Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Comfrel head Koul Panha (centre) talks at a conference in Phnom Penh in February last year. Pha Lina

Cambodia compares to dictatorships, says Election monitor Koul Panha

Election monitor Koul Panha said on his Facebook page that he considers Cambodia a “weak state”. He compared the Kingdom to dictatorships in Africa and claimed it practised human rights violations and nepotism.

But his comments were quickly dismissed by a government spokesman, Phay Siphan, who said they were merely Panha’s tactic to seek political asylum.

“He is in Thailand now, where he works for others. They asked him to say something to wash himself clean. Therefore, he wishes to become a political victim in order to have rights to live in a third country,” Siphan said.

Panha is executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) and currently lives in exile. He posted his remarks on Wednesday in a video explaining his opinion.

“A strong man makes a weak country. Strong countries are made strong by independent and effective institutions and officials. When the country is weak, there are always political conflicts which need mediation from international organisations. Cambodia is among those weak countries,” he said.

He claimed the Kingdom could be considered a dictatorship in a similar vein as Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda and some countries in Eastern Europe.

“Weak states often violate the rights of their people. This is an issue of respecting international human rights. There is a grave concern regarding a weak state which often violates human rights and threatens peace. The international community is worried,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay claimed Panha was not far off in describing Cambodia as a weak state with an overly-powerful leadership, adding that underdevelopment seemed to be a symptom of this.

But Siphan shot back, saying that the culture of the opposition is to always create an environment which is not in line with democratic values. “The culture of NGOs which receive foreign funds always serve the interests of foreigners,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by