Dialogue between Sweden and Cambodia on human rights
The seventh dialogue between Sweden and Cambodia on human rights took place on 21–23 October in Stockholm. The talks were led by Sweden’s Ambassador at large for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Annika Ben David. The purpose of the dialogue is to provide the opportunity for exchange of experience and to follow developments in human rights in the two countries.
The dialogue is an important recurring opportunity for Sweden to direct messages to the Cambodian Government about the negative trend concerning democracy, the rule of law and human rights that has characterised Cambodia in recent years.
“Sweden is very concerned about the shrinking space for democracy and its advocates in Cambodia. The largest opposition party was dissolved in 2017 and civil society, including human rights defenders such as journalists, are finding it increasingly difficult to operate. This dialogue is an important tool, therefore, not least as part of the Government’s drive for democracy,” says Ms Ben David.
The Cambodian delegation was led by Chin Malin, Vice Chair of the Cambodian Government’s Human Rights Committee, who is also Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. The delegation included representatives of line ministries under the Cambodian Government.
The talks touched on a large number of areas, including the ombudsman function, gender equality and women’s enjoyment of their human rights, legal aid, the role of civil society, LGBTI people’s human rights, entrepreneurship and human rights, and the Global Deal.
The delegation also paid a study visit to Huddinge Remand Prison to learn about how Sweden deals with prisoners’ enjoyment of their human rights – with a focus on integrity, sanitation and safety.
The delegation was received by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Annika Söder, State Secretary Per Olsson Fridh and Director-General for Political Affairs Elinor Hammarskjöld. During the meeting with the latter two, representatives of civil society and the Riksdag were also present.
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