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Rights Group Calls for Political Reform in Cambodia

FILE - Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) and his wife Bun Rany arrive at the Royal Palace during commemorations for the second anniversary of late king Norodom Sihanouk's death, in Phnom Penh.

A U.S.-based human rights group says the leader of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has "repeatedly used political violence, repression, and corruption to remain in power," as the leader nears his 30th anniversary in power.

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that Hun Sen's anniversary makes him the sixth longest-serving political leader in the world, a tenure the group says was achieved through violence and fear.

In a report released Tuesday, the group's Asia director Brad Adams says Cambodia urgently needs reforms so its people can exercise their basic human rights without fear of arrest, torture, or execution. Adams says international donors are needed to help bring such reforms about.

Hun Sen's career, including his time as prime minister beginning January 14, 1985, is chronicled in the report, titled "30 Years of Hun Sen: Violence, Repression, and Corruption in Cambodia."

Last week a senior Cambodian ruling party leader sharply criticized Cambodia's political opposition, warning them to avoid critical public comments on the contentious January 7 anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

At a public event Wednesday to mark the 36th anniversary, CPP President Heng Samrin said politicians should be “careful” not to harm last year's deal in which the opposition ended its boycott of parliament following disputed election results.