC responds to recent human rights criticisms

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The CHRC issued a press release calling recent allegations by some civil society organisations biased. Hong Menea

The Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) on Wednesday issued a press release on the situation of human rights, the implementation of democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia.

The CHRC said democracy had joint principles, but its implementation is flexible and varies according to the context and values of each country because each nation puts its national interests first.

In the seven-page press release, the CHRC highlighted the updates of the situation of human rights, the implementation of the law, the promotion of democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia. The press release also responded to what the CHRC deemed biased and groundless criticisms and allegations by some civil society organisations (CSOs), which it said ‘have political tendency against the government’.

“Democracy has a joint principle but does not have a joint standard requiring all countries to implement it the same way. Its implementation must be flexible and varied according to the context and values of each country and region because [each country] put its national interests first,” it said.

“So, the ideal, just, fair, comprehensive and impartial evaluation of the situation of democracy and human rights in a country is to be also made based on a joint principle as well as the context and values of the country and region. [The situation] must not be evaluated focusing on any one right while the progress of exercising other rights is forgotten.”

The CHRC highlighted the implementation of the law to combat against illegal activities including measures against protests to pressure courts, comments on border affairs and biased and incomprehensive reporting of the human rights situation to the UN.

The CHRC also mentioned measures by some foreigners and international institutions that interfered in the internal affairs of Cambodia.

Last year, the US announced sanctions on some Cambodian officials after it accused them of being involved with human right violations. The US also recently announced sanctions on a private company in Cambodia.

The CHRC said: “It clearly showed the loss of international order and anarchy of international politics recently. That a State can prepare laws arbitrarily and unilaterally, interfere in internal affairs of other States under a pretext of democracy and human rights as well as apply sanctions on other States, leaders and private enterprises without going through mechanisms of the UN is a political benefit rather than for human rights reasons.”

The CHRC said Cambodia knew that measures by an unnamed country and other international institutions were biased, unjust and used double standards. The measures were politically motivated. They used democracy and human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of Cambodia, it said.

However, Cambodia will continue to cooperate with all international mechanisms and relevant sides, it added.

CHRC spokesman Chin Malin said on Wednesday that the press release showed the reality of the human rights situation in Cambodia and responded to CSOs which have always accused the government of violating human rights. The press release also responded to the secretary-general of the UN who presented the human rights situation based on reports by anti-government CSOs.

Democratic Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said the CHRC and the government should not have considered CSOs that work on human rights as enemies or anti-government parties because, in a democratic society, expressions of views are allowed and sometimes differ.

“Hence, the government should not have considered the views of civil society organisations that are partners in developing the country as enemies or an opposition group. [The government] should consider the voices of civil society organisations as feedback.

“The feedback serves as information improving service provision work or governance. It is hoped that the work of the government and service provisions for citizens improve in their quality and effectiveness,” he said.