Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monovithya appeals to US officials

Monovithya appeals to US officials

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ex-CNRP official Kem Monovithya meets with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State W Patrick Murphy to discuss the political situation in Cambodia and urge further action. Photo supplied

Monovithya appeals to US officials

Kem Monovithya, the daughter of jailed opposition leader Kem Sokha and a CNRP official, met with United States officials yesterday to discuss the possibility of further sanctions on the Cambodian government if measures taken in an ongoing political crackdown are not reversed.

“The US government made it very clear to the Cambodian government that there will be more actions taken if no reverse of course,” she said in a message yesterday.

Monovithya, whose father has been held in a Tbong Khmum province prison since September 3 on “treason” charges, met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State W Patrick Murphy and pressed for “individual financial sanctions”.

In a recent visit to Cambodia, Murphy said the US had a “variety of measures and tools” that could be used to further sanction Cambodia.

The US has been the most proactive in responding to a crackdown on the opposition, civil society and the media – which has seen Sokha arrested, the opposition dissolved, radio stations shuttered and a host of NGOs facing accusations of involvement in an alleged revolutionary conspiracy.

The US government pulled funding for the NEC after the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP, as did the European Union, and the US also issued visa bans on senior government officials.

Monovithya said she believes further pressure may be imminent, and urged Japan to take a more active role.

“My understanding is the US is talking to like-minded countries including Japan,” she said, calling for “a coordinated, synchronized response”.

Japan has been largely quiet about the recent crackdown, continuing to fund the National Election Committee even after the US and EU pulled out.

Monovithya also met with Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver at the Pentagon yesterday.

“He expressed concerns of the deteriorating situation in Cambodia, in particular the imprisonment of Kem Sokha. I appealed to . . . take the next step in responding to Cambodia crisis,” she said.

Throughout a campaign abroad calling for sanctions, Monovithya has been on the receiving end of government vitriol, and yesterday CPP spokesman Sok Eysan called Monovithya’s appeals “rebellious”.

“It reflects the desperation to seek foreign intervention to kill her own nation, but I think that it bears nothing,” he said.

Eysan said a recent statement from America commemorating the ouster of the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh 39 years ago proved that the US would take no further action.

Eysan added that Japan would not take action.

“Japan is an independent country, it has its sovereignty, so it will not follow others, only its own independent decision,” he said, adding that Monovithya will face legal consequences at home.

Such legal manoeuvres may already be underway, with Interior Minister Sar Kheng having recently proposed amending the Constitution to outlaw acts that undermine Cambodia, specifically using Monovithya as an example.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said that her appeals shouldn’t be illegal.

“There is no law saying that is rebellion, and each Cambodian has the right to express ideas,” he said.

The US and Japanese embassies did not respond to request for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement