• June 12, 2016

Statement on the EU Parliament Resolution No. 2016/2753(RSP) dated 9 June 2016

With reference to the EU Parliament Resolution No. 2016/2753(RSP) dated 9 June 2016, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to make the following observations:

       1.The Royal Government of Cambodia is astonished to have read a document adopted by the European Parliament which based on so many false accounts. As we learn from the first world, a judgment must be based on proved facts and thorough investigations and not on biased sources, rumours and politically manipulated information.

      2. We hereby wish to inform the Members of the European Parliament about facts that there are undisputable but ignored by this assembly:

             a) About Mr. Sam Rainsy: He was the only candidate the UN blamed for his racist statements during the 1993 UN-organized elections. He is notorious for his statements and rhetoric in Khmer language (not in French, neither in English) that are full of racial incitements and hatred. He used slogan which was a classical provocation by the Khmer rouge to kill Khmer people and that led, in 1998, to the killing of a Vietnamese family by an infuriated crowd. He was inciting ordinary people to remove international border posts, an act undoubtedly would be condemned by any European country. He is also renowned both in France and Cambodia for defaming his political opponent, a case in which, even in the courts of France, defamation was certified.

               b) Two members of the opposition party, namely senator Hong Sok Hour and member of the National Assembly Um Sam An, under the responsibility of their president Sam Rainsy, are accused of forgery and incitement to violence.

Hong Sok Hour published and disseminated a fake treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam purporting to show an agreement to dissolve the border between the two countries. Both accused persons claimed that they were expressing their opinions. A forgery is not an opinion; and in this very case, it is a deliberate attempt to destabilize the country. Destruction of documents and providing false information fall into the category of acts constituting the offense of treason in the criminal law of many democratic States and in the criminal law of Cambodia (Article 456 and 457 of the Penal Code). To publish a false treaty is in itself an act of negation and therefore of destruction of the authentic treaty. It is also providing false information. The 1979 treaty registered with the UN Security Council is the proof that the treaty published by Hong Sok Hour is a fake one – not allegedly fake – falsified to the point that the border between Cambodia and Vietnam has disappeared. Sadly, the European Parliament is denying what is proved by official documents.

The hostile wording used by Um Sam An is a criminal misuse of freedom of expression and an incitement to racial hatred and xenophobia for electoral purposes and political gains. Incitement to violence is a crime, under the law.

Such criminal activities make legitimate and judicial that the parliamentary immunity of these two individuals was lifted. In the context of Cambodia, such inflammatory violation not only provokes dangerous public reactions, but also threatens national security, regional peace and jeopardize bilateral relations between the two neighbors.

              c) As far as the case of Kem Sokha is concerned, the subornation of witness is condemned in all democratic countries, particularly in those of the European Union. The refusal to appear in court as summoned by prosecutor is punishable in all democratic countries, especially in those of the European Union. So does it in Cambodia. Fake information released by biased sources in Cambodia created a confusion between to be a witness and to be an accused. Kem Sokha was summoned as a witness on 4 May 2016 and on 17 May 2016. This is a classical procedure that European countries would observe. Yet it is procedure Kem Sokha failed to comply with.

               d) As far as people involved in the Kem Sokha affairs are concerned, according to the Cambodian Penal Code (art. 548), they committed a crime by suborning a witness. Human rights activists from NGO and UN personnel should advocate and train people to respect the law, not to violate it. It is according to the law that 5 human rights activists are accused. Not as the result of an arbitrary decision. It is not the first time that UN personnel from the Phnom Penh Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are bribing witnesses. Yet they go without being blamed by their hierarchy.

             e) As far as freedom of expression is concerned, the Royal Government of Cambodia does not believe that freedom of expression means freedom to insult or to release fake information or to defame someone. In all Western countries there are laws punishing such practices. Cambodia shall have no exception. NGO workers, even social, environmental or human rights activists, are not above the law. There are no special treatments for people involved in association activities or else we simply do not have the rule of law. The Royal Government of Cambodia appreciates the genuine and honest contributions of social, environmental and human rights workers to the society. However, we deplore those who use and exploit the rights agenda for political purposes. Those who are involved in such activities have not the right to violate the law.

              f) The Kingdom of Cambodia has now 4,637 NGOs, national and international. Some NGOs pretend to represent the “civil society”. They boast to speak on behalf of the whole population without the slightest legitimacy to do so. Among these NGOs, a number, behind humanitarian or development supposed activities, are in fact involved in political activities funded by foreign institutions. Facing this lack of transparency and accountability, the National Assembly of Cambodia adopted a law. The NGO law is the result of years of debates and dialogue with the civil society and with embassies. A final draft written with the closed cooperation of foreign diplomats was rejected by the US Embassy and NGOs, which were advised and funded by the same embassy. This was the draft that it is now the law. The right to have a law on association was even denied to the Cambodian Government by representatives of a country that has registration requirements for local and international NGOs! The Cambodian NGO law protects democracy more than the possible use of the US “Patriot Act” or the annual US “National Defense Authorization Act” or the Canadian “C-51 law”.

      3. As a sovereign State, the Kingdom of Cambodia is not under trusteeship of foreign institutions. The Royal Government of Cambodia does not accept interference in its domestic affairs. We urge against employing a selective approach to dealing with human rights issues or the politicization of some of the cases that are being addressed with “double-standards” when one can equally observe such common practices under the rule of law being upheld in European nations.

     4. We regret that the European Parliament didn’t appreciate what the Royal Government of Cambodia has endeavored in upholding the rule of law and preserving  peace and stability which Cambodian people very much need for their national harmony, integrity and prosperity.

12 June 2016