High Representative Mogherini met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to address the deterioration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. She underlined the need for the Cambodian government to reverse the current negative political trend and work towards an inclusive solution, especially important in the Everything But Arms context.She assured the Prime Minister of the European Union’s commitment and willingness to engage positively in support of a democratic and stable Cambodia, for the benefit of the Cambodian people.
BRUSSELS, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Cambodia failed on Friday to reassure the European Union it will address democratic and human right issues that have put its trade preferences with the bloc at risk, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after a summit with Asian leaders.
Mogherini held talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Brussels during the summit, but said she did not hear anything that would avoid trade sanctions threatened by the European Union.
“We discussed this, I cannot say that we found solutions to any of these issues,” Mogherini told a news conference.
I’m in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria, where we have had an informal Ministerial meeting today. The way forward as regards the much-needed reform of the World Trade Organisation was high on our agenda, as was our trade relationship with the United States.
But on a different topic, one that was mentioned at the press conference here today but worth outlining a bit more in detail – the EU’s response to the human rights situation in Myanmar and Cambodia, respectively.
In Myanmar, we have seen a deeply worrying and worsening situation for the Rohingya minority. A recent report from a United Nations fact-finding mission calls for the prosecution of top military leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity. The report describes indiscriminate killings, widespread rape by the military, assaulting of children, and the burning down of entire villages. The country’s leadership has repeatedly disregarded calls from the EU and the international community to put a stop to this.
In Cambodia, meanwhile, we are seeing very troubling developments with a clear deterioration of human rights and labour rights, without convincing improvements in sight. Our recent EU mission to the country demonstrated serious and systemic violations of, for instance, freedom of expression, labour rights and freedom of association. This comes on top of longstanding issues as regards workers’ rights and land-grabbing.
Both Cambodia and Myanmar benefit from the Everything But Arms arrangement, or EBA, which guarantees completely tariff-free access to the European market for all exports except for weapons and ammunition. However, this access is not without conditions. It comes with a responsibility to uphold and respect the values enshrined in 15 fundamental conventions of the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation.
As I have underlined many times as Commissioner for Trade, our EU trade policy must be led by our values. Accordingly, when we are faced with blatant disregard for those values, the EU must act.
Therefore, the European Commission and the European External Action Service will notify the Myanmar authorities of our intention to send an emergency, high-level EU mission to the country in the coming days to assess the situation on the ground. This high-level mission is within the framework of a potential withdrawal of Myanmar from the Everything But Arms arrangement. There is a clear possibility that a withdrawal could be the outcome.
With Cambodia, we are a step further in the process. Many of the issues here date back several years, and in some cases the country has gone backwards. The elections in July of this year – coming after our EU mission to the country – were marked by harassment and intimidation, as well as severe restrictions when it comes to essential political rights. Today, High Representative Federica Mogherini and I have therefore notified Cambodia that we are launching the process for the withdrawal of their Everything But Arms preferences. Without clear and evident improvements on the ground, this will lead to the suspending of the trade preferences that they currently enjoy.
Needless to say, we will keep our channels of dialogue with both countries open. There will be space for negotiation and dialogue with both countries throughout this process, and we will also keep EU Member States informed of the next steps.
We are not yet at the cliff edge and there is still time for Cambodia and Myanmar to draw themselves back from the brink. However, the consequences of the course that these countries are on are now clearly in sight.
HUN Sen enterre la Démocratie éphémère instaurée par la communauté internationale il y a bientôt 27 ans (avec la signature des accords de Paix de Paris du 23 Octobre 1991) et impose sa Dictature en organisant les élections pour la 6ème législature sans le principal parti d’Opposition, le CNRP !
Pour l’heure, les Etats-Unis, le Canada, l’Union Européenne et l’Australie ont condamné la tenue de ces élections qualifiées de truquées, lesquelles ne reflétant pas les vœux du Peuple cambodgien.
EU : Statement by the Spokesperson on the general elections in Cambodia
The 29 July general election in Cambodia took place in a highly restrictive political climate. Over the past year, the Cambodian authorities have used the country’s judicial system and other forms of pressure to restrict the space for political opposition, for criticism and dissent, including by civil society. This culminated in the enforced dissolution of the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), the arrest and prolonged detention of the CNRP’s leader, Kem Sokha, and the banning from political activity for five years of 118 senior CNRP members. Free and independent media have been severely restricted.
