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Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the audience during a graduation ceremony at Phnom Penh's Koh Pich yesterday. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the audience during a graduation ceremony at Phnom Penh's Koh Pich yesterday. Facebook

PM talks tough to donor nations over aid 'threats'

Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned European parliamentarians who are calling for aid funding to Cambodia to be dependent on the country’s human rights situation improving not to make “threats” – while noting that China has never made such demands.

“Don’t scare me. Don’t threaten me. Don’t threaten Cambodia by cutting off aid,” the premier said yesterday during a speech to nearly 4,000 graduating students on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich, where the Chinese ambassador was also in attendance.

“I have never been afraid of China, and China has never made a threat to Cambodia and has never ordered Cambodia to do something. I am just saying that the other [donors] should not make threats to Cambodia.”

He then added: “You threaten to cut off aid; please cut it and the first person who will suffer will be the people who work with NGOs.”

The European Parliament passed a motion on Thursday condemning a raft of “politically motivated” legal cases against opposition party members and government critics, and calling for aid funding to be dependent on Cambodia’s human rights record.

The EU’s legislature is independent from the union’s executive branch, which decides upon aid distribution contributed by member states.

Noting the seperation, the EU ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, yesterday said the June 9 resolution expressed the concern of European parliamentarians over recent developments in the Kingdom and made recommendations for Cambodian authorities, the EU and its member states.

“It would not be appropriate for me to comment further,” Edgar said, via email.

Both Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy and deputy president Kem Sokha currently face criminal charges, which have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

The former has fled abroad while the latter remains holed-up at the party’s headquarters, after facing a slew of allegations in relation to a an alleged sex scandal that has also landed an opposition commune chief, four human rights advocates and an election official in prison.

Two opposition lawmakers are in prison for criticising the government’s handling of the Vietnam border issue.

The CNRP has threatened to hold a mass demonstration if Sokha is arrested.

The premier yesterday lashed out again at the opposition for protecting Sokha, reiterating that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party would not negotiate with the CNRP to end the legal action, and emphasised that royal pardons were out of the question.

“This is an individual case of an affair with a mistress,” he said, adding a demonstration would “not be tolerated”.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday released a stinging four-page statement, saying that they were “astonished” at the European Union parliamentary resolution, which they claimed was based on “many false accounts”.

The statement set out a legal justification for the criticised cases, which it argued were in line with European norms.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton



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Don Rennie's picture

Dear Sokheng and Shaun,

I think it is clear why the majority of Cambodians do not like the CPP. As a group, the CPP does not listen and learn. Thirty per cent of Cambodia's budget is funded from outside sources.

China is a Communist nation. Cambodia is supposed to be a democracy. There is a big difference between the two forms of government. There are only a handful of Communist nations remaining and four of them are near Cambodia.

Maybe what the PM is saying is that he wants to lean more toward Communism and away from democracy.

In light of the current political chaos created by the CPP, maybe Cambodia will rewrite it's Constitution and find ways and means of reducing the freedoms that a democracy values.

The PM is deathly afraid of freedom of speech, association, and assembly. Why? Free speech and demonstrations bring to light the weakness of the CPP led government.

The CPP continues to play a losing game in the eyes of Cambodian voters.

When the PM threatens to hurt NGO workers, it becomes clear that the megalomaniac personality and character stand out. Investors will back away when any PM threatens innocent workers.

It's no wonder that Cambodia remains a very poor nation. The PM does not care about the people of Cambodia. One only has to look at the rhetoric and weak leadership demonstrated by the PM over the last two or three decades.


Samdech's picture

I really do hope that the major western donors (EU, USA, Japan etc) do start putting conditions on aid funding to Cambodia to apply pressure for reform. Cambodia to date has a received a lot of funding from western donors which has largely been ineffective due to blatant government corruption and incompetence. It would be better for western donors to invest in places like Myanmar rather than Cambodia where they could get better results for their money from more open-minded governments - Cambodia doesn't deserve any more western aid money until the Cambodian government starts getting serious on making reforms.

In regards to China - this is not a role model that Cambodia should be looking to. If Cambodia wants to grow into a more civilised and developed society, then closer cooperation with the West is the only way it will achieve this. China is not interested in the well-being of Cambodia, nor for any other country for that matter.

break_free's picture

Hun Sen love China - they violate human rights even more than he. How perfect for him.

Donor should stop support to Cambodian government that abuses Khmer people!

Don Rennie's picture

Dear Sokheng and Shaun,

The PM's statement saying "...that royal pardons were out of the question" for issues related to the CNRP is completely out of this world.

Who does the PM think he is? King of Cambodia?

This type of irrational comment, if accurate, is one major reason why the majority of Cambodians do not like the PM or the CPP.

The PM is not royalty. He does not share blood lines with either Sisowath or Norodom.


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