Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian protesters assemble outside Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday. Photo supplied

Canberra called on to sanction Hun Sen

Some 200 Cambodians gathered in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra on Tuesday to deliver a petition calling on the Australian government to condemn the Kingdom’s new government and to put sanctions on prime minister-designate Hun Sen and other leading officials.

Australian politician Hong Lim, the Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Clarinda who led the rally, said the mood was such that many of the protesters had taken the day off to join the rally, the first of its kind to take place on a working day.

“The purpose is to ask Australia to reject Hun Sen’s sham and fake election of July 29 [and] to follow the US in visa sanctions and freezing Hun Sen and co’s assets, [and call for the freeing of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president] Kem Sokha,” Lim said on Tuesday.

He said he welcomed the news that the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia would not be attending the opening of parliament scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Lim, who is also the president of the Cambodian Australian Federation (CAF), said the petition “calling on the Australian government to condemn the inauguration of Hun Sen’s new government which is scheduled to take place in Phnom Penh this Thursday” was delivered to DFAT State Director Jenny Bloomfield.

A CAF press release also said that Hun Sen’s relatives and political allies had gathered property and assets worth more than $20 million in Australia, a claim they based on media reports.

The CAF also alleged that “high-ranking Cambodian government and military officials regularly hold events in Melbourne for the purpose of radicalising and pressuring community members to support the [leadership],” the CAF statement said.

The CAF also called for the release of Kem Sokha, the jailed CNRP president, the reinstatement of the CNRP as a political party and its 118 officials, and the release of Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, who was sentenced last week to six years in prison for espionage.

However, ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesperson Sok Eysan said in response on Tuesday that “no one cares” about Hong Lim.

“Whatever he wants to say, he can say, but it has no benefit at all. No one cares about him,” Eysan said.

‘No action taken’

Regarding the allegation of the $20 million worth of investment in Australia by CPP officials, Eysan said if those officials had broken Australian law then the authorities there would have already taken action against them.

“If [any of] their actions were illegal, Australia would have taken legal action. If they weren’t then how can they take action? [There is] no need for Hong Lim to say [anything]. Those who break the law . . . they face legal procedures,” he said.

DFAT Asia-Pacific region spokesperson Kristie Brown could not be reached for comment as of press time.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of

  • School reopening can’t wait

    With the Covid-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. School attendance is critical for children’s education and lifetime prospects. The long-term costs of closures – both for individual children and society – are simply too large to