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PV 19/01/2006 - 17.3
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CRE 19/01/2006 - 18.3

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Texts adopted
WORD 41k
Thursday, 19 January 2006 - Strasbourg Final edition
P6_TA(2006)0032B6-0057, 0058, 0060, 0064, 0067 and 0071/2006

European Parliament resolution on political repression in Cambodia

The European Parliament ,

-   having regard to its resolutions of 13 January 2005(1) and 10 March 2005(2) on Cambodia and its resolution of 1 December 2005 on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam(3) ,

-   having regard to the Cooperation Agreement of 1997 between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia(4) ,

-   having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders approved by the Council on 14 June 2004,

-   having regard to the standards set by the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,

-   having regard to the statement of 27 December 2005 by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr Yash Ghai,

-   having regard to the statement of 4 January 2006 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

-   having regard to the World Bank statement of 9 January 2006 on Cambodia,

-   having regard to the Declaration of 13 January 2006 by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the deteriorating political situation in Cambodia,

-   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas in recent weeks political repression in Cambodia has dramatically increased, with several arrests of human rights workers, journalists and trade unionists for defamation offences,

B.   whereas Kem Sokha, President of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), Pa Nguon Teang, Acting Director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights and radio director, Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers' Association (CITA) and Mam Sonando, Director of the Beehive Radio, are facing trial,

C.   whereas Yeng Virak and Kem Sokha were released on bail but the charges have not been dropped,

D.   whereas, for the same reasons, the Cambodian authorities are searching for Chea Mony, President of the Free Trade Union of Workers, Ea Channa, Deputy Secretary General of the Students' Movement for Democracy, Men Nath, President of the Cambodian Independent Civil Servants' Association, Prince Sisowath Tomico, secretary to former King Sihanouk, and Say Bory, advisor to former King Sihanouk,

E.   whereas several other activists and members of the opposition have left the country under the threat of arrest and persecution,

F.   considering those repressive tactics an attempt by the government to silence peaceful critics of the government and thus eliminate the last effective political opposition; whereas those events also present worrying indications that Cambodia's democracy is deteriorating,

G.   whereas on 22 December 2005 the leader of the opposition, Sam Rainsy, was sentenced in absentia to 18 months' imprisonment on defamation charges brought by the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly,

H.   whereas Cheam Channy, Member of the Cambodian Parliament, was tried and convicted in August 2005, and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment,

I.   whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that the detention of Cheam Channy is a violation of both Cambodian and international law,

1.  Is deeply concerned about the recent arrests and prosecutions and urges the Cambodian government to consider very carefully the compatibility of such actions with the commitments it has given to its people and to donors to build a more open, democratic and just society;

2.  Takes note of the above mentioned release of recently arrested human rights activists and calls for the annulment of all charges against them; and asks for the annulment of all charges and arrest warrants issued against human rights defenders who are not currently detained ; calls moreover for all acts of intimidation and harassment of human rights activists in Cambodia to be halted;

3.  Urges Cambodia to stop breaching its obligations under international law, and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and immediately to release Cheam Channy; also calls for the judgment against Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch to be overturned and their parliamentary immunity restored;

4.  Strongly believes that the continuing detentions of leading figures from the political opposition, trade unions, the media and NGOs and the use of the criminal law in cases of expression of dissenting opinions on matters of politics and policy send a worrying message to the donor community on which the government relies for about 50% of its annual budget;

5.  Reminds the Cambodian government that it has to meet its obligations and commitments regarding the democratic principles and fundamental human rights which are an essential element of the above mentioned Cooperation Agreement, as defined in Article 1 of that Agreement;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to respond to the latest crackdown on civil and political rights in clear and unambiguous terms, in coordination with the donor community, at the forthcoming Consultative Group meeting;

7.  Expresses its support for the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose mandates include protection and monitoring of the human right situation;

8.  Expresses concern that the use of the Cambodian judiciary as an instrument of repression against the political opposition and civil society casts serious doubts on the Cambodian government's commitment to establish the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in accordance with international standards of judicial independence, fair trial and due legal process, as agreed with the UN in June 2003 and questions the need for defamation of the Office of the Prime Minister to be a criminal offence;

9.  Strongly believes that dissenting views and opinions should be challenged through public debate rather than criminal law suits and calls for prosecutions on defamation charges to be stopped, as they could easily be abused for political purposes;

10.  Calls on the EU to take steps to ensure that fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in Article 1 of the above mentioned Cooperation Agreement, are respected and that attacks on civil liberties have consequences; calls on the EU also to make continuation of its financial aid conditional upon an improvement in Cambodia's human rights record;

11.  Reiterates its demand that an ad hoc delegation of the Parliament visit Cambodia to evaluate respect for the provisions of Article 1 of the Cooperation Agreement and the situation of detained parliamentarians, media representatives and trade union leaders in the country;

12.  Calls on the Cambodian authorities to fully implement the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees both with regard to the protection of Montagnard refugees, refraining from illegal forced deportation to Vietnam, and to granting refugee status to ethnic Khmer Krom escaping from Vietnam;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, the President of the World Bank, the ASEAN Secretariat and the government and National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

(1) OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 161.
(2) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 280.
(3) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0462.
(4) OJ L 269, 19.10.1999, p. 18.

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