Around 20 Cambodians gathered outside the UN offices in New York on Saturday, to demonstrate against Prime Minsiter Hun Sen ahead of meetings with US and Asean officials.
They carried placards reading, “Hun Sen must respect human rights;” “Hun Sen must stop illegal evictions in Cambodia;” “Hun Sen must stop using the court to silence opposition voices;” and “Hun Sen is a tyrant, mafia, a traitor.”
Protesters said they were concerned over Cambodia's human rights record and inability to solve longstanding border disputes with its neighbors. And the demonstration came as Hun Sen was to meet US leaders, including President Barack Obama, and Asean officials, including sideline talks with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over border issues.
Michael Duong, the main organizer of the rally, said all the issues needed to be solved.
But Cambodia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the protest was not constructive.
“We do not prohibit any kind of rebuke, but the criticism must be constructive, not just like suffocating throats and pulling wings,” said Ouch Borith, a secretary of state for the ministry. “No matter what different point of view you have, we respect it. But I would only like to tell you that if you love the nation, we must unite, no matter what disagreements we have on some issues.”