EU recently released their Report on Human Rights for 2011. Below is what was said about Cambodia.
The EU supported financially the national side of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) and welcomed the historic judgment sentencing Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to 35 years imprisonment.
In 2010 the EU expressed appreciation for the endorsement of five key legal texts and stressed that three further fundamental laws need to be promptly adopted, namely: the Law on the Statute of Judges and Prosecutors, the Law on Organisation and Functioning of the Court and the Law on Amendment to the Law on Supreme Council of Magistracy, which are particularly important to promote the independence and transparency of judiciary. During the preparation of the draft law on Non Governmental Organisations and Associations, the EU recommended that the Government consult widely with stakeholders on the draft, and produce a law that fosters the development of civil society.
The EU welcomed the acceptance of all recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic review. The EU continued working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to support CHRC to implement the recommendations and supported the OHCHR and the Special Rapporteur in undertaking their work more broadly.
The EU tracked concerns with restrictions on freedom of expression affecting opposition politicians, civil society representatives and journalists. An often used tool was the new Penal Code’s provisions on defamation and incitement. The EU expressed its concern at several cases involving inter alia Mr Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition, opposition MP Ms Mu Sochua and NGOs such as LICADHO.
An EU-Cambodia Civil Society Seminar on Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society was organised in September 2010 in Phnom Penh with over 170 participants representing various stakeholders from across Cambodia.
Land evictions, lack of recognition of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic minorities, Economic Land Concession, Social Concessions and Natural Resources Management have raised strong concerns to the EU. The EU is more and more concerned about the negative effects of land evictions for both sustainable development and social cohesion. Several cases were raised with the Government at the last Joint Committee in October 2010 and at the Sub-Group on Institutional Reforms, Governance and Human Rights, in particular concerning sugar sector.
Other important challenges remain on the improvement of the prison conditions and the lack of independence of the judiciary.
Following the EU Election Observation Mission in 2008 and the recommendation in view of the next elections (communes in 2012 and General Elections in 2013, and prolonged TA to the National Election Committee, the EU stressed that future TA to Cambodia will be subject to real tangible outcomes including concrete follow-up to the recommendations made by the 2008 EU mission.
In 2010 there were 14 projects implemented in Cambodia under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, inter alia addressing issues affecting indigenous people, land rights, women‟s and children‟s enjoyment of their human rights, juvenile justice, civil society, and trafficking in human beings.