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CAMBODIA: UNITED NATIONS EXPERT CALLS FOR FREE, FAIR AND PEACEFUL ELECTIONS AND FULL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
26 July 2013

GENEVA (26 July 2013) – On the eve of the National Assembly elections in Cambodia on Sunday 28 July, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, reiterates his call for free, fair and peaceful election that is underpinned by respect for human rights before, during and after polling day:

“Free political environment and the ability of the people to exercise their rights and freedoms, such as the right to vote, freedom of expression and assembly and the right to stand for election are the key to free and fair elections.

“Cambodia has made significant progress in strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and I call upon the Government to ensure full respect for its international human rights obligations as the country goes to the polls on Sunday.

“In the remaining hours, I urge the people of Cambodia to refrain from violence and have due regard for the rights of other fellow citizens when exercising their own. Every eligible voter must be given an equal opportunity to exercise his/her right to vote without intimidation, fear or pressure. Allegations of intimidation must be promptly investigated by the authorities.

“With regard to the National Election Committee (NEC), all complaints brought to its attention should also be promptly investigated, and if appropriate, remedied. It is not too late for many of the important concerns already raised to be addressed in a meaningful manner.

“At this juncture in the history of Cambodia, what is at stake is the credibility of the election, and thus also of the future governors of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The right to vote, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is a fundamental human right that is intricately linked to the right to participate in the political, economic and social life of one’s country.

“This election can mark a milestone in the growth of Cambodia that the people wish to see - of an inclusive, just, equitable, and free society. I firmly hope it will and wish all the best for the people of Cambodia on Sunday.”

Professor Surya P. Subedi was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia in March 2009. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organisation and serves in his individual capacity. He is currently Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds and a practising Barrister in the United Kingdom. He also is the editor of the Asian Journal of International Law (published by Cambridge University Press) and the Vice-President of the Asian Society of International Law.

UN Human Rights, country page – Cambodia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KHIndex.aspx

Check the Special Rapporteur’s latest report to the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A-HRC-21-63-Add1_en.pdf

For additional information and media enquiries, please contact Olga Nakajo (+41 22 928 9348 / onakajo@ohchr.org) or wrtite to srcambodia@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/203E