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Cambodia UN Delegation Defends Anti-Democratic Crackdown, Blames Former Opposition for Causing ‘Misunderstanding’


Monovithya Kem, middle, CNRP's deputy director general of public affairs testified at the open hearing on “Cambodia's Descent: Policies to Support Democracy and Human Rights” on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, at the Rayburn House Office Building. (Sreng Leakhena/VOA Khmer)

Kem Monovithya called on the UN General Assembly to reconsider Cambodia’s membership in light of the government’s dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Cambodia’s delegation to the United Nations issued a strongly worded statement on Tuesday against a public forum organized by the United States and European Union which featured the daughter of jailed former opposition leader Kem Sokha.

At the meeting, Kem Monovithya called on the UN General Assembly to reconsider Cambodia’s membership in light of the government’s dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and a wider crackdown on political opposition to Prime Minister Hun Sen, civil society, and independent media.

“The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia registers its strong protest against such panel discussion, which is politically motivated with the clear intent to mislead international public opinion. The Permanent Mission considers this arrogant and disrespectful behavior as a serious interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” the statement reads.

The mission went on to defend the actions of Hun Sen’s government, claiming the existence of dozens of minor opposition parties registered to vote in the 2018 general election was evidence that Cambodia was committed to pluralist democracy.

Meas Ny, a social researcher, told VOA Khmer on Tuesday that Hun Sen believes he “can do whatever he wants,” adding that only concerted international pressure could force his hand.

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