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Minority Opposition Leader Claims Intimidation by Ruling Party

One of Cambodia's opposition parties continues to face political repression and discrimination that need international attention, the leader of the minority party says.

Kem Sokha, president of the Human Rights Party, said in an interview with VOA last week that his party faces repression both on the parliamentary floor, where time is limited for his three parliamentarians, and in the field, where his meetings with grassroots supporters find it hard to get permission to gather and participants are intimidated.

“In some places the local authorities don't allow us to have a meeting, even though I use my name as a member of parliament visiting my constituency,” Kem Sokha said, as he continued a two-month tour of the US and Canada.

“In some places the ruling Cambodian People's Party officials disturbed our meeting by verbally attacking our supporters during the session and threatening them with chair fighting,” he said.

Kem Sokha said the US should look into critical issues like land grabbing, elections and freedom of expression.

“The ruling party has classified Cambodian people into three different categories: black, grey and white," he continued, referring to lists the ruling party initiated earlier this year.

Those who support the Human Rights Party are labeled “black,” while those who support the CPP are labeled “white,” he said.

Kem Sokha is scheduled to meet US officials before attending his party congress on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, when party officials will review their strategy for the 2012 and 2013 elections. He is due to return to Cambodia at the end of September.