During a session of the Human Rights Council’s General Debate, which was highly critical of Cambodia’s human rights records, Finland’s delegate Kirsti Kauppi stated that the human rights situation in Cambodia continues to deteriorate.
According to Phnom Penh Post, Kirsti Kauppi said:
“We call for the government of Cambodia to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to ensure full respect for all political and civil rights while finalizing their draft law on measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases, and to make this cooperation a promising example [for future actions].”
In response at a later session of the same conference, An Sokkhoeurn, Cambodia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva expressed his deep disappointment with Finland’s statements and stated that “we have noted with utter dismay that Finland refuses to review the state of human rights in Cambodia through an objective, open-minded and depoliticized lens.”
An Sokkhoeurn added that it was ironic that Finland, which had just lately invoked national lockdown measures and declared a state of emergency restricting its citizens’ fundamental freedoms at home, demanded that Cambodia show more respect for civil and political rights.
An Sokkhouern stated that Finland’s delegate’s call for Cambodia to cooperate with the OHCHR demonstrated Finland’s disregard for basic reality given that Cambodia has a long and active history of such cooperation.
“Cambodia’s open and constructive engagement with the OHCHR is manifested through the nearly three-decade presence of its country office in Cambodia – since 1993, which makes it the longest-tenured such office in the entire world,” An Sokkhoeurn said.