NRPTT and GCRL invoke article 29 of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement for a democratic Cambodia

On Wednesday, September 26th, at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transparty (NRPTT) member Makarar Thhai took the floor during the debate with Special Rapporteur for Cambodia, prof. Rhona Smith. Thhai, who is also a member of the now dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was accompanied by GCRL Secretary General Matteo Angioli.

The debate kicked off with a 15-minute address by prof. Smith, who highlighted the violations perpetrated by the regime against the main opposition party as well as against troubling journalists and dissenting voices. In the following statements by Member States, the Representative of Japan and other western representatives said the elections were disappointing, while the Chinese Representative praised both the political stability of Cambodia and the way in which the election were conducted. He also reaffirmed Beijing’s support to the economic and social development of the country.

Makarar Thhai condemned the sham elections held on July 29th in Cambodia and drew attention of Member States to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements which put an end to the civil war in Cambodia. In light of the recent crackdown by the Hun Sen government and the one-party state that resulted from the elections, he said the time has come to trigger article 29 of the above-mentioned agreement which stipulates that in case of any violation, France and Indonesia, as co-chairs of the Paris Conference of 1991, will start consultations in order to take appropriate measure to uphold the commitments they had taken up. Once again, the law provides for the necessary and appropriate tools to go about this crisis. It is up to the States Party to the Agreement to live up to their obligations.

You may read Makarar Thhai’s speech below and watch it here at 58’15”

39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, 26 September 2018

Mister President,

29 July 2018 marked the death of democracy in Cambodia – a new dark day of its history. It was to be a celebration of democracy where people would have exercised their right to choose their own government. Unfortunately, that choice had already been made for them before polls opened.

The ruling party moved ahead with a sham elections in full breach of the Cambodian Constitution and the international commitments/obligations of the country. Subsequently, what was left of a democracy in name only has been replaced with an outright dictatorship.

The ban of the opposition and imprisonment of its leader, the shutdown of independent media and civil society, and threats on activists had made this election unacceptable before it even began.

29 July will be remembered as the day when the constitutional multi-party democracy was replaced illegally and the unconstitutionally by a one-party rule where the basic principles of the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991 which define the political system of the country have been blatantly breached thus invoking regional security crisis.

In view of the unilateral abrogation of the Cambodia regime from the Paris Peace Agreements, we call on the Co-Presidents of the Paris Conference, Indonesia and France, to invoke article 29* of the Agreements which calls for immediate convocation of the Conference.

Thank you Mister President for your attention.

Makarar Thhai

* Article 29 of the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991 – Agreement on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodian conflict: without prejudice to the prerogatives of he Security Council of the United Nations, and upon request of the Secretary-General, the two Co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia, in the event of a violation or threat of violation of this agreement, will immediately undertake appropriate consultations, including with members of the Paris Conference on Cambodia, with a view to taking appropriate steps to ensure respect for these commitments.

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