Phnom Penh (FN), Dec. 7 – EU Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar supported the Royal Government of Cambodia’s steps to strengthen democracy and political space by allowing the dissolved CNRP members who were banned from political parties to get back their rights to fully engage in politics, addressing in his provincial outreach to Siem Reap with local journalists on 4 December 2018.

According to the Ambassador, it is an important principle that any law that provides penalty should also provide the appeals against the penalty.

“This [the Government’s Statement] sets a positive step on the thing that we concerned on the previous amendment on Law on Political Party – the fact that there was no appeals against the decision to ban people from political activities,” Ambassador George Edgar said.

“We are also taking good note of the statement yesterday by the government which addresses a number of areas where the EU expressed concerns,” the Ambassador added.

According to the announcement of the National Assembly, some lawmakers already proposed for Amendment on Article 45-new of Political Party that will add a new a paragraph as follows:

“Individual whom the court banned from doing political activities could not create a new party, or participate in any other political parties, or be a candidate for others to vote, or do any activities to support or oppose other parties. Individual whom the court banned from doing political activities will receive absolute rights to legally participate in political activities when banning expired as determined by the Supreme Court’s verdict, or in the case that individual has been rehabilitated by His Majesty King as requested by Prime Minister in accordance with the proposal of Minister of Interior.”

It is worth noting that the Royal Government of Cambodia released a statement on further steps to strengthen democracy and political space as well as facilitate freedom of press, CSOs, and unions, according to foreign affair ministry’s press release dated Monday.

"The Royal Government always cherishes promotion of freedom of press and freedom of expression in accordance with the Constitution and laws in force. Previously, there were complaints that freedom of press has been restricted, particularly regarding The Cambodia Daily, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. For these cases, here are the facts: The Cambodia Daily shut down its publication on its own due to its failure to fulfill tax obligations in accordance with the Law on Taxation. In the event that such liabilities are legally met, the newspaper can resume its operation. The closure of Radio Free Asia' and Voice of America' representative offices was self-initiated. The two radio stations are free to reopen their offices in Cambodia,” according to the statement.

The Royal Government’s Statement is available below: