Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen Dismisses Calls For Resignation, Vows to ‘Wage War’ on Opposition

Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen Dismisses Calls For Resignation, Vows to ‘Wage War’ on Opposition

Op-Ed: RFA, 2019-05-30

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen delivers a speech during the 25th International Conference on The Future Of Asia in Tokyo, May 30, 2019.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen delivers a speech during the 25th International Conference on The Future Of Asia in Tokyo, May 30, 2019.

 AFP

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday brushed aside calls by members of the Cambodian diaspora in Japan to resign, pledging instead to “wage war” against his country’s banned opposition party and vowing to “destroy” its acting president, Sam Rainsy.

During the third day of his May 28-31 visit to Tokyo to attend the 25th session of the Future of Asia conference, Hun Sen told regional leaders during a speech that he has no plans to step down or to back off former members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved in November 2017 for its alleged role in a plot to topple the government.

“I am declaring today that we will continue to implement legal measures against those who are being charged [with crimes],” Hun Sen said, referring to members of the CNRP leadership in exile, including Sam Rainsy, who fled the country in 2016 to avoid what he says are politically motivated convictions, and has worked to gather support for the party abroad.

“Meanwhile, I am waging war against a person [Sam Rainsy] who has claimed to have established a movement in Japan, Thailand and Cambodia to stage a war against me,” he added, calling the CNRP chief “a dog that I need to destroy.”

As long as the CNRP “continues to wage a war against me, I will continue to fight them,” Hun Sen vowed.

The 2017 Supreme Court ruling banning the CNRP paved the way for Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to steamroll a general election in July last year widely seen as unfree and unfair, amid a wider crackdown on the opposition, NGOs and the independent media.

In addition to ongoing political restrictions on former CNRP officials, authorities have summoned dozens of former CNRP members in Battambang and Kampong Thom provinces for questioning in recent weeks for allegedly violating the Supreme Court decision after they were seen in public eating noodles together or had expressed support in social media posts for the party’s leaders.

Anti-Hun Sen protests

On Thursday, more than 30 members of Japan’s Cambodian diaspora held a protest outside of Hun Sen’s hotel in Tokyo, carrying banners demanding that he step down, and urging China to stop supporting his rule.

They also gathered outside of the home of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and in front of the National Diet of Japan, or parliament, shouting “Hun Sen must go” and likening him to Pol Pot, under whose 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime an estimated 3 million Cambodians are believed to have died.

Several protesters told RFA’s Khmer Service that they had left Cambodia to find work in Japan because they lacked opportunities back home, including Nep Bora, who said she envies Japanese citizens because “their government is taking care of them.”

“Hun Sen has been in power for about 40 years, but we don’t even have enough water and electricity,” she said of Southeast Asia’s longest ruling strongman.

Others highlighted governance issues under Hun Sen’s watch that include forest destruction, land disputes, rampant corruption, and widespread poverty.

In response to Hun Sen’s comments on Thursday, Sam Rainsy told RFA that the CNRP has no intention of starting a war against the prime minister, who he labeled a “gangster” that resorts to “abusive language.”

“We don’t regard Cambodians as enemies,” he said.

“Hun Sen is waging a war against Cambodians … I am appealing to Cambodians to oppose this dictator to prevent him from destroying our nation.”

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay warned that the war of words between Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy is affecting Cambodia’s international reputation.

He also suggested that Hun Sen’s threats are part of a bid to dissuade Sam Rainsy from returning to Cambodia, as he has vowed to do this year so that he can lead the opposition to victory over the ruling party.

Members of the Cambodian diaspora in Japan display a banner used in a protest against Hun Sen in Tokyo, May 30, 2019. Credit: RFA listenersUS relations

While in Japan, Hun Sen expressed gratitude to his hosts for contributing to Cambodia’s development through financing and infrastructure, as well as investment by the Japanese private sector, and called for additional assistance from Tokyo going forward.

