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Response to European Parliament on Cambodia

Yara Suos / Khmer Times Share:
wikimedia/Mehr Demokratie/CC BY-SA
wikimedia/Mehr Demokratie/CC BY-SA

Dear sir,

The motion put forth by a number of European politicians on Cambodian issues, notably the legal dissolution of the CNRP, is a reflection of the European parliament’s indifference toward local political conditions in Cambodia.

It also reflects the biased assumption on the part of individuals within the parliament who have always been in a close relationship with former CNRP president Mr Sam Rainsy. As such the motion does not echo reality on the ground and the European Parliament should not consider it as valid for consideration.

We have read the motion in disbelief that clauses within the motion itself reflects untruthful allegations against the Cambodian government by allies of the former opposition CNRP, especially the call by small and irrelevant overseas “55 NGOs” for a review of the Paris Peace Agreements and the reference about and allegation against negative Chinese influence on Cambodian politics.

The motion also refers to “serious” human rights violations as if the Cambodian government is committing mass slaughter against its own population, while in fact Cambodians are enjoying a higher prosperity level than they ever had in the past.

Another unfair citation is the Paris Peace Agreements. The Paris Peace Agreements is no longer applicable beyond the democratic election administered by UNTAC. Unlike biased and cynical observers who viewed the Paris Peace Agreements as failing 26 years after they were reached, we would like to point out that Cambodia has fulfilled and exceeded almost all conditions provided in the agreements.

These include cooperating, assisting and participating in the UN-sponsored democratic election in 1993; comprehensive ceasefire by all parties on land, water and in the air; disarmament and demobilisation of the fighting forces by all the four factions; implementing self-organised democratic elections after UNTAC; repatriation of Cambodian refugees and displaced persons from border camps; releasing of prisoners of war and civilian internees; and establishing a constitutional monarchy with multi-party democracy.

Cambodia has also created the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to bring to justice senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

It is invalid to politically manipulate the agreements to allow foreign powers to interfere in Cambodia’s democratic processes. Like the free market economy that Cambodia has adopted, democracy is naturally unbalanced, but it needs self-correction.

Democratisation is a process, which requires participation from all stakeholders, especially from the grassroots. Education, responsible citizenship, rule of law, respect of human rights and institution building are the core elements of democracy. Although there are some shortcomings, Cambodia is on the right path towards democratic consolidation.

Cambodia’s democratic journey is always moving forward with twists and turns along the way which is normal, considering our democracy is young. Looking at Cambodian society and politics in the past decades we could see much progress. The situation is not as grim as most believe. The nation’s democracy is in fact vibrant and strong.

We would like to appeal to the European Parliament to reject the motion as it is based on ungrounded allegations coming from cynical press and a negative campaign by former members of the now-dissolved Cambodian National Rescued Party (CNRP).

As we explained earlier, the dissolution of this party by the Supreme Court of Cambodia was concluded with hard evidence incriminating this party to crimes under relevant Cambodian laws. We would like to assure you that following constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy, Cambodia will hold the national election in July 2018 with participations from all legal political parties. This is a fact.

Any party can contest this important election in a free and fair manner. All international observers are once again welcome to observe it as many did during the last commune/Sangkat council election five months ago.

Our position about Cambodian democracy is elimination of foreign interference in our politics which might create an unfair playing field for meaningful development of democracy. We would like to see political parties using local knowledge to create new ideas on leadership and governance to convince people to following them in a manner that is highly local and yet adopting global principles of democracy bestowed in the spirit of the European Union.

It is always our intention to bring these global principles with local innovations to Asean as a whole. If Cambodian politics becomes indigenous and yet democratic, which we have been working on, then it is our belief that Asean would be interested to adopt certain ideas from this model.

Yara Suos,
CPP lawmaker,
Representing Cambodian Parliamentarians.

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