The first resident British Ambassador was posted to Phnom Penh in 1953. The
Embassy was closed in March 1975 a month before the Khmer Rouge take-over. In
May 1975 the UK recognised the government of Democratic Kampuchea and diplomatic
relations were established in 1976. However, the Embassy was not reopened and
no British diplomats visited Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge period.
Britain was the first country to publicly condemn the violation of human rights
in Cambodia by raising the issue at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva in
March 1978. After clearer evidence of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge
emerged, the British Government formally withdrew recognition of Democratic Kampuchea
in December 1979.
In 1991 a British Mission was opened in Phnom Penh which became the British Embassy
following the 1993 elections.
UK Development Assistance
Britain gives around £10m per annum in bilateral aid to Cambodia mainly to promote:
democratic reform; human rights and good governance; health; education; urban
poverty projects; the development of rural livelihoods; and to tackle the growing
problems of paedophilia; people trafficking; forestry crime; and the spread
of HIV/AIDs. The UK is well represented through the NGO community (including
OXFAM, and the two major de-mining charities: The Hazardous Area Life Support
Organisation (HALO) Trust and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).)
Trade and Investment with the UK
UK exports increased to £3.9 million in 2002 compared with £3.3 million in 2001;
at the same time Cambodian exports to UK have increased to £89 million in 2002
compared with £85 million in 2001.
Cultural Relations with the UK
The UK community is about 600, with many spread across the country involved
in aid programmes/projects. But this is swelled by a growing number of tourists
each year (15,425 in 2002). With support from the British Embassy in Phnom Penh
two top UK snooker players, Jimmy White and John Virgo visited Cambodia in June
2003 to take part in a series of exhibition matches following the Cambodian
National Snooker Championships. Snooker has an increasingly strong following
- January 1998 - Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of the Interior,
- September 2001 - Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Co-operation, Long Visalo.
- February 2002 - Cambodian Environment Minister, Dr Mok Mareth.
- August/September 2002 - Director General of the Cambodian National Institute
of Statistics at the Ministry of Planning, San Sy Than.
- January 2003 - Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Em
Sam An to attend the Lancaster House Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
- January 2003 - Director of Anti-human Trafficking and Minors Protection
Department, Ministry of Interior, Brigadier-General Mrs Un Sokunthea to attend
the Wilton Park Conference on Combating Child Abuse on the Internet.
- April/May 2003 - Om Yientieng, President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee
and senior adviser to the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen.
- May 1998 - Former Foreign Office Minister, the late Derek Fatchett.
- March 1999 - Home Office Minister, Lord Williams.
- September 2000 - Deputy Under Secretary of State at The Foreign & Commonwealth
Office, Peter Westmacott.
- February 2001 - The House of Commons International Development Committee.
- May 2002 - HRH The Princess Royal.
- March 2003 - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development,