I have the honor to read this statement on behalf of a group of 36 states including: Albania, Australia, Canada, Japan, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, the 28 EU member states, and the United States.
We note Cambodia’s commitment in its constitution to preserve and defend “a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law.” We recognize Cambodia’s history of cooperation with UN mechanisms and its international human rights commitments and obligations, as demonstrated by its support of the establishment of an OHCHR office in the country and by the ratification of a number of international human rights conventions. We encourage the Cambodian Government to renew its Memorandum of Understanding with OHCHR. We also recognize the steps taken by Cambodia, in response to widespread citizen concerns about the 2013 elections, to initiate reforms of the National Election Committee, voter registry and elections procedures.
Despite these positive steps, we note the concerns expressed by several Special Rapporteurs earlier this year about new impediments to the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly,and the right to freedom of association. We support their call on Cambodian authorities “to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and civil society, which play a critical role in holding the Government to account and bringing benefits of human rights to the whole of Cambodian society.” We also share the Secretary-General’s desire for the Government of Cambodia to resume political dialogueand to “ensure full respect for human rights, including the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.