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Posted by: | Posted on: September 12, 2018

European Parliament resolution on Cambodia, notably the case of Kem Sokha, EBA and UNs

Official reference source: European Parliament

European Parliament resolution on Cambodia, notably the case of Kem Sokha (2018/2842(RSP))
The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cambodia, in particular those of 14 September 2017(1) and 14 December 2017(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Cambodia of 26 February 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 30 July 2018 on the general elections in Cambodia,

–  having regard to the evaluation mission of the Commission and the EEAS to Cambodia of 5 to 11 July 2018,

–  having regard to the 2008 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the EEAS of 16 November 2017 on the dissolution of the Cambodian National Rescue Party,

–  having regard to the 1997 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia,

–  having regard to the local EU statement of 22 February 2017 on the political situation in Cambodia, and the statements by the spokesperson of the EU Delegation of 25 August 2017 and 3 September 2017 on restrictions of political space in Cambodia,

–  having regard to UN Human Rights Council Resolution 36/32 of 29 September 2017 and the Report of the Secretary-General of 2 February 2018,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and the decisions of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of March 2018,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144 of 8 March 1999 on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms,

–  having regard to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, in which a commitment to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cambodia, including on the part of international signatories, is enshrined in Article 15,

–  having regard to the International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise,

–  having regard to the Cambodian Constitution, in particular Article 41 thereof, in which the rights and freedoms of expression and assembly are enshrined, Article 35 on the right to political participation and Article 80 on parliamentary immunity,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 3 September 2017, Kem Sokha, the President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested, and whereas on 16 November 2017, the Supreme Court announced the dissolution of the CNRP, at the end of a one-day hearing; whereas the Supreme Court has also banned 118 CNRP politicians from being politically active for five years;

B.  whereas the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) obtained 100 % of the contested seats in the National Assembly election held on 29 July 2018 and in the Senate election held on 25 February 2018;

C.  whereas the right to political participation is enshrined in Article 35 of the Cambodian Constitution; whereas the amended 2017 Law on Political Parties includes numerous restrictions on the participation of opposition parties, including the dissolution of parties if its leaders have a criminal record;

D.  whereas the 2018 elections in Cambodia were de facto non-competitive and failed to meet minimum international standards for democratic elections; whereas the European Union and the United States of America suspended their financial assistance to the Cambodian National Election Committee and declined to observe the elections;

E.  whereas the decision to dissolve the CNRP was a significant step towards the creation of an authoritarian state; whereas the political structure of Cambodia can no longer be considered a democracy;

F.  whereas the Cambodian Government took wide-ranging measures to ensure that the ruling CPP would run virtually unopposed in the elections for both the Senate and the National Assembly;

G.  whereas, following his arrest on 3 September 2017, Kem Sokha was charged with treason under Article 443 of the Cambodian Criminal Code, despite his parliamentary immunity; whereas statements by the Cambodian Government jeopardised his right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence; whereas he faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty; whereas the President of the Court, Dith Munty, is a member of the standing committee of the ruling party;

H.  whereas on 28 August 2018, the Cambodian authorities released 14 members of the CNRP after they had received a royal pardon; whereas this pardon is linked to the releases granted to half a dozen activists and journalists;

I.  whereas Kem Sokha was detained without trial for more than one year; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Mr Sokha’s pre-trial detention to be ‘arbitrary’ and ‘politically motivated’; whereas he was released on bail on 10 September 2018; whereas he is unable to leave the vicinity of his house and is not allowed to communicate with other members of the opposition or the media;

J.  whereas the arrest and detention of Kem Sokha occurred amid widespread and systematic repression of political and electoral rights in Cambodia; whereas there has been a steady increase in the number of cases of arrest and detention of members of the political opposition and political commentators; whereas the previous President of the CNRP, Sam Rainsy, was convicted of criminal defamation and now lives in exile;

K.  whereas the Cambodian authorities have also cracked down on journalists and reporters covering the attacks on the opposition parties; whereas 69‑year‑old award-winning filmmaker James Ricketson is one of the victims of these attacks on the media; whereas Mr Ricketson was arrested for flying a drone over an opposition party rally in June 2017; whereas Mr Ricketson has been sentenced to six years in prison in the capital, Phnom Penh, on charges of espionage;

L.  whereas there has been a severe crackdown on the independent media; whereas social media networks have also come under attack; whereas in May, the Government issued a regulation restricting the rights to freedom of expression, press and publication and empowering the Government to police social media networks to uncover and silence online dissent in Cambodia;

