Cambodia: MEPs expressed serious concerns about recent human rights developments
Six MEPs of the ASEAN Delegation of the European Parliament visited Cambodia from 30 to 31 October to discuss the EU-Cambodian relations and current political and economic situation.
The ASEAN Delegation of the European Parliament (6 Members from the three major political groups), headed by Chair Dr. Werner Langen and Vice-Chair Mr. Marc Tarabella, visited Cambodia from 30 to 31 October 2017 in order to receive first-hand information on a range of aspects of EU-Cambodian relations and on the current political and economic situation. The Delegation held meetings with a broad range of interlocutors from the National Assembly, HE Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, several Ministries, as well as party and civil society representatives and the National Election Committee.
In its meetings, the Delegation underlined the overall positive development of the EU – Cambodia relationship, including in the field of education and public administration and in the rapid growth of trade under the "Everything But Arms" arrangement. "The country has made enormous progress. The growth rate is impressive, accompanied by real progress in the fight against poverty", Dr. Langen stated.
However, the Delegation expressed its serious concerns about some recent political and human rights developments. "In order to have free and fair general elections in July next year, the country needs an open and transparent level playing field. We call on the government to release opposition leader Kem Sokha, to stop the dissolution process of the main opposition party, and to restore the space for free action of political parties, media and civil society organisations", Dr. Langen said. "The Government of Cambodia should be aware that the European Parliament is a co-legislator for budgetary and trade issues. A serious deterioration of the human rights situation might have implications for development assistance programmes and trade preferences", he concluded.