Cambodia’s democracy is on the right track, with the presence of a multiparty political system, freedom of the press, and respect of civil and political rights. It is not fair and just to see Cambodia only from one negative angle. The statement of the Council of the European Union on Cambodia is flawed – it does not reflect the realities in Cambodia and violates Cambodia’s sovereignty and self-determination.
Cambodia is a sovereign country and this sovereignty must be fully respected. It is a UN member state along with your countries and the UN charter very clearly stipulates that “no state has the right to intervene directly or indirectly for any reason whatsoever in the domestic affairs or in matters affecting the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.
The Paris Peace Agreement that you raised in your statement also mentions about non-interference in any form, whether direct or indirect, in the internal affairs of Cambodia. In the agreement, all signatories have the duty to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia.
We express our sincere gratitude to countries that have assisted Cambodia in restoring and rebuilding Cambodia. However, we need to live in dignity as an independent and sovereign state. Cambodia has experienced and is now confronting again the pressures and attempts of some foreign countries to impose a new type of colonialism. Cambodia is a fully independent state and a responsible member of the international community.
The Cambodian people have suffered enough – going through three decades of civil war and foreign intervention – and we will take all measures at any cost to maintain peace and stability. We don’t want to see a return to the country’s tragic past.
Your conclusion based on the inputs from the opposition movement does not reflect realities on the ground. You have been politically manipulated. Most voters casted their vote for the Cambodia’s People Party and they are confident the ruling party will carry on with its development mission, as promised. However, the Western-backed former opposition party with lesser votes has been trying to take the ruling party and the Cambodian people as hostages, hindering Cambodia’s democratic process and causing setbacks to the country’s development and people.
The Cambodian people do hope that the Council of the European Union would continue to support peace and development in the country through your official aid assistance programmes. We also hope your investment and purchase orders from Cambodia would continue. We urge you to castigate the outlawed opposition movement and advise them to behave responsibly and professionally. They should not hurt their beloved country.
The Cambodian people are against any form of violence. They know what it’s like to live in blood and tears that has caused families to be separated for decades. The pain, till today, lives on.
Orchestrated regime change by the West only has one result: it ends up in war and tragedy. If you decide to cease aid, investments, or impose a ban on Cambodian products, based on the opposition’s call, it means you are taking sides to destroy the Cambodian people’s livelihood and to kill our country’s thriving democracy.
The Cambodian people strongly believe that the Council of EU will respect Cambodia’s self-determination and continue to support the democratic process that is evolving and thriving in the country rather than imposing conditions that require Cambodia to violate the will of the majority and rule of law. Democracy does not work unless peace and development prevail.
Pol Peanorin is a Cambodian political researcher