Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week slammed western nations’ “interference” in Cambodian affairs during a speech to the United Nations in New York.
The long-time ruler said the United States had used human rights as a pretext for its “mission to impose civilization” and also wielded the threat of sanctions as a “popular weapon” against less powerful states.
“We regret to highlight the fact that human rights nowadays have become a mission to impose civilization for some powerful nations or, perhaps, as their opening standards as the pretext for interference under the name of political rights protection,” he said. “This is nothing but a use of brute force of a particular state to impose its will on other sovereign states.”
“Some external circles, who have fed on an ambition to interfere in the domestic affairs of Cambodia, still fail to see the quality and integrity of our election process by issuing statements against [us] or attacking the election outcome. Such actions are a serious assault on the will of the Cambodian people.”
The speech came after Cambodia held elections in July, which saw Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party win every seat in parliament after it oversaw the banning of the country’s main opposition party and a widespread crackdown on critics, opposition supporters and civil society.
“Cambodia is a successful case of a war-torn country which has succeeded in making a complete and prideful transformation,” Hun Sen told the General Assembly on Friday.
“In fact, peace without development is not sustainable. In this context, the sustainable development goals of the United Nations play a pivot role in guiding toward prosperity for the people.”
At a forum on Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “As guardians of the common good, we also have a duty to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system.”
“We need a commitment to a rules-based order, with the United Nations at its center and with the different institutions and treaties that bring the charter to life... There is no way forward but collective, common-sense action for the common good.”