While victory by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in Sunday’s general election was expected, the scale of the win was still shocking.
In Cambodia’s elections this past weekend, Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) reportedly won all 125 of the seats contested in elections that were slammed by international observers.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Cambodia Democracy Act to impose sanctions on Cambodian government officials for directly undermining democracy. The House’s timing is no coincidence: On Sunday, Cambodia’s brutal prime minister, Hun Sen, will seek to further entrench his three-decade hold on power through a sham election.
On 29 July, Cambodians will go to the polls under the shadow of a relentless attack on critical voices. The IFEX network condemns these actions, which have deprived the election of all credibility, and calls for the full restoration of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country.
Decades of internal conflict and brutality in Cambodia culminated in the deaths of some two million people in the late 1970s, and the destruction of its social fabric during the reign of terror wrought by the Khmer Rouge.
For over three decades, Cambodia's authoritarian government has consolidated and expanded its power on a foundation of corrupt, faux-democratic rule and unbalanced, “urban-led” economic growth.
Cambodia’s upcoming general election on 29 July looks set to be its most controversial since its first national election in 1993. In late 2017, the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved and 118 of its senior members were banned from politics based on what the ruling government deemed to be threats to peace and stability.
In Cambodia, political violence in the run-up to the 2018 general election signals a move away from an explicitly populist authoritarianism towards a deeper authoritarianism.
The sheer scale of the logging operations in Cambodia’s Virachey National Park makes it a wonder that there’s anything left of the forest, especially as the timber just keeps flowing into Vietnam unabated. In fact, Cambodia has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates.
China's relations with Cambodia have been in the media spotlight, following reports that Beijing will provide more than $100 million in military assistance, after a visit by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe to the Southeast Asian country.
As the sounds of demolition and construction continue to ring out across Phnom Penh, we are reminded by Hollywood that cities of the future need not fully replace the small towns and communities of the past.
Project Hindu dham in Cambodia is not just misinformed: it is a regressive step in the history of India-Southeast Asia relations that could start a dangerous chain of religious disharmony and unrest.
This statement was originally published on cchrcambodia.org on 8 June 2018.
The Cambodian government has continued tightening the screws on its already crippled free press, introducing severe prohibitions on election reporting ahead of the ballot in July, and establishing a taskforce to monitor social media posts.
Being a young parent is difficult, even when you have access to social services that empower parents to provide optimal care for child development and family support available. Imagine the added difficulty, vulnerability and fear when teenagers – just girls themselves – are thrust into this reality.
May has been a tough month for press freedom in Cambodia. On May 5, the Phnom Penh Post, an independent newspaper often critical of the Cambodian government, was sold to a Malaysian investor with links to Prime Minister Hun Sen. And on May 18, a court refused to release two Radio Free Asia reporters who have been held in pretrial detention for six months on charges of espionage.
In less than three months’ time, Cambodians will head to the polls to cast their ballot in the national election. Already faced with the difficult choice of which party and candidate to vote for, Cambodians now have to decide whether they should vote at all.
Head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk flew home to a Cambodia still suffering political assassinations, ambushes and shelling on the eve of the country’s first multiparty election in decades. “They need me,” the former king said of his people, who have suffered authoritarian rule, bloody revolutionary experimentation, American bombing, Vietnamese invasion and civil war — all since the late 1960s.
After 60 years, Malaysia got its first change of leadership when voters at the weekend booted out the ruling Barisan Nasional party and premier Najib Razak.
The Cambodian free press has entered the darkest days in recent memory.