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Prak Sokhonn exposes double standards of critics

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn is in Geneva to defend the Kingdom. MoFA

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn on Monday told an international human rights conference that government critics rarely denounce tactics of opposition leaders, which are blatant violations of values of democracy and human rights.

Speaking at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Sokhonn also pointed out that in many cases, serious violations of laws in Western countries are not even “mentioned”, let alone criticised.

Mr Sokhonn is leading a delegation to attend the High Level Segment of the 40th Session of Human Rights Council at the UN Headquarters and defend the Kingdom’s human rights record.

He told council members that Cambodia has attained a lower middle-income country status largely because of the peace secured by Prime Minister Hun Sen under his national reconciliatory win-win policy.

Mr Sokhonn said the economy grew at an impressive rate of seven percent in the last two decades, making the country the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world, while poverty rate has dramatically been reduced to less than ten percent.

He said the Kingdom is also contributing to UN peacekeeping missions, deploying nearly 6,000 troops to eight countries in Africa and the Middle East since 2006.

“Unfortunately, all these achievements, and many more of them, were hardly reflected in the various reports submitted to this Council and, as a result, criticisms quite prejudicial of our government continue unabated on the basis of partial and biased information.” Mr Sokhonn said. “Their information is generated from practically the same sources: the political opposition and some local or foreign NGOs driven by their own political agenda.”

He said the reports rarely denounce a political opposition’s practices that, for all intent and purposes, are in blatant violation of the values underlying democracy and human rights.

“Serious violations of laws that are identical to those found in Western countries are not even mentioned,” Mr Sokhonn said. “I can cite, for your reference, violations of the ban on foreign financing of political parties, violation of the law on associations, refusal to comply with our codes the provisions of which were drafted with the assistance of Western academics.”

“Without fail, these reports referred to our court decisions as ‘politically motivated’, whereas they are the same as those rendered by Western jurisdictions, based on similar facts and in similar circumstances. That’s how we’re being treated,” he said.

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