M.  whereas trade unionists, human rights activists and civil society organisations are operating in an increasingly restricted space in Cambodia and face harassment, acts of intimidation and arbitrary arrest; whereas the 2015 amended Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) severely restricts freedom of association and expression, including by establishing government control and censorship over the work of NGOs; whereas the Trade Union Law restricts freedom of association and creates unnecessary obstacles and burdens in relation to registration procedures and the operations of trade unions;

N.  whereas five human rights defenders affiliated with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony, and Ny Chakrya, face charges of bribing a witness and being an accomplice to bribery of a witness; whereas the five human rights defenders spent 14 months in pre-trial detention before their release on bail;

O.  whereas Cambodia benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme; whereas the EU has allocated up to EUR 410 million to Cambodia for development cooperation for the financial period 2014-2020, of which EUR 10 million is for supporting the electoral reform process in Cambodia and is currently suspended;

P.  whereas the UN Secretary‑General recalled in his July statement that an inclusive and pluralistic political process remains essential for safeguarding the progress made by Cambodia in consolidating peace;

Q.  whereas conflicts over sugar plantations have not yet been resolved; whereas there is continuing concern about evictions from land, persistent impunity for such acts and the dire situation of the affected communities; whereas the Government of Cambodia has not signed up to the EU Terms of Reference for the Sugar Cane Audit Process;

1.  Notes that Kem Sokha was released from prison on bail under strict conditions; denounces the fact that Kem Sokha has been placed under house arrest; calls for all charges against Kem Sokha to be dropped and for his immediate and full release; calls, furthermore, for other politically motivated charges and rulings against opposition politicians, including Sam Rainsy, to be dropped immediately;

2.  Is worried about the condition of Kem Sokha’s health, and calls on the Cambodian authorities to allow him to receive appropriate medical treatment; asks the Government to allow Kem Sokha to meet foreign diplomats, UN officials and human rights observers;

3.  Expresses its conviction that the elections in Cambodia cannot be considered to be free and fair; expresses serious concerns at the conduct and results of the 2018 elections in Cambodia, which failed to produce a credible process and were widely condemned by the international community;

4.  Calls on the Cambodian Government to work towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, which includes fully complying with the constitutional provisions on pluralism and freedom of association and expression; calls, furthermore, on the Cambodian Government to repeal all recent amendments to the Constitution, the Penal Code, the Law on Political Parties, the Trade Union Law, the Law on NGOs and all other pieces of legislation limiting freedom of speech and political freedoms that are not fully in line with Cambodia’s obligations and international standards;

5.  Stresses that a credible democratic process requires an environment in which political parties, civil society and the media are able to carry out their legitimate roles without fear, threats or arbitrary restrictions; calls on the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure that the dissolution of CNRP is swiftly reversed;

6.  Reiterates its call on the Cambodian Government to put an end to all forms of harassment, abuse and politically motivated criminal charges against members of the political opposition, human rights defenders, trade unionists and labour rights advocates, land rights and other civil society activists, and journalists, among others; calls on the Government of Cambodia to release, without delay, all citizens who have been detained for exercising their human rights, including James Ricketson, and to drop all charges against them;

7.  Supports the decision to suspend EU electoral support to Cambodia; recalls the national and international obligations in relation to democratic principles and fundamental human rights to which Cambodia has committed itself; urges the Cambodian Government to engage in reforms in order to advance democracy and apply internationally recognised minimum standards for future electoral processes, including the organisation of multiparty, free and fair elections, the establishment of a genuinely independent National Election Committee and the involvement of NGOs and the independent media in election monitoring and reporting;

8.  Reminds the Cambodian Government that it must fulfil its obligations and commitments in relation to the democratic principles and fundamental human rights, which are an essential component of the EU-Cambodia Cooperation Agreement and the conditions under EBA;

9.  Welcomes the recent EU EBA fact‑finding mission to Cambodia and invites the Commission to report the conclusions to Parliament as soon as possible; calls on the Commission to consider possible consequences in the context of the trade preferences Cambodia enjoys, including launching an investigation under the mechanisms provided for in the framework of EBA;

10.  Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to compile a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia with a view to imposing possible visa restrictions and asset freezes on them;

11.  Calls on the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to closely monitor the situation in Cambodia; calls on the EEAS and the Member States to take action and lead the efforts at the forthcoming 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council towards the adoption of a strong resolution addressing the human rights situation in Cambodia;

12.  Calls on the Cambodian Government to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia upon its expiry on 31 December 2018;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and National Assembly of Cambodia.

