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Posted by: | Posted on: March 5, 2017

Government’s rebuttal to Human Rights Report on Cambodia by the US is out of common sense

Political Analysis:

“when one is out of common sense, one is likely chasing their own shadow without knowing the shadow’s owner” – Anonymous

common senseU.S. Department of State through its Diplomacy in Action has always released situations of human rights and democracy for many countries around the world annually. This 2016, with its tittle “Country Reports on Human Rights Practice 2016: Cambodia“, the reports echoed to its 2015 reports on seventh different sections such as respecting for the integrity of the person including freedom from arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings etc. by exposing the killing of Dr. Kem Ley and its distrustful legal investigation to punish the real perpetrator(s) as well as arbitrary arrest and detention by exposing several arbitrary arrests, pretrial detention, and denial of fair public trial etc.

This descriptive report is common sense to all Cambodian people and its report is based on NGOs’ reports in Cambodia. But this type of report is not void from a strong political rebuttal from the government, especially through her human rights department (please listen to spokesperson HE Kata Uon by RFI Khmer), without accepting the report to improve their work performance, the rebuttal is critical to deny and to defend themselves from any wrongdoings. Actually, there are many points to be learnt from the report. And the accusation that such report is the violation over Cambodia’s sovereignty is impregnably baseless. By looking at the regular conducts of the report and the nature of the report which was seems to re-organize information collected from annual database released by local NGOs in Cambodia, they are common sense that has been nationwide conveyed by Cambodian people. The rebuttal is likely opposing to such common sense perceived by the Cambodian people.

The spokesperson highly talked about the professional and technical workmanship within the government especially within their human rights department, but the verbal rebuttal and refusal rhetoric is significantly highlighting its lack of common sense, professionalism, and technicality. Cambodian people are speechless and hopeless to this kind of government leadership performance. Cambodian people need concrete policy framework documenting within a credential report or publishing to read rather than through relentless verbal attacks to major outsiders’ reports. This is a country, not an autocratic plot of land.


Posted by: | Posted on: February 24, 2017

Cambodia’s bottom-line people have been negligent by the Royal Government

នេះជាទិដ្ឋភាពមួយក្នុងស្រុកចំការលើ ខេត្តកំពង់ចាម។ កាលនៅមធ្យមសិក្សា គ្រូបង្រៀនថាដើម្បីធ្វើអោយសេដ្ឋកិច្ចរីកចំរើន ជីវភាពប្រជាជនមានបានប្រកបដោយភាពថ្លៃថ្នូ ត្រូវផ្តោតទៅលើឧស្សាហកម្ម ដោយលើកឧទាហរណ៏អំពីដីក្រហមកំពង់ចាម ក្រចេះ រតនគីរី ស្ទឹងត្រែង និងមណ្ឌលគីរីជាដើម។ គ្រូប្រាប់ថាដំណាំកៅស៊ូខ្មែរលេខ១លើលោក។

ថ្ងៃនេះខ្ញុំឃើញជាក់ស្តែង។ ដំណាំកៅស៊ូខ្មែរក៏ដូចជាដំណាំស្រូវនៃកសិករខ្មែរ គឺស្ថិតនៅលើប្រភេទដំណាំជាលក្ខណះគ្រួសារនិងពឹងពាក់ទាំងស្រុងទៅលើមេឃ-ដី-ភ្លៀង តាមធម្មជាតិតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។ ការដាំដុះតាមបែបប្រពៃណីទាំងផ្នែកឧស្សាហកម្ម និង កសិកម្មទាំងនេះមិនអាចរំដោះកម្ពុជាចេញពីភាពក្រីក្របានទេ។

១. បញ្ហាទី១ ប្រជាជនខ្វះចំណេះដឹងនិងធនធានហិរញ្ញវត្ថុ និយាយអោយចំគឺប្រជាជនខ្វះទីពឹងនិងជ្រោមជ្រែងពីខាងក្រៅជាពិសេសពីរាជរដ្នាភិបាល។

២. បញ្ហាទី២ គឺទីផ្សាយកម្ពុជាជាទីផ្សានាំចូល មិនមែនជាទីផ្សានាំចេញទេ។ ទំនិញកម្ពុជាមិនអាចប្រកួតប្រជែងជាមួយប្រទេសជិតខាងបានស្មើមុខស្មើមាត់សោះ ហើយផលិតសម្រាប់តំរូវការទីផ្សារក្នុងស្រុកក៏មិនកើតដែរ នៅពេលដែលក្រុមហ៊ុនធំៗក្នុងស្រុកមួយចំនួនធំចូលចិត្តនាំសម្ភារៈដើមក្រៅស្រុកមកប្រើ។ ទីផ្សាចង្អៀតណែនបែបនេះ រំពឹងអ្វីដល់ការលើកកំពស់ជីវភាពដល់អ្នកដាំស្រូវនិងអ្នកដាំកៅស៊ូ។

