Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US Senator warns of further measures in response to crackdown

US Senator warns of further measures in response to crackdown

US Senator Dick Durbin poses with opposition figure Kem Monovithya during an event in Chicago on Saturday. Facebook
US Senator Dick Durbin poses with opposition figure Kem Monovithya during an event in Chicago on Saturday. Facebook

US Senator warns of further measures in response to crackdown

US Senator Dick Durbin spoke about the deteriorating political situation in Cambodia on Saturday, standing alongside opposition figure Kem Monovithya.

Monovithya’s father, opposition leader Kem Sokha, was arrested in September on widely decried charges of “treason”, with his Cambodia National Rescue Party – the country’s only viable opposition – forcibly dissolved shortly thereafter.

“This event is for you, to show our appreciation for all that you have done,” Monovithya said to Durbin in opening, adding that he had been “instrumental” in efforts to restore democracy in Cambodia.

The Democratic senator from Illinois has consistently been one of the most vocal critics of Hun Sen’s regime since the political crackdown began. Last month, he co-sponsored a bill by Senator Lindsay Graham which, if passed, would impose asset freezes and other measures against Cambodia.

Later that month, the United States announced aid cuts to various programs in the Kingdom.

“We are not going to send money until we see progress,” said Durbin.

Durbin praised journalists for having the “courage” to continue operating in the country, and noted that people “are being jailed and killed in Cambodia today simply because they are exercising the basic freedoms”.

The Senator warned that if progress is not made, the US government may take the issue up at the United Nations and consider trade sanctions.

He also said the United States should publicly condemn July’s scheduled national election as “illegitimate”.

Meanwhile, demonstrations continued in the US and Europe, with Cambodian-Americans burning effigies of Hun Sen in Long Beach, California.

In Brussels, protesters gathered in front of the office of EU Foreign Affairs representative Federica Mogherini, demanding trade sanctions.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said protests were useless and maintained Monovithya’s efforts to “put pressure” on the government have failed.

He said Prime Minister Hun Sen had already been invited to October’s Asia-Europe Meeting, calling it a “hammer strike on the head of the opposition”.

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