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PM says sanctions hinder progress

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks via video conference in the pre-recorded video. KT/Khem Sovannara

Prime Minister Hun Sen is due on Saturday to emphasise the key role of “multilateralism for global peace” as well as the emerging “unilateral sanction” being a threat to  international law at the United Nations General Assembly.

His speech will be made this week as the government has faced mounting pressure from the west over an alleged setback of democracy and human rights abuse.

Prior to the 75th Session of UNGA, Mr Hun Sen said at the High-Level Meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN in a pre-record on Monday: “Developing nations” often become the target of punishment by developed countries.”

The Cambodian delegation is participating in the 75th Session of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) under the theme: “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism—confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateralism action” from Tuesday to September 29, being held in New York via video conference.

Mr Hun Sen’s Saturday statement will centre on the impact of COVID-19 on global socio-economic development and exploration of ways and means for post-COVID-19 economic recovery and the essence of multilateralism for global peace and prosperity, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry said Mr Hun Sen will touch on the “emerging unilateral sanctions as a threat to the international law; climate change and terrorism issues; and Cambodia’s achievement on socio-economic development through promoting and maintaining national peace and sovereignty.”

In his Monday speech, Mr Hun Sen said the mechanism of multilateralism came under severe assault, especially due to the nationalism and protectionism undertaken by some global superpowers.

“Instead of receiving support, developing nations often become the target of punishment for their imperfect nation-building process that does not meet the standards of developed countries, while their limited capacity to protect fundamental human rights, such as rights to peace, life, food, shelter, and jobs, has been always insufficient,” he said without specifying any countries.

In August, the European Union announced its official decision to partially withdraw the Kingdom’s Everything-but-Arms trade status to the 27-nation bloc for alleged serious and systematic violations of the human rights principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

US lawmakers last year also made a move to introduce the Cambodian Trade Act 2019 in order to request the administration of President Donald Trump to review the Kingdom’s Generalised System of Preferences status.

Mr Hun Sen said punishment has contributed to severely “destroying national restoration and development efforts” of poor countries due to the politicisation of human rights in accordance with the geopolitical agenda of some developed countries.”

“Superpower rivalry has also hampered developing countries’ self-determination in terms of making independent and sovereign choices for development paths as well as choice for friendly partners for peace and development,” he added.

“I am of the view that this is the real obstacle for developing nations to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda on top of the pressing challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and its eventual socio-economic impacts,” Mr Hun Sen added.

The United Nations has set the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainaable Development Goals. The Agenda is a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 world-wide, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Mr Hun Sen said the Kingdom recognises the central role of multilateralism in addressing complex global challenges.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday appealed for global solidarity at the General Assembly.

“In an interconnected world, it is high time to recognise a simple truth: solidarity is self-interest. If we fail to grasp that fact, everyone loses,” he said.

Guterres urged all UN’s 193 Member States to move forward in humility and unity in the face of the virus.

“We must be guided by science and tethered to reality”, he said. “Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse.”

Kin Phea, director-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said yesterday that the Kingdom faces global challenges, including traditional and non-traditional security issues, especially COVID-19.

“So joint efforts with international cooperation are very important to address these issues. At the same time, multilateralism and rule-based orders are also very important for global peace, stability and peaceful growth,” he said. “All countries, big and small, must respect each other and should have their rights to make their own choices and model towards development.”

Phea said any unilateral sanction is hampering the implementation of the international law.

“Some big countries apply sanctions as a tool to pressure other countries to achieve their political agenda,” he added. “So it is important that all countries should say no to unilateralism and protectionism. They should uphold the multilateralism, rule-based order, values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom to build a new type of international relations.”

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