Tag Archives: cambodia

Open letter to the Foreign Secretary on global human rights

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The Rt. Hon. Dominic Rennie Raab MP
First Secretary of State
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs

Dear Foreign Secretary

Please accept my best wishes.

With the merger of the FCO and DfID in mind and the incorporation of development policy into your brief, I was encouraged by your statement in Parliament on July 7th 2020 which included the words:

‘As we forge a dynamic new vision for a truly global Britain, this Government are absolutely committed to the United Kingdom becoming an even stronger force for good in the world … on human rights, where we will defend media freedoms and protect freedom of religious belief; and, with the measures we are enacting and announcing today, hold to account the perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses.’

I wish to raise with you two examples where the UK has up to now supported EU efforts to impose sanctions and take other measures to apply pressure on ‘the perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses’ as you put it; Cambodia and Turkey.

As you will be aware the world’s longest-serving Prime Minister is Hun Sen of Cambodia, former member of the government of the genocidal Pol Pot regime. An international post-civil-war peace treaty in 1991, the ‘Paris Peace Accords’, set out a path to democracy, human rights and key freedoms, with UK support.

However, step-by-step Hun Sen consolidated power and eroded democracy and human rights provided for in the Accords, a process which accelerated after Hun Sen developed a close commercial relationship with Xi Jinping and his ministers in China. That is the same Xi Jinping that you condemned in an Oct 6th 2020 statement as committing ‘serious and egregious’ human right violations. The erosion of democracy and human rights in Cambodia was carefully documented by the United Nations Special Rapporteur.

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Two earthly halves locked in a downward spiral

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Jeremy Clarkson recently became a climate change believer when he experienced a dry lake in Cambodia.

I recently experienced something of the bush fire season in Australia. As well as all-pervasive smoke in most of Queensland and New South Wales, ABC Radio news is a constant stream of news on the bush fires – hundreds of them raging all the time. And it is still their spring.

Without trying to rehearse the dangers of climate change, I have one particular fear.

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