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Why quote the Khmer Rouge?

It is most shocking that the policy of the genocide regime continues to be part of the way Cambodia is ruled today, after close to two million Cambodians were massacred in the killing fields and while top Khmer Rouge leaders are currently put on trial. I refer to The Phnom Penh Post article “International group calls for Rainsy return” on May 3, 2011.

In this article, Mr Cheam Yeap, the most senior lawmaker of the Cambodian People's Party, puts a chill to my entire body  when he was quoted as using a KR saying when referring to the case of the leader of the opposition – “If we keep him, there is no profit; if we pull him out, there is no loss.” Under the KR regime, when this saying was used on a particular person, it was an order for execution. Those executed were accused of different crimes, including opposing the regime or the Supreme Angka.    

Imagine a lawmaker in the US or in Europe quoting Hitler or his regime to refer to the leader of the opposition. Would that be tolerated? Should we continue to remain silent because of fear or should we face the fear straight in the face?

On April 20, 2011, in Panama City, the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union was submitted a resolution by the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, in which there is the following sentence: “[The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union] considers that it is becoming even more urgent to review Mr Sam Rainsy’s case and to rehabilitate him, and calls on the authorities, including Parliament, to take action to this end without delay so as to enable Mr Sam Rainsy to resume his rightful place as a member of the National Assembly and to stand as a candidate in the next parliamentary elections.”

Wishing for the destruction and even the death of the opposition by top leaders of the ruling party who are former Khmer Rouge leaders is not new news.

The return of Mr Sam Rainsy is a must. A level playing field is key to any free and fair elections. It is one of the recommendations of the EU that observed the 1998, 2003 and 2008 elections. Very little has been done towards that direction. Investing in free and fair elections is investing in democracy for Cambodia. Leaving the field free for more fraudulent elections is investment that will continue to preserve a regime that has very little tolerance of the opposition.

We may live in fear, but we have a moral obligation to bring justice to our people and real sustainable growth to our nation.

We need to break the silence and condemn any attempt to take us back to the years of darkness.

Mu Sochua, MP,
Sam Rainsy Party

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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