EU on Kem Sokha 1 EU on Kem Sokha 2 EU on Kem Sokha 3Photos

Posted by: | Posted on: August 5, 2018


Op-Ed: The CEROC


Mr. Kemsrean Kheng, The CEROC's Representative for State of Minnesota, USA

Mr. Kemsrean Kheng, The CEROC’s Representative for State of Minnesota, USA

ខ្ញុំបាទខេង គិមស្រ៊ាន ថ្ងៃនេះមានកិត្តិយសតាងនាមអោយគណៈកម្មការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសឬដែលហៅកាត់ថាដឺស៊ីរ៉ក់ក៏ដូចជាលោកសេង សុភ័ណដែលជាប្រធាន មកជាវាគ្មិនក្នុងមហាសន្និបាតខ្មែរពិភពលោកលើកទីពីរនៅរដ្ឋមិននីសូតានេះ។

បងប្អូនជនរួមជាតិជាទីគោរពរាប់អាន ពិភពលោកបានចេញចាកផុតពីយុគសង្រ្គាមត្រជាក់ឈានចូលយុគបច្ចុប្បន្ន ហើយកម្ពុជាដ៏អភ័ព មួយនេះបានស្គាល់ពន្លឺប្រជាធិបតេយ្យខ្លះក្រោមការជ្រោមជ្រែងរបស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិអោយមានការបោះឆ្នោតនៅឆ្នាំ១៩៩៣ទៅតាមកិច្ចសន្យា នៃកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីស២៣ តុលា ១៩៩១។ កាលនោះ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសបានមានសិទ្ធិចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតយ៉ាងពេញ លេញ តែក្រោយៗមកក្រោមការដឹកនាំនៃគណៈកម្មការជាតិរៀបចំការបោះឆ្នោតឬគជប ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសមិនត្រូវបានគេផ្តល់សិទ្ធិ អោយចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតឡើយ។ ចាប់កំណើតកាលពីឆ្នាំ២០១៤ ស៊ីរ៉ក់បានធ្វើកិច្ចការជាច្រើនក្នុងការធ្វើយុទ្ធនាការប្រមូលញត្តិពីបងប្អូនយើងនៅក្រៅ ប្រទេសទាំងអស់ ក្នុងនោះក៏មានបងប្អូនយើងជាច្រើននៅរដ្ឋមីននីសូតាបានចូលរួមចុះហត្ថលេខា ហើយយើងខ្ញុំសូមថ្លែងអំណរគុណយ៉ាងជ្រាល ជ្រៅនៅទីនេះ, យើងបានជួបពិភាក្សាជាមួយគជបថ្មីមានលោកគួយ ប៊ុនរឿន លោករ៉ុង ឈុនជាដើម ហើយយើងបានសរសេរលិខិតទៅកាន់ប្រធានក្រុម តំណាងរាស្ត្រគណបក្សសំលេងភាគតិចគឺលោកស៊ុន-ឆ័យនៃគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ។ ពង្រាងច្បាប់មួយបានកើតឡើងដាក់ចូលសភាដើម្បីធ្វើវិសោធ នកម្មតូចមួយដែលអាចអោយពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសអាចមានសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតបាន។ តែជាអកុសល ក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែន មិនមែនតែពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសទេដែលត្រូវបានគេផាត់ចោលនិងព្រងើយកន្តើយ ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្នុងប្រទេសក៏ត្រូវបានគេលាបព៌ណនិងធ្វើទុក្ខបុកម្នេញគ្រប់បែបយ៉ាងដោយគ្រាន់តែពួកគេមាននិន្នការគាំទ្រគណបក្សជំទាស់ឬនិន្នាការកណ្តាលដូចជាក្រុមសង្គមស៊ីវិល។

