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33 civil society organisations & multi-stakeholder initiatives urge regional & intl. powers to support EU calls on Cambodian govt. to respect human rights before EBA withdrawal

Three weeks before 12 August 2020, when the  European Union (EU) will partially suspend Cambodia’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) tariff preferences in response to the Cambodian government’s “serious and systematic violations” of four human and labour rights conventions, 33 leading human rights organizations & multi-stakeholder initiatives, representing both companies and civil society, are calling on governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America to echo the EU in its call for the respect of human rights in Cambodia. Our organizations are saying these governments need to urge the Cambodian government to take meaningful measures that reverse the deterioration of Cambodia’s human rights situation in order to restore trade preferences or lift suspensions of bilateral aid. 

Letter in Khmer

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Article
2 August 2020

Cambodia: Following letter from 33 INGOs & MSIs, Swedish & US Embassy officials urge Cambodian govt. to reopen civic space & respect human rights

Author: Narim Khuon, CamboJa

"As EBA cuts near, groups appeal for respect of human rights", 28 July 2020

International civil society groups have called on foreign governments to demand that the Cambodian government address its deteriorating human rights record and restore democracy as the country’s “Everything but Arms” trade tariff breaks are set to be partially revoked next month…

The NGOs asked that Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the US echo the EU’s demand that the Cambodian government take concrete actions to address the human rights situation in the country. 

However, a Justice Ministry spokesman emphasized that the organizations’ appeal has no influence on Cambodia as the country is upholding its own laws as a sovereign nation…

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said … that the call from the civil society organizations has no influence over the government, noting that HRW operates without professionalism…

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh said via email … that the United States has consistently raised concerns about human rights and democracy in Cambodia and urged the government to take steps to reopen the political and civic space.

“We support the Cambodian people and their constitutional right to democracy and fundamental freedoms,” embassy spokesman Chad Roedemeier said.

Camilla Monsine Ottosson, first secretary for democracy, human rights and the labour market at the Swedish embassy said via email … that as a member state of the EU, Sweden stands with the union in its call for Cambodia to respect human rights.

“Sweden has on numerous occasions and at different levels brought up deep concern regarding the situation in Cambodia,” Monsine Ottosson said…

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Article
2 August 2020

Cambodia: INGOs & MSIs urge international community to act on Cambodia's human & labour rights; the effect of EBA's decision is due on 12 August

Author: Phoung Vantha & Gerald Flynn, Cambodianess

"International Community Urged to Act over Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia", 23 July 2020

A collection of 33 civil society organizations … urged 13 governments of democratic countries to echo the European Union (EU) in its call for the respect of human rights and democratic freedoms in Cambodia.

“We urge your government to call on the Cambodian government to comply with its obligations under international human rights law and to support the EU in its efforts to bring respect for human rights, rule of law, and democracy to the Cambodian people,” they said.

…, the statement called for greater freedoms within Cambodia’s civil society, trade unions, media and political space…

The … statement was issued to the governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America…

Robertson noted that many of the countries addressed in the statement were also signatories to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements and that Human Rights Watch—along with the other 32 groups—were requesting the 13 countries to help ensure Cambodia lives up to its pledge to democracy…

However, Phay Siphan—a spokesman for the Cambodian government—dismissed the open letter of the 33 international organizations as mere political rhetoric and added that Cambodia would not negotiate with the EU.

He added that the government has already negotiated with the EU in the past and the decision will depend on the EU. However, he said that it would be unfair if the EU decides to withdraw 20 percent of EBA from Cambodia, but declined to comment on alleged human rights abuses…

Article
2 August 2020

Cambodia: Leading international human rights organisations and MSIs urge foreign govts. to act on Cambodia human & labour rights

Author: Leonie Barrie, Just Style

"Foreign governments urged to act on Cambodia human rights", 24 July 2020

Foreign governments are being urged to follow the lead of the European Union (EU) and pressure authorities in Cambodia to take action to address the human rights situation in the country.

The EU will partially suspend Cambodia's Everything But Arms (EBA) trade benefits from 12 August in response to the Cambodian government's "serious and systematic violations" of four human and labour rights conventions.

Now 33 leading human rights organisations and multi-stakeholder initiatives want governments in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States to echo the EU in its call for the respect for human rights.

"Our organisations are saying these governments need to urge the Cambodian government to take meaningful measures that reverse the deterioration of Cambodia's human rights situation in order to restore trade preferenes or lift suspension of bilateral aid," they say in a join open letter...

Among their demands, they want the Cambodian government to take immediate action by releasing all political prisoners, cease harassment against union leaders, drop treason charges against opposition leader Kem Sokha, investigate attacks against critics of the government, repeal the Law on the Management of the Nation in State of Emergencey, and cooperate with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Procedures so that they can fulfill their mandates without interference...

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Article
21 July 2020

33 leading organizations & MSIs call on governments to echo EU call for respect of human rights in Cambodia

Author: Arab Network for Food Sovereignty – Regional; Article 19; ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR); Asian Democracy Network (ADN); Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA); Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL); Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP); Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC); Civil Rights Defenders; CIVICUS; Clean Clothes Campaign; EarthRights International; Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI); Fair Labor Association (FLA); FIAN Germany; Forest Peoples’ Programme; Front Line Defenders; Global Witness; Human Rights Now (HRN); Human Rights Watch (HRW); International Commission of Jurists (ICJ); International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX); International Service for Human Rights (ISHR); Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek; People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) - Europe ; People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) – Global; Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific – Regional; Roots for Equity, Pakistan; Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), Cameroon; The B Team; World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Zambia Social Forum

We, the undersigned...civil society organizations, urge your government to join the European Union (EU) in its call for the respect of human rights in Cambodia. On August 12, 2020, the EU will partially suspend Cambodia’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) tariff preferences in response to...government’s “serious and systematic violations” of four human and labour rights conventions... In April, the Cambodian government used the Covid-19 crisis to adopt...draconian state of emergency law that provides the authorities with... unfettered powers to restrict freedom of expression... We...call on governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, the Netherlands, the [UK], and the [US]...to join the EU in its call to the Cambodian government to take concrete action without delay, including to...: [R]elease all political prisoners, including...human rights defenders... and members of...political opposition; Cease harassment, arbitrary arrests, and physical attacks against [them]; Immediately drop...baseless treason charges against... Kem  Sokha; Conduct...investigations into attacks... and killings,...including of Dr. Kem Ley...; Repeal the Law on...State of Emergency...; Reverse the three rounds of amendments to the Law on Political Parties...; Significantly amend the Trade Union Law...; Repeal or significantly amend the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations...;  Cease...arbitrary interference and surveillance of...media; Restore the work of the Arbitration Council...; Ensure prompt, fair and transparent resolution of all land conflicts; Cooperate with the... UN...

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