In its Conclusions of 26 February 2018, the EU Foreign Affairs Council underlined that an electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded is not legitimate.
In this context, the EU had declined to observe the 29 July election and suspended its financial assistance to the Cambodian National Election Committee.
The lack of genuine electoral competition and the absence of an inclusive political process mean that the 29 July election is not representative of the democratic will of the Cambodian electorate, and therefore its outcome lacks credibility.
The European Union expects the Cambodian authorities to restore democracy, to engage in dialogue with the opposition, and to create conditions conducive to free political debate and competition, in which the media and civil society, including human rights and labour rights defenders, can freely exercise their rights without undue restrictions. The EU stands ready to actively contribute to this endeavour.
White House Press Release on Cambodia’s Flawed Parlementary Elections
UK : Minister for Asia & the Pacific statement on Cambodia’s election
Statement by Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field following the election in Cambodia.
Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said:
The Cambodian national election was undermined by the authorities well before campaigning started and resulted in an election that was neither fair nor credible.
The potential for a legitimate, free and fair election was stymied when the main opposition party – the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved in November 2017. This was particularly disappointing following the more open Commune elections in June 2017.
The Cambodian authorities have demonstrated clear disregard for the key tenets of a functioning multi-party democracy. As well as the dissolution of the CNRP, examples include the imprisonment of CNRP President Kem Sokha, the banning of 118 CNRP members from politics for five years, and a crackdown on independent media.
There was no credible opposition party with the opportunity to challenge the Government. In a democracy, no government has the right to choose its opposition.
The UK will continue to urge the Cambodian Government to demonstrate its commitment to its citizens by lifting restrictions on political debate and media freedom and by creating the conditions for proper functioning democracy.
Germany : Statement by the Federal Foreign Office on the elections in Cambodia
The German Government has noted that the parliamentary elections in Cambodia were conducted peacefully.
However, that alone is not enough to lend the election results legitimacy, as the elections were preceded by the arrest of the leader of the largest opposition party in September 2017, the dissolving of the opposition party in November 2017 and a ban on 118 leading opposition politicians from engaging in political activity.
The German Government urgently calls on Cambodia to return to the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution and the Paris Peace Accords and is willing to support the country on its path to this.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has expressed New Zealand’s concern over Cambodia’s general elections in which the main opposition party was excluded.
“For Cambodia to have legitimate democracy it is essential that opposition voices can be heard. New Zealand calls on Prime Minister Hun Sen to reinstate the main opposition party and release all political prisoners, including opposition leader Kem Sokha,” Mr Peters said.
In the lead up to the elections, Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), and its leader Kem Sokha was imprisoned. Without the main opposition party participating, the election resulted in a landslide victory for the governing party.
“New Zealand is a long-standing partner of Cambodia and has invested considerable effort in supporting Cambodia’s UN-supervised transition to democracy in the early 1990s.
“We stand ready to work with Cambodian partners to restore its democratic institutions and processes to allow free and fair elections to be held,” he said.
Communiqué du Quai d’Orsay
Elections législatives au Cambodge (29 juillet 2018)
La France regrette que les élections législatives cambodgiennes se soient déroulées en l’absence du principal parti d’opposition (parti du salut national), dissous le 16 novembre 2017, tandis que son président, Kem Sokha, est incarcéré depuis le 3 septembre.
Ces élections se sont tenues dans un climat qui n’a pas permis à l’opposition, aux médias et à la société civile de fonctionner sans entrave.
Nous appelons à la libération de Kem Sokha et à la levée de l’interdiction faite à 118 membres du parti du salut national de mener pendant cinq ans des activités politiques.
Nous exhortons les autorités cambodgiennes à respecter les droits fondamentaux permettant de garantir un processus démocratique crédible.
This is by far the worst, least democratic election in the post-UNTAC (United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia) period, because the main opposition party was barred from participating,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), told DW. “This election is looking more like the Soviet-style elections of yesteryear than a genuine democratic contest,”
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said:“The EU is proud to provide the most economically vulnerable countries of the world with free access to our market. The Everything But Arms initiative has had a significant impact on development and poverty eradication in Cambodia. Nevertheless, the recent worrying developments in the country have called for a closer assessment of whether Cambodia is fulfilling its commitments. The discussions and information gathering during our EU mission have focused on the serious decline in the area of political and electoral rights, as well as a curbing of civil society activities. There are also deficiencies when it comes to land dispute resolution mechanisms, and serious threats to freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. In the trade policy of the European Union, social justice is a vital aspect, including the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and labour standards. Following the fact-finding mission, we will now analyse the facts in detail, and consider further steps.Removing Cambodia from the trade scheme is a measure of last resort, if all our other efforts have failed to address these concerns.”
