Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia H.E. Prak Sokhonn has shared his insight about democracy, stressing that it is neither an imported nor exported goods.

“Democracy cannot grow by itself, nor it can be conjured. Democracy is neither an imported nor exported goods. Democracy is a shared value achieved from learning, built and strengthened gradually, taking into account national particularities and context,” he said in his statement at the High-Level Segment of the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council (Pre-Recorded Video) in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 28, 2022.

The Cambodian top diplomat continued that human rights are shared values for all humanity. But no country can claim the monopoly of the model of human rights and democracy. Centuries-old democracies have been struggling on with their systematic human rights mess.

Last year, he pointed out, Cambodia renewed the three-decade-old operational presence of the OHCHR’s field office and the mandate of the Country Special Rapporteur, attesting to the Kingdom’s goodwill to cooperate with the human rights mechanism of the UN and our resolute commitment to all human rights in the country. The process toward the creation of the National Human Rights Institution is progressing with a draft law being broadly consulted with all stakeholders. Cambodia accepted to become “a champion country” in implementing the Global Compact for Migration. The Kingdom for the first time met the LDC graduation criteria.

But, H.E. Prak Sokhonn expressed his disappointment that all positive stories of Cambodia are hardly reflected in the highly selective reports of the UN human rights mechanisms. “Unfortunately, to a few biased others, they only frame my country in terms of the shortcomings in the values of perfect human rights, an exemplary standard that even their own countries could not hope to achieve. The critics at all times portray certain opposition politicians and NGOs as martyrs of the human rights and democracy and unfortunately, they never condemn their wrongdoings, namely harmful populist rhetoric, fake news, foreign collusion, racial incitement and provocation to sedition, all of which are well penalized in the Western countries,” he said.

“Secretary-General Guterres emphasised that ‘Human rights must never be a vehicle for double standards or a means to pursue hidden agendas.’ Regrettably, some countries construed our application of laws, aiming to shield the law-abiding citizens, as clampdown of freedoms. Paradoxically, the same measures, when employed in their own countries, are considered necessary and lawful to maintain public order, social stability and national security,” he added.

To conclude, H.E. Prak Sokhonn underlined, Cambodia remains resolute in defending what it believes the rightful path, that is to uphold its sovereignty, guarantee rights to life and survival, shield law-abiding citizens and protect its hard-won peace. The Kingdom remains steadfast in pursuing our irreversible democratic journey with pluralism, including ensuring that the coming elections will be free and fair, peaceful and reflect the will of the people.

The High-Level Segment is a space where dignitaries, who are government or state representatives outline their respective country’s priorities, achievements, commitment, and exchange views on how to address challenges in the fields of human rights.

There are more than 140 dignitaries from many countries and the International Organisations have inscribed on the list of speakers from Feb. 28 to Mar. 3, 2022. For ASEAN countries, there are Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam that had delivered the statement.

The 49th Session of the Human Rights Council is held from Feb. 28 to April 1, 2022.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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