31 July 2013 A United Nations independent expert today appealed for calm and reconciliation in Cambodia, following the country's “largely peaceful” elections on 28 July.
“Sunday's general election was a display of maturity in democratic exercise in the country,” said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, commending all political actors for the restraint that they displayed. “I congratulate the people of Cambodia on exercising their right to vote in a largely peaceful manner.”
According to media reports, Cambodia's opposition party rejected the results, saying it had won the majority and claiming there had been irregularities during the election, which has led to tension in the country.
“I now call for calm and political reconciliation in the greater interests of the nation and appeal for acceleration in the process of reform of State institutions, including the National Election Committee, to ensure greater respect for people's rights, genuine rule of law and stronger democracy in Cambodia,” Mr. Subedi said.
The Special Rapporteur also appealed to the people and all political actors “not to succumb to racial hatred, whether in person or through other means such as social media, and to contribute towards building a tolerant, cohesive and liberal democratic society.”
Regarding the allegations of irregularities, Mr. Subedi called on the appropriate bodies to promptly and impartially investigate them, and urged the Cambodian National Election Committee to thoroughly account for every unused ballot paper.
Mr. Subedi recalled his own recommendations for electoral reform contained in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2012, most of which had not been adopted before the polls. “Had these recommendations been implemented in time for the elections, the situation now would have been much better,” he stressed.
Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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