Swedish government will delay a bilateral development funding to Cambodia. Instead, Sweden decided to focus on campaign for promoting democracy and defence of human rights in Asian Pacific region, including Cambodia.

Despite this statement, Swedish Embassy did not clarify which companies and foundations will be supported.

As Peter Eriksson, Sweden’s International Development Cooperation minister, said in the statement. The democratic space in Cambodia has been severely restricted in recent years, (…) This has made it difficult to pursue broad and close cooperation. The government has therefore chosen to redirect our development efforts to offer better support for change with regard to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the country.

This measure seems to be helping civil society, providing support to civil society, but some civil society groups will oppose and contest the government over the topics of human rights and democracy, which will lead to the failure of the Sweden government’s intended goal, added Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin.

Both sides did not clarify the impact on current funding.

Cambodia received about $24.3 million in direct funding last year from Sweden, with about 38% of that aid going towards “government and civil society,” according to Swedish aid data. This year, the Kingdom received only $2.3 million.

Sweden said it would stop all new aid to Cambodia that was not used for education or research in November 2017 after Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the country’s main opposition party, the CNRP.

Also, Swedish parliamentarian Asa Eriksson, from the nation’s ruling Social Democratic Party and Naly Pilorge, director of human rights organization Licadho are openly raising Sweden for the aid for Cambodia. Otherwise, the Kingdom is strongly criticised by them for breaking human rights, treating civilians during the outbreak and entire attitude of Cambodian government.

Our question is how do you see this situation? Do you think that Sweden’s aid is helpful and their concerns are reasonable? Or maybe it’s too serious interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs?

Source: VOD English

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