Professor Subedi delivers annual statement on Cambodian human rights
Professor Surya Subedi, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, delivers his annual statement to the UN Human Rights Council.
Professor Surya Subedi delivered his annual statement on the situation of human rights in Cambodia to the UN Human Rights Council on 24 September 2014. He also participated in an interactive dialogue session responding to questions from the floor from ambassadors and diplomats from different countries and civil society representatives.
Outlining his work in the country Professor Subedi stated that he was pleased that the situation in Cambodia had changed a great deal in the recent past and the leaders of the ruling party and the opposition had struck a deal in July to end the political deadlock in the country. The Government has implemented some of his recommendations and was in the process of implementing some others.
Recalling the periods of despair during which the leader of the opposition was in exile due to politically motivated charges, a prominent human rights activist and director of an independent radio station was imprisoned, and there were attempts to silence dissent from many quarters, including through assassinations. Professor Subedi stated that he remained persistent, objective, and impartial in the implementation of his UN mandate, and owing to the endeavours of those fighting for human rights, including himself, the leader of the opposition was able to return to the country to participate in the political process and a number of leading human rights defenders were released from prison.
After a year protesting alleged electoral irregularities, opposition party members have now joined the National Assembly, both the ruling and the opposition party have agreed to press ahead with electoral reform and nominated a prominent female human rights activist to join the National Election Committee. Professor Subedi stated that he was encouraged by the acceptance of the rationale for electoral reform contained in his 2012 report by both parties. The Cambodian parliament has now amended the Constitution to accord constitutional and independent status to the National Election Committee as recommended by Professor Subedi.
Regarding judicial reform, Cambodia has enacted three long overdue fundamental laws recently and Professor Subedi welcomed in principle their enactment, which constituted the core of the recommendations in his 2010 report. However, he cautioned the international community that the peaceful transition now underway remained fragile. Many of the issues surrounding land rights remained unresolved and the people on the margins of society continued to suffer from serious violations of their rights.
Professor Subedi has submitted to the UN four substantive reports on judicial, parliamentary, electoral and land reform since he began his work on Cambodia in 2009. He took a macro rather than micro approach and decided to focus his work on the overarching human rights issues. Speaking in the UN Human Rights Council, the Ambassador of Cambodia to the UN, H.E. Mr Ney Samol, thanked Professor Subedi for his work and promised continued cooperation with him. Other delegates who took the floor complimented Professor Subedi for his work as the UN independent expert. Those who took the floor included ambassadors from China, EU, France, Japan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.