មកដល់ថ្ងៃនេះគឺ២៧ឆ្នាំហើយក្រោយកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីស ដែលប្រទេសកម្ពុជាក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែន បានបំផ្លាញចោលលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យសេរីពហុបក្សចោលដោយសារតែមើលឃើញថាគណបក្សជំទាស់គឺគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិអាចមានប្រជាពល- រដ្ឋគាំទ្រច្រើនជាងខ្លួនបើទុកអោយមានការប្រកួតប្រជែងការបោះឆ្នោតមួយដោយសុក្រឹតត្រឹមត្រូវនិងយុត្តិធម៌។ ការបោះឆ្នោតថ្ងៃ២៩ កក្កដា ២០១៨ គឺជាឆាកល្ងោនប្រជាភិថុតបោកប្រាស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរថាមានពហុបក្សតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។ តែតាមការពិតប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនិងសហគមន៍អន្តរជាតិមិនអាច ទទួលយកបាននូវរបបដឹកនាំបែបឯកបក្សនិងផ្តាច់ការនេះបានទេ។ ក្រោមការជួយជ្រោមជ្រែងពីសហគមន៍អន្តរជាតិជាពិសេសប្រទេសហត្ថលេខីនៃ កិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីស ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរទាំងក្នុងប្រទេសនិងក្រៅប្រទេសប្តេជ្ញាប្តូរប្តាច់អោយមានការបោះឆ្នោតឡើងវិញ មានការចូល រួមពីគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ មានការដោះលែងលោកកឹម-សុខានិងអ្នកទោសនយោបាយទាំងអស់ ទុកជាមោឃៈនូវច្បាប់ទាំងឡាយណាដែលផ្ទុយ ពីរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញ និងអនុវត្តន៍ជាក់ស្តែងតាមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញដើម្បីអោយតុលាការឯករាជ្យ ពង្រឹងសមត្ថភាពស្ថាប័នព្រះមហាក្សត្រ មន្ត្រីរាជការទាំង ស៊ីវិលនិងកងប្រដាប់អាវុធត្រូវតែអព្យាក្រិត-ឯករាជ្យជាដើម។ សូមអរគុណជាអនេកកប្បការ!           ថ្ងៃទី៤ ខែសីហា ២០១៨

View the speech through Youtube Channel of Cambodians Overseas

Read the speech in PDF file

Posted by: | Posted on: July 26, 2018

Sovantha and Rozeth: Two opposite sides of the same Cambodian coinNew Content Item

Additional analysis on youtube on this very essential issue of Cambodian youths and the Upcoming Election

Sovantha and Rozeth: Two opposite sides of the same Cambodian coinNew Content Item

Op-Ed: ChannelNewsAsia.Com

PHNOM PENH: They are two young women full of hopes for their nation: High profile, energetic and not afraid to speak their mind.

They are also two opposite sides of the same coin.

Thy Sovantha and Sin Rozeth have perhaps far bigger profiles than their respective career achievements so far might suggest.

Sovantha is a social media juggernaut – a hugely influential but controversial political maven, a turncoat for some, who rallies in the name of the ruling party.

Rozeth defied expectations as a fresh and unversed opposition candidate swept into a most unlikely rule and then cut down in the purge of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) last year.

But it is not what they have done so far that counts. It is their potential to inspire in a country deeply divided.

The power of new youthful voices has never been realised under a strong armed-government installed since 1985. The old and forceful hands of the kingdom have a finite shelflife.

And on both sides of politics, Sovantha and Rozeth are the faces of an awakening new generation.


On a daily basis during this election campaigning period, Thy Sovantha’s 2.2 million Facebook followers have been treated to her vote-garnering activities, mostly in rural provinces.

Amid an array of fashionable outfits, she is also often adorned in ruling party colours. But the 23-year-old was once the darling of the nation’s opposition.

Just five years ago, as the importance of social media on the political environment began to be understood, the vision of the then teenager standing through the sunroof of her Lexus demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defeat at the polls was a revelation.

Now, she shares old photographs and contemporary speeches of the leader she respectfully calls “Grandpa”.

“Samdech (Hun Sen) used to say that he used to see my Facebook. Even when I used to criticise him, he still clicked ‘Like’ for me. So, it meant that Samdech accepted some of my points,” she said.

Her transformation from a radical revolutionary to one of the government’s sharpest weapons was a dramatic, if not murky, one, involving allegations of spying, betrayal and epiphany.

She admits she was naive, clouded by desire to see change and made mistakes back then. Sovantha was a self-described “ordinary girl” with no political connections wading out into a toxic and dangerous tide.

“We wanted to change. We wanted to change leaders. We wanted to change the country. But at that time, I didn’t understand,” she told Channel NewsAsia, sitting in the expansive chamber of the National Library in Phnom Penh.

