October, 2013

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 23, 2013

As Opposition to the Regime Mounts, Cambodia’s Capital Braces for Bloodshed

As Opposition to the Regime Mounts, Cambodia’s Capital Braces for Bloodshed

Sensing change in the air, an emboldened opposition takes on strong-arm ruler Hun Sen

TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP / Getty ImagesCambodian police officials stand guard as Buddhist monks and supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party chant near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on Sept. 21, 2013

Cambodia is gearing up for more mass rallies, with up to 50,000 people slated to attend a three-day opposition demonstration beginning Wednesday.

MPs-elect for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) are boycotting the National Assembly in protest at alleged irregularities they claim cost them victory in recent general elections. CNRP leader Sam Rainsy has demanded international intervention and also threatened a general strike. The turmoil has alreadyclaimed one life, and fears are growing of further bloodshed.

The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of strongman Prime Minster Hun Sen, who has held power for 33 years, won 68 out of 123 legislative seats at the ballot box on July 28. However, the opposition claims they were defrauded out of eight seats that would have swung the balance of power. “It is frustrating [not being in parliament], but we are all united behind the boycott,” says Keo Phirum, a CNRP MP-elect for Kratie province.

Not everyone agrees that the CNRP won the most votes. Ou Virak, president of the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, says that opposition politicians “should just admit that they didn’t get enough votes” and instead “emphasize there were significant irregularities.” Allegations of vote buying, intimidation and “ghost voters” swooping in to sway borderline constituencies have also not stopped international governments from tentatively recognizing Hun Sen’s victory.

(MORE: Back From Exile, Cambodia’s Opposition Leader Brings Thousands Onto the Streets)

Nonetheless, discontent over land rights, deforestation, extractive industries and rampant corruption is running high, and a groundswell of opposition is developing as people sense that change may finally be possible. “It is remarkable, the absence of CPP supporters in public, on TV or radio,” says prominent political analyst Lao Mong Hay.

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 22, 2013

CAMBODIA: Time to get to work

CAMBODIA: Time to get to work

October 17, 2013

An article by Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth published by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Gaffar Peang-Meth A. 02The more Hun Sen attempts to ignore grievances of the increasingly vocal cohort of Cambodian voters who allege election irregularities and fraud, the more the emboldened and determined opposition party demands an independent impartial joint CNRP-CPP investigation committee to seek more accurate accounting of ballots cast in the July 28th national election.

A metaphor seems appropriate. Imagine spectators gathering around a glass jar filled with water to watch one of Cambodians’ passtimes, chul trei krem or fish fighting. Two fish swim around, looking for one another’s weak area to attack. Gills open, fins and tails flapping, their scales turn dark colors, the fish seem to contract, poised to attack. Would it be a fight to the death or will an owner interrupt the fight to save his fish for the next fight?

The Cambodians’ political deadlock is a tragedy. There cannot be a winner. Hun Sen and his CPP know, and concerned foreign governments, too, know, the ruling party can in no way continue to govern as a one-party government and a one-party parliament devoid of opposition members who were duly elected by at least half of the country’s voters. Half of the country has openly rejected Hun Sen’s 28 years of autocratic rule and the CPP’s 34 year domination of Cambodian governance. Even many CPP partisans acknowledge that fresh leadership is overdue. In fact, reliable reports assert that increasing numbers of civil servants are unhappy with the status quo and that officers in the armed forces are overtly questioning if they are on the wrong side of history.

Hun Sen and his close associates are vehemently against an investigation committee. His reluctance is suspect if, as Hun Sen asserts, the CPP won the election fairly. Sam Rainsy is on the record as saying he would abide by the findings of a nonpartisan investigating committee.   Would the true reason be that Hun Sen has no intention of ceding power? The aftermath of Cambodia’s recent election has surely made clear that Hun Sen and the CPP are no longer secure nor uncontested as they once were. More Cambodians agree it’s time for change, ph’do.

Hun Sen seems aware of his tenuous hold on power. So, on Sept 26 he spoke at his first new cabinet meeting for more than 6 hours about reforms, addressing corruption, nepotism, the rule of law and other issues. But Cambodians say Hun Sen and the CPP have made many undelivered promises before. Hun Sen’s proposed reforms may come too late.

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 21, 2013

You are cordially invited to join with the 22nd Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement

You are cordially invited to join with the 22nd Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement

Committees of Youth Association would like to cordially invite members and distinguished quests to commemorate the 22nd  Anniversary of Paris Peace Accord.

