PHNOM PENH, Nov. 25 (FN) -- Cambodia has warned to terminate the presence of the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the country if a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two sides has not been signed by the end of this year.
In a letter sent to Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Tuesday and released to the media on Friday, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said the latest MoU, which allowed a legitimate field operation of the OHCHR in Cambodia, has been expired since Dec. 31, 2015; however, the OHCHR is still operating in Cambodia.
"Despite the RGC (Royal Government of Cambodia)'s goodwill and firm commitment to the advancement of human rights and rule of law, this status quo cannot be permitted indefinitely," he wrote.
"The RGC has decided to wait until Dec. 30, 2016 for the OHCHR's confirmation to conclude a new MoU between the RGC and the OHCHR on the basis of the principle of respect for sovereignty and non-interference in Cambodia's internal affairs in full conformity of Article 2 (paragraph 7) of the U.N. Charter," the minister said. "Otherwise, the RGC has no choice but to execute its sovereign rights on the future of the field presence of the OHCHR in Cambodia."
He said the warning came after the government has noted that the OHCHR in Cambodia has consistently overstepped the bounds of its roles defined in the said MoU.
"Despite the RGC's efforts to enhance the smooth, constructive and effective cooperation based on mutual respect, the OHCHR has furthermore been stepping up its interference in internal affairs of Cambodia," Sokhonn said.
"More than ever, its representatives and spokesperson have been taking arrogant and disrespectful behaviours toward the sovereignty of Cambodia which is unacceptable and contravenes to the diplomatic decorum as stipulated in the article 41 (paragraph 1 and 2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961," he said.
Cambodia has consented to the field presence of the OHCHR in the country since 1993 through a bilateral agreement, known as the MoU, which has been renewed several times.