Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rethink Cambodia ties, report tells US

Rethink Cambodia ties, report tells US

Rethink Cambodia ties, report tells US

Political analysts at a conservative Washington-based think tank have called for the US to reconsider its relationship with Cambodia in the wake of the disputed July election.

Promoting True Democratic Transition in Cambodia, released by the Heritage Foundation last week, urges the US to focus on promoting democracy in Cambodia after a vote the opposition and rights groups say was marred by fraud.

“The 2013 elections were and are a watershed moment, an opportunity for the US to take stock of what it has accomplished in Cambodia and press for long-overdue political reforms,” the report says.

For eight months, the Cambodia National Rescue Party has organised mass demonstrations and refused to take its seats in the National Assembly, claiming it won more seats than the Cambodian People’s Party, and that many votes weren’t properly accounted for.

According to the report, Cambodia is crucial to US interests.

“It is critical . . . that Cambodia mature into a self-sustaining, democratic nation . . . prepared to combat modern-day challenges to governance and peace and security in the Pacific.”

The report calls on the US to push for a credible investigation into the July election and to be “more publicly critical” of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

If Cambodia fails to meet the US’s existing demands for reform – the House of Representatives has suspended some funding until the election deadlock is resolved – the report advises the additional “termination of small amounts of security assistance”.

“The US should also oppose the resumption of World Bank programs if the certification requirement is not met,” it says. The World Bank froze new lending to Cambodia in 2011.

Other suggestions include a review of the impact of economic assistance and democracy programs and the establishment of a “contact group” to press for democratic reforms.

But Ou Virak, chairman of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said reforms could prove a “difficult balancing act” for the US. “Reform is something that ultimately must be resolved domestically.”


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said