05 SEPT 2017 – The Asia Democracy Network condemns the crackdown by the Hun Sen government of all fundamental rights and civil society. The government’s recent actions only spell out a formula to strong hold onto power denouncing all democratic principles.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is utilizing draconian laws to limit civil society space and restrict fundamental freedoms. Recently, press freedom has come under attack when the Cambodian Daily was given a month to pay 6.4 million USD in back taxes, leading to the paper’s closure after 24 years of journalism. Radio stations critical of the government have also been shut down on allegations of breach of regulation in registration.
We also are witnessing a take out of any opposition in preparation for the upcoming elections in 2018. Top opposition party leader, Kem Sokha, was accused of conspiring with the United States of America to topple the Cambodian government. Sokha was arrested for treason and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. ‘The general election in Cambodia next year is a critical moment for democracy in Cambodia, 26 years after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1991. This crackdown on dissenters and the opposition leaves the free and fairness of next year’s elections in dire jeopardy. Kem Sokha’s arrest makes a mockery out of the freedom of speech,’ says John Samuel, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.
The unprecedented crackdown on civil society, media, and political parties reflecting Hun Sen’s government’s authoritarian hold on to power raises grave concern for the upcoming elections in 2018. The Asia Democracy Network condemns the disregard to human rights and democracy by the government. We call on the international community to take action in demanding the Cambodian government to adhere to democratic principles and human rights.
Asia Democracy Network