Civil Society Marks Human Rights Day With Call to Improve Cambodia’s Record, Save Trade Status

A group of civil society organizations in Cambodia marked International Human Rights Day on Tuesday by calling on the government to drastically improve the country’s rights record to avoid the loss of crucial tariff-free access to the European Union under a preferential trade scheme.

More than 2,000 people gathered in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park at an event celebrating human rights, where representatives of trade unions, land rights groups, and other NGOs warned that withdrawal of the country’s Everything But Arms (EBA) status—which gives developing nations tariff-free access to the EU’s markets for all products except arms—would lead to dire setbacks in Cambodia.

In a Nov. 12 preliminary report, the EU warned Cambodia that it has not taken enough measures to prevent a loss of its special trade privileges, noting the country’s further deterioration of civil, political, labor, social, and cultural rights since the launch of a review process in February.

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