The Australian Greens called on Foreign Minister Bob Carr to push for free and fair elections in Cambodia, following Senate support for a motion moved by Senator Christine Milne.
Senator Milne’s motion supports similar efforts passed by the European Parliament and the Parliament of the Philippines, in accordance with recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights who identified major flaws in the process and called for media freedom, freedom of expression and assembly, and the release of political prisoners.
Christine Milne said ‘With the elections due in a year, now is the time to start taking constructive steps to ensure that this election runs as fairly and peacefully as possible, and Bob Carr should be using Australia’s influence to make that happen.’
‘I am pleased that the Senate worked constructively with the Greens in the interest of the Cambodian people and in accordance with our commitment to democracy. Now it’s time to act.
‘I was privileged to meet recently with exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy. It is time he was allowed to return to Cambodia to fully participate in the election campaign without fear of intimidation or imprisonment.
‘As Australia focuses its attention on our region, following the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, our actions will speak louder than our words. It’s critical that we engage positively and cooperatively with our neighbours, and in the best interest of the people of the region.’
The Senate passed the motion yesterday. Please see below and attached motion:
AUSTRALIA’S SENATE CALLS FOR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN CAMBODIA IN LINE WITH U.N. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Australian Senate today adopted the following resolution on Cambodia calling for free and fair elections in 2013 with full participation of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, in line with recent recommendations by the United Nations.
“The [Australian] Senate:
a) Notes the recent report by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia which addresses the issue of election organisation and makes a number of recommendations in order for Cambodia’s general election in July 2013 to meet international standards for democratic elections and for urgent and long-term reforms to give Cambodians confidence in the electoral process; and
b) Calls on the Cambodian Government to hold free and fair elections in 2013 and to ensure that opposition parties are able to participate fully in Cambodian politics without physical or judicial harassment or intimidation, including opposition leader Sam Rainsy, as recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur.”
The motion was moved by Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens Party, following a visit to Canberra earlier this month by a delegation of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) led by opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha.
10/30/2012 – 17:32