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Posted by: | Posted on: February 11, 2019

Cambodia: EU launches procedure to temporarily suspend trade preferences

Op-Ed: European Commission – Press release

Comment: នីតិវិធីដកកិច្ចអនុគ្រោះពន្ធEBAនេះគឺចាប់ផ្តើមមានឥទ្ធិពលតាំងពីសារព្រមានដំបូងរបស់លោកស្រីម៉ាលស្ត្រមម្លេះពីព្រោះជាចិត្តសាស្ត្រពាណិជ្ជកម្ម ពាណិជ្ជករមានការអល់អែកក្នុងការបន្តាក់ទុននិងពង្រីកទុនរបស់ខ្លួននៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជារួចទៅហើយ។ ពាក្យពេជ្រតំណាងអោយសហគមអុឺរ៉ុបគឺអាចយកជាការបាននិងមិនមែនជាប្រជាភិថុតិដូចទំលាប់មេដឹកនាំខ្មែរបានធ្វើកន្លងមកនោះទេ។ ពាណិជ្ជករមានភាពមុឺងម៉ាត់ណាស់ចំពោះបញ្ហានេះ។ អ្វីដែលអាភ័ព្វនោះគឺលោកហ៊ុន-សែនដែលបានធ្វើនយោបាយប្រជាសាកលនិយមឬប្រជាភិថុតិជាមួយកម្មករកន្លងមក កំពុងរុញច្រានអោយកម្មករកាត់ដេរខ្មែរជិតមួយលាននាក់ធ្លាក់ខ្លួនក្រដើម្បីដោះដូរជាមួយនឹងការរក្សាអំណាចរបស់បុរសខ្លាំងកម្ពុជាតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។ ជាការកត់សំគាល់ លោកហ៊ុន-សែនកំពុងតែស្ថិតនៅឯកោឯកាម្នាក់ឯងបន្តិចម្តងៗ។ គាត់ឯកោឯកាពីសមាជិកអ្នកស្រឡាញ់ជាតិពិតប្រាកដក្នុងជួរគណបក្សរបស់គាត់ គាត់ឯកោឯកាពីសហគមអន្តរជាតិមានសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកជាដើម គាត់ឯកោឯកាពីប្រទេសជិតខាងរបស់កម្ពុជាមានថៃនិងវៀតណាមក៏ដូចជាសមាគមអាស៊ានជាដើម។ល។និង។ល។

Cambodia: EU launches procedure to temporarily suspend trade preferences

Brussels, 11 February 2019

The EU has today started the process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia’s preferential access to the EU market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme. EBA preferences can be removed if beneficiary countries fail to respect core human rights and labour rights.

Courtesy: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/cambodia/

Launching the temporary withdrawal procedure does not entail an immediate removal of tariff preferences, which would be the option of last resort. Instead, it kicks off a period of intensive monitoring and engagement. The aim of the Commission’s action remains to improve the situation for the people on the ground.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said: “Over the last eighteen months, we have seen the deterioration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Cambodia. In February 2018, the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers made clear how seriously the EU views these developments. In recent months, the Cambodian authorities have taken a number of positive steps, including the release of political figures, civil society activists and journalists and addressing some of the restrictions on civil society and trade union activities.However, without more conclusive action from the government, the situation on the ground calls Cambodia’s participation in the EBA scheme into question. As the European Union, we are committed to a partnership with Cambodia that delivers for the Cambodian people. Our support for democracy and human rights in the country is at the heart of this partnership.”

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “It should be clear that today’s move is neither a final decision nor the end of the process. But the clock is now officially ticking and we need to see real action soon. We now go into a monitoring and evaluation process in which we are ready to engage fully with the Cambodian authorities and work with them to find a way forward. When we say that the EU’s trade policy is based on values, these are not just empty words. We are proud to be one of the world’s most open markets for least developed countries and the evidence shows that exporting to the EU Single Market can give a huge boost to their economies. Nevertheless, in return we ask that these countries respect certain core principles. Our engagement with the situation in Cambodia has led us to conclude that there are severe deficiencies when it comes to human rights and labour rights in Cambodia that the government needs to tackle if it wants to keep its country’s privileged access to our market.” 