In 2018, she is unwavering in her passion for a new and improved Cambodia, just under the same management as the last three decades.

“I am very proud that I was a youth who criticised the government. I made mistakes. But the government understood my mind and my heart and gave me a chance to participate in developing the society,” she said.

“Now, I still want change but I understand the way.”

She strongly argues that reform can best be delivered from a position of strength, not through struggle and believes that the government has already begin “cutting out the bad flesh”.

She has little sympathy for forgotten friends and speaks with venomous conviction about the “dangerous” characteristics of the opposition movement she once belonged to and in particular exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who continues to call for a boycott of the July 29 election.

“I think it is dangerous by creating an idea of division among the people. If no CNRP, then nothing at all. It is a kind of nepotism and violent and individualism.”


Some 300km from the capital, in the comparatively quiescent town of Battambang, Sin Rozeth continues to uphold the democratic ideals of Rainsy. While he may be yesterday’s man in the struggle to overhaul Hun Sen, Rozeth has the potential to be tomorrow’s woman.

Officially, she is just a restaurateur and online entrepreneur these days, but her three short months as commune chief of her local district made an impression.

She was cornered, coerced and offered the chance to stay in the seat by defecting to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) when her party was legally dismantled. When she refused to switch sides, leading authorities might have hoped she would switch off.

While her colleagues and contemporaries have been silenced, Rozeth remains a brave front of resistance.

“Sometime, we know how to protect children and wives and our families, our small families,” she said. “But when our big family is suffering, why don’t we come out to protect it?

“I think that if I am born with eyes to see and born with a mouth, but I close my mouth, it is meaningless to live. It means I am living but waiting for death. So, no, I have to speak out.

“Our life is not immortal, but what is immortal is our homeland.”

Amid a climate of fear and ongoing threats, Rozeth’s courage has formed through necessity. But political intimidation is just the latest stanza of a brave life that was steeled and strengthened when she was seven or eight years old.

“I knew how to sell pineapple alone on the train. I could go to sell black beetles at a concert at midnight and when my mother went to join meetings in Phnom Penh, I could sleep alone in a straw house without walls at a young age, with just a kerosene lamp.

“I put a knife under my pillow in case any wanted to abuse or mistreat me. I can protect myself.”

Sin Rozeth
Sin Rozeth has refused to be silenced despite her party being dismantled. (Photo: Jack Board)


Both of these young women’s rise to prominence defies the lingering notion in Cambodia that public life is a man’s game. Both have fought the prejudices and antiquated customs to stake their place in what remains a patriarchal society.

They may disagree on how the country should advance and who should lead it, but both see women at the forefront of the discussion.

“I think it is unfair. We are the same. We are human beings. We must be equal. I have my mind, very strong, so I can do everything,” Sovatha said.

“They are afraid of facing danger at the moment because there are threats, imprisonment and because of all means of intimidation. All these factors are making our women feel hesitant,” Rozeth said.

“If we intend to participate in developing the country, we have to be self-confident. Then, we take the chance.”

They are nothing alike. One, the immaculate polish on the facade of an oft-reviled regime, the other a bespectacled champion of the hushed underdog.

One will vote with certainty on Sunday, the other will boycott holding her clean finger in the air without fear. And both know the realities of the outcome, decided many months ago when the CNRP was banished.

The country is unlikely to be much different next week, but both Sovantha and Rozeth will take their places in fighting for their visions for Cambodia.

Down the line, eventually, when the youth stand up and take their place steering this country’s future, they may not be so different after all.


Posted by: | Posted on: July 25, 2018

Hun Sen has become staunch puppet of both China and Vietnam

This analysis, Mr. Sophan emphasized on drifting authoritarian of staunch puppet to both China and Vietnam of Prime Minister Hun Sen in which has possessed deadly side-effect like what was happening during the leadership of Pol Pot (1975-1979). Watching the full analysis in youtube.


Nobody’s Puppet

The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.

The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.

 Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the politically divisive issue of his historic links with the Communist Party of Vietnam by saying he has never been a “puppet” of Hanoi but is a patriot who always resisted foreign influence on Cambodia.

“A number of people claim I am a person who was installed by Vietnam; they also said I am a puppet of Vietnam,” Hun Sen said in unreleased video footage of an interview with American filmmaker Robert Lieberman for his documentary “Angkor Awakens.”

Hun Sen denied the allegations in the interview.

