Diakonia - People change the world

Diakonia appeals for respect for human rights in Cambodia

Along with 41 other local and global organizations, Diakonia has signed an open letter to the Cambodian government. In the letter we appeal to the government to respect human rights, including freedom of expression and association.


Around the world people are calling attention to the tougher climate for opposition politicians and human rights activists in Cambodia. Members of the EU Parliament have condemned in a recent resolution all violent acts, imprisonments and trials that they are currently being subjected to. Diakonia, along with organizations such as Oxfam and Forum Syd is now urging the Cambodian government to respect human rights and create safe spaces in which people can express their views.

The letter to the Cambodian government:

To: His Excellency Prak Sokhonn, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and​​ International Cooperation  Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia

We, the undersigned  international NGOs, recognise the Royal Government of Cambodia's commitment to global agreements and frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development  Goals (SDGs). We note that the quest for sustainable development is reflected in policy documents such as the 2014 - 2018 National Strategic Development Plan and the "Rectangular Strategy" of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

We share the commitment and belief that progress in achieving SDGs and other social, economic, environmental or political goals requires strong social systems through which citizens interact with each other and with their government.

Recent events, however, lead us to believe that a number of civil society organisations that promote accountability and transparency have been con­ sidered by the government  as a threat to the stability of Cambodia.

We believe these organisations make important contributions to human development, and a stable society ready for growth and prosperity. We believe that the international charters to which Cambodia is a signatory (such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) recognise democratic values including the freedom of expression  and the right to a fair trial. We also believe that the Constitution of Cambodia simi­larly provides a framework for protection and respect of rights.

While maintaining a spirit of partnership  and cooperation, we appeal to the Royal Government of Cambodia to:

  • Promote, protect, and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Cambodian people enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenants to which Cambodia is a party.
  • Ensure Cambodian citizens are not arrested where their actions have not contravened law and where their actions are the expression of their rights.
  • Ensure there is no judicial harassment against Cambodian citizens who are working to protect people's rights.
  • Ensure there is space for democratic participation, advancement of human rights and development  processes.

This statement is endorsed by:

  1. ACT Alliance
  2. ActionAid International
  3. Aide et Action Cambodia
  4. Asian Legal Resource Center (AHRC- Asia)
  5. Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA
  6. Bread for the World
  7. CAFOD
  8. Christian Aid
  9. Church World Service
  10. CIVICUS  
  11. Cord
  12. DanChurchAid
  13. Danmission
  14. Diakonia
  15. The Finish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM)
  16. Fin Church Aid
  17. Forum Asia
  18. Forum Syd
  19. Franciscans International
  21. Henrich  Boll Foundation
  22. ICCO Cooperation
  23. International Relief and Development Cambodia
  24. Johanniter International Assistance
  25. Kepa
  26. Mekong Plus Cambodia
  27. Mennonite Central Committee
  29. Mission Alliance
  31. Norwegian People's Aid
  32. OT Watch Mongolia
  33. Oxfam
  34. Pact
  35. People in Need
  36. Southeast Asia Development Programm
  38. Welthungerhilfe
  39. World Renew
  40. WWF
  41. Zo Indigenous Forum