Today, on July 4, 2022, the US embassy in Cambodia joins Americans around the world to celebrate the 246th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.
That groundbreaking 18th century document resounds even today, reminding us that all people are created equal and cannot be denied their fundamental rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
Throughout our history we have strived to live up to the ideals that birthed a nation guaranteeing for the first time in history fundamental freedoms and rights, with a government accountable to its citizens. These values continue to animate and remind us of what, at our best, defines us as a nation and spur continued efforts to “form a more perfect union.”
As US ambassador to the Kingdom, I have learned that the Cambodian people also share these universal aspirations. Like their American friends, Cambodians strive for dignity, equality, freedoms, and rights and to choose a government that is accountable to its citizens.
I see this reality reflected in Cambodia’s constitution. I see it in the hopes and aspirations for multiparty democracy endorsed in the Paris Peace Agreements. I hear it in the voices of those who speak up on behalf of labour and environmental rights, freedom of the press, and protection of Cambodia’s independence.
Our commitment to the democratic values enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution also guide our foreign policy, which aims to create a more secure, prosperous, and peaceful world.
This is reflected in our support for Ukraine as it defends its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We joined Cambodia and many others in co-sponsoring UN resolutions deploring Russian aggression and demanding an end to its unprovoked war. We are also working with Cambodia as the chair of ASEAN to address the military coup d’état against the elected government of Myanmar and ensuing violence and humanitarian crisis.
We have led the charge to develop and distribute lifesaving Covid-19 vaccinations around the world. Since the pandemic began, the United States has donated three million doses to the Cambodian people and we plan to give even more doses this year, in addition to $16 million in supplemental support we contributed to address Kingdom the economic impacts of Covid.
In these difficult times, the US stands with its allies and partners, including the people of Cambodia, to face any challenges with purpose and resolve.
W Patrick Murphy is US ambassador to Cambodia