About this series

This is the first of a multi-part series, based on a rare video interview with Hun Sen by American filmmaker Robert Lieberman for his 2016 documentary “Angkor Awakens.”

“The reality is that Hun Sen belongs to Cambodia [and] Cambodia needs independence,” the prime minister said. “I also hate those who want to have political influence on Cambodia – we don’t accept it.”

Lieberman conducted the September 24, 2015 interview in a New York hotel. VOA recently obtained the interview from the filmmaker.

For decades, the opposition – the once-formidable royalist party FUNCINPEC, former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, and the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – have clung to this and other claims in order to undermine Hun Sen’s image and to tap into lingering anti-Vietnamese nationalism in Cambodia.

Many older opposition members come from an alliance of political groups led by then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk that was based on the Thai-Cambodian border. The alliance battled Vietnam during its occupation of Cambodia from 1978, the final days of the Khmer Rougeregime, to 1989.

Campaigning for Cambodia’s July 29 elections started July 7, but with the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) government’s decision to ban its only challenger, the CNRP, last year, the role of anti-Vietnamese politics has become somewhat of a moot point.

Hun Sen has mostly ignored the opposition’s accusations that he is a stooge of Hanoi while never hiding his good relations with Vietnam. These go back to 1977 when he and other Khmer Rouge defectors crossed into Vietnam. They were welcomed and trained to form a new Cambodian government that was installed by Vietnam after it ousted the Khmer Rouge regime in January 1979.

Hun Sen became foreign minister and then prime minister in 1985. He has held onto power since with political maneuvering that has won him democratic elections and by crushing opponents with brazen armed force.

FILE – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, center right, and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, review an honor guard in Hanoi, on Dec. 20, 2016. (Tran Van Minh | AP)

Vietnam backs, not controls, Hun Sen rule

According to a recent publication by Stephen Heder, a respected Cambodia scholar, Hun Sen’s CPP and the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) have long had a “comprehensive relationship” in which they strongly support each other and defend their respective roles from any political challenges.

Hun Sen’s recent banning of the opposition and ongoing crackdown on independent media and civil society would thus have Hanoi’s support, he argues, though that doesn’t mean that Vietnam dominates in Cambodia.

“[K]eeping the CNRP out of power, if necessary by eliminating it from the contest for power, is a strongly shared CPP-CPV common interest that lies at the core of their comprehensive relationship and is most concretely manifest in the relationship between their security forces,” wrote Heder, a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. “However, this and other CPP-CPV common interests do not add up to Vietnamese domination of Cambodia, as is shown, inter alia, by Cambodia’s refusal to toe Vietnam’s line on the South China Sea,” according to Heder.

In recent years, Hun Sen’s ever tightening embrace with China has been a point of growing media and diplomatic attention. Beijing has provided support and massive loans for his government as it abandoned Western-backed multiparty democracy, while Hun Sen in turn gives diplomatic support for China’s quest for dominance in the South China Sea region.

Demonstrators set fire to a monument marking Cambodian-Vietnamese friendship in Phnom Penh August 30, 1998. (Reuters)

Cambodia’s relations with Western countries have suffered since 2017, with cuts in donor support and the U.S. recently slapping sanctions on some Cambodian officials. In 2017 alone, China accounted for 30 percent of all investment in China, according to The Asean Post.

Ear Sophal, an associate professor at Los Angeles’ Occidental College who has researched Cambodia’s aid dependency and China’s global resource demand, said Hun Sen’s claim of resisting foreign influence was dispelled by the fact that Vietnam and, more recently, China gained control of large swathes of Cambodia’s natural resources, infrastructure and economy at the expense of ordinary Cambodians.

“Cambodia is now seen as having been for rent for a long time,” he said. “The renter is currently China. Perhaps we can say Vietnam owns Cambodia, while China rents Cambodia from Vietnam.”

Sophal added, “But [Hun Sen] does need more friends than only Vietnam and China – he needs to have Western friends too.”


Cambodian people benefit from CPP’s policies

Op-Ed: Vietnam Plus | 20 July 2018
Hanoi (VNA) – Over the past five-tear term of the National Assembly, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has done a lot for the Cambodian people, helping raise public confidence in the upcoming general election.
The maintenance of  peace, political stability and security has created favourable conditions for Cambodia to continue recording new and greater achievements in socio-economic development and in the improvement of the people’s living standards.
Cambodia has emerged from a low-income country into a low-middle income nation, and is on the path towards the high-middle income status by 2030.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: June 10, 2018

Malaysia’s Election and Impacts on Democracy and Geopolitics in Southeast Asia

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Two things to be considerate on the recent election in Malaysia: the overseas Malaysians voters and the national institution.

