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Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Cambodia Vitit Muntarbhorn
October 9, 2023

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Cambodia Vitit Muntarbhorn

Human Rights Council – 54th Session

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

As Delivered by Kaitlin Sandin

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

And thank you, Mr. Special Rapporteur, for your presentation today.

The July 23 Cambodian national elections were neither free nor fair.

Ahead of the elections, Cambodian authorities engaged in a pattern of threats and harassment against the political opposition, media, and civil society that undermined the spirit of the country’s constitution and Cambodia’s international obligations.

This includes the conviction and 27-year sentence of respected Cambodian political leader Kem Sokha.

These actions denied the Cambodian people a choice in determining the future of their country.

In response, the United States has taken steps to impose visa restrictions on individuals who undermined multiparty democracy in Cambodia.

We call on the Cambodian government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, release all those unjustly detained, and reopen civic and political space.

We also urge the international community to join our #WithoutJustCause Campaign in calling for Kem Sokha’s immediate and unconditional release.

We are encouraged that Cambodia has engaged with the Special Rapporteur and in negotiations over the resolution that contains his mandate and urge Cambodia to take full advantage of the Special Rapporteur’s expertise to improve its human rights situation.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, what specific actions can the international community take to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia and restore genuine multi-party democracy?

I thank you.