Cambodia’s Democracy On Trial

ជាការចូលរួមចំណែកបន្ថែមទៅអ្វីដែលអ្នកស្រីអ៊ីណូសបានពន្យល់ក្បោះក្បាយហើយនោះ លោកហ៊ុនសែនហាក់បានត្រៀមសំរួចអាវុធបំផ្លាញប្រជាធិបតេយ្យទុកជាបណ្តើរៗមានដូចជាច្បាប់គណបក្សនយោបាយ គណៈកម្មការជាតិរៀបចំការបោះឆ្នោត និងច្បាប់គ្រប់គ្រងអង្គការសង្គមស៊ីវីលជាដើម។ ច្បាប់ទាំងអស់នេះ តើអាចនឹងប្រើប្រាស់ទៅអនាគតបានទេក្នុងទិដ្ឋភាពមួយដែលគណបក្សប្រជាជននឹងក្លាយជាបក្សជំទាស់នោះ?

Adding to that Enos has clearly articulated, Hun Sen has backup several tool to undermine democracy such as ratifying the political party law, the Natinal Election Committee, and the LINGO Law. Shall these laws be enforced when Cambodian People Party (CPP) has become the opposition party?

Cambodia’s Democracy On Trial

Olivia Enos

Olivia EnosContributor PolicyI write about international human rights and national security.

Anti Government Protestors Demand Freedom Of Opposition MP's Arrested During Demos
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – JULY 16: Opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha gives a … [+]GETTY IMAGES

Last week, Cambodia’s opposition leader Kem Sokha was brought before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on politically-motivated charges of treason. If found guilty, he could serve up to 30 years in prison.

Kem Sokha isn’t the only one on trial. Cambodia’s democracy is, too.

After nearly 35 years as commander-in-chief, Prime Minister Hun Sen has run Cambodia’s democracy into the ground – so much so that it can hardly be called democratic today.

Hun Sen targeted Kem Sokha when it became clear that he and his opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) posed a real electoral threat. The 2013 elections were uncomfortably close for Hun Sen; the CNRP won 55 of the 123 parliamentary seats.

These elections proved a turning point. Hun Sen refused to continue the mirage of democracy in Cambodia and went full-fledged despot on the Cambodian people.

Kem Sokha’s arrest and detention in September 2017 was an early nail in the coffin of Cambodia’s democracy. His arrest was quickly followed by a broad crackdown on civil society and, eventually, Cambodia’s Supreme Court decision to dissolve the opposition. The majority of Cambodia’s opposition leadership now lives in exile abroad.

Even prior to last week’s trial, Kem Sokha already endured a lot. He lived for two years under arbitrary imprisonment and house arrest where he was denied access to much-needed medical care and isolated from other members of the CNRP, including his own family members.

The evidence for Cambodia’s political deterioration in undeniable. The question is whether it can pave the way for new leadership that embraces political reform in the future? The international community is watching closely as this trial proceeds and weighing carefully its responses.

The U.S. has already taken a number of steps to hold Cambodia’s rogue leadership accountable. Last December, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned several Cambodian companies and individuals—including Try Pheap and Khun Kim—for engaging in corruption.

This was the second time that Cambodians were designated under Global Magnitsky for their involvement in undermining democracy. Treasury previously designated Hun Sen’s notorious bodyguard, Hing Bun Hieng, in June 2018, just ahead of that year’s rigged general elections.

Moreover, Washington has repeatedly signaled its displeasure through statements and condemnations of sham elections, numerous requests to release Kem Sokha (prior to his release from house arrest in November 2019), and even legislation in Congress proposing the revocation of Cambodia’s preferential trade status.

The European Union (EU) is currently considering whether to revoke its own version of preferential trade status and is expected to hand down its decision in February.

The proceedings in Kem Sokha’s trial will no doubt have bearing on the actions of both the U.S. and the EU. As the U.S. noted when it sanctioned both Try Pheap and Khun Kim, corruption and poor governance are threatening to U.S. interests in Asia:

The United States prioritizes anticorruption efforts as a key part of its vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, recognizing good governance as integral to U.S. foreign policy and national security interests and in line with U.S. values.

If conditions in Cambodia continue to deteriorate, and it hands down yet another unjust sentence to as high-ranking a government official as Kem Sokha, the U.S.  will have no choice but to take further action.

