A Cambodian-American group in the US has begun lobbying Washington institutions in an effort to affect political change in Cambodia ahead of national elections there next year.
Group leader Prom Saunora told VOA Khmer they are working to improve human rights and free speech, curb corruption and improve border and immigration issues.
Failure to pay attention to these issues could result unrest like the Arab Spring, he said. “This will lead to bloodshed.”
Prom Saunora also warned of Cambodians becoming disillusioned with the election process, with the potential of boycotting future polls if more is not done to reform it. Current elections are heavily skewed toward the ruling party, he said.
“There is no point in going, because the Cambodian People’s Party will still win the election,” he said. “This will lead to the collapse of our democracy.”
Prom Saunora and his delegation have so far met with representatives of the UN and of US institutions including think tanks and the State Department.
“We have demanded reform at the National Election Committee to make it independent,” he said. The group advised having more participation from international experts during the election process, working with local parties and NGOs to form an independent election monitoring body.
“Once this change is possible, it can put pressure on the government to change other issues that are not in compliance with the Paris Peace Agreement,” he said.