This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech - Situation of rights defenders and opposition activists in Cambodia and Laos

Marietje Schaake − Mr President, we are very concerned about recent violations of rights and freedoms in Cambodia. The elections took place amidst irregularities and these must be independently investigated. In addition, demonstrations are violently crushed, leaving textile workers and others killed and injured. We call on the government to release those who were detained and imprisoned during demonstrations and to uphold the freedom of assembly. It is essential not only that human rights are respected but that the political opposition is not hindered in playing its legitimate role in Cambodia. A diverse and inclusive political landscape is indispensable for the country’s development, and the EU itself must assess these recent developments in the context of the generalised system of preferences (GSP). We must urge European and international companies with production processes and production lines in Cambodia to pay people a living wage. Hun Sen’s Government should at least respect its own constitution and the international treaties it has signed up to. A few words on the situation in Laos. We are still very concerned about the human rights situation there, and we urge the Lao Government to immediately disclose the fate of social activist Sombath Somphone. They must bring to trial and punish those who are responsible for forced disappearances.