MEPs call for greater respect of human rights in Cambodia - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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MEPs call for greater respect of human rights in Cambodia

Thursday, 1 November 2012
Last week in Strasbourg, two of the South West MEPs spoke in the debate on the situation in Cambodia and called on the Cambodian government to grant its citizens the fundamental right to freedom of expression, conduct free and fair elections and ensure its land and natural resources are developed in a proper manner.

Conservative Julie Girling remarked that the human rights situation in Cambodia has continued to deteriorate in 2012 while Liberal Democrat Sir Graham Watson suggested that “unless the conditions exist for the opposition to play a full and fair role in the elections, no international support should be provided for those elections”.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in Cambodia for 27 years,” he said. “He presides over a government which is authoritarian and corrupt and, as I found when I visited the country, a people which lives in fear of arbitrary government action.

Though there has been some improvement – largely due to the efforts led by the European Union – the judiciary is not independent, elections are not free and fair, and just this week the Prime Minister welcomed the threats by the two main opposition parties to boycott next year’s elections.

Speaking on behalf of her political group, Mrs Girling said: “violations of land and housing rights are still common, along with intimidation and criminalisation of human rights defenders and political activists. The cases of Mom Sonando and Chut Wutty and others are all worrying examples of the human rights situation.

In addition to the gross violation of the right to adequate housing, agro-industry-induced displacement in Cambodia has led to widespread violations of numerous human rights and freedoms, such as forced eviction, reduced access to farming and grazing lands and the destruction of the forests which people depend upon for their livelihoods,” she said.

The proper development of Cambodia’s land and natural resources could have a positive impact on the lives of its people if undertaken in a sustainable and equitable manner and within the framework of the human rights obligations of the government.

Both Mrs Girling (full) and Sir Graham (substitute) are members of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the countries of South East Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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