Independent UN expert welcomes electoral reform agreement in Cambodia

Op-Ed: UNs

Independent UN expert welcomes electoral reform agreement in Cambodia

Surya P. Subedi, Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Cambodia. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

6 March 2014 – An independent United Nations human rights expert hailed a five-point agreement reached today by Cambodia’s two main political parties to initiate electoral reforms in the country towards a more transparent process, and greater freedom of expression and right to public assembly.

“I welcome the agreements reached by the Joint Committee composed of members of the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodian National Rescue Party to proceed, among other things, on two concrete measures for electoral reform: to review the voter registry and to elaborate a draft law on the financing of political parties,” said Surya P. Subedi, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

“I hope with cautious optimism that progress toward the remaining unresolved issues would soon be made between the two parties.”

In a news release, Mr. Subedi stressed the importance of the agreement for the country, noting that the matters to be discussed by both political parties “are of concern to all Cambodians [and] are issues on which all Cambodians have the fundamental human right to express themselves, whether through demonstrations, marches or other means.”

Members of the opposition have been boycotting the Cambodian National Assembly since the middle of last year in a reported attempt to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose win in July extended his 28-year rule, alleging vote-rigging and calling for a new election. The boycott escalated into demonstrations and deadly clashes with the police. A ban on demonstration was subsequently imposed in the Kingdom shortly thereafter.

Mr. Subedi welcomed the announcement made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on 25 February to lift the ban. “Since its imposition, I have urged the Royal Government to remove the ban, which in my view was contrary to Cambodia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and its own constitution,” he said, though expressing concerns that some demonstrations may “continue to be blocked,” and persons are “still routinely detained for distributing leaflets encouraging workers to strike.”

Stating that the right to demonstrate and mobilize people to take part in demonstrations is “part and parcel of the right to peaceful assembly,” he emphasized that “the practice of arbitrarily detaining persons until they thumbprint a document agreeing to refrain from participating in future demonstrations is a violation of multiple human rights and must cease.”

Continue reading Independent UN expert welcomes electoral reform agreement in Cambodia

CNRP to walk away from talks

CNRP to walk away from talks

Thu, 13 March 2014

Negotiations between the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and ruling Cambodian People’s Party looked like they might screech to an abrupt halt yesterday, as opposition leaders visiting supporters in Tbong Khmum province said they will “cut off” talks.

Speaking to about 1,000 supporters in the province’s O’Raing Ov district yesterday, CNRP president Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha said the talks were a “useless” attempt to “dupe foreign countries” into continuing to provide aid and called for renewed demonstrations.

“First, we stop negotiations. The talks are useless, because this [CPP working] group just delays [proceedings] to dupe foreign countries,” Rainsy said. “They said that the [Cambodia] National Rescue Party and [Cambodian] People’s Party have already agreed to negotiate, so give us money.

“So we will cut off negotiations and tell foreign countries not to give the money to [Prime Minister Hun Sen] the thief,” Rainsy said.

He added that dialogue would not restart until the CPP proved itself serious about National Election Committee reform – namely, by agreeing to key CNRP demands that NEC members should require approval by two-thirds of parliament and that it should be a constitutionally mandated body.

“When the NEC [will be] changed, we will talk more,” he said. “This time, there is not any choice besides [holding another] demonstration. So please all [citizens] prepare yourselves to hold a mass demonstration . . . to have 2 million people.”

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP lawmaker, yesterday called on the CNRP to continue the talks, adding that the CNRP “cannot use demonstrations as a basis to resolve the problem”.

He said the government had no plans to reform the NEC until the next mandate.

“The NEC could change in the next mandate. We will not change it now,” he said.

Despite the public announcement of an end to talks by the CNRP leadership, senior party officials in Phnom Penh yesterday could not confirm whether negotiations – which include a planned Monday meeting of a joint election reform committee – were actually being called off.

Continue reading CNRP to walk away from talks

Rainsy Warns of New Demonstrations if NEC Not Reformed

Rainsy Warns of New Demonstrations if NEC Not Reformed
BY  | MARCH 13, 2014

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Wednesday that the CNRP will renew mass demonstrations if the ruling CPP continues to reject a proposal to make the membership of the National Election Committee (NEC) more representative.

Speaking to supporters in Thbong Khmom province, which was recently created from an eastern portion of Kompong Cham province, Mr. Rainsy issued his protest warning after Monday’s second joint-party meeting on election reform stalled over the CPP’s rejection of the CNRP’s proposal that two-thirds of National Assembly lawmakers be required to agree on the appointment of new NEC members.

