Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Parties told to see life at the grassroots level

Parties told to see life at the grassroots level

Parties told to see life at the grassroots level

6 member of cambodian grassroots people assembly

A collective of citizens who say the government ignores their concerns has invited the Kingdom’s three largest parties to participate in public assemblies in three different provinces this month.

Members of the Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly made the announcement to about 40 people at a press conference yesterday at Meta House in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district.

“Should these peaceful events be prevented from occurring or the politicians choose not to attend, then Cambodians will once again have demonstrable proof that their representatives are anything but,” a statement from the group said.

At the conference, Grassroots members called on politicians from the Cambodian People’s Party, Cambodia National Rescue Party and Funcinpec to attend the assemblies scheduled to take place in Kampong Ch­hnang on Thursday, Preah Sihanouk on June 16 and Siem Reap on June 24.

The Cambodian constitution states that the government will hold a forum once a year to hear citizens’ grievances and seek solutions, said Chan Soveth, a senior investigator at rights group Adhoc. However, this is something that has not been adhered to.

Several members of the Grassroots People’s Assembly – which formed in 2010 and represents causes from fishery protection to LGBT rights – expressed disillusionment with the government yesterday, noting that a petition they filed seven months ago remains unanswered.

The petition demanded the National Assembly place more protections for citizens in the land, foreign security, trade, human rights and labour sectors.

“We stopped believing in the government,” said Chea Spoherk, a board member for the Farmer Nature Network. “We’ve lost our confidence in the government.”

Citizens continue to struggle with issues on which the government has already acted, said Koem Rady of the Workers Information Center.

For instance, workers in Cambodia’s booming garment industry saw their minimum monthly wage rise from $61 to $75 last month, but they still struggle to pay their bills, Rady said. “Even though our pay increased, our rent and utilities also increased.”   

Yem Pech, a forestry advocate representing the Phnom Kuk Network in Kampong Chhnang, said the government promised to return 500 hectares of forest land set aside for development back to villagers, but had not made good on their promise yet.

Grassroots members are expecting a hefty turnout to each of the assemblies, with a predicted 800 coming out to Kampong Chhnang, and more than 1,000 expected at the other two events, said Ly Pisey, of Social Action for Change.

The Grassroots group does not support any one particular party, Pisey said.

But if officials do not show up at the assemblies, the group will send another petition listing their demands to the government.

MOST VIEWED

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will

  • Chinese-owned shops are on the rise in central Phnom Penh

    Informal businesses owned by Chinese nationals are on the rise in central Phnom Penh, especially in Tonle Bassac commune, surrounding Koh Pich. Such businesses have sprung up notably in Central Market, Orussey Market, Sovanna Shopping Mall, Rattana Plaza, as well as Kakab commune across from

  • Sihanoukville authorities find 83 rubbish-packed containers

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state,

  • ‘Cambodia Democracy Act’ passed by US House

    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 th US president, the bill would allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking