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US lawmakers clear bill targeting PM’s close aides

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Reuters

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Cambodia Democracy Act to impose sanctions on targeted members of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s inner circle for their alleged roles in undermining democracy in Cambodia and committing serious human rights violations.

The bill was condemned by a ruling CPP spokesman who called it an attempt to disrupt the election in Cambodia.

The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2018 also bars these individuals from entering the US and blocks any asset or property they may possess, said Edward Randall Royce, Chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr Royce named Mr Hun Sen and 16 other ruling CPP heads, including Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Defence Minister Tea Banh, as designated for sanctions.

“The people of Cambodia deserve far better than the Hun Sen’s despotism. Political pluralism will soon reach Cambodia and this legislation would not only help Cambodians attain that goal, but will also send a strong signal that Congress will not tolerate these human rights abuses,” Mr Royce said.

The bill was initiated to promote free and fair elections, political freedoms and human rights in Cambodia as the House believed this election will not be legitimate, he said.

“Since Cambodia’s deeply flawed elections in 2013, we have seen intensifying attacks on Cambodians peacefully opposing their government,” he said.

The bill must still pass the Senate, and then be approved by President Donald Trump.

CPP spokesman Sok Ey San said that Cambodia is on the right track of democracy while the election is going smoothly as planned with transparency and fairness.

“It became normal for a group of Americans to attack the Cambodian government before the elections. It’s just useless for them to take this as an excuse to destroy the elections in Cambodia,” he said.

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