UN Envoy Subedi Calls for Release of Draft Laws

The U.N.’s human rights envoy to Cambodia on Monday asked the government to allow draft laws to be assessed by public and legal experts before being passed by a National Assembly currently being boycotted by the opposition CNRP.

Three draft laws on the judicial system, a trade union law, a cyber law, and a law on NGOs are in the legislative pipeline.

Surya Subedi, the U.N.’s rights envoy, raised concern that these draft laws could be passed solely by the CPP, without public scrutiny.

“While it is also my own hope that the political situation normalizes as early as possible, which will include the two parties resuming their dialogue at a decision-making level, I am seriously concerned about the legislative implications of the National Assembly functioning with the representation of only one party, and thus only a portion of the electorate,” Mr. Subedi said in a statement released on his behalf by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

He said he is happy to see the three judicial laws heading for legislation but added: “I must stress that speedy enactment should not come at the cost of the key principles of any law-making process, namely: transparency, accountability and participation.”

Last week, the 123-seat National Assembly convened for its second session of this fifth mandate with 64 of the CPP’s 68 lawmakers in attendance during most of the session. The Assembly passed a new roads law and a trade accord with Vietnam.

Mr. Subedi said debate and an opportunity to amend laws before they are passed are imperative elements in a “true democracy.”

“I therefore call on the government to release for public and expert review all draft laws before the Council of Ministers as soon as possible, particularly those with implications for the realization and enjoyment of human rights,” he said.

“I also call on the National Assembly to do the same with all draft laws that have or will come before it.”

CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun, a spokesman for the National Assembly, said he could not comment on the laws, referring questions to the relevant ministers.


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