The new resolution on "Advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia" was adopted without a vote by the Human Rights Council on Friday 29 September 2017, following some debate on the content of the text and a vote on proposed amendments. Watch the video of the proceedings here. The text as eventually adopted by consensus is available here. In the resolution, the Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights for another two years and requested her to report to the Council in September 2018 and September 2019. It also requested the Secretary General to report to the Council on the role and achievements of the UN Human Rights Office in Cambodia in March 2018 and September 2019.
The resolution touches upon many areas. On the ECCC, the Council welcomes the progress made but expresses continued concern over the financial situation, and calls for the transfer of knowledge and good practices into domestic courts. With regard to rule of law, combating impunity and the judiciary, it reaffirms the need to strengthen efforts to consolidate and abide by the rule of law and urges the continuation of judicial reform efforts, including through the fair, effective and transparent application of the three fundamental laws on the judiciary. It stresses the need for continued enhanced efforts to investigate urgently and to prosecute serious crimes, including violations of human rights, and expresses deep concerns over Kem Ley’s death and the chilling effect it has had on civil society and independent voices in Cambodia. It calls for the launch of a full and transparent probe into those cases, and stresses the importance of a full independent judicial process.
It notes and welcomes the efforts with regard to corruption, trafficking and exploitation of women and children and encourages strengthened efforts on gender-based issues and gender equality. On land issues, it refers to specific obstacles faced by women and vulnerable groups in obtaining land ownership and rights, notes the efforts made by the government to resolve land issues, and urges the authorities to resolve them equitably and expeditiously in a fair and open manner.
The Council also urged the government to continue to take steps to meet its international legal obligations on human rights and to strengthen its cooperation with UN agencies, including the UN Human Rights Office through enhanced dialogue and the development of joint activities. It welcomed the efforts made by the Cambodian Human Rights Committee and urged that the establishment of a national human rights institution (NHRI) be done in accordance with the Paris Principles for independent NHRI.
In the resolution, the Council also welcomes decentralization and deconcentration efforts and progress made, and expresses serious concern over the recent deterioration of the civil and political environment in Cambodia due to the chilling effects of judicial prosecutions and other actions against members of political parties, civil society and the media. It calls upon all parties to work together towards de-escalating the tensions. The Council notes with concern the risk that the 2017 amendments to the Law on Political Parties could lead to an arbitrary restriction on the activities of political parties and encourages all to promote a peaceful democratic process and adherence to a pluralist liberal democratic system. It calls upon the government to ensure the protection of parliamentary immunity for this purpose, and urges the authorities to take appropriate measures to encourage and enable civil society, including independent trade unions and media, to play a constructive role. It further urges the government to further take account of the interests and concerns of all stakeholders in enacting and/or implementing laws and measures that may affect the activities of civil society, the LANGO in particular, and to protect and ensure freedom of speech, association and peaceful assembly.
The Council encourages the Government to continue to take action to promote the rights and dignity of all Cambodians by protecting civil and political rights and to ensure that all laws are interpreted and applied in a judicious manner so as to promote economic, social and cultural rights, in accordance with the rule of law.
The Council invites the Secretary General, the UN system, the international community, including civil society to continue their work with the government in strengthening democracy and ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights for all in Cambodia, including through technical assistance in the following areas: law drafting, establishment of an independent national human rights institution, capacity-building of legal institutions including the justice system, criminal investigations and law-enforcement, implementation of accepted UPR recommendations, and assisting the assessment of progress in human rights issues. Read the full text of the orally revised draft resolution as adopted by the Human Rights Council here.