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UN rights expert hails Cambodia’s general elections and calls for calm and political reconciliation

GENEVA (31 July 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, today praised the general elections held in Cambodia on Sunday 28 July 2013, and appealed for calm and political reconciliation.

“Sunday’s general election was a display of maturity in democratic exercise in the country,” Mr. Subedi said while commending all political actors for the restraints that they displayed. “I congratulate the people of Cambodia on exercising their right to vote in a largely peaceful manner.”

“I now call for calm and political reconciliation in the greater interests of the nation and appeal for acceleration in the process of reform of state institutions, including the National Election Committee, to ensure greater respect for people’s rights, genuine rule of law and stronger democracy in Cambodia,” he said

The human rights expert also appealed to the people and all political actors “not to succumb to racial hatred, whether in person or through other means such as social media, and to contribute towards building a tolerant, cohesive and liberal democratic society.”

With regard to the many allegations of irregularities, Mr. Subedi called on the appropriate bodies to promptly and impartially investigate them, and urged the Cambodian National Election Committee to thoroughly account for every unused ballot paper.

The UN Special Rapporteur recalled his own recommendations for electoral reform contained in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2012, most of which had not been adopted before the polls. “Had these recommendations been implemented in time for the elections, the situation now would have been much better,” he stressed.

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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