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Global brands urge Cambodia to reform labor amid EU sanction threat

Global brands urge Cambodia to reform labor amid EU sanction threat

Prak Chan Thul by Reuter

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Global clothing and shoe brands, including Adidas, PUMA and Levi Strauss have written again to Cambodia’s longtime leader saying the country’s record on labor and human rights threatens to bring down sanctions on its crucial garment industry.

The letter urges the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to amend a trade union law, repeal the law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and drop all outstanding criminal charges against union leaders.

“The credibility of Cambodia’s apparel, footwear, and travel goods sectors are at stake,” said the letter, seen by Reuters.

“We are concerned that the labor and human rights situation in Cambodia is risking the loss of trade preferences for Cambodia,” they added.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on Friday.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said he had not seen the letter but said it “might contain the same out of date concerns that we have already addressed according to the Cambodian law and legal process”.

The European Union will decide next month whether or not to strip Cambodia of its “Everything but Arms (EBA)” initiative after a European Commission report found that Hun Sen’s government has cracked down on the opposition, civil society groups and the media.

The European Union accounts for nearly half of Cambodia’s exports, the country’s largest industry, which employs about 700,000 people and accounts for 40 percent of gross domestic product.

The letter, sent to Hun Sen on Wednesday, represents major apparel and footwear companies, including Adidas, Levis Strauss, New Balance, Puma, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, VF Corporation and American Apparel & Footwear Association.

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Vietnam Cambodia and the US: Lession Learned

This article is reflecting current situation of Cambodia: Lesson Learned for All Koun Khmer

Cambodia’s future. The Bush Administration believes that a comprehensive settlement must be reached by all the parties to the conflict; that it must provide for free elections; and that an interim coalition government must be formed under Prince Sihanouk’s leadership. Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d told the Paris conference last July, “the U.S. strongly believes that the Khmer Rouge should play no role in Cambodia’s future. ” However, if Sihanouk deems it necessary, the U.S. would support the inclusion of the Khmer Rouge in a coalition government. The chief obstacle to a settlement, according to the U.S., is Hun Sen and his Vietnamese backers.

Reading the whole article by clicking this link

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UN EXPERTS SAY KEM SOKHA TRIAL IS “TAINTED”

(English version below) – UN EXPERTS SAY KEM SOKHA TRIAL IS “TAINTED”

ថ្ងៃនេះ ខ្ញុំចូលរួមជាមួយអ្នកជំនាញឯករាជ្យរបស់ អ.ស.ប ពីររូបទៀតក្នុងការអំពាវនាវឲ្យអាជ្ញាធរកម្ពុជាធានានូវយុត្តិធម៌សម្រាប់លោក កឹម សុខា ដែលការកាត់ទោសពីបទក្បត់ជាតិរបស់លោក បានចាប់ផ្តើម នៅទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញនៅសប្តាហ៍នេះ។ យើងសូមអំពាវនាវម្តងទៀតឱ្យដកចេញជាបន្ទាន់នូវលក្ខខណ្ឌធានានៅក្រៅឃុំដែលមានការរិតត្បិត ផ្តល់សិទ្ធិនយោបាយរបស់លោកឡើងវិញ និង ធានាសិទ្ធិរបស់លោកក្នុងការទទួលបានសំណង និងជួសជុលការខូចខាតផ្សេងទៀត។

សេចក្តីប្រកាសព័ត៌មានពេញលេញដែលត្រូវបានចូលរួមដោយអ្នករាយការណ៍ពិសេសស្តីពីការលើកស្ទួយ និងការពារសិទ្ធិសេរីភាពនៃគំនិត និងការបញ្ចេញមតិ និង អ្នករាយការណ៍ពិសេសស្តីពីឯករាជ្យភាពរបស់ចៅក្រម និងមេធាវី អាចរកបាននៅទីនេះ៖ https://cambodia.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/pressstatementsource/KemSokhaTrial_Final_KH.pdf

Today two other independent UN experts in calling on Cambodian authorities to ensure justice for Mr. Kem Sokha, whose treason trial began in Phnom Penh this week, joined me. We repeated earlier calls for the immediate removal of all restrictive bail conditions on Mr. Sokha, for the reinstatement of his political rights, and for his enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.

The full news release, which was joined by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, can be found here: https://bit.ly/30ylqJE

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