PHNOM PENH, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Wednesday hit back at the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) for their critical report on democracy and human rights in Cambodia.
Described the APHR's report as "unfounded accusations", the Cambodia's foreign ministry said the APHR is only a small group of several current and former parliamentarians from ASEAN-member countries and has not been recognized as an entity associated with ASEAN.
The ministry added that the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is the ASEAN's official entity dealing with the Human Rights issue in ASEAN.
"The APHR's views do not reflect the ASEAN's perception. The report on Cambodia's democracy and human rights released on 20 March 2017 by APHR does not by no means represent the assessment by ASEAN," the ministry said in a statement.
It also reminded Charles Santiago, who is a parliamentarian of Malaysia and chairman of the APHR, to fully respect the ASEAN sacred principle of "non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States" as stated in Article 2 of the ASEAN Charter.
In the statement, the ministry also defended the government's efforts in protecting and promoting the democracy, human rights and rule of law in Cambodia.
The reaction was made after the APHR released a report on Monday, accusing the Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen's ruling party of creating a "climate of fear" among the opposition and civil society ahead of the commune election in June 2017 and general election in July 2018.