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House Passes Cambodia Democracy Act
Washington, D.C. – This evening, the House passed the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2018 (H.R. 5754) to promote free and fair elections, political freedoms and human rights in Cambodia and impose sanctions on Hun Sen’s inner circle.
Chairman Royce submitted the following remarks for the record:
I want to begin by thanking Rep. Yoho, the Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, for authoring this bill, which is the product of his important oversight work. I would also like to recognize Rep. Alan Lowenthal for his tireless advocacy for this bill, as well as Ranking Members Engel and Sherman for their strong support.
In four days, Cambodians will vote for a new head of government. Unfortunately, this election will not be legitimate in any way. Hun Sen and his thugs long ago decided the outcome, by marginalizing, beating and imprisoning members of the opposition.
Since Cambodia’s deeply flawed elections in 2013, we have seen intensifying attacks on Cambodians peacefully opposing their government. Hun Sen’s thuggish regime continues to crack down on political opposition and other activists who oppose his rule. Freedom House consistently rates Cambodia as ‘Not Free,’ noting harassment of the regime’s political opposition.
That’s putting it mildly. Three years ago, opposition lawmaker and American citizen Nhay Chamreoun was severely and brutally attacked by plainclothes bodyguards, who repeatedly kicked and stomped him. He was hospitalized for months. Several months later, Kem Ley, a popular Cambodian political commentator, was murdered in broad daylight for his outspoken protests of the regime.
Over the last year, Hun Sen has dispatched any notions of democracy in Cambodia. He dissolved the opposition party, CNRP, arrested its leader Kem Sokha – who now faces spurious treason charges – and completely dismembered the political system in Cambodia.
Importantly, the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2018 imposes sanctions on all members of Hun Sen’s inner circle for their role in undermining democracy in Cambodia and committing serious human rights violations. Specifically, it bars these individuals from entering the U.S. and blocks any assets or property they may possess.
It will be up to the president to determine who should be designated for these sanctions. But given the brashness of this regime, we do have a good idea of who the president should target:
- Hun Sen: Prime Minister, President of Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)
- Sar Kheng: Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Vice President of CPP
- Tea Banh: Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defense, Member of the CPP
- Aun Pornmoniroth: Minister for Economy and Finance
- Koeut Rith: Secretary of State of Ministry of Justice
- Sun Chanthol: Minister of Public Works and Transport
- Prak Sokhonn: Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Om Yentieng: President of Anti-Corruption Unit attached to the Office of the Council of Ministers, Advisor to the Prime Minister
- Pol Saroeun: Four-Star General, Member of the Supreme Council of National Defense, Commander-in-Chief of RCAF
- Neth Savoeun: Director-General of the National Police, Member of CPP Permanent Committee
- Kun Kim: Four-Star General, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, Chief of RCAF Joint General Staff, Chief of Personal Advisers and Cabinet of the Prime Minister
- Sao Sokha: Four-Star General, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, Commander of the National Royal Military Police
- Hing Bunheang: Four-Star General, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF
- Choun Sovann: Deputy Chief of National Police and Chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Police
- Hun Manet: Deputy Chief of RCAF Joint General Staff
- Sok Puthyvuth: CEO of SOMA Group conglomerate
- Hun Mana: Chair of Bayon Height Media System
Again, thank you Mr. Speaker for bringing up this very important and timely legislation. The people of Cambodia deserve far better than the Hun Sen’s despotism. Political pluralism will soon reach Cambodia, and this legislation will not only help Cambodians attain that goal, but will also send a strong signal that Congress will not tolerate these human rights abuses.”