Rights activist to run as CPP commune chief

May Titthara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Adhoc official Chhay Thy at work in his office in Rattanakkiri. Supplied

Chhay Thy, a coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Rattanakiri province, will join the ruling CPP and run for the position of commune chief in O’Yadav district’s Pate commune.
 
The 48-year-old human rights activist, who has been a thorn in the sides of local authorities and private companies for years, said he would compete for the commune chief’s position, but was not sure if his name would take the top slot.
 
“There is nothing official now. We are just conducting a survey,” he said. “I will resign and assume the position when it is official.
 
“I think people will support me because this location is where we live.”
 
Mr. Thy, who has worked for Adhoc for eight years, said he decided to join the ruling party voluntarily to help develop local ethnic communities.
 
“There is nothing in exchange with this decision. I decided to run for this position because my wife and children live there,” he added.
 
In January 2015, Mr. Thy received death threats by telephone and Facebook related to Montagnard refugees from Vietnam. A month later, Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak threatened to file a complaint against Mr. Thy over false information he allegedly provided about them.
 
Romas Chvat, a Jarai villager from O’Yadav district who asked Adhoc to intervene with the National Assembly and Interior Ministry when forces threatened to arrest the refugees, said Mr. Thy’s decision was personal and it was his right to choose his favorite political party.
 
“I do not care about the party, but I think the commune will progress because there is someone who has the ability to lead,” he said.
 
“Like in the past, we do not know who would assist us if he did not help intervene. We know a lot because he has educated us.”
 
Adhoc spokesman Sam Chankea said he did not know if Mr. Thy had already submitted his resignation as administrative officials were on holiday and had not returned to work.
 
“According to the conditions of our association, any individual must quit from their position first if they want to serve for a political party. And if they work for any political party secretly, they will be fired from their job,” he said.
 
For the June commune elections, the National Election Committee on Thursday called for citizens to check their names on the recently posted voter list.
 
At the time of the 2012 commune elections, Cambodia had 1,633 communes, but the number has since increased as the government has subdivided several communes. The vast majority of commune chiefs hail from the CPP.

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