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Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

កុងត្រាជាមួយមន្ត្រីព្រឹទ្ធសភាជាន់ទាបថ្នាក់ឃុំសង្កាត់រដ្ឋវ៉ាសុឺនតោនក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៥សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែ ឥឡូវជាមួយក្រុមហ៊ុន Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck ក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៦សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែទៀត ដើម្បីជួយឡបប៊ីសហរដ្ឋអមេរិកនូវអ្វីដែលយើងអាចយល់ថាជាការសំរួលអោយសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកយោគយល់រដ្ឋបាលឯកបក្សរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែន។ ក្រោមការដឹកនាំបែបអត្តចរិកពុករលួយ(corrupt mindset) ទោះនាឡិការដៃតំលៃជាង៣លានដុល្លាអាមេរិកក៏ហ៊ានពាក់បង្ហាញជាសាធារណៈដែរ ចុះទំរាំលុយជាតិជាច្រើនយកមកប្រើទិញនិងជួលដើម្បីរក្សាអំណាចផ្ទាល់ខ្លួននោះ មិនមានអ្វីចំលែកទេសម្រាប់មនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវលុសក្នុងអំណាចយោងតាមទ្រឹស្តីព្រះពុទ្ធជាម្ចាស់៖ អវិជ្ជា បច្ចយា សង្ខារា នោះ។ តែអ្វីដែលគួរអោយអនិច្ចានោះគឺមានបណ្ឌិតមួយចំនួនហៃអើដើរតាមដានជើងមនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវនោះថែមទៀត ដោយមិនគិតគូរដល់អនាគតកូនចៅខ្លួនឯងក៏ដូចជាយុវជនខ្មែរជំនាន់ក្រោយៗទៀតសោះឡើយ។

Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

Op-Ed: Politico, By THEODORIC MEYER (tmeyer@politico.com

04/19/2019 01:52 PM EDT,With Daniel Lippman

BROWNSTEIN HYATT WILL LOBBY FOR CAMBODIA: The government of Cambodia has hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby on its behalf in Washington. “We’re going to be helping to forge and renew their relationship with the U.S. government,” Marc Lampkin, the managing partner of the firm’s Washington office, told PI in an interview. Al MotturDouglas MaguireAri ZimmermanDavid Cohen and Brian McKeon will lobby for the country as well, according to Justice Department filings. The contract is worth $60,000 a month and lasts nearly a year.

— Cambodia has shelled out to bolster its representation in the U.S. over the past month. As PI reported earlier this month, the Cambodian government hired Doug Ericksen, a sitting Washington state senator, and Jay Rodne, a former state representative, to lobby on its behalf through their company, PacRim Bridges LLC. The contract is worth $500,000 a year. Ericksen praised the country’s widely criticized elections last year, calling them “amazingly transparent” and “incredibly well conducted.” Ericksen didn’t respond to PI’s request for comment, but he defended the arrangement in an interview with The Seattle Times. “We could have tried to skirt the rules and not file under FARA,” he said. “We are doing everything out in public. I am just trying to make my way in this world.’”

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Exiled Cambodian Opposition Leaders Are Indicted as Prime Minister Tightens Grip

Sam Rainsy, center, a founder of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, in Phnom Penh in 2015. Arrest warrants were issued for him and seven other party members.CreditCreditHeng Sinith/Associated Press

ទីបំផុតលោកហ៊ុន-សែនត្រូវទទួលស្គាល់ការពិតនៃការបរាជ័យខ្លួនឯងដោយសារអំពើពុករលួយនិងអវិជ្ជា ហើយបង្ខំចិត្តក្រាញអំណាចដឹកនាំប្រទេសតាមផ្លូវមិនប្រជាប្រីយមួយ(unpopular)គឺខ្លួនពាក់ស្បែកផ្តាច់ការតែមាត់និយាយថាប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ។ ក្តីសង្ឃឹមតែមួយគត់របស់គាត់គឺបន្តកុហកបោកប្រាស់ប្រជាជនខ្លួនឯងនិងបំបែកកំលាំងអ្នកប្រជាធិបតេយ្យអោយអស់។ តែពេលនេះអ្វីគ្រប់យ៉ាងគឺហួសពេលហើយសម្រាប់ហ៊ុន-សែន….យុវជនដែលមានតំណាងដល់ទៅ៧០%នៃប្រជាពលរដ្ឋសរុប១៦លាននាក់មានការយល់ដឹងច្បាស់ពីការភូតភររបស់គាត់….កំលាំងតស៊ូអ្នកប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានកើនឡើងជាលំដាប់គឺកើនជាងពាក់កណ្តាលនគរទៅហើយ។

Op-Ed: New York Times

By Seth Mydans

BANGKOK — A Cambodian court has issued arrest warrants for eight opposition leaders who fled abroad for safety but say they are now trying to return.

