Japan and Cambodia discuss human rights issues at 12th annual meeting

Japan and Cambodia discuss human rights issues at 12th annual meeting
Photo: An Sokkhoeurn, (R) Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador for Human Rights and International Peace and Stability, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the ministry. Source: MFAIC | Khmer Times


Lone de Chene

South East Asia and Pacific Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

On the 29th of August, the twelfth Cambodia-Japan Human Rights Dialogue meeting took place. During the meeting, which took place at the Cambodian Minestery of foreign affairs, Japan and Cambodia explored avenues for international cooperation in peacekeeping efforts, humanitarian assistance initiatives, and collaboration within the international arena, including the Human Rights Council.

The meeting is quite remarkable, as Japan is seen by many as a stable and democratic country. Whereas Cambodia recently has gotten a lot of criticism because of the elections, which turned out to be unfair. During the meeting, Japan raised concern about this matter. Could this mean that Cambodia is open to criticism and change?

Other issues that were discussed include international collaboration, for example in the Human Rights Council. And civic space, fundamental freedoms, judicial reforms, legal aid programme, and protection of rights of vulnerable groups. 

Cambodia meeting with, and accepting help from japan, could be a sign that the country is willing to set its pride aside and face the human rights issues currently happening. Hopefully the countries continue to work together and help contribute to a more democratic Asia. 

Sources and further readings:

The twelfth Japan-Cambodia human rights dialogue. (n.d.). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press5e_000038.html

Koemsoeun, S. (2023). Japan, Cambodia collaborate on human rights initiatives. Khmer Times. https://www.khmertimeskh.com/501351940/japan-cambodia-collaborate-on-human-rights-initiatives/