Following a period of enhanced engagement, including a fact-finding mission to Cambodia in July 2018 and subsequent bilateral meetings at the highest level, the Commission has concluded that there is evidence of serious and systematic violations of core human rights and labour rights in Cambodia, in particular of the rights to political participation as well as of the freedoms of assembly, expression and association. These findings add to the longstanding EU concerns about the lack of workers’ rights and disputes linked to economic land concessions in the country.

Today’s decision will be published in the EU Official Journal on 12 February, kicking off a process that aims to arrive at a situation in which Cambodia is in line with its obligations under the core UN and ILO Conventions:

– a six-month period of intensive monitoring and engagement with the Cambodian authorities;

– followed by another three-month period for the EU to produce a report based on the findings;

– after a total of twelve months, the Commission will conclude the procedure with a final decision on whether or not to withdraw tariff preferences; it is also at this stage that the Commission will decide the scope and duration of the withdrawal. Any withdrawal would come into effect after a further six-month period.

High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Malmström launched the internal process to initiate this procedure on 4 October 2018. Member States gave their approval to the Commission proposal to launch the withdrawal procedure at the end of January 2019.

Background

The Everything But Arms arrangement is one arm of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which allows vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth. The EBA scheme unilaterally grants duty-free and quota-free access to the European Union for all products (except arms and ammunition) for the world’s Least Developed Countries, as defined by the United Nations. The GSP Regulation provides that trade preferences may be suspended in case of “serious and systematic violation of principles” laid down in the human rights and labour rights Conventions listed in Annex VIII of the Regulation.

Exports of textiles and footwear, prepared foodstuffs and vegetable products (rice) and bicycles represented 97% of Cambodia’s overall exports to the EU in 2018. Out of the total exports of € 4.9bn, 99% (€ 4.8bn) were eligible to EBA preferential duties.

For More Information

MEMO: EU triggers procedure to temporarily suspend trade preferences for Cambodia 

Trade relations with Cambodia

Generalised Scheme of Preferences

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EU starts process to hit Cambodia with trade sanctions

Op-Ed: Reuters

BRUSSELS, Feb 11 (Reuters) – The European Union started on Monday an 18-month process to end Cambodia’s preferential trade access to the bloc over its record on human and labour rights and democracy.

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28-member EU, said that its decision would be published in the EU official journal on Feb. 12, triggering a countdown that would run until August 2020.

Read More …
Posted by: | Posted on: August 26, 2018

កិច្ចសម្ភាសន៍វីអូអេ៖ លទ្ធផលនិងភាពមិនប្រក្រតីនៃការបោះឆ្នោត

Op-Ed: The CEROC

#VOAKhLive:

កិច្ចសម្ភាសន៍វីអូអេ៖ លទ្ធផលនិងភាពមិនប្រក្រតីនៃការបោះឆ្នោត 

VOA Live Say Mony គណៈកម្មាធិការជាតិរៀបចំការបោះឆ្នោតនឹងប្រកាសលទ្ធផលផ្លូវការនៃការបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសតាំងតំណាងរាស្ត្រនីតិកាលទី៦នៅថ្ងៃពុធទី១៥ ខែសីហា ស្អែកនេះ ដោយអះអាងថា គ្មានពាក្យបណ្ដឹងពាក់ព័ន្ធនឹងលទ្ធផលបណ្ដោះអាសន្ននៃការបោះឆ្នោតនេះទេ។ ប៉ុន្តែ អ្នកឃ្លាំមើលការបោះឆ្នោតពីក្រៅប្រទេស អះអាងថា លទ្ធផលនៃបោះឆ្នោតនេះ មានភាពមិនប្រក្រតីមួយចំនួន។ លោក សាយ មុន្នី នៃវីអូអេ សម្ភាសន៍លោក សេង សុភ័ណ ប្រធានគណៈកម្មាធិការ ដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសនិងជាអតីតមន្ត្រីបោះឆ្នោតនៅខេត្តអាល់បើតានៃប្រទេសកាណាដា អំពីបញ្ហានេះ។ khmer.voanews.com | voacambodia.com #cambodia #khmer #voakhmer

Posted by: | Posted on: August 11, 2018

Holding Cambodia Accountable for Its Descent into One-Party Rule

Next Steps for Accountability

Given these new developments, the U.S. should take concerted action to hold Hun Sen and other cronies in the Cambodian government to account. The U.S. and Asia Heritage Foundationother key actors in the international community, including the European Union, signaled their disapproval of the dissolution of the opposition and deteriorating conditions in the country. These actions may have been too little too late. A more robust response should have been carried out five years ago after flawed 2013 elections revealed a state of deteriorating democracy in Cambodia.22 The U.S. should take further steps to hold the Cambodian government accountable:

  • Name and sanction Hun Sen and other party cadres for the role they play in undermining democracy in Cambodia. The U.S. Treasury Department should use all available tools in its toolbox to freeze and seize assets of known individuals actively obstructing freedom in Cambodia. It should expand its use of existing Global Magnitsky authorities and use any other relevant authorities to place individuals on the SDN list. Such an action would send a clear signal to Hun Sen that the U.S. will intervene in necessary ways to get Cambodia back on the path toward democratic reform.
  • Expand existing visa restrictions on Cambodian officials undermining democracy. The U.S. State Department should follow through on promises made in its condemnation of the July 2018 election to expand existing visa restrictions on Cambodian government officials. One potential way to expand these authorities would be to extend visa restrictions unequivocally to family members, especially to Hun Sen’s direct family members. (Current visa restrictions only apply to family members on a case-by-case basis.)23
  • Create and convene an emergency meeting of the Cambodia Contact Group comprised of parties to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, including the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, the U.K., and France, to monitor and press for democratic reform. Among the purposes of the Paris agreement was to ensure “the right to self-determination of the Cambodian people through free and fair elections” and “assuring protection of human rights.”24 The signatories have a continuing moral obligation in this regard. The contact group should be used to coordinate human rights policies and assistance programs toward Cambodia. In short order, leaders from all of the countries at the foreign-minister level should convene to draw up coordinated plans to hold the Cambodian government accountable and get Cambodia back on the path toward reform.
  • Condition assistance to Cambodia on the health of democracy. The U.S. should adopt stringent metrics for determining whether Cambodia is eligible for key assistance programs. Such language could mirror proposed conditions in the 2019 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill.25 Language in the Senate version of the appropriations bill is particularly strong and specific. The U.S. government should conduct a thorough review of all assistance to Cambodia and consider instituting more severe restrictions on aid. Emphasis should be placed on holding the Cambodian government accountable without harming the people themselves.
  • Continue to press for the release of Kem Sokha. Every U.S. government statement issued in response to deteriorating conditions in Cambodia should continue to reference Kem Sokha’s imprisonment and request that the Cambodian government release him immediately. The U.S. government should also make clear that there will be additional consequences if Kem Sokha continues to be held. Without a swift, coordinated plan democracy may never be restored in Cambodia. The U.S. and the international community should learn from the mistakes of its limited response after the 2013 election and respond to the 2018 elections in an offensive, rather than defensive, manner. The U.S. should plan for conditions to continue to deteriorate and put in place mechanisms that ensure Hun Sen and his CPP cronies are held to account

Read more details at Asia Foundation…

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As Singapore dredges sand out from beneath Cambodia’s mangrove forests, an ecosystem, a communal way of life, and one woman’s relationship to her beloved home are faced with the threat of erasure.

I remember my first trip to the mangrove forests near the island of Koh Sralau and along Cambodia’s coastline. I had no idea how extensive the mangrove forests were or how spectacular they would be. The forests stretched for miles and miles, carving out small islands, narrow waterways and channels, and ecologically diverse estuaries. I wanted to document the impact of sand dredging on the mangroves and on the lives of the people who live and thrive in these forests and the oceans surrounding them.

