Cambodia PM unimpressed by potential Western sanctions

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Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Cabinet speech last week said that he had no fear of Western sanctions against his country in a reaction to a push by a number of US Senators to impose travel restrictions on Cambodian officials.

The proposal came after Huns Sen ordered the arrest of the main opposition leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party ahead of next year’s general elections. Hun Sen’s critics in the country accuse him of destroying democracy in Cambodia to ensure that he wins re-election next year to extend more than 32 years in power.

The US Senators identified several ways in which the Cambodian government “continues to be undemocratically dominated” by the Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party, namely through the passing of laws allowing the government to revoke the charters of non-governmental organisations on a political basis, the jailing of prominent opposition leader Kem Sokha on treason charges, the imposition of severe media restrictions and the assassination of a frequent Hun Sen critic, activist Kem Ley, in 2016.

The Senate committee urged US authorities “to consider placing all senior Cambodian government officials implicated in the abuses noted above on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.” In general, US persons are prohibited from doing business with any person or entity designated as an SDN.

There have also been voices in the European Union to impose travel restrictions and other sanctions against Cambodia. In an unusually direct statement from Japan, vice minister for foreign affairs Iwao Horii called for a free and fair election next year. Japan is Cambodia’s biggest aid donour after China.

However, no statement came from China, which has become by far the biggest giver of foreign aid as well as the biggest investor in Cambodia.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Cabinet speech last week said that he had no fear of Western sanctions against his country in a reaction to a push by a number of US Senators to impose travel restrictions on Cambodian officials.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Cabinet speech last week said that he had no fear of Western sanctions against his country in a reaction to a push by a number of US Senators to impose travel restrictions on Cambodian officials.

The proposal came after Huns Sen ordered the arrest of the main opposition leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party ahead of next year’s general elections. Hun Sen’s critics in the country accuse him of destroying democracy in Cambodia to ensure that he wins re-election next year to extend more than 32 years in power.

The US Senators identified several ways in which the Cambodian government “continues to be undemocratically dominated” by the Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party, namely through the passing of laws allowing the government to revoke the charters of non-governmental organisations on a political basis, the jailing of prominent opposition leader Kem Sokha on treason charges, the imposition of severe media restrictions and the assassination of a frequent Hun Sen critic, activist Kem Ley, in 2016.

The Senate committee urged US authorities “to consider placing all senior Cambodian government officials implicated in the abuses noted above on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.” In general, US persons are prohibited from doing business with any person or entity designated as an SDN.

There have also been voices in the European Union to impose travel restrictions and other sanctions against Cambodia. In an unusually direct statement from Japan, vice minister for foreign affairs Iwao Horii called for a free and fair election next year. Japan is Cambodia’s biggest aid donour after China.

However, no statement came from China, which has become by far the biggest giver of foreign aid as well as the biggest investor in Cambodia.

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