Cambodian Top Diplomat: Democracy Is Not A Sprint Rather A Long-Distance Running
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. Prak Sokhonn said that democracy is not a sprint rather a long-distance running.
While holding a virtually meeting with Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, a new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia yesterday afternoon, the Cambodian top diplomat underlined that any assessment of Cambodia should bear in mind where it comes from and where it stands now. “Various mechanisms were put in place to build a closer government-CSO partnership. Democracy is not a sprint rather a long-distance running. All legislative and administrative measures are enforced within the boundaries of the law. Charges brought before the courts involve criminal and constitutional breach. The defendants have full opportunity to be heard and to disprove the indictment as part of the rights to due process,” he said.
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister congratulated Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn on his appointment as the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, welcomed his respectful approach, and reaffirmed Cambodia’s cooperation in working closely with the Special Rapporteur.
On the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Prak Sokhonn briefed Cambodia’s sweeping measures and strategies to respond to this health crisis and to cushion its socio-economic impact upon the vulnerable, among others, cash transfer programme, food supplies during the lockdown and vaccinations. The priority of the government is to secure rights to life, survival and health along with social stability and public health. In response, Prof. Vitit welcomed the cash transfer scheme and free national inoculation rollout in Cambodia.
Considering himself as a good friend of Cambodia, Prof. Vitit emphasised his great respect for the Kingdom. He congratulated Cambodia on broad and wide-ranging cooperation in human rights mechanisms, namely ratification of most human rights conventions, engagement in treaty body, Universal Periodic Review and special rapporteurs, and significant progress in social and economic rights.
Both sides also exchanged views on the preparation of Cambodia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022 and some relevant potential initiatives.
This is the sixth meeting that Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn has had with Cambodian dignitaries of the Royal Government of Cambodia since his assumption of this mandate. The new Special Rapporteur has interacted with representatives of Ministry of Interior, Cambodia Human Rights Committee, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth, and Ministry of Justice. Prof. Vitit thanked the Royal Government of Cambodia for facilitating the said open and constructive conversations, demonstrating the good cooperation that Cambodia has accorded to his mandate.