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Cambodian workers weigh the cost of EU's stand on human rights
Author: Kijewski Leonie, South China Morning Post, Published on: 9 November 2018
8 November 2018
Phong Sokhit, a rice farmer in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province, has long held out hope that the European Union (EU) would put pressure on his country to respect human rights… “We want the prime minister to help, to compromise, and to improve the human rights situation,” Sokhit said in an interview, referring to Cambodia’s strongman leader Hun Sen…
Under its terms, the agreement can be suspended if certain human rights standards are not met… The EU also has called on the government to resolve its land disputes with citizens, most of which involve the sugar industry, and cease the practice of “land grabbing.”
“We just hope that the government will address those identified issues to avoid the removal of EBA [status] as this will hurt Cambodia,” said Eang Vuthy, director of land rights NGO Equitable Cambodia… Under EU regulations, the EU should “monitor and evaluate” the situation for six months after formally beginning proceedings...
George Edgar, the EU ambassador to Cambodia, said a formal launch of proceedings had not been decided on yet. “There is an internal process of consultation across the commission, followed by consultation of the member states through the relevant committee, but I cannot give a date for completion,” he said.
An EU Commission source said the body could “reconsider the situation” if Cambodia took “credible” measures to remedy the problems…