January 27, 2023

Cambodian Foreign Ministry Reminds OHCHR of New MoU

Cambodia's Senior Minister H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has sent a letter to H.E. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeking his confirmation to conclude a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"The Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to wait until Dec. 30, 2016 for the OHCHR's confirmation to conclude a new MoU between the RGC and the OHCHR on the basis of the principle of respect for sovereignty and non-interference in Cambodia's internal affairs in full conformity of Article 2 (paragraph 7) of the UN Charter. Otherwise, the RGC has no choice but to execute its sovereign rights on the future of the field presence of OHCHR in Cambodia," said the Cambodian foreign minister in his letter dated Nov. 22, 2016.

H.E. Prak Sokhonn also reminded that the latest MoU, which allowed a legitimate field operation of the OHCHR in Cambodia, has been expired since Dec. 31, 2015. Despite the RGC's goodwill and firm commitment to the advancement of human rights and rule of law, this status quo cannot be permitted indefinitely, he underlined.

The Cambodian top diplomat laid stress on the RGC's firm commitment to upholding the respect for democracy and human rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Cambodia, adding that the RGR has employed a wide range of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of fundamental freedoms in the country, inter alia, the continued presence of the Special Rapporteur, Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council, nation-wide operation of hundreds of international NGOs and thousands of local NGOs, social media network and radio frequencies, etc, all of which can play both monitoring and advisory roles concerning the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

Moreover, he said, the RGC has consented to the field presence of the OHCHR in Cambodia since 1993 through a bilateral agreement, known as the MoU between the OHCHR and the RGC for implementation of Technical Cooperation Programmes on Human Rights, which has been renewed several times.

Unfortunately, the RGC has noted with deep regret that the OHCHR in Cambodia has consistently overstepped the bounds of its roles defined in the said MoU. Despite the RGC's efforts to enhance the smooth, constructive and effective cooperation based on mutual respect, the OHCHR has furthermore been stepping up its interference in internal affairs of Cambodia. More than ever, its representatives and spokesperson have been taking arrogant and disrespectful behaviors toward the sovereignty of Cambodia which is unacceptable and contravenes to the diplomatic decorum as stipulated in the Article 41 (paragraph 1 and 2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press