The UN human rights envoy to Cambodia, Surya Subedi, on Friday called for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP and the opposition SRP to move toward reconciliation, in order to accelerate the democratization of the country as commune and national elections loom.
When asked if there had been any indication during his mission that such a reconciliation was likely, Mr. Subedi said: “I hope some solution will be found to this situation in due course.”
Mr. Subedi was speaking on the fourth day of a six-day fact-finding mission, during which he has followed up on his previous reports on the state of human rights in Cambodia. During this visit, he has also focused on the country’s electoral process.
“My view is that a concerted effort by the ruling party and the opposition party towards a reconciliation is in the interests of stronger and deeper democratization of the country,” he said.
“I have had some discussion on this issue with a number of interested parties and am monitoring the situation closely,” he added, without elaborating further.
Sam Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since 2009. Since then, he has been sentenced to a total of 12 years on charges of incitement, spreading disinformation and destruction of public property for the removal of a temporary marker on the Vietnamese border.
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said she supported Mr. Subedi’s remarks and described the relationship between the two parties as “beyond competition.”
“I don’t think it’s a healthy relationship,” Ms. Sochua said.
“I think we have put out the offer many times for dialogue,” she said, noting that the SRP wants to engage the CPP to work together on “national issues.”
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that without Sam Rainsy’s participation, no election in the country could be deemed “free and fair.”
Neither CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, the ruling party’s de facto spokesman, nor Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan could be reached for comment.
Mr. Subedi was also asked about the recent SRP attempt to upset the balance of the National Assembly prior to the passing of the 2012 budget law.
“The resignation by some members of the Sam Rainsy Party from Parliament is a new political development, and I have been monitoring it very closely, and I will see what the implications of that will be for the forthcoming elections.
“It is more of a political matter and a political decision on their part…I’m focusing on the situation of human rights in this country,” he said.