Next week will mark 26 years since the Paris Peace Accords were signed, aimed at ending the civil war and bringing about lasting peace in the country after decades of violence.
Speaking at the Peace Palace on Saturday to high school students who passed the national exams with a Grade A, Prime Minister Hun Sen recalled how he and former King Norodom Sihanouk signed the agreement in 1991.
“Without the presence of King Norodom Sihanouk and without my presence, there would have been no Paris Peace Accord,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen said the king devoted his whole life to bringing peace, national reconciliation and independence from French colonisers, adding that he is a hero to the next generation of Cambodians.
The agreement paved the way for King Sihanouk to re-enter Cambodia and ultimately led to a multi-party election in 1993.
However, some civil society organisations and social commentators say the principles of the Paris accord are now being undermined.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said: “There is almost nothing left from the agreement today. We almost have nothing to show.”
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the opposition CNRP had broken the law, but international observers are attempting to threaten the government into allowing the party to get away with it.
1991 resulted in democracy, led to the disbanding of the Khmer Rouge through Prime Minister Hun Sen’s carrot and stick policy and continued elections every five years. It also resulted in the culture of protests by the parties which lost the election.
“To them, protests, demonstrations which leads to riots in the name of human rights and democracy is sacred while the rights of the people who suffered from the riots and demonstration is ignored,” he stressed.
“Their threats violate both democracy, the rule of law, and the spirit of the Paris Peace Accord,” he said. “The attempt to abandon rule of law in Cambodia insults the 1991 agreement, which is enshrined in the constitution of Cambodia for the benefit of Cambodian people.”