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Cambodia: Govt. reviews the European Commission's report on 'Everything But Arms' trade preferences after EC expresses human rights concerns

Author: Dara Mech, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 14 November 2019

"Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA", 14 November 2019

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation … said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement.

The EU launched the EBA withdrawal procedure …, citing “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights” in Cambodia.

The commission completed its report … after a three-month investigation … and has given the government one month to respond.

Ministry spokesman Kuy Kuong said the government would study the report before making an official response.

“The ministry received the report … and will study it first,” he said.

EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom … said the EU would make its final decision in February.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan … said Cambodia would continue to explain to the EU the actual human rights situation in the Kingdom and the government’s efforts in promoting democracy through various reforms.

… “With regard to human rights, we have continued to address the issue through various reforms. We have a human rights commission to assess all legal aspects concerning human rights in implementing laws,” Siphan said.

… The Phnom Penh Municipal Court … reduced the bail conditions of Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sokha more than two years after he was charged with treason.

Sokha’s new bail conditions allow him to travel anywhere within the country but forbid him from being involved in politics…

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