Since Hun Manet became the country’s prime minister, there have been numerous discussions and hopes among Western and Cambodian scholars because Manet received his education in the democratic nations of the US and UK, which also have significant political and economic influences. There are many unanswered doubts regarding Manet’s potential for influencing Cambodia’s foreign policy, as well as whether he will lead Cambodia in the same manner as his predecessor or in a different fashion.

On October 23, 2023, the Paris Peace Agreements on the political settlement in Cambodia will celebrate the 32nd anniversary. What actions should Cambodia take on that particular day?

Signed in 1991, the Paris Peace Accords were recognised as a significant turning point in Cambodian history. They signalled the conclusion of a protracted and destructive civil war and established a foundation for peace, stability and advancement in the nation. For the sake of the future of Cambodia, it is crucial to comprehend the significance of the agreements.

The goal of the accords was to mend the severe fractures in Cambodian society by addressing the subject of national reconciliation. It acknowledged the significance of justice, accountability and the need for a thorough national reconciliation process to promote harmony and stability.

The accords were primarily founded by the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen. Without their shared desire to bring about peace for Cambodia, the Paris Agreements, which have altered Cambodia’s course, would not have been possible.

The accords’ implementation in Cambodia has not been without its share of difficulties and roadblocks. The goal of these comprehensive agreements, which were signed in 1991, was to put an end to the civil war in Cambodia and provide a foundation for democratic administration, human rights and economic growth. The path to accomplishing these objectives has, however, been paved with difficulties.

The accords have been difficult to implement because of Cambodia’s entrenched political divisions and power struggles. The agreements aimed for the establishment of a multiparty democracy, but conflicts, rivalries and claims of election fraud have stained the political scene. These internal disputes have occasionally made it difficult to move to a completely democratic society and have threatened the stability of the country.

Although preserving and protecting human rights was highlighted in the agreements, there have been instances of violations and a lack of responsibility for such offences. Enforcing the agreements’ guiding principles and ensuring that the government upholds its obligations to advance and protect people’ rights present challenges.

The Paris Accords have helped Cambodia’s economy expand and prosper. They opened the door for international aid and investments, which have sparked initiatives to reduce poverty and advance economic growth. As a result, Cambodia has made tremendous advancements in a number of industries, including manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. The Cambodian people now enjoy higher living conditions and more employment options because of this economic expansion.

Additionally, the agreements have been crucial in fostering both regional and global cooperation. They have aided in the development of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and other nations, enabling cooperation in fields including trade, education and cultural exchange. In addition to improving Cambodia’s standing on the international stage, this cooperation has made it easier to share expertise and adopt best practices. Without the Paris Accords, we cannot imagine Cambodia’s foreign policy at this time, and we are not sure how many countries will recognise the legitimacy of the country’s leadership.

The accords are first and foremost a reminder of the importance of peace and the terrible effects of violence. The ability of the Cambodian people to overcome their difficult history and forge a future based on collaboration and harmony is a monument to their tenacity and resiliency. Cambodia can guarantee that the tragedy of the past is not repeated and that future generations can enjoy a peaceful and successful society by upholding the promises outlined in the agreements.

Fostering robust international cooperation and assistance is one such method. A massive diplomatic effort involving several nations and international organisations led to the Paris Agreements. Cambodia may make sure that these stakeholders stay committed to the goals of the agreements by preserving solid connections and having continuing conversations with them.

Promoting inclusion and encouraging meaningful engagement from all relevant parties is another crucial tactic. The importance of national reconciliation and the inclusion of all Cambodian factions in the political process were highlighted in the Paris Accords. Cambodia can deepen the foundations of the agreements and promote lasting peace by fostering an environment that encourages genuine debate, values all viewpoints and protects the rights of all individuals.

Maintaining and bolstering the Paris Agreements necessitates a multifaceted strategy. Cambodia can guarantee a future of stability, development, and sustainable peace by developing international cooperation, advancing inclusivity, investing in capacity-building, monitoring implementation and engaging civil society.

In conclusion, it is critical to understand that maintaining the Paris Peace Agreements is a never-ending task. It is critical to defend the accords’ core values while Cambodia continues to face a number of difficulties, including as political unrest and human rights issues. To ensure that the Kingdom’s development and stability are maintained, the government, civil society and the international community must work together.

The Paris Peace Agreements are evidence of how tenacious and resilient the Cambodian people were. They stand for optimism and a dedication to a brighter future. The historic accords may be preserved and upheld by Cambodia, ensuring long-term stability and advancement. Cambodian citizens should care about the long-term future which will be beneficial for the next generations for eternity.

Seun Sam is a researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. This article is written to coincide with the 32th anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreements, a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodia conflict.

The views expressed in this article are his own.