Thank you Madam President,
Norway would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his excellent report.
Norway shares the view of the Special Rapporteur that much has been achieved in Cambodia since the Paris Accords in 1993 in terms of economic and social rights – eradication of poverty and economic growth – and the establishment of relative political stability, especially in light of the turmoil and terror of previous decades. At the same time, Norway agrees with the SR that Cambodia still has a long way to go to fulfil many of its obligations under international human rights treaties that it has ratified.
Norway is concerned about the many reports regarding unresolved land disputes leading to forced evictions, and, in particular, reports describing arbitrary arrest or unfounded charges against individuals who protest against the lack of adequate notice, legal protection and alternative accommodation. We encourage the Government of Cambodia to ensure that there are proper procedures in place to secure lawful land transfer, and that the people affected by these disputes are not subjected to harassment and can exercise their right to peaceful protest.
The situation for trade union leaders fighting for fundamental labour rights of Cambodian workers also gives cause for concern. Norway urges Cambodia to protect and respect the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and to form and join trade unions in line with international and Cambodian law.
The draft law on non-governmental organizations and associations is attracting much international attention. Norway acknowledges the need and right of Cambodian authorities to exercise control and oversight over the various activities of the NGOs operating in their country. We are, however, concerned that the new NGO law may in fact hamper the legitimate work of NGOs, and that the registration process might be insufficiently transparent, which increases the risk of undue and politically motivated interference. We welcome the continuation of a constructive consultation process with relevant stakeholders which would play an important role also in the future development of Cambodia and its civil society.
Finally, Norway would like to echo the positive statement by the SR regarding the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. We think that the ECCC, in addition to having significant and positive impact on the justice and reconciliation process, contributes to building capacity and strengthening judicial reforms in Cambodia. (Norge har støttet ECCC med til sammen ca. 4 mill. USD siden opprettelsen i 2006.)