Theme: Civil Rights and Liberty of Cambodians after the 22 Years of Paris Peace Agreement

22nd Anniversary Commemoration of Paris Peace AccordBrief Schedule:

–         Blessing from the Monks

–         Keynote speaker on the meaning ofParis Peace Accord, civil rights and liberty within this 22 years.

–         Slide show documentaries

–         Q & A

22 Anniversary Press ReleaseDate and place:

–         @ Khmer-Canadian Buddhist Cultural Centre

7011 Ogden Road SECalgaryAB

–         Date: Saturday, 26 October 2013

1:30pm to 4:30pm

     – Tel: 403-455-8294


Press Release

            Khmer Youth Association of Alberta would like to solemnly announce to the Khmer youths and compatriots, either inside or outside Cambodia, to hold or participate with the 22nd Anniversary of Paris Peace Accord: 23 October 1991 – 23 October 2013 collectively.

Paris Peace Accord is the advancement of modern history of Cambodia. This day has the same value of that glorious civilization of the Great Khmer Empire during Angkorian period.

Our compatriots can conduct this commemoration as individual, family, friend, group, association or community by observing or updating news about this day, share messages among networks, directly communicate with siblings-children-friends, petition, thumb print or sign petitions, attend seminar/conference/lecture, participate with nonviolent mass demonstration, or conduct a ceremony by inviting Buddhist monks to offer a Jayanto blessing.

May all Khmer compatriots are blessed by the four wishes of Lord Buddha: Longevity, Beauty, Happiness and Strength.

Canada: October 9th, 2013

Sophoan Seng (President)


– Individual members

– Khmer-Canadian Youth Association of


22nd Anniversary of PPA Press Release

22nd Anniversary Commemoration of Paris Peace Agreement

Posted by: | Posted on: October 5, 2013

Comment: Sam Rainsy Needs to Get Heavy on the Detail. And Fast.

I think George pointed out critical problem to be learned by CNRP in lifting up itself high. While the article is somehow incorporated by onsite view, opinion and assumption, the key issue such as strategic modeling and concrete policy of the CNRP is not articulated.

As a fan of democratic movement, I am sentimental on recent development of Cambodia political landscape, I have seen clear dichotomous arguments on current political deadlock in Cambodia.

I have observed that according to the struggle for civil rights and liberty, there are the same characteristic coinciding with what Ghandi said first they reject you, then they come to you, and they humiliate on you, and you win at the end. The crusade war of Sam Rainsy in striving for nonviolence culture and social justice for Cambodian people has not begun today. In 1997, he was almost murdered by the grenade attack during a demonstration to acquire justice by demanding the judiciary reform. The demonstration was not only in vain but threatening to taking his life away. We cannot imagine how tough his political life countered and encountered during these decades? How many political parties he has been expelled, he created, renamed and re-united? How many passes he must run across the border to avoid incarceration and to live a self-exiled politician? How many years of jail term he was convicted? How many sacrifice he encountered to be powerless and no-salary MP? The counting is endless and his final conviction of border scheme initially demoted him unarguably.

If I could apply my course on Conflict Resolution, the ability to identify the characteristic of both contenders is, I have seen the hard and tough leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen is a must to having a soft and most sacrificed leadership like Sam Rainsy. Too many times, I see the bargaining price of Sam Rainsy has placed himself at a less opportune scenario. Different from other past politician(s), as I know, Sam Rainsy has never surrendered to power holding that questioned his own conscience: the struggle for nonviolence and justice.

Luckily, Cambodia at the present is eye-witnessing by the change of gunshot into ballot shot, from political verbal blasting on dominant media to round table meeting sarcasm. While the political campaign and the mass demonstrations have clearly demonstrated the implication of nonviolence, the deepening political reform agenda for justice and equity has delved into complex motion. It is worrisome in carrying out concrete implementation as Cambodia is not having checks and balance yet. With this prospect, the inquiry to hold assembly presidency is more important than just obtaining a TV station or the historical struggle for the reform of NEC author mentioned. While the CPP has tightly grabbed power and money in hand, this party is likely well positioned to grabbing genuine reform, the no no scenario of CNRP not to join is a self-sacrificed position. As I am worrying about the future exhausting of the MPs and its active members, the denial approach is a potential strategic one. It is not in vain because it is exactly responding to the voice of the voters and the agenda of civil rights and liberty like what Ghandi said.

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