Les conséquences de la politique suicidaire de HUN Sen
commencent à se faire sentir et
deviendront dévastatrices pour l’industrie
de vêtements et de chaussures qui exporte
plus de $6 milliards vers l’Union Européenne et
$3 milliards vers les Etats-Unis.
Les autres piliers de l’économie cambodgiennes
vont connaitre le même sort :
la Construction et le Tourisme !
IL EST TEMPS MAINTENANT
QUE LES INVESTISSEURS VÉREUX
RÉCUPÈRENT LEUR MISE ET
QUITTENT LE CAMBODGE AU PLUS VITE !
Communiqué de l’ EU : Cambodia: reverse the ban on the main opposition party
MEPs urge the Cambodian authorities to reverse their decision to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and ban 118 CNRP politicians from politics for five years. They also call for the release of CNRP leader Kem Sokha, arrested on 3 September. MEPs express concern about the general elections scheduled for July 2018, stressing that an electoral process from which the main opposition party has been excluded is not legitimate.
Cambodia currently benefits from EU’s preferential EBA (Everything But Arms) scheme, the most favourable regime available under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences. If Cambodian authorities do not respect fundamental rights, these tariff preferences must be temporarily withdrawn, say MEPs. They also ask the European External Action Service and the EU Commission to prepare a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia, with a view to imposing visa restrictions and asset freezes on them.
Chinese investment in Cambodia was close to $1 billion last year – vastly eclipsing all other nations – while Beijing also provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and multi-billion dollar infrastructure loans. More than 60 percent of Cambodia’s garment factories are Chinese owned.
11. Stresses that respect for fundamental human rights is a prerequisite for Cambodia to continue to benefit from the EU’s preferential EBA scheme; calls on the VP/HR and Commissioner Malmström to immediately review Cambodia’s obligations under the conventions in Article 19 of the EBA regulation; Emphasises that if Cambodia is acting in violation of its obligation under the EBA regulation, the tariff preferences it currently enjoys must be temporarily withdrawn;
12. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to prepare a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia with a view to imposing possible visa restrictions and asset freezes on them;
11. souligne que le respect des droits fondamentaux est une condition préalable pour que le Cambodge continue de bénéficier du régime préférentiel «Tout sauf les armes» de l’Union européenne; demande à la VP/HR et à la commissaire Malmström de réexaminer sans tarder les obligations du Cambodge au titre des conventions visées à l’article 19 du règlement sur l’initiative «Tout sauf les armes»; insiste pour que les préférences tarifaires dont bénéficie le Cambodge lui soient temporairement retirées tant qu’il ne se conformera pas à ses obligations au titre de ce règlement;
12. invite le SEAE et la Commission à dresser la liste des personnes responsables de la dissolution de l’opposition cambodgienne et des autres violations graves des droits de l’homme en vue de leur imposer, au besoin, des restrictions de visa et le gel de leurs avoirs;
The vice-chair of the European Union Subcommittee on Human Rights says her union needs to react “very soon” with concrete actions in response to what she characterized as the Cambodian government’s moves to dissolve the country’s main opposition party.
Targeted sanctions or even suspension of preferential access to Cambodia’s biggest export market are among the options the union must consider now, Lochbihler told VOA.
“In Cambodia they could say ‘yes, well we have the support of the Chinese government, why do we care about the EU?’” she said.
“But then if you look clearly, you can see that the EU is the biggest export market for Cambodia. So I think they take this into consideration, and also personally I think if the European Union would go a step further and put specific, targeted sanctions against individuals in the government, governments and representatives of governments are sensitive to this.”
Cambodia exported more than $5 billion worth of products in 2016 to the European Union, which gives the country preferential access to its markets under the Everything But Arms program.
Le Porte Parole du Ministère de l’Intérieur aurait reconnu que KEM Sokha possèdait l’Immunité parlementaire garantie par la Constitution. A ce titre il ne peut pas être arrêté. SAR Kheng, Ministre de l’Intérieur, aurait-il décidé de se démarquer de la ligne dure de HUN SEN ? (Lire l’article de Phnompenh Post ci-dessous)