Malaysian Election Commission is appointed by the King of Malaysia to conduct nationwide election. This election of May 9, 2018, 14 millions were registered to vote and 82% voter turnout. There are 7,979 Malaysian voters overseas according to the EC. Malaysia has allowed overseas citizens to vote since 2012 except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore, have allowed overseas citizens to democratically vote during national elections.

Malaysia is Constitutional Monarchy like Cambodia. The King is the Head of State who exercises power through the provision of constitution to ensure rights and freedoms, commander-in-chief of the national arm-force, and chief of magistracy to ensure judiciary system is capable and competent.

លទ្ធផលនៃការបោះឆ្នោតនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ីកាលពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែឧសភាកន្លងទៅនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យមានការភ្ញាក់ផ្អើលច្រើន ដោយសម្ព័ន្ធភាពនៃគណបក្សប្រឆាំងបានយកឈ្នះគណបក្សកាន់អំណាចជាលើកដំបូងក្នុងរយៈពេលជាង៦០ឆ្នាំ។ ការណ៍នេះមានឡើងស្របពេលដែលនិន្នាការនៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានថយចុះនៅបណ្តាប្រទេសផ្សេងទៀតនៅក្នុងតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍។ អ្នកតាមដានការបោះឆ្នោតពីររូបគឺលោក យឿង សុធារ៉ា អ្នកជំនាញខាងកិច្ចការបោះឆ្នោត និងលោក សេង សុភ័ណ នាយកប្រតិបត្តិនៃប្រធានគណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស (CEROC) ថ្លែងថា ប្រទេសកម្ពុជានិងប្រទេសអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍ផ្សេងៗអាចរៀនសូត្របានច្រើនអំពីដំណើរការបោះឆ្នោតឯករាជ្យនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ី សិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតនៅក្រៅប្រទេសរបស់ពលរដ្ឋម៉ាឡេស៊ី ការផ្ទេរអំណាចដោយសន្តិភាពទៅកាន់រដ្ឋាភិបាលថ្មី និងការធ្វើតុល្យភាពនយោបាយការបរទេសក្នុងទំនាក់ទំនងជាមួយប្រទេសចិន។ (សឹង សុផាត, Hello VOA, វ៉ាស៊ីនតោន, ៧ មិថុនា ២០១៨)

Posted by: | Posted on: May 7, 2018

Dedicating 27 articles today before Phnom Penh Post is absorbed away from its professionalism

 Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Post Articles

Freedom and the challenges of teen pregnancy in Canada

Email from Canada,

FREEDOM is the lifeblood of human enterprise.  Free-market countries have higher standards of living, social development and productivity levels.  Some, though, contend that freedom is a double-edged sword.

Greater independence from parents and guardians can lead to the creation of a more open, more progressive society in which young people are free to engage their talents and amass practical knowledge.

But some say too much freedom can lead to undisciplined and incompetent adolescents.

In Canada, adolescents enjoy a wide array of freedoms, sexual, romantic and otherwise.  But high teen pregnancy and divorce rates have some policymakers worried.

Still, statistics show that national teen pregnancy rates have been declining.  A study from 1996 to 2006 showed a drop of 37 per cent, compared with a 25 per cent decline in the neighbouring US.

This doesn’t necessarily mean  teenagers are less sexually active.  In fact, a study found about 50      per cent of teens aged 16 and 17 engage in sexual activity.

These findings confirm what has become only too visible in daily life: teens holding hands, hugging, kissing and generally revelling in young love, all in public.

The teen-pregnancy study includes statistics on births, abortions and miscarriages.  The Canadian government views all three outcomes as having a negative impact on society.

If newborns survive the delivery process, teens are often unprepared to act as parents.  And miscarriages and abortions can result in various diseases and complications that can stall the mother’s education and development.

Teen pregnancy affects individuals, families and entire communities, placing a social and economic burden on the whole of society.

According to the study, the welcome decline in teen pregnancy can be attributed to an increase in awareness about sexual health and protection among teenage girls, as well as increasingly easy access to clinics and family planning counsellors.  Young women are using their freedom to make safer decis-ions, entering the adult world of sex and romance armed with more information and more confidence.

