Three U.S. Congress members have called on the government to respect human rights in Cambodia ahead of local elections this week after Prime Minister Hun Sen said that war could break out if the ruling Cambodian People’s Party lost the election.
The statement was sent to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by Alan Lowenthal, Steve Chabot and Edward Royce.
“We call on the State Department and United States Embassy in Phnom Penh to publicly express support for the rule of law and call on the government to respect the right of every Cambodian citizen to vote in advance of the election,” they wrote in a statement dated May 25.
“We are deeply disturbed by report of Prime Minister Hun Sen inciting violence and using scare tactics to intimidate voters—including making threats of civil war should his party lose elections,” they added.
Last Thursday, Hun Sen threatened to “terminate 100 to 200 people” if his rule was threatened.
“Any action that leads to the toppling of the government needs to be absolutely cracked down on with no tolerance. To guarantee the lives of millions of people, we will resort to terminating 100 to 200 people,” he said.
Hun Sen also defended senior military officials, head of the armed forces Pol Saroeun, and Tea Banh, defense minister. Both have recently issued threats against opposition forces.
Jay Raman, U.S. Embassy spokesman, declined to comment.
Sok Eysan, CPP spokesman, dismissed the statement, saying Cambodia was “implementing democracy” and “strengthening the rule of law”.