STATEMENT of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in response to the unfounded accusations contained in a report on democracy and human rights in Cambodia issued on 20 March 2017.

In response to the unfounded accusations contained in a report on democracy and human rights in Cambodia issued on 20 March 2017 by the self-presented ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation wishes to set the record straight and provide the actual facts as follows:

  1. The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
  • APHR is only a small group of several current and former parliamentarians from ASEAN-member countries and has not been recognized as an entity associated with ASEAN.
  • The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) is the sole ASEAN’s legislative body while the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is the ASEAN’s official entity dealing with the Human Rights issue in ASEAN-member countries.
  • The APHR’s views do not reflect the ASEAN’s perception. The report on Cambodia’s democracy and human rights released on 20 March 2017 by APHR does not by no means represent the assessment by ASEAN.
  1. The Outrageous Assessment by APHR
  • The incredible assessment contained in APHR’s report reflects only the dark concept of a few individuals who have not let facts gets in the way of making their wild allegations.
  • The involvement of Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch-a well-known person by his anti-Cambodian Government rhetoric- proves the pre-determined goal of APHR’s assessment.
  1. Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law in Cambodia
  • Since its 1st mandate, the Royal Government of Cambodia has made great efforts in protecting and promoting the democracy, human rights and rule of law in Cambodia.
  • With its firm commitments to uphold democracy and human rights as enshrined in Constitution, the Royal Government of Cambodia has employed a wide range of mechanisms such as the continued presence of Special Rapporteur, UN Human Rights Office, Universal Periodic Review (UPR), nation-wide operation of hundreds of foreign and local NGOs, civil societies, social media, radio frequencies and so on, all of which can play both monitoring and advisory roles on the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy in Cambodia.
  • Cambodia has accepted and ratified International Convention, Covenants, Treaties and Protocols related to human rights matters (A State Parties to 11 core human rights instruments). The core and fundamental principles of human rights have been enshrined in the Charter III, form Art. 31 to 50 of Cambodia’s Constitution.
  • Based on the hard-earned peace and political stability, the Royal Government of Cambodia has embarked upon several reforms and development programs in order to build an efficient and responsive public administration, to enhance public credibility of the electoral, legal and judicial system, and to promote good governance, vibrant democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law.
  • Nothing in the amended Law on Political Parties is threatening the fabric of a multi-party system set up by the Constitution. As in all democratic countries, the amended law is aimed at preventing abuses that are not in accordance with fundamental democratic principles such as incitation to racial hate, defamation, destruction of the social fabric of the nation. It is the inviolable duty of the Royal Government to protect the sanctity of its existing institutions.
  1. Respect of ASEAN Principle
  • More importantly, it is necessary to remind Mr. Charles Santiago, who is a parliamentarian of Malaysia and chairman of this group, to fully respect the ASEAN sacred principle of “non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States” as stated in Article 2 of the ASEAN charter.

 Phnom Penh, 22 March 2017