The NEC’s leadership is currently handpicked by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP. The CPP has said it will not consider the opposition’s proposal, which would end its control over the composition of the election organizing body.

Mr. Rainsy also said that his party will not attend next Monday’s meeting with the CPP if the proposal to reform the NEC is not accepted.

“First, we stop negotiations,” Mr. Rainsy said in a video of the event that was posted to his Facebook page.

“They [the CPP] just wants to waste our time cheating foreigners—not Cambodians, as Cambodians know this well.”

“They make [foreigners] confused that we are getting along and are in the process of negotiations, [so they can ask] ‘please give us [aid] money,’” he said.

“So we stop negotiations and tell foreigners not to give money to these thieves. If they don’t agree to change the NEC, it means that they want to steal votes so there can be no talk. When they change the NEC, we will talk.”

Demonstrations will be the only alternative, Mr. Rainsy added.

“We will prepare another demonstration,” he said.

Continue reading Rainsy Warns of New Demonstrations if NEC Not Reformed

លោក សម រង្ស៊ី ចោទ CPP ថា​គ្មាន​ចេតនា​ចរចា​ពិត​ប្រាកដ

លោក សម រង្ស៊ី ចោទ CPP ថា​គ្មាន​ចេតនា​ចរចា​ពិត​ប្រាកដ

Op-Ed: Post Khmer
WEDNESDAY, 12 MARCH 2014
មាស សុខជា

20140312_05a

លោក​ សម រង្ស៊ី ប្រធាន​គណ​បក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ​ ក្នុង​សន្និសីទ​កា​សែត​មួយ​កន្លង​មក​។ រូបថត ផា លីណា

ភ្នំពេញៈ មេ​ដឹក​នាំ​គណបក្ស​ប្រឆាំង​បាន​ប្រាប់​ទៅ​សហគមន៍​អន្តរជាតិ តាម​រយៈ​លិខិត​មួយ​កាល​ពី​ម្សិលមិញ​ថា ការ​ចរចា​រវាង​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន និង​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ លើ​ប្រធានបទ កែ​ទម្រង់​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត ត្រូវ​ផ្អាក ដោយ​សារ​តែ​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​មិន​ព្រម​ជជែក​ពី​ការ​រៀបចំ គ.ជ.ប. ឡើង​វិញ​ដែល​នេះ «ជា​យុទ្ធវិធី​របស់​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​ដើម្បី​ក្រាញ​អំណាច»។

លោក សម រង្ស៊ី ប្រធាន​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ បាន​សរសេរ​លិខិត​មួយ​ទៅ​សហគមន៍​អន្តរជាតិ​កាល​ពី​ម្សិលមិញ ដើម្បី​ប្រាប់​អំពី​បញ្ហា​ជម្លោះ​នយោបាយ​ដែល​កំពុង​បន្ត​មាន​បន្ទាប់​ពី​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត​នៅ កម្ពុជា។

នៅ​ក្នុង​លិខិត​លោក សម រង្ស៊ី បាន​ចោទ​ប្រកាន់​ថា យុទ្ធវិធី​របស់​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន ក្នុង​ការ​ចរចា គឺ​គ្រាន់​តែ​ជា​ការ​ពន្យារ​ពេល ដើម្បី​ក្រាញ​អំណាច​ដែល​នឹង​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​អនាគត​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា​មាន​ភាព​អាប់អួរ។

លោក សរសេរ​ថា៖ «ការ​ចរចា​រវាង​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា និង​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ ស្តីពី​កំណែ​ទម្រង់​កំពុង​ជាប់​គាំង​ដោយ​សារ​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​មិន​ព្រម​ចរចា​ការ​ផ្លាស់​ប្តូរ​សមាសភាព​នៃ​ស្ថាប័ន​គណៈកម្មាធិការ​ជាតិ​រៀបចំ​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត ដែល​សំខាន់​ចំពោះ​ការ​រៀបចំ​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត​នា​ពេល​ខាង​មុខ ហើយ​ដែល​បច្ចុប្បន្ន​ស្ថាប័ន​នេះ ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្រោម​ការ​គ្រប់​គ្រង​របស់​គណបក្ស​កាន់​អំណាច»។

