April 17, 2021

Cambodia Reacts against Annual Report of US Department of State on Human Rights

Cambodia has reacted against the annual report of the US Department of State on the human rights situation in various countries, including Cambodia.

The following is the full statement of the

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released this evening:

"1. The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation notes with serious concerns the annual report of the US Department of State on the human rights situation in various countries, including Cambodia.

2. Without any manifest mandate given by the UN, the US always assumes a domineering role in unilaterally and arbitrarily criticising the human rights situation of other countries.

3. The report lacks objectivity and suffers from serious shortcomings in terms of accuracy of its data and update information. The Spokesman wishes to highlight the followings:

- First, any institution of the US wishing to assess Cambodia shall not lose sight of the enormous moral debt that the former owed to the Kingdom and its innocent people enduring the indiscriminate aerial bombings during 1970s.

- Second, the US does not live up to the principle that leadership in human rights must begin at home. Ironically, the Annual Report does not cover its own human rights records, which is an obvious self-denial of its human rights abuses.

- Third, the Report did not take an even-handed approach to its assessment, by inflating certain rights over the others, rejecting national particularities and across-the-board gains of the Kingdom in wide-ranging domains of human rights.

- Finally, the content and tone of the Report also vary depending upon how close or strategic a country is to the US. The practice of selectivity and the weaponisation of human rights have been an unfortunate trend that needs to be guarded against and curtailed if we are to promote and protect human rights as a global public good. As quoted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, 'Human rights must never be a vehicle for double standards or a means to pursue hidden agendas."

4. The Spokesperson of the Ministry reaffirms nonetheless Cambodia’s unwavering commitment to pursuing a liberal multi-party democracy and upholding the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms in conformity with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia."

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press