Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week.

Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for Cambodian people to protest outside the UN on September 22.

Manet confirmed on September 19, during a meeting with more than 18,000 workers in Takeo province, that he would fly to New York on September 21.

The UNGA 78 is scheduled to run from September 19-26, under the theme “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability for All.”

According to a recent press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Manet will address the UNGA with a focus on three topics: the impact of current global affairs, Cambodia’s socio-economic progress and its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He will also hold talks with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and numerous foreign dignitaries.

Members of the Cambodian diaspora in Montreal, the largest city of Canada’s Quebec province, shared their excitement through a social media video clip on September 18.

They announced plans to lead a group of over 200 people to the event to support and engage with Manet. They also encouraged their compatriots in Canada, the US and other countries to join them.

Hout Kimcha, a Cambodian residing in Long Beach, in the US state of California, expressed his enthusiasm for the visit.

“My friends and I will travel to congratulate Manet and hear good news about the Kingdom’s impressive development and prosperity,” he said.

Dara and Sem, who asked to be identified only by their first names, are among Cambodians in the US state of Florida who plan to welcome Manet in New York.

“We are honoured by the prime minister’s visit and fully support the ongoing development in [Cambodia] under his leadership,” Dara said, referring to his own experiences during a recent visit back to his motherland.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said both opposition and pro-government supporters exist abroad.

“Despite facing some criticism, we enjoy support from friendly countries and the international community,” he said.

Peou explained that recent meetings between the new Manet-led government and global leaders validated the Kingdom’s governance.

During an August 29 meeting with factory workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district, Manet acknowledged the people’s right to demonstrate but urged respect for the law and the electorate.

“Honour the rights and will of the people who turned out to vote for the CPP. Please do not create conflicts between supporters and non-supporters,” he said.