The Cambodia National Rescue Party, which had been giving the ruling Cambodian People’s Party an increasingly hard time in local and national polls on recent outings, is now itself in desperate need of rescue.
With its leader Kem Sokha languishing in jail for alleged treason, the Supreme Court last week ordered the party’s dissolution.
A few weeks earlier, Mu Sochua, the CNRP’s deputy leader, fled the country to pre-empt her own arrest. “Sanctions are the best leverage for negotiation for free, fair and inclusive elections,” she said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has also moved against non-governmental organizations and the press, both of which he perceives as largely unsympathetic to him. The Cambodia Daily newspaper was forced to shutter after nearly 25 years. Radio Free Asia has been chased out as well, and two of its former journalists charged with espionage. Voice of America has also been affected.
This was not the international community’s plan for this country of 16 million as it struggled to escape a violent and traumatic recent past.
A quarter of a century ago, from 1992 to 1993, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was among the costliest and most ambitious operations in the UN’s history.
It aimed to bring an end to civil war that followed in the wake of US bombing during the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge genocide – which combined led to the deaths of well over two million Cambodians.
UNTAC failed to disarm the Khmer Rouge, presided over a contested election that produced two prime ministers, and played a controversial role with regard to the spread of AIDS.
Nevertheless, an elected government of sorts was introduced, the monarchy restored, and a relatively free press was seeded; there was foreign investment, the start of a lucrative tourism industry, the launch of a significant garment industry, revival of the banking system, and the massive task of demining the country started; the military disbanded or assimilated the warring factions, a tribunal was eventually established to try the most culpable in the genocide of the late 1970s, and non-governmental organizations got some civil society traction.
Donors that included the US, Japan, and European nations contributed billions to try and right some of the wrongs of the past. The results were not perfect by any means, but a new generation was able to grow up with no personal experience of previous horrors. The country had recovered some hope.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party date from the 1979-1989 Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, and emerged intact from the UNTAC period.
The CPP has never really relaxed its grasp on the levers of power – the civil service, the military and security forces, the judiciary, and the national assembly and senate. The question now is what it will do next.
Sebastian Strangio, a former reporter at the Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s oldest English-language newspaper, who now works as a freelance correspondent in Asia-Pacific. He has contributed to the The Atlantic, The Economist, Al Jazeera, and the Nikkei Asian Review. In 2014, he wrote ‘Hun Sen’s Cambodia’, one of the best read books on contemporary Cambodia.
Kingsley Abbott works for the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and before that was a senior legal officer with the United Nations at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, where he advised Judges investigating international and domestic crimes allegedly committed by the Khmer Rouge. He also worked in the office of the prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague, and previously was a criminal law barrister in New Zealand.
7pm, Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Members: free, Non-members 450 Baht, Thai journalists and Students with valid ID: 150 Baht
Please book early, particularly if you plan to dine from the buffet @ 250 baht.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site: http://www.fccthai.com
CLMV’s economic growth crashes to two-decade low due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has caused the rate of economic growth in the CLMV bloc to be at its lowest in two decades, the CLMV economies could grow at 3.4 percent this year
Cambodia’s aid and investment affair with China
China is Cambodia’s biggest aid provider and Chinese investors hold almost a quarter of Cambodia’s total FDI stock. Distinguishing Chinese aid from investment is difficult, but there is no doubting China’s huge economic impact in Cambodia.
Thailand pushes CLMVT as the “New Value Chain Hub of Asia”
The Ministry of Commerce, in cooperation with 11 relevant agencies, hosted the CLMVT Forum 2019 with delegates from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand
BANGKOK, 24 June 2019 (NNT) – Thailand’s Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, today attended the opening of the CLMVT Forum 2019, and urged its member countries to push for the development of the CLMVT Regional Value Chain, so that they can have more bargaining power and improve the well-being of their citizens.
Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) Will Launch Bad Debt Guarantee Program for SMEs
The program will also cover SME loans that have turned into non-performing loans (NPLs), defined as loans overdue by more...
Skin-lightening products market to reach US$31 billion by 2024
In emerging Asian and African economies, the natural aspiration to enhance one’s circumstances has led to rapid growth in the...
Thailand’s Stock Exchange (SET) synergizes with CMDF to strengthen research for capital market development
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has joined forces with the Capital Market Development Fund (CMDF) to reinforce the Capital...
New Business Registration Tops Highest since January 2019
The top three sectors for new business registrations in January were building and construction (634), real estate (299) and transport...
Asian students are vital to the health of Australian universities
Over 170,000 international student visa holders are stuck outside Australia, unable to enter because of travel bans.
Facebook unplugs Thai military propaganda
Facebook said it deleted accounts intended for targeted audiences in the southern provinces of Thailand, where Muslim insurgent groups fight...
Subscribe via Email
National6 days ago
Thailand to further ease COVID-19 restrictions
Business7 days ago
THAI airways to sell training center building to raise more funding
Economics4