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PM slams politicising of COVID-19 in UNGA meeting

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen addressing the UNGA via videoconference today. KT/Khem Sovannra

Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday called for joint international action to combat COVID-19 and criticised countries that “politicise” the ongoing pandemic in a United Nations General Assembly meeting.

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In his keynote address to the 31st Extraordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly on “Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic”, held in New York via videoconference, Mr Hun Sen said the fight against COVID-19, which has globally infected more than 65 million people and claimed around 1.5 million lives, shouldn’t be used by any country to further its own geo-political agenda.

“While the lives of millions of people around the world are at risk, no country should politicise [COVID-19] and denounce the ability to contain the spread of this infectious disease as it would not add any benefit to the fight against this pandemic,” he said.

“In addition, the fight against this global pandemic requires joint prudent decision-making, under the framework of multilateralism, by respecting international laws and the sovereignty of each individual nation, regardless of its size or wealth, with the United Nations and World Health Organization as the core agencies,” Mr Hun Sen added.

He also underlined Cambodia’s full support to list the COVID-19 vaccine as one of the global public goods and the participate in the initiative of the UN Secretary-General’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Trust Fund, which was launched earlier this year.

Since the outbreak and ongoing spread of COVID-19 in Cambodia, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and several Western countries have criticised Camboda for causing “shrinking civic space and continued political tension” as rights groups have reported a number of cases related to the arrests of activists and individuals allegedly spreading fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, officials including An Sokkhoeurn, Cambodia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, have defended the government’s action, saying that Cambodia’s response to COVID-19 is in line with WHO guidelines.

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