Cambodian Ambassador to ASEAN Reacts to Remark of U.S. Counterpart

Cambodian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to ASEAN H.E. Norng Sakal has sent a letter reacting against a recent remark of H.E. Ms. Nina Hachigian, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, over human rights situation in Cambodia.

"I wish to refer to your remark, which was expressed on Feb. 24, 2016 concerning the human rights situation in Cambodia and was quoted in an article titled 'U.S. Envoy Says Rights Discussed at Summit' in the Cambodia Daily dated Feb. 25, 2016," said the Cambodian diplomat in his letter dated Feb. 26.

It is true that U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue of democracy and respect for human rights in general without mentioning any country, he said, adding that Samdech Techo Prime Minister Hun Sen and other Leaders of ASEAN also shared the U.S. President's view.

"As the Ambassador of the United States to ASEAN, your utmost duty is to solely focus on how to follow up and enhance ASEAN-U.S. strategic partnership and not on interference in an improper manner in Cambodia's internal affairs," he stressed.

H.E. Norng Sakal further explained that Cambodia's Law on NGOs and Civil Society is not intended to restrict the freedom of NGOs and civil society, but to ensure better coordination of operation within a legal framework. Up to now, he continued, among thousands of local NGOs and International Organizations, over 100 of them are working in the field of democracy and human rights and criticizing the Royal Government of Cambodia inside and outside the country freely.

H.E. Norng Sakal thus asked his U.S. counterpart to fulfill her duty properly instead of criticizing Cambodia inappropriately.

Source: AKP