The indictment in recent days by a government-controlled court in Phnom Penh, the capital, was the latest effort by Prime Minister Hun Sen to sideline opposition politicians and independent news outlets as he tries to maintain his 34-year grip on power.

Warrants were issued for Sam Rainsy, a founder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which has been dissolved; two of the party’s vice presidents, Mu Sochua and Eng Chhai Eang; and five other party members.

They were charged with incitement to commit a felony and plotting to commit treason, charges they say are without merit.

The eight opposition figures fled the country in 2017, fearing arrest during a crackdown on their party, and they say that if they returned now they would be subject to detention under the new warrants.

“Hun Sen wants to keep full ownership of Cambodia for himself and his family,” Ms. Mu Sochua said in an email message from an undisclosed location. “Arrest warrants on top opposition leaders in exile proves even more that Hun Sen has full use of the judiciary.”

“Returning home from exile is to be with the people and to restore hope for Cambodia to move forwards to positive change,” she added.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party had been the main challenger to Mr. Hun Sen, but it was shuttered by the Supreme Court in 2017, effectively turning the country into a one-party state. In the last parliamentary election, in July 2018, Mr. Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party claimed all 125 seats.

Mr. Hun Sen has also cracked down on the independent news media, most significantly by forcing the closing of The Cambodia Daily, whose formation in 1993 had been a signal of the country’s turn toward openness and democratic rule.

For the past two decades, he has been rolling back democratic standards put in place by the United Nations in the early 1990s, clipping the wings of nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups.

Continue reading “Exiled Cambodian Opposition Leaders Are Indicted as Prime Minister Tightens Grip”
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In memories and tributes towards Dr. Benny Widyono who passed away at 83 on 16 March 2019

ថ្ងៃនេះខ្ញុំសូមសំដែងនូវសេចក្តីសោកស្តាយនិងចូលរួមកាន់មរណៈទុក្ខដល់ក្រុមគ្រួសារនិងញាតិមិត្តលោកបណ្ឌិត Benny Widyono ដែលបានលាចាកលោកនេះកាលពីខែមីនា ១៦ ឆ្នាំ២០១៩។ លោកធ្លាប់ជាលេខាប្រចាំប្រទេសកម្ពុជារបស់អគ្គលេខាធិការអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិក្នុងសម័យអ៊ុនតាក់ UNTAC។

តែអ្វីដែលខ្ញុំចង់លើកមកបង្ហាញគឺវគ្គមួយក្នុងសៀវភៅដ៏ល្បីរបស់លោក រាំក្នុងស្រមោល Dancing in Shadow ក្នុងទំព័រទី១១៨ដល់១៨១ គឺការដែលល្បិចនយោបាយឌីហ្វីត DIFID (Divide, Isolate, Finish, Integrate, Develop) របស់លោកហ៊ុនសែនក្នុងការប្រឡេះលោកសម-រង្ស៊ីនិងទ្រង់សិរីវុឌចេញពីហ៊ុនស៊ិនប៊ិចដែលធ្វើអោយបក្សមួយនេះចុះខ្សោយដល់សព្វថ្ងៃ។ តែអ្វីដែលសំខាន់ពេលនោះគឺមានកឹម-សុខាម្នាក់ដែរ ក្នុងតំណែងលោកជាសមាជិកសភាពីគណបក្សព្រះពុទ្ធសាសនាដើម្បីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍របស់លោកតាសឺនសានបានជំទាស់ក្នុងការបណ្តេញលោកសមរង្សុីចេញពីសភាទាំងបំពានច្បាប់នេះ។ ដូច្នេះគោលការណ៍សមរង្សុី-កឹមសុខាជាមនុស្សតែមួយនៃគណបក្សសង្រ្គោះជាតិបច្ចុប្បន្នពិតជាឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងឧត្តមគតិរួមរបស់អ្នកទាំងពីរកាលពី២៧ឆ្នាំមុន។

