On November 25-26, Cambodia will host the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit. This is a big deal for the Cambodian government, which is determined to change the often-overlooked summit into a big media event to expand its regional geopolitical and economic profile.
At the top of the ASEM agenda will no doubt be Myanmar’s horrific human-rights record since the February 1 military coup, and ASEAN’s decision to disinvite the coup leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. But while they are rightly focused on Myanmar, the leaders of the European Union and its member states should not give Cambodia a free pass on human-rights either.
It is no secret that the relationship between Cambodia and the EU has been strained ever since the European Commission’s August 2020 decision partly to suspend Cambodia’s trade preferences under the Everything But Arms (EBA) program.