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Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

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Chum Sounry, Cambodian ambassador the US (right), meets Representative Ted Yoho on May 17. Supplied

Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019.

If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian officials the US sees as responsible for undermining democracy and violating human rights in the Kingdom.

Introduced by Ted Yoho, Republican Representative for Florida, on January 11, this year, it purportedly aims to "promote free and fair elections, political freedoms and human rights in Cambodia, and other purposes".

The bill cited seven findings including "the undemocratic rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the enactment of the NGO law, restrictions on the media, the arrest of Kem Sokha and the dissolution of [the Cambodia National Rescue Party] CNRP, six unfair and unfree elections since 1991 and ungenuine 2018 elections".

It also calls for the release of Kem Sokha, the reinstatement of the Supreme Court-dissolved CNRP and the return of its elected seats in the National Assembly.

It is unclear who in the Cambodian government or military would be targeted should the bill become law.