Former CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua said she will meet with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and a human rights council on Tuesday, the same day protesters are expected to gather outside parliament in Canberra to decry the dissolution of Cambodia’s main opposition party.
According to Sochua, in her meetings with Bishop and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, she will request visa sanctions and asset freezes against top Cambodian government officials, and a suspension of technical assistance from Australia “until the government is willing to talk about getting the situation back to normal”.
The CNRP was dissolved on November 16 by a Supreme Court decision that also banned 118 party officials, including Sochua, from politics for five years.
The Australian Embassy did not respond to requests for comment yesterday, but has previously said it is not considering economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered in Melbourne yesterday as part of a campaign to protest political repression in Cambodia, which began last weekend in the United States and is known as “White Sunday”.
“This is not the colour revolution, it’s just an expression of our concern,” said Va Malina, one of the organisers, referring to the government’s accusation that the CNRP was fomenting regime change. “If the government wants to arrest me when I come to Cambodia, it may be possible.”
Protests organised by the Cambodian Australian Federation are planned for Tuesday.