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Kong Korm disappointed by UN rights envoy

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Kong Korm says Rhona Smith should not criticise the Kingdom’s judiciary. KT/Mai Vireak

Kong Korm, a former CNRP adviser, on Monday expressed disappointment over a statement made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia on her last day in the Kingdom.

“I really regret that Rhona Smith and some foreigners in the European Union and the United States overlook Cambodia’s courts, and have condemned the government over its legal measures,” Mr Korm said.

UN rights envoy Rhona Smith was in the Kingdom last week to follow up on the issue of human rights. Ms Smith met with government officials, rights activists and members of the diplomatic community.

During a press conference shortly before leaving the Kingdom, Ms Smith said she remained concerned about former members of the dissolved CNRP, and once again called for the release of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha, who is currently on bail under court supervision while facing treason charges.

She also said that she was aware of about 80 former CNRP members at the sub-national level who are facing intimidation.

Mr Korm also slammed former opposition party leader Sam Rainsy for calling on the people to oppose the government.

“We believe the Cambodian people have suffered, but we don’t want to see chaos and other tragedies,” he said. “Even normal people do not want to get involved with this politician.”

Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday concurred with Mr Korm’s comments.

“We do not support violence. I believe that we can solve the political issue without using violence,” Mr Chanrath said. “However, I think if the people get fed up with the current situation because of serious human rights violations, then they will stand up to demonstrate.”

Mr Chanrath said he believes the EU and the US will continue to demand for the restoration of political space and improvements made to the human rights situation in the Kingdom.

“I think they will continue upholding their previous stance,” he said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said Mr Rainsy could never return to the Kingdom.

“Before, he was pardoned by the King, but this time, there will be no pardon,” Mr Eysan said. “His return is illegal and the authorities will need to arrest him in accordance with a court warrant.”

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November 2017 after Mr Sokha was jailed on treason charges for allegedly colluding with the US to overthrow the government through a colour revolution.

A total of 118 of its senior officials were also banned from politics for five years, including Mr Korm and Mr Chanrath.

However, the government later paved the way for their return by amending the Law on Political Parties as a way to appease the EU.

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