Phnom Penh, 2 October 2006
STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE ON THE REPORT OF THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN CAMBODIA
The National Election Committee felt directly attacked in the statement to the Human Rights Council on September 26, delivered by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Yash Ghai.
Mr. Ghai talked of "manipulated democratic processes," and said that a political party had "firm control over the electoral commission."
By using such assertions presented as undeniable facts, Mr. Ghai is passing judgment over the NEC without giving it the opportunity to make its case.
Mr. Ghai's comments made on the independence and the neutrality of the NEC are unsubstantiated. In Cambodia, members of the National Election Committee are bound by law not to represent any political party.
Mr. Ghai's statement conveys the presumption that the NEC members, in spite of their legal obligation of neutrality and impartiality, are betraying their solemn oath and behave as nothing less than agents of one political party. In that respect among others, Mr. Ghai's conclusions are at odds with was said of the NEC in his predecessor's reports.
To our knowledge and unlike his predecessor, neither Mr. Ghai nor anyone from his office ever visited the NEC in the last three years. And unlike his predecessor, again to our knowledge, Mr. Ghai never had the chance to observe himself elections in Cambodia.
The NEC welcomes suggestions and criticism from all election stakeholders, but regrets the absence, in this statement, of any example of "constructive engagement" that Mr. Ghai refers to as his "primary responsibility" in the first paragraph of his report.
Since, in his report, Mr. Ghai is looking "forward to continuing dialogue on these issues," we would suggest that this dialogue actually starts with the NEC before coming to foregone conclusions.
The NEC would like to extend an invitation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia to meet with the NEC, particularly before he needs to deliver statements to the United Nations on electoral matters in Cambodia.
The National Election Committee