Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for Cambodia
UN Human Rights Council – 27th Session
As Delivered by Sarah M. Brooks
September 23, 2014
Thank you, Mme. Vice-President.
The United States expresses its appreciation for the report of the Special Rapporteur. We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Cambodia, and call upon Cambodia to promote the rule of law through more transparent legislative and judicial processes.
We are pleased to see many successes cited in the report, including the independent national Arbitration Council.
However, the Cambodian government has drafted key laws and submitted them to the parliament without sufficient, or, in some cases, any public disclosure of their contents, public consultation or debate. This includes three laws that are likely to entrench the lack of independence of the judiciary.
Other problematic draft laws on associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that contain provisions appearing to repress human rights are also being developed with the same lack of transparency, as well as a draft trade union law that may not be in line with Cambodia’s international obligations. This causes the United States grave concern.
The United States joins the Special Rapporteur in calling on the authorities to increase transparency in the process of submitting legislation that allows for public debate and open dialogue.
The United States also welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to adopt legislation on freedom of assembly and association, so that Cambodians can exercise their right to assemble and associate peacefully, and for the government to hold accountable perpetrators of violence during demonstrations, including members of the security forces.
Only with the contributions and support of public advocacy groups, human rights defenders, and the public at large can Cambodia secure stable judicial and legislative processes.
I will conclude with one question: What has the Special Rapporteur observed regarding debate on the draft cybercrimes law or the draft law on associations and NGOs?
Thank you, Madame Vice-President.