April 29, 2016 – The European Union (EU) must use the upcoming human rights dialogue with Cambodia to demand that authorities stop the harassment, arbitrary arrest, and imprisonment of opposition MPs, members, and their supporters, FIDH and its member organizations, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), said today. This year’s EU-Cambodia human rights dialogue is scheduled to take place from 2 to 4 May in Phnom Penh.
“The EU must send a loud and clear message to Hun Sen’s administration that the persecution of political opponents must stop and all those detained must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.
In conjunction with their call, FIDH, ADHOC, and LICADHO released a timeline of events that documents the relentless harassment of opposition MPs, members, and supporters by the Cambodian authorities and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Since July 2015, members, supporters, and elected representatives of Cambodia’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), as well as the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), have faced increasing harassment, attacks, arbitrary arrests, and imprisonment. To date, 17 of them remain behind bars – 11 serving prison terms ranging from seven to 20 years after being convicted on trumped-up, politically motivated charges.
“The EU’s support for Cambodia’s process of democratization in the lead-up to the elections is paramount. This is why the continuing and escalating harassment and attacks against the opposition need to be the centerpiece of the agenda of the EU-Cambodia dialogue,” said ADHOC President Thun Saray.
“The EU must ensure the dialogue with the government is not limited to rhetoric but leads to meaningful action by the authorities. Anything short of the swift release of all 17 opposition MPs, members, and supporters will have a devastating impact on Cambodia’s progress towards an inclusive democracy,” said LICADHO Director Naly Pilorge.
For more information, please contact:
▪ FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta, +66 886 117 722 (Bangkok)