GENEVA (15 July 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, welcomed today the granting of a royal pardon to the Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy, just ahead of the elections due to take place on 28 July 2013.
Sam Rainsy, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was tried in absentia in January 2010 on charges of destruction of property and racial incitement and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in one case and 10 years’ imprisonment in another, and had remained in exile.
“I was very pleased to learn that the royal pardon was granted by His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, at the request of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen,” the Special Rapporteur said. “I now hope that with this development, the Government will take the necessary action in order to allow Sam Rainsy to play a full part in the national politics of Cambodia.”
“In my last report to the UN Human Rights Council on electoral reform*, I had reiterated the importance of a level playing field for all political parties to compete on an equal footing, and had called for political solution to be found to enable Sam Rainsy, as the leader of the opposition, to play a full role in Cambodian politics,” Mr Subedi underscored.
“Today I applaud the Royal Government of Cambodia for having taken this important step towards reconciliation, which is in the interests of stronger and deeper democratization of Cambodia,” the Special Rapporteur said.
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.
(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s 2012 report to the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A-HRC-21-63-Add1_en.pdf
UN Human Rights, country page – Cambodia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KHIndex.aspx
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