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Democracy should not be hijacked, UN told

Khmer Times Staff / Khmer Times Share:
Rhona Smith with Cambodian delegates in Geneva.

Any calls to release a person under judicial proceeding is unlawful and outside of the mandate given to the Special Rapporteur, of the UN on the Human Rights in Cambodia, Professor Rhona Smith.

The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva in a statement, obtained by Khmer Times late Thursday said that the while report on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia reflected the country’s achievements, some recommendations which are out of the mandate of the report, such as a call to release a person under judicial proceeding were not appropriate and does not do justice to the country.

“We appreciate the insightful comments made on the promotion and protection of human rights in Cambodia. However, we found that the Report fails to comprehensively mirror the whole picture of Cambodia.

Cambodian delegates putting their case in defence of the country’s soverignity.

“All political parties and individuals are entitled to freely conduct their political rights in accordance with existing laws and regulations. However, incitement, act of treason, or call for a coup to topple a legitimately elected government is not political rights.”

The statement added that democracy should not be extorted or hijacked by any individual or group for their ill political goal. Justice must be done through legal instruments under the purview of judicial authority.

It went to add that the Human Rights Council should not be used to launch political propaganda for the benefit of one group or political party at the expense of others. Human rights should not be politicized. It should be applied in a fair and impartial manner.

“It is ironic where Cambodia is requested to strengthen democracy, human rights and rule of law but when relevant authorities enforce the law, we are accused of restricting rights to freedom of expression. In fact, one should execute one owns rights with full respect of others. Political rhetoric with incitement, violence and call for a coup against legitimately elected government is not political rights nor freedom of expression.

“A person is found guilty not because of who he is but for what offence he has committed. Citizens are equally treated before the law regardless of their political affiliation whether they are members of the ruling or opposition party. However, for some countries and stakeholders, law enforcement in Cambodia is presumed guilty, when it comes to legal action taken against individuals or groups subservient to their political agenda, the Cambodian representative’s office said.

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