19th Meeting of the Government Development Partner Coordinating Committee
Phnom Penh, 26 September 2012
Comment made by Australia on behalf of Donor Partners on Electoral and Legal Reform under “Other Business” at the Government-Development Partners Cooperation Committee
Excellency Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
With your indulgence, I would like to make a brief comment on behalf of the donor partners on electoral and legal reform.
Cambodia’s development partners note progress on democratisation over the last twenty years and welcome the smooth voting process in Commune Council elections held in June this year.
The international community stands ready to support electoral reform efforts along the lines of the recommendations of the international election observer missions in order to deliver free and fair general elections next year.
Securing a level playing field for all political parties, including equal access to media, impartial dispute resolution and freedom of expression and assembly, is central in this regard.
We also encourage the Royal Government to consider human rights as a key development issue, and recognize that economic prosperity for Cambodians is linked to the protection of human rights.
We welcome the Royal Government’s commitment to implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations to uphold human rights and stand ready to work with the Royal Government in that regard.
We support efforts to improve access to justice, including strengthening judicial capacity, and strongly encourage the passing of the three outstanding fundamental laws, which are essential to ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers as set down in the Cambodian Constitution.
We also encourage the Royal Government to strengthen efforts to maintain democratic space, including by ensuring responsible policing of protests and that the law is used to protect freedom of expression.