Cambodian civil society groups have expressed concerns over the future of human rights and democracy in their country following the unexpected victory of Donald Trump in the US election this week.
President elect Trump, a real estate mogul, defeated the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton in a bitterly fought race for the White House in what has been called the biggest political upset in American history.
Clinton came out of the vote with fewer than 230 electoral college votes, despite winning a larger share of the popular vote. At least 270 electoral college votes are required to secure a place in the Oval Office.
At an “election watch party” at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, support for Clinton was widespread and the mood turned flat when it became apparent that Trump would win.
Ou Virak, the Cambodian-American president of the public policy think tank, the Future Forum, said he was concerned by the turn of events.
“It’s a disappointment as Donald Trump is aggressive and discriminating against women and what he said so far was an obvious lie,” he said.
“If the world loses trust in the U.S, then each country will begin to buy arms to strengthen their respective muscle to defend themselves. But when more and more countries are doing this, it’s not good for the world.”
Moeun Tola, executive director of the Labor and Human Rights Alliance, a union, said he was concerned that a Trump administration would “not pay full attention on human rights issues in the world especially in poor countries.”
Similarly, Chak Sopheap, director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said she had hoped to see a woman become US president and that Clinton was well-versed in foreign policy.
“The result of the U.S. election today has made many American and Cambodian citizen[s] shocked and dismayed especially for those who wanted to see Hillary Clinton selected to be the first female president of the United states,” she wrote on Facebook.