The story may be different in Cambodia.  Canada is fairly open to adolescent sexual activity and independent decision-making, but the issue is rarely talked about in Cambodia, where cultural conservatism and embedded tradition keep teenage sexuality under wraps.

For this reason, teen pregnancy rates are higher and show little sign of declining.  Until the Kingdom begins some sort of dialogue on teenage sexuality, young women in Cambodia will continue to have their education interrupted and their freedom curtailed.

About Sophoan Seng
I am the single son of a farming family from Siem Reap. I spent more than 10 years as a Buddhist monk. I graduated with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and am a PhD candidate at the same university.

My interests are social-capital research, the empowerment of young people for social change, and grassroots participation to developing democracy. I am a freelance and president of the Khmer Youth Association of Alberta. I can be reached at


Rich Oil-Sands of Alberta, Canada

Emails from Canada: Sophoan Seng

Alberta is well known as a leading exporter of natural resources like timber and oil in Canada. Large foreign companies from the US have invested billions of dollars extracting oil and gas in this territory to make up for the shortage of oil for energy in their country. Oil deposits which are called “oil sands” are very distinctive from what is found in those oil rich countries such as Iran or Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and the monitoring and regulations of this lucrative industry has never been neglected.

The official website of the Alberta government describes Alberta’s oil sands as the backbone of the Canadian and the global economy, adding it is a great buried energy treasure which has continuously supplied stable and reliable energy to the world. Oil sands are a naturally composed mixture of sand, clay or other minerals, including water and bitumen, which is a heavy and extremely thick, sticky oil that must be treated before it can be processed by refineries to produce usable fuels such as regular gasoline and diesel. Oil sands can be found in many locations around the globe, but the Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest and most developed and it has utilised the most advanced technology to produce oil.

Canada’s Facts and Statistics Department has ranked Alberta’s oil sands second after Saudi Arabia in terms of proven global crude oil reserves. In 2009, the total proven oil reserves were 171.3 billion barrels, or about 13 percent of the total global oil reserves, which is about 1,354 billion barrels. The net income in the fiscal year of 2009 for the Alberta government was more than US$3 billion in royalties from oil sands projects, which was lower than 2008 at $20.7 billion. But they project it to skyrocket and revenue to hit $15 billion in the next few years. Ultimately, about 99 percent of Alberta’s oil comes from oil sands.

Responsible corporations and the government’s clear goal and commitment have transformed Alberta oil sands into a blessing, not a curse. All approvals, licences, dispositions, permits and registrations relating to oil sands are required by Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development bodies. This enables the comprehensive task of handling oil sands investments.

However, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, University of Alberta scientist David Schindler told the public that the high levels of toxic pollutants in the Athabasca River were caused by oil sand mining. Schindler and his team of researchers found that oil sands development projects were contaminating the Athabasca River watershed area. The scientists found that seven “significant pollutants” were at levels that exceeded government guidelines for the protection of aquatic life. This new finding contradicted the government’s previous argument, which had always claimed that the naturally occurring bitumen had low levels of pollution.

After publishing in 2009 the first peer-reviewed paper from Schindler and his team, an ongoing political debate started, the story grabbed the public’s attention and a group of experts was given the job of finding the best solution for this rich oil sands industry. From public and private debates to ones in parliament and political institutions, a solution must be found to ensure the sustainable development of this non-renewable natural resource.


Jobs and Employment in Canada

Letters from abroad

There is a popular saying that “to live is to work”, and while life is not all about work, the saying seems to hold true in Canada, Cambodia and around the world. Most people cannot live without a job, but the approach from the governments in various countries to the problem of unemployment differs greatly. It might be interesting for you to hear about the ways in which Canada’s government and private sector have intervened in order to help more citizens get jobs and keep the ones they have.

First, there is a growing number of job search agencies who help both new and experienced workers find jobs suitable to their educational background and experiences. Enrolled students learn about networking strategies, curriculum vitae, cover letters and interviewing skills. These agencies also partner with private groups and the government to launch job fairs, which exist in Cambodia on a smaller scale, in order to bring together employers and employees. In fact, I was employed as a result of my participation in a job fair.

Second, the government helps unemployed citizens by providing them with short-term support through both skills training and living expenses. Many unemployed workers are directly subsidized to allow them to maintain a level of strength and professionalism while they search for a new job. The money that funds this program, called the Employment Insurance (EI) program, was deducted from workers’ salary if they worked before.

Read More …

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