៣. បញ្ហាទី៣ គឺកម្ពុជាសំបូរទៅដោយមេដឹកនាំអួត ដូចជាអួតអំពីអង្គរវត្ត អួតអំពីសមិទ្ធិផលថ្មីៗដោយប្រៀបធៀបទៅនឹងសង្គ្រាមប្រល័យពូជសាសន៌ និងអួតអំពីផ្ទះវីឡា រថយន្តទំនើប និងអង្គរក្សអ្នកបម្រើឆ្វេងស្តាំរបស់ខ្លួន ដោយគ្រាន់តែរកទីផ្សារឬបង្កើតទីផ្សារ ឬបង្កើតធនាគារកំចីដោយយកការប្រាក់ទាបដល់អ្នកដាំស្រូវនិងអ្នកដាំកៅស៊ូមិនបានផង។ បើខ្ញុំជាមេដឹកនាំទទូលខុសត្រូវវិញ បើធ្វើប៉ុណ្ណេះមិនបាន ខ្ញុំជ្រមុជទឹកបាតពាងសំឡាប់ខ្លួនល្អជាង។
This a view of rubber plantation in Chamkar Leou district, Kampongcham. When I was in high school, teachers taught that if we want to uplift the livelihood of the Cambodian people, we must focus on industry by giving example of brown fertile lands in Kampongcham, Kratie, Ratanakiri, Stung Traeng, and Mondolkiri. They said Cambodia rubber is number one in the world.

rubber plantation 1Today, I am eyes-witnessing it. Cambodia rubber plantation is like rice-stalk plantation of Khmer farmers which are categorized in family harvesting and the growing is wholly depending on sky-soil-rain of this natural dependency. The crops depends on tradition like this couldn’t uplift Cambodian people from poverty.

1. First challenge: Cambodian people are shortcoming of knowledge and financing especially lacking external supports particularly the Royal Government of Cambodia.

2. Second challenge: Cambodia’s market is the import market, not export market. Cambodia’s products rubber plantation 2couldn’t compete with neighboring countries. To produce for domestic demand is irrelevant as well, as many giant companies prefer to import raw materials for its processing. This type of scarcity and squeezing space of Cambodia market, Cambodian rice farmers and rubber plant growers are hopeless to escape from poverty.

3. Third challenge: Cambodia is rich of bragging leaders such as bragging about the greatness of Angkor Wat, bragging about their new achievements by comparing them to that of genocidal regime, and bragging about their luxury cars, villas, and escorts-servants etc. If leaders couldn’t make market, or seek market, or create cheap interest loan (bank) for the rice farmers and rubber plant growers, those leaders should just soak head into bottom of water jar to commit suicide

Posted by: | Posted on: February 22, 2017

Cambodia: Parliament Approves Rules Allowing For Dissolution Of Opposition Parties

Cambodia: Parliament Approves Rules Allowing For Dissolution Of Opposition Parties

Op-Ed: Stratfor: Situation Reports

Already, CNRP pressure has managed to get CPP to move elections forward from July to February 2018. As the vote approaches, the pressure on the CPP will only mount. Cambodia’s economy is growing, a boon for the establishment, but its benefits have been felt unevenly. Moreover, the growth is leading to demographic and workforce changes that could prove challenging for the government to manage, creating new constituencies to please or neutralize. The majority of Cambodians now have no memory of the conflict period — or the Khmer Rouge — and have less tolerance for the abuses of power that come with a stabilizing strongman. Cambodia also has a large non-profit community and, with increasing Internet access, more awareness of international norms. More tangibly, the populations of Cambodia’s cities are growing and, with the industrial workforce concentrated in Phnom Penh, increasingly throwing their weight behind the CNRP.

But this framework of power has proved increasingly challenging to maintain, particularly as the peace dividend Hun Sen deftly exploited in the initial post-war era fades. Of the four general elections held since Hun Sen came to power, virtually all have been plagued by fraud allegations, contentious negotiations and government interference — the price of centralized rule. The biggest challenge to Hun Sen’s continued rule came three years ago. In the July 2013 elections, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) won 55 seats in parliament, including 22 from the CPP — the strongest-ever performance for a Cambodian opposition party. Still, the vote was marred by irregularities, compelling opposition leader Sam Rainsy to stage massive protests in the capital of Phnom Penh. (Rainsy, a former finance minister and lawmaker, has been trying to unseat Hun Sen since 1998.)


In fact, over the past five years, Hun Sen has further centralized the government around himself, chiefly by placing family members in key government positions. His oldest son, Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, is deputy commander of a powerful praetorian guard that rivals the national military. Two other sons have also risen to the rank of general. All have been touted as potential successors. Meanwhile, the CPP establishment elite is deeply entrenched in the political and economic system, with deep bureaucratic ties. Moreover, Cambodia is ethnically homogenous, without the major regional cleavages of Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. With a strong grip on the military, rural electorate and bureaucracy, there have been no real institutional competitors to the CPP in Cambodia.

Hun Sen bio

Read details and make reference at Stratfor

Posted by: | Posted on: February 15, 2017

Sam Rainsy’s Resignation from Party’s President signified a new chapter of Cambodia politics

Political Analysis

The most popular news during these few days is the resignation of Sam Rainsy from Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)’s Presidency and membership. There are many views on pros and cons of his journey. Cambodian people in general are missing him so much for this decision-making but their love and attachment towards his heroic determination has been surprisingly increasing.

Sam Rainsy resignActually, Sam Rainsy announced his resignation from party’s Presidency of CNRP this February 11, 2017 is to intentionally save his party from dissolving attempted by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hun Sen had repeatedly warned on amending the political party law to ban convicted individuals from entering top leadership of the party as well as to dissolve the party from such convicted degree if found. Strategically, Sam Rainsy stepped ahead of Hun Sen’s authoritarianism and narcissism for the upcoming elections i.e. commune election 2017 and national election 2018. Sam Rainsy has been convicted by a defamation lawsuit against him and there are many lawsuits in row to trial him. Every Cambodian knows that those charges are politically motivated.

Academics and observers see Hun Sen’s non-stopped obsession to divide and weaken CNRP as a preemptive tactic before the election and its predictable outcome. This activity has surpassed all efforts of reform and it is truly destroying those reform goodness. Jailing NGO’s staff members including secretary of the National Election Committee (NEC), Ny Charia, is seen as an attempt to tame the election body, and this latest effort to outlaw the strongest opposition party CNRP is seen as to weaken his opponent before allowing them to enter the ring. Want it or not, Sam Rainsy has laid out inclusive policy by advocating to include Cambodians overseas especially those millions of migrant workers to be able to vote in Cambodia elections in which contradicting to Hun Sen who has advocated to exclude them.

Let the Cambodia earth witness for the Sam RainsyBeside of personal integrity, honesty, sacrifice and genuine patriotism for his nation, Sam Rainsy is vivid and intellectual in handling political truces with Hun Sen. With his over 27 years experience in political leadership as opposition party particularly competing with Hun Sen, his effort yielded in 2013 as the government effort to disqualify him from political leadership has impregnably backfired Hun Sen. Evidently, sea of people gathered in tsunamic-like crowd to welcome him back home at the airport few days before the election campaign in 2013, was a historic momentum.

Some people explain the disadvantage of his stepping back by resigning from president duty as irresponsible leadership. In fact, his regression is paralleling to that of George Washington of America as history tells that the founding father sacrificed power in order to respect crafted national constitution of limiting President power to two mandates. Saying this, Sam Rainsy has shown first role model to all Cambodian people in accepting to give up power when appropriate time has come in order to maximize the collective interests of major citizens. Many people tried to explain that Sam Rainsy’s popularity is not be comparable to that Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand which this is wrong because Sam Rainsy has never earned his popularity from populist policy or harbouring it from any powerful position.

From this moment, Sam Rainsy will be an icon of change and idealistic pragmatism in Cambodia. His political career is not yet ended. When Cambodian people especially younger voters are still supportive of his last decades struggle, his future political achievement is not a dream any more.

Note that the controversial proposal to amend the political party law aiming to dissolve CNRP is attached here. According to the Phnom Penh Post, the drafting is added beyond what Hun Sen ordered in the Assembly because if this law is ratified in this February 20 by the law-makers from CPP, it will adjudicate to ban convicted individuals from party’s leadership such as president, vice president, permanent members, and committee members, to dissolve a party which is not only by the power of higher court but by the Ministry of Interior, the so-called threat to national security is very loose as incitement and defamation have been used to link to colour revolution by the powerful,  and provision on foreign funding is loosely defined as it could be interpreted to all funding from Cambodians overseas.

Posted by: | Posted on: February 14, 2017

Hun Sen is believing in dividing Khmers to galvanize his power

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 98

This part (98), Mr. Sophan analysed on the continual oppression of Hun Sen’s political leadership towards his main opponent CNRP. Hun Sen has failed to reform as he promised in post-election 2013 by utilizing his self-bragging expertise of political leadership to garner “divide and conquer” towards his strongest opponent.

