Deep concern at arrests of Cambodian MPs and stifling of political opposition
Geneva, 18 July 2014
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is deeply concerned by the arrest of seven Cambodian opposition MPs on insurrection charges this week.
The Organization is calling for the immediate release of the MPs and for all charges to be dropped unless strong evidence is produced. IPU is also calling for political opposition to be allowed to have a free and unhampered voice in the country as part of any democratic society.
The seven MPs were arrested after a demonstration opposing the continued closure of the only protest site in the capital, Democracy Plaza, turned violent. The MPs and another politician arrested have also been accused of inciting the violence that led to many opposition supporters and security guards being injured.
IPU sources claim there is no evidence that any of the arrested were involved and that in fact opposition leaders have repeatedly called for non-violence. The case of the seven MPs has now been referred to IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians for follow-up action.
The Committee works to protect and seek redress for MPs from politically motivated attacks. Following the referral, it will investigate the case by taking into account information provided from both the authorities and the complainants.
The Organization deplores any kind of violence and is urging both sides in Cambodia to show restraint. IPU expects a fair and prompt investigation on the events leading to the violence to be carried out and for those responsible to be held accountable by an impartial and independent judiciary.
The Organization also underlines the right to freedom of assembly and association as fundamental cornerstones of democracy. IPU calls on the authorities to lift bans that contravene Cambodia’s international human rights obligations and prevent the national political opposition having a legitimate means to be politically active and to exercise their role in holding government to account.
“A vibrant political opposition is critical for all voices in society to be heard and included in political processes and decision-making,” says IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. “The political crisis in Cambodia has gone on too long. Both sides need to engage in a dialogue that will restore calm and political confidence.”
For further information, please contact Jemini Pandya, tel: +41 22 919 41 58 – email: email@example.com
Cambodia’s political crisis deepened yesterday as security forces arrested two more opposition lawmakers-elect from the Cambodia National Rescue Party and a judge summonsed the party’s deputy leader to appear in court for questioning.
Yesterday’s arrests brought the total number of detained opposition members to eight.