Monday, December 11th, 2017
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Letter from Members of Parliament around the world to Prime Minister Hun Sen to reverse his dictatorship machine
His Excellency Samdech Techo Hun Sen
Prime Minister Kingdom of Cambodia
4 December 2017
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
We, the undersigned parliamentarians from around the globe, write to express our deep concern over the arrest and detention of H.E. Mr. Kem Sokha, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and a longtime human rights defender and advocate for democracy, three months ago.
Having reviewed the information available regarding his case, and taking note of the evidence submitted thus far by the government regarding his alleged guilt, we have serious concerns regarding the validity of the charges against him. We are also extremely concerned by reports that his arrest and detention were undertaken in violation of his parliamentary immunity and have failed to uphold basic principles of fair trial and the rule of law. These procedural concerns, in addition to the lack of evidence to substantiate charges of treason and the wider climate of repression of the opposition, lead us to believe that his arrest is likely politically motivated.
We are aware that national elections are scheduled for July 2018, and hope to ensure that they are genuine, participatory, and inclusive. But we strongly believe that this cannot happen if there is no legitimate opposition that is able to campaign for election. We are therefore alarmed by the decision of the Supreme Court to dissolve the CNRP, following a motion by your government, in addition to the amendment of electoral laws redistributing the CNRP’s parliamentary seats and local offices to other political parties including the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). We strongly believe that the dissolution of the CNRP, in addition to the continued detention of Mr. Kem Sokha, makes it impossible for next year’s elections to be considered free and fair.
Twenty-six years ago, the international community came together for the Paris Peace Conference and pledged to support Cambodia’s goal of building a genuine, multi-party democracy in the aftermath of years of war and turmoil. We – and the people we represent – are committed to helping your country achieve these aims. But this can only happen if basic democratic norms and principles are restored.
In line with these concerns, we the undersigned parliamentarians respectfully request that the Cambodian government undertake the following measures with the utmost urgency:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Kem Sokha from prison and drop all charges against him, as well as those against other opposition parliamentarians;
- Immediately reverse the decision to dissolve the CNRP and reinstate all CNRP elected leaders to their positions in Parliament and at the local level;
- Repeal all recent amendments to the Law on Political Parties and to electoral laws; and
- Recommit to working with the international community to ensure that next year’s national elections are genuine, participatory, and inclusive.
Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, Member of Parliament, Malaysia
Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, Member of Parliament, South Africa
Alan Lowenthal, Member of the House of Representatives, United States of America
Alessia Mosca, Member of the European Parliament, Italy
Alice Lau Kiong Yieng, Member of Parliament, Malaysia
Ana Gomes, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal
André Gattolin, Senator, France