Courtesy: Makara Thai

Courtesy: Makara Thai

At the assembly meeting participated by CPP law-makers only, Hun Sen ranted out loud to demolish majority and minority voice in the Assembly. He spent over 15 minutes of internal regulation to over 40 minutes to include in his plan to amend the political party law aiming to get rid of convicted citizen(s) from party’s leadership, to dissolve party, and to imitate Thailand’s style of military coup detat. The statement to amend law in order to weaken his opponent happened in a surprise as everlasting demanding to amend law on political party on financial management and limiting public servants from involving with political party as well as be enforced by political party, was totally disregarded by Hun Sen during those 40 minutes speech.

The political behaviour exposed by Hun Sen is comparing like human body that has infected by viruses internally and Hun Sen has missed routine checkup by using “rule of law” in democratic way to diagnose and schedule treatment to ensure this body is healthy. Hun Sen is fearful of his internal ringleaders more than external enemies. More often, Hun Sen is not valuing the importance of free and fair election which is comparing like the effective medication plan or doctor orders to heal the viruses.

In conclusion, Mr. Sophan predicted on intend that Hun Sen has been playing is to tame the national election committee (NEC) to favor his party, and to ensure his victory, by either shutting down the NEC or the NEC agreed to declare his victory without waiting time for him to boycott the loss result. Reminding 2013 as an example, the result of election was not declared by the NEC; the result of election was declared by the Minister of Information.

Posted by: | Posted on: February 10, 2017

FOR RELEASE: Congressmen Lowenthal and Chabot Call On Secretary Of State Tillerson To Ensure Free And Fair Cambodian Elections

Comment: Commune election 2017 and national election 2018 are fast approaching, the domestic political rivalry has been increasingly tough while international communities and foreign countries have been eagerly anticipating those developments. The hot debate comes along with the hotter political repression inside Cambodia as Cambodia’s People Party (CPP) under Hun Sen’s leadership has taken “divide and conquer” approach over political will to reform as he promised in post-election 2013. During that time, China also expressed concern on effective leadership of political will of reform of the CPP to gain back trust and confidence from the electorates, but up to today, CPP of Hun Sen has visibly increased the opposite trajectory. Now, the United States of America has deeply stepped in to maintain its democratic value of free and fair election. It seems the latest move Hun Sen is taking doesn’t make him good in front of the Cambodian voters, the China and the United States of America as well as other democratic countries/communities. Our puzzling questions are:
  • Could Hun Sen achieve his attempts to stifle opposition party CNRP by dissolving this party through new law amendment proposal on political party, or his unrivalled attempts to undermine the National Election Committee (NEC)?
  • Could anyone understand that the latest Machiavellian style Hun Sen has been materializing is a sign to call for a mediation for power sharing?
election cambodia monitored by US
Congressmen Lowenthal and Chabot Call On Secretary Of State Tillerson To Ensure Free And Fair Cambodian Elections
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 10, 2017) – Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01), co-chairs of the Congressional Cambodia Caucus, today called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to ensure that free and fair elections in Cambodia remain a top priority for United States foreign policy in Cambodia.

In a letter, the Congressmen state that the U.S. State Department can play a critical role by communicating to the Cambodian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen the importance of holding elections deemed credible by the international community.

The Congressmen also highlight the passage by the House last year of their resolution, H.Res.728, which established the House’s official support for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Cambodia. The resolution noted numerous instances of opposition party members in Cambodia being harassed by the country’s long-ruling regime, as well as widespread reports of irregularities in the 2013 national elections which resulted in the Hun Sen regime narrowly maintaining its hold on power.

The letter details recent acts of political oppression by the Hun Sen government, including the politically-motivated criminal investigations and charges against the senior officials of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).  Sam Rainsy, head of the CNRP, was forced to leave Cambodia and is forbidden from returning, while CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha was kept under virtual house arrest for months within the party’s headquarters. There have also been recent reports that the Hun Sen government is pursuing a legislative proposal that would effectively dissolve the opposition party.

The letter closes by emphasizing that, “In order to foster a political environment where this is possible, the Cambodian government must immediately drop all politically-motivated charges against opposition leaders, cease harassment of the CNRP, allow Sam Rainsy to freely return to the country, and allow independent election observers at all polling places.”

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Anaheim, Midway City and Stanton in California’s 47th Congressional District. He can be followed on FacebookTwitter, or his website.

Phong V. Ly
Policy Advisor / Senior Field Representative
Congressman Alan Lowenthal, CA-47
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Keith Higginbotham
Communications Director | Congressman Alan Lowenthal
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