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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Cambodia: notably the case of Mr Kem Sokha

12.9.2017 - (2017/2829(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Petras Auštrevičius, Nedzhmi Ali, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Nathalie Griesbeck, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Louis Michel, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Hannu Takkula, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Paavo Väyrynen, Cecilia Wikström, Dita Charanzová, Valentinas Mazuronis, Filiz Hyusmenova on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0506/2017

Postup : 2017/2829(RSP)
Postup v rámci schôdze
Postup dokumentu :  
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European Parliament resolution on Cambodia: notably the case of Mr Kem Sokha


The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Cambodia in particular that of 9 June 2016

-having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

-having regard to the 2008 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

-having regard to the 1997 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia,

-having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 8 March 1999 on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

-having regard to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, in which a commitment to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cambodia, including on the part of international signatories, is enshrined in Article 15 ,


-having regard to the statement of 4 September 2017 by Amnesty International urging the Cambodian government to "immediately end its escalating assault on opposition, media and civil society groups in the lead up to the 2018 general election


-having regard to the statement of 18 August 2017 by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, warning that, given the deteriorating situation, “Cambodia appears to be approaching a precipice.”

-having regard to the statement of 1 April 2016 by the UN Special Rapporteur urging Cambodia to strengthen protection of women and indigenous peoples’ rights,

-having regard to the International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise,

-having regard to the Cambodian Constitution, in particular Article 41 thereof, in which the rights and freedoms of expression and assembly are enshrined, Article 35 on the right to political participation and Article 80 on parliamentary immunity,

-having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas there is an increasing number of arrests of members of the political opposition, human rights activists and representatives of civil society in Cambodia;

B. Whereas former Khmer Rouge army commander and current Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power for over 30 years; whereas Sam Rainsy, the former president of the leading opposition party, the CNRP, remains in self‑imposed exile driven by previous prosecutions on trumped-up politically motivated charges;

C. Whereas on 3 September 2017 Kem Sokha was arrested in Cambodia on charges of treason and colluding with foreigners and faces up to 30 years in prison; whereas his arrest was made on the basis of a video in which he was discussing his efforts to support peaceful, democratic change in Cambodia;

D. Whereas his arrest seems to have been carried out with no respect to his rights to a fair trial and respect for his parliamentary immunity as a duly elected member of the Cambodian National Assembly;

E. Whereas this arrest came soon after the CNRP won 44 percent of votes to the CCP’s 51 percent of votes in Cambodian communal elections in June 2017;

F. Whereas the general elections are scheduled for July 2018;

G. Whereas the arrest of Kem Sokha fits a pattern of the government pursuing politically motivated charges against opposition leaders, including Sam Rainsy, and at least 11 other lawmakers.

H.Whereas the potential conviction of Kem Sokha could lead to the dissolution of the CNRP under amendments to the Law on Political Parties passed in February 2017;


I.Whereas on 11 September, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened that CNRP could be dissolved if it continues to back detained leader Kem Sokha;

J. Whereas an arrest warrant has been issued to the head of the youth group of CNRP.

K. Whereas there is clear trend of attacking independent media and civil society through unprecedented measures such as judicial harassment, arrests, and threats; whereas these independent media outlets have been covering politically sensitive topics like corruption, illegal logging and human rights violations;

L.Whereas 19 Cambodian radio stations airing programming from Radio Free Asia, Voice of Democracy and Voice of America were closed in the recent weeks; whereas theses stations have been closed by the government for violations as “outside programs without requesting authorization”; whereas their closure severely limits access to independent media broadcasts, particularly outside Phnom Penh;


M.Whereas The Cambodia Daily, an independent newspaper founded in 1993 was forced to close on 4 September 2017 after it received a 6.3 million dollar tax bill;


N.Whereas the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a democracy support organization operating in Cambodia since 1992 and engaging with all parties, was abruptly ordered by the government to close on 23 August 2017, citing registration requirements under the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO);


1. Expresses its grave concerns about the further worsening climate for opposition politicians, human rights activists and members of civil society in Cambodia;

2. Strongly condemns all acts of violence, politically motivated charges, arbitrary detention, questioning, sentences and convictions in respect of these individuals;

3. Deplores the escalation of politically motivated charges and judicial harassment of human rights defenders and activists, and in particular the politically motivated charges, sentences and convictions relating to the legitimate work of activists, political critics and human rights defenders in Cambodia;

4. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of CNRP President Kem Sokha, for all charges against him to be dropped, and for an end to threats of arrest against other opposition lawmakers;

5.Urges the Cambodian authorities to revoke the arrest warrant for, and drop all charges against, opposition leader and lawmaker Sam Rainsy as well as release and drop charges against other opposition officials and human rights defenders convicted, charged, and imprisoned, notably National Assembly Member Um Sam An, Senator Hong Sok Hour and land right activist Tep Vanny;


6.Urges on the Cambodian government to guarantee the freedom of expression and freedom of media in the country and revoke the tax bill awarded to the Cambodia Daily; urges the government to reinstate the radio stations that have been closed down; Expresses its concern over the closure of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) without due process;


7.Urges the government of Cambodia to ensure due process in all measures taken, including the right to appeal, and to respect the rights to freedom of association and expression;

8. Highlights the importance of an EU Election Observation Mission and its contribution to fair and free elections; calls on the NEC and the relevant government authorities to ensure that all eligible voters, including migrant workers and detainees, have access to, and time to take advantage of, registration opportunities;

9. Considers that the recent political repression is worrisome for the credibility of the upcoming election in July 2018; Warns Cambodia that the legitimacy of the upcoming election could impact the implementation of the cooperation agreement between the EU and Cambodia;

10.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Vice‑President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and National Assembly of Cambodia.