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Cambodian National Assembly Rejects European Parliament Resolution on Crackdown of Political Opposition

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PHNOM PENH: The National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia has released a statement saying it “categorically rejects” the European Parliament’s Resolution on “the continuous crackdown of political opposition in Cambodia,” which it adopted on 5 May 2022. 

The statement lists 13 points on why the National Assembly rejects the Resolution, including a reference to the UN Charter and the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) which dictates Cambodia’s sovereign status and right to self-determination, “which shall not be violated.” 

The statement criticizes the Resolution for being “misleading, biased, politicized, one-sided, and totally disrespectful of a sovereign state,” and deliberately ignorant of progress made in human rights and democratic reforms in the country, as well as for having a narrow definition of democracy and human rights.

The National Assembly dismisses the European Parliament’s grievance over Cambodia’s single-party rule, saying it is unwarranted as “the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) was elected democratically and constitutionally by the people of Cambodia.” The National Assembly outline some of the points of progress made in the exercise of democracy in the Kingdom, including new measures introduced for a “free, fair, orderly, peaceful and transparent communal election in June,” and amendments made on Cambodia’s Law on Political Parties.

The statement emphasizes that Cambodia is fully committed to protecting and promoting human rights and democracy under the Constitution, and underlines that the trial of former opposition leader, Kem Sokha, “has always been transparent and participatory.”

The National Assembly calls on the EU to “refrain from applying double standards when it comes to transparency and accountability,” say “The European Parliament should instead focus on addressing issues often disguised as a form of freedom of expression from certain leftist and populist political groups,” and urge the European Parliament “to view Cambodia’s human rights and democracy objectively,” while taking into account national and historical context.

Finally, the National Assembly calls for “genuine cooperation without any hidden agenda from the European Parliament,” saying that Cambodia is ready to work together to enhance Cambodia-EU relations, ASEAN-EU strategic partnership, strengthen multilateralism and tackle common challenges, under principles of equal sovereignty and independence.

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