MEPs have expressed today their concern about the condition of the health of Kem Sokha, the President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who has been placed under house arrest following his release from prison under bail.

The CNRP has faced attacks by the Cambodian authorities and has been dissolved by the Court to guarantee a victory in the National Assembly and Senate elections for the governing party.

In the resolution adopted by the European Parliament, MEPs call on the Cambodian authorities to have all charges against Sokha dropped and his political party reinstated. The EP calls for him to receive appropriate medical treatment and to meet foreign diplomats, UN officials and human rights observers.

Ahead of today’s vote, the ALDE Group hosted an exchange of views with Sam Rainsy, former President of the liberal opposition party in Cambodia, who lives in exile after being charged with treason by the Cambodian authorities and who strongly condemned the Government’s actions against civil society and political opponents.

ALDE MEP, Petras Auštrevičius (Liberal Movement of Lithuania), said the EU must impose sanctions against those individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia:

“We must put an end to impunity and violations of fundamental rights in Cambodia. To achieve this, the EU has to finally move from statements to actions. Cambodia cannot further benefit from the GSP Plus trade preferences.”

“The Government of Hun Sen is illegitimate and I would like the EU and Ms Mogherini to recognise and acknowledge this fact. The EU gives a lot of money to Cambodia and we cannot continue with the status quo,” added ALDE MEP, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (PDeCAT, Spain).

“Cambodia benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Under Article 19 of the GSP regulation, in case of serious Human Rights and labour Rights violations, as it is the case in Cambodia today, we should temporarily suspend preferential tariffs and I call on the EU to apply its own legal obligations. If the EU wants to remain credible, it has to respect its own legality and impose visa and trade sanctions, with clear timelines,” concluded Tremosa i Balcells.