Closing Remarks by Pauline Tamesis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia
(Check Against Delivery)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Three points by way of closing remarks.
First, the UN believes that the pandemic crisis can be an opportunity for transformation.
So how can we use the pandemic response as an opportunity to strengthen press freedom, democracy and development in Cambodia?
Journalists are on the frontline to make this happen.
Unfortunately, in many countries, including Cambodia, journalists are facing great challenges, including restrictions and judicial harassment, in doing their jobs.
Second, in this High-Level Forum, we heard many speakers and we have taken good note of the ideas shared. These include, the importance of building trust through better access to information; debating issues in the public domain without fear of punishment; and the need for protecting spaces for free expression. Most importantly, we heard the need to ease restrictions on journalists, particularly in the COVID context in Cambodia, including applying the Press Law instead of Criminal law.
As part of the UN human rights response, we will implement a new project on strengthening media development for three years (with support from Sweden), which will have resources for building capacities for local partners while at the same time upholding principles of human rights and freedom of expression. With support from Australia, the UN will also implement a CSO protection program for human rights defenders, environmental activists, independent journalists and civil society actors. These new programs will build on existing UN programs, including those supported by Japan.
Third, there are many more questions in the chat that have not been heard or addressed. As already mentioned by Mikel, UNESCO will follow up this forum with a series of discussions. I take note of the suggestion by Prak Chan Thul and we should organize the next discussions with sufficient time and together with the groups who we need to hear from. We will do better in the succeeding discussions.