‘EBA will stay if hu­man rights im­prove’

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Niem Ch­heng

UN SPE­CIAL Rap­por­teur for Hu­man Rights in Cam­bo­dia Rhona Smith on Thurs­day re­it­er­ated that ac­cess to the EU’s pref­er­en­tial Ev­ery­thing But Arms trade agree­ment would not be with­drawn if the sit­u­a­tion in the King­dom im­proved.

An­swer­ing re­porters’ ques­tions at a press con­fer­ence in Phnom Penh, Smith said it was a mat­ter for the Cam­bo­dian govern­ment to com­ply with hu­man right stan­dards if the King­dom wanted to main­tain ac­cess to EBA.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that the de­ci­sion of the EU Com­mis­sion is in part based on the com­pli­ance of Cam­bo­dia to hu­man rights stan­dards. So, in my opin­ion, should Cam­bo­dia take swift, gen­uine and sub­stan­tial ef­forts to ad­dress the con­cerns of the EU, then in terms of halt­ing [ac­cess to] EBA, my un­der­stand- ing is that that de­ci­sion would not be taken.”

She said the EU was still look­ing at ev­i­dence and “if the sit­u­a­tion changed and im­proved, [EBA] would not be an is­sue”.

An EU spokesman told The Post last month that the pro­ce­dure for with­draw­ing EBA ac­cess takes 18 months to fully com­plete.

Cam­bo­dian govern­ment spokesman Phay Siphan said the EU and Cam­bo­dia are part- ners, with each side work­ing based on an agreed-upon MoU.

He said the EU could not pres­sure or threaten Cam­bo­dia.

Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen has said that EBA has been used as a psy­cho­log­i­cal weapon to at­tack the govern­ment.

On Wed­nes­day, he told gar­ment fac­tory work­ers not to worry about the ef­fect of EBA with­drawal on their jobs as it “is not yet lost.”

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