លោក សម រង្ស៊ី បាន​លើក​ឡើង​ជា​ថ្មី​ទៀត​ថា ដើម្បី​ដោះស្រាយ​ភាព​ជាប់​គាំង​នយោបាយ​បច្ចុប្បន្ន និង​ការពារ​មិន​ឲ្យ​មាន​អស្ថិរភាព​នយោបាយ​និង​ដើម្បី​ពិភាក្សា​បញ្ហា​ភាព​ស្រប​ច្បាប់​នៃ​រដ្ឋាភិបាល កម្ពុជា គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ​ទាមទារ​ឲ្យ​មាន​ការ​ស៊ើប​អង្កេត​ឯករាជ្យ​ទៅ​លើ​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត​ឆ្នាំ​មុន​ឬ​រៀបចំ​ឲ្យ​មាន​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត​ជា​ថ្មី​មុន​អាណត្តិ​ខណៈ​ដែល​ការ​ទាមទារ​ទាំង​ពីរ​នេះ​ត្រូវ​បាន​ច្រាន​ចោល​ដោយ​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន។

Continue reading លោក សម រង្ស៊ី ចោទ CPP ថា​គ្មាន​ចេតនា​ចរចា​ពិត​ប្រាកដ

Dual citizenship for lawmakers attacked

Dual citizenship for lawmakers attacked

Wed, 12 March 2014

Legistation should be amended to prohibit elected officials from taking office if they hold dual citizenship, according to senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap.

Yeap on Monday said that the office of prime minister should be reserved exclusively for Cambodian nationals, but yesterday expanded the call to include all elected lawmakers.

“For the seat of the prime minister and for lawmakers, they should have only Cambodian citizenship in order to ensure their loyalty,” he said.

Yeap admitted that some CPP elected officials hold dual citizenship, but said he was unaware of the exact number.

“I am not sure how many CPP officials hold dual citizenship, but I know it is not many.”

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday hit back at Yeap’s comments, saying that a more pressing issue the CPP should look at was illegal immigration.

Yim Sovann, CNRP spokesman, said that the granting of economic land concessions to “foreigners” and the flow of immigrants from abroad should be a higher priority.

“I think the CPP should pay attention to illegal immigrants … and human rights abuses,” he said. “Foreigners come here to control the land, [the government gives] 99-year land concessions to the foreigners. This is the real issue.”

Sok Sam Oeun of the Cambodian Defenders Project pointed to the apparent hypocrisy of a senior CPP official making such a statement, when elected CPP representatives hold foreign passports. “If they pass this law, it’s against the unity of all Khmer people. What about the former prime minister exiled in another country? Do they commit a crime?” he asked.

“I think many CPP [officials hold dual citizenship]. Chheang Vun is also from abroad. He holds two nationalities. I think [Minister of Commerce] Sun Chantol [is] also from abroad.”

Continue reading Dual citizenship for lawmakers attacked

Thank you letter responding to H.E.John Baird of Canada

Dear Mr. Baird;
Thank you letter to H.E.John Baird of CanadaThank you very much for taking time to respond to us concerning the Election Irregularities and the latest political development in Cambodia. Many Cambodians and their diasporas in North America have relentlessly advocated for free, fair and just election in Cambodia. They have petitioned to the United Nations particularly the co-signatory countries of Paris Peace Agreement in 23 October 1991 to help enforce the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to abide by the national constitution and the international laws.

Recently, the government-led party used national security arm-force to beat and shoot those worker protesters from various garment factories who demanded the increase of decent wage of $160US per month.

There are remaining huge challenges of impunity in this country. There have been continual of extra-judicial killing, arresting and jailing in this country.  As the result from the protesting disperse with arm-force, the government is still jailing 21 workers and unionists, and ban the freedom of assembly in which more than 9 people grouping together is prohibited.

We, the Cambodian-Canadians are desperate to seeing the continual violation of human rights in Cambodia.

We would like to submit our gratitude to the Canadian Government that has renewed support of political institution development, the rule of laws, and the ongoing peaceful negotiation between CNRP and CPP to tackle the problem of election flaws in order to conduct in-dept reform of this electoral institution to be acceptable from all stakeholders.

At the moment, the Cambodian diaporas worldwide have also been collecting the petition from our bothers and sisters to demand the right to vote in Cambodia national election so that we can participate with social, economic and political development in Cambodia.

Yours Truly,

Seng Sophoan
Project Team Leader of CEROC
(Commission for Election Right of Oversea Cambodians)
Email: petition@khmeroversea.info
http://www.khmeroversea.info