រៀបរៀងអត្ថបទដោយលោកសេង សុភ័ណ

Today, I would like to express deep sadness and share condolence with family and friends of Dr. Benny Widyono who passed away this March 16, 2019. He was the key secretary and UN’s official during UNTAC in Cambodia.

But what I am most impressed is his book “Dancing in Shadow” in page of 118-181 illustrating the political tactic of Hun Sen’s DIFID (Divide, isolate, finish, develop) to divide and isolate Sam Rainsy and Prince Sirivudh which has weakened FUNCIPEC ever-since. But the most exotic memoir is Kem Sokha who was MP from Buddhist Development Party of Sen San stood up to protest in the parliament for this illegal act of expelling Sam Rainsy from the Parliament and stripped off his Parliamentary impunity. So, the principle of Sam Rainsy-Kem Sokha is ONE of modern CNRP has been historically identical of their ideal since 27 years ago.

Original source for your reference: UH Press

Alvin Lim

Benny Widyono’s Dancing in Shadows

Book Review, University of Hawai!i

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Alvin Lim is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of Hawai‘i. Lim received his B.A. (Hons) and M.A. from the National University of Singapore, and taught Philosophy for three years at Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Widyono, Benny. (2008). Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and the United Nations in Cambodia. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Benny Widyono’s gripping!Dancing in Shadows is a memoir of his peacekeeping and diplomatic work in Cambodia: in 1992-93 he served as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia’s (UNTAC) Provincial Director of Siem Reap; subsequently in 1994-97 he served as the UN Secretary-General’s Political Representative to the Royal Government of Cambodia (2008, p. xxvii).

Dancing in Shadows begins on an unexpected note with! Ben Kiernan’s foreword that focuses on the role of Indonesians in resolving the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, paving the way for UNTAC. Kiernan notes a July 1980! meeting at Phnom Penh’s! Noor Al-Ihsan mosque between Cham genocide survivors and!Indonesian journalists. Their pioneering reportage triggered a change in Indonesian policy towards Cambodia which eventually led Indonesia to guide the warring Cambodian factions to reach a peace settlement (ibid., pp. xvii-xxiv).

This largely unknown thread of Cambodia’s tortured recent history nicely introduces the role of Widyono, himself an Indonesian citizen; for the key Indonesian role in the Cambodian peace process is also reflectedn Widyono’s subsequent participation in UNTAC. The Indonesian-Cambodian connection does not end there: Kiernan (ibid., p. xix) and Widyono (ibid., pp. 23-24) both note Indonesia’s and Cambodia’s mirrored experiences with politicide and genocide. This tragic mirroring is not just an academic observation for Widyono, as his ethnic Chinese heritage subjected him and his family to General Suharto’s anti-Chinese policies (ibid., p. xxix).

The key contribution of Dancing in Shadows is found in Widyono’s critique of the Cambodian peace process. Unlike other academics, he was actually part of UNTAC’s top administration, and enjoyed a privileged perspective of the mission’s ultimate failure in Cambodia. In Widyono’s view, UNTAC’s ultimate failure stemmed from two significant flaws in the 1991 Paris Agreements. First, the Agreements legitimized Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge faction; second, the Agreements downgraded the status of Hun Sen’s្្ State of Cambodia (SOC) regime, disregarding its extensive administrative and military control over most of Cambodian territory (ibid., p. 35). These problems would adversely affect UNTAC’s subsequent performance. Not only did the Khmer Rouge pose a significant military challenge to UNTAC; UNTAC also found itself incapable of asserting its nominal authority over the SOC’s apparatuses of power (ibid., p. 42).

Continue reading “In memories and tributes towards Dr. Benny Widyono who passed away at 83 on 16 March 2019”
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