For over a decade, the government of Cambodia has granted several private companies concessions to mine these mangrove forests for sand. Each year, millions of metric tons of sand are shipped to Singapore to enlarge this island nation’s land mass, while Cambodia destroys its only natural protection against erosion, rising sea levels, tsunamis, and hurricanes and lays waste to a vital and fragile ecosystem that thousands of families depend on for their livelihood.

Read more details at Emergence Magazine…

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In late July, Cambodia participated (sort of) in the General Election, without having the option to choose the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which had been dissolved by the Supreme Court last November. The landslide victory by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) all but assures Prime Minister Hun Sen of near total control of the country. For poll watchers, observers of democracy and human rights activists, the post-mortem reflection on Cambodia’s decline will be painful. But for how long? This brief analysis offers three likely developments in Cambodia that offer both a glimpse of optimism and words of warning.

No. 1: Any imposed sanctions on Cambodia will fail: When the CPP clamped down on political freedoms, Western governments reacted strongly, yet predictably. Economic sanctions were at the top of the list of suggested responses. The United States called forsanctions for Cambodia in January after the arrest of CNRP leader Kem Sokha. Recently, the U.S. and the European Union have called for sanctions on high-ranking officials and more, including thoughts of stripping Cambodia of tax-free access to Western textile markets. If implemented, the loss of revenue could top $650 million. While that wouldcause few reservations for the CPP and Prime Minister Hun Sen, the impact would be felt by up to a million poor Cambodians who work in the textile and garment industries. Sanctions would almost certainly jeopardize efforts to boost national economic standing. The World Bank graduated Cambodia from LDC to lower-middle-income status in 2016and the United Nations has been supporting the country in efforts to move to upper-middle income status by 2030. Threats of sanctions reflect myopic foreign policies that fail to grasp the larger economic and political landscape. While Cambodia will not be able to find alternative Chinese markets for their goods, they will find political solace from Beijing and a new source of legitimate criticism in which to rest short-term political futures. The Americans should learn from the past. The U.S. imposed a trade embargo on Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge gained to power in 1975 and kept them through 1992. Cambodia relied then on China and communist states for their economic survival and it will soon again. Economic sanctions simply don’t work. They rarely have.

No. 2: Cambodia’s civil society will re-emerge: Creeping authoritarianism in the months before the July 2018 election subjected Cambodian civil society groups working in Cambodia to repressive restrictions. Recently, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that the judiciary has been used by the government to tighten controls on civil society groups that the regime saw as a threat, including the closure of some independent media organizations, violent responses to demonstrations, and arbitrary detention and arrest of human rights and political activists. The government passed the Law on Associations and NGOs in 2015, which provided a legal means for threatening civil society groups. However, the cost of repression is often high and civil society often quickly learns to adapt to acts of state violence. One need only look at Cambodia’s neighbor to the west as an example. Thailand imposed a number of repressive laws in the aftermath of the 2014 coup d’etat. Groups of five people were banned from gathering in public, political activists were arrested, and thousands were forced into re-education camps. But, five years after the coup, civil society is showing signs of re-emergence. Unless Hun Sen is willing to use much more repressive means to curtail civil society activities, it is highly likely that CPP dominance will face the same legitimacy challenges Prayut and the NCPO face today. Discounting the power of civil society in Cambodia is to not properly remember its history. Cambodians who faced human rights challenges during the Khmer Rouge eramobilized society and formed the basis for a robust human rights movement–even before the arrival of UNTAC. While it may not emerge in the short-term, it will inevitably happen.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: August 6, 2018

សេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍អំពីការបោះឆ្នោតនៅកម្ពុជា

Statement of Cambodia Election 29 July 2018-page-001

Op-Ed: The CEROC

គណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសសូមថ្កោលទោសជាឱឡារិកដល់ការបោះឆ្នោតនៅថ្ងៃទី២៩ ខែកក្កដា ឆ្នាំ២០១៨ ដែលប្រព្រឹត្តឡើងប្រកបដោយភាពលំអៀង មិនសុក្រិត្តយុត្តិធម៌ និងជាការបោកបញ្ឆោតសំលេងម្ចាស់ឆ្នោតប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ១៦លាននាក់។

គណៈកម្មការជាតិដើម្បីការបោះឆ្នោតឬហៅកាត់គជបជាអង្គភាពបង្គ្រប់កិច្ចអោយរដ្ឋាភិបាលដើម្បីបោកបញ្ឆោតប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ។ គជបមានមនុស្សធ្វើការមកពីគណបក្សប្រជាជនកម្ពុជា ហើយគណបក្សប្រជាជនកម្ពុជាបានរំកិលខ្លួនខ្ពស់ជាងស្ថាប័នជាតិសំខាន់ៗ។ ក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់លោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រីហ៊ុន-សែន ការអភិវឌ្ឍន៍សេដ្ឋកិច្ចនិងការកសាងហេដ្ឋារចនាសម្ព័ន្ធគឺគ្រាន់តែជាការលំអររូបភាពខាងក្រៅតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ ពីព្រោះក្នុងរយៈពេលជាង២២ឆ្នាំនេះ លោកហ៊ុន-សែននិងក្រុមរបស់គាត់បានបំលែងប្តូរនូវស្ថាប័នជាតិដោយជំនួសវិញគឺក្រុមស្វាមីភក្តិរបស់គាត់និងគណបក្សប្រជាជនកម្ពុជា។

យើងខ្ញុំសូមអំពាវនាវអោយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសទាំងអស់ត្រូវឈរប្រកៀកស្មារជាមួយបងប្អូនប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្នុងប្រទេសក្នុងការជំរុញអោយស្តារលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យឡើងវិញ មានការបោះឆ្នោតឡើងវិញដែលអាចឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងឆន្ទៈប្រជាពលរដ្ឋពិតប្រាកដក្នុងការជ្រើសរើសតំណាងរបស់ខ្លួន។ សហគមន៍អន្តរជាតិជាពិសេសប្រទេសប្រកាន់របបប្រជាធិបតេយ្យត្រូវអនុវត្តន៍ជាក់ស្តែងជាជាងគ្រាន់តែសំដែងចំណាប់អារម្មណ៍និងសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍មិនទទួលស្គាល់ការបោះឆ្នោតនេះ។ ជាមេរៀន សូមអោយក្រុមអ្នកប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងសហគមន៍អន្តរជាតិធ្វើការផ្លាស់ប្តូរទិសពីការពង្រឹងសមត្ថភាពប្រជាពលរដ្ឋម្នាក់ៗមកជាការពង្រឹងស្ថាប័នជាតិវិញ ព្រោះក្នុងរយៈពេល២៧ឆ្នាំនេះ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរម្នាក់ៗបានយល់សុីជម្រៅនូវខ្លឹមសារលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានមួយចំនួនធំហើយ តែពួកគេនៅជាជនរងគ្រោះពីគណបក្សកាន់អំណាចដែលគ្របសង្កត់ទាំងស្រុងទៅលើស្ថាប័នជាតិ។

Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians (The CEROC) solemnly condemns the national election conducted in July 29, 2018 which has been in bias, unfair, and manipulating the 16 millions of Cambodian population.

National Election Committee (NEC) is the biased body commissioned to manipulate the Cambodian people. NEC has employed staffs majorly from ruling party (CPP), and CPP has embodied themselves higher than key national institutions. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, economic development and infrastructure are just a decoration of outside look because during his mandate of over 22 years, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his entourages have exchanged national institutions to replacing with his loyalists and CPP party.

We would like to appeal all Cambodians overseas to firmly shoulder with Cambodian people inside the country to demand the returning back of democracy in Cambodia, to conduct a new election that could reflect the will of the people in choosing their representatives. International communities particularly those democratic countries must take action rather than just expressing concerns and making statement of election condemnation. As lessons learnt, all democrats and international communities should make change of their direction from individual citizens’ capacity building to strengthening national institutions because during this period of 27 years, individual Cambodian has deepened knowledge of democracy principles but they have been remained victim of CPP that has evolved themselves to control major national institutions.

អានសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍ទាំងស្រុង Read complete statement in pdf