U.S. Statement as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 27, 2017
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States expresses its appreciation for the report of the Special Rapporteur. We note the progress cited in the report, including on education and the rights of children, and with regard to continued economic development.
However, the United States remains gravely concerned about the Government of Cambodia’s ongoing crackdown on opposition parties, independent media, and civil society. Events of late August and early September, including the politically-motivated arrest and detention of opposition leader Kem Sokha, have underscored the need for continued attention by the Council. Furthermore, we are concerned about the arbitrary use of registration and tax regulations to intimidate, shut down, or expel civil society groups and independent media outlets, as reflected in the abrupt closures of the Cambodia Daily and Radio Free Asia, and the expulsion of the National Democratic Institute.
We urge the Government of Cambodia to immediately release Kem Sokha, and to lift restrictions on independent media and civil society organizations, so that they can continue their important work in support of credible national elections in 2018.
Madame Special Rapporteur: What have you observed regarding preparations for free and fair national elections in 2018 and what can the international community do to support them?