PHNOM PENH, Oct. 10 (Phnom Penh Post / ANN): Cambodia’s Permanent Mission to the UN office in Geneva announced that a total of 22 foreign delegations were committed to the efforts, advances and achievements of the Kingdom in promoting and protecting human rights while nine others made critical comments on the civic and political space in the country.
According to the Mission’s October 8 press release, the recognition was given during an interactive dialogue between Vitit Muntarbhorn – the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia – and the delegations of 31 Member States on October 6 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The statement said that most of the 22 delegations congratulated Cambodia on the high rate of Covid-19 vaccinations for the population, the social protection systems for the poor and vulnerable, and the reopening of the school after a rush hour that gave priority to teachers and young people.
“Significant Advances in Human Development, GDP” [gross domestic product] Growth, higher literacy, lower maternal and infant mortality rates were also mentioned.
“Miscellaneous [member states] recognized initiatives to promote legal and judicial reform and to promote government CSOs [civil society organisation] Partnership, including efforts to change the LANGO and create a National Human Rights Institution, ”it said, referring to the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations.
The mission said only nine delegations had made critical comments about the civil and political space in Cambodia, including freedom of expression, association and assembly.
“Despite their complaints, most of them welcomed Cambodia’s continued collaboration with the Special Rapporteur and OHCHR, demonstrating the Kingdom’s commitment to human rights issues,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.
It found that even those who criticized Cambodia’s political and human rights situation recognize the country’s rapid vaccination campaign, economic growth and financial support programs for those affected by Covid-19, among others.
The mission rejected allegations of shrinking political and civil space, freedom of expression, association and assembly, saying there are currently nearly 6,000 CSOs in Cambodia.
The government even made efforts to change the LANGO, as suggested by some CSOs.
The government, she added, has also paved the way for former members of the opposition party who had been banned from politics for five years, 26 of whom have returned to the political arena. – Phnom Penh Post / ANN