Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy

Delivered in Plenary - 21st October 2010

Mr President

Although Cambodia is on paper a pluralist democracy, the respected NGO Human Rights Watch states that politicians and journalists critical of the government face violence and intimidation.

In addition, the judiciary remains weak and subject to political influence. Furthermore the government continues to turn a blind eye to fraudulent confiscation of farmers’ land, illegal logging and widespread plundering of the country’s natural resources.

Sam Rainsy, the Opposition leader currently exiled to France, has been jailed in absentia for ten years. His so-called crime was to seek to highlight the confiscation of peasant farmers’ land by the government following border talks with neighbouring Vietnam, in the course of which he was charged with digging up the border posts.

This resolution today serves as a timely reminder to the Cambodian Government that if it seeks closer ties with the EU it should guarantee and uphold basic freedoms and fundamental rights. Otherwise, Cambodia risks being bracketed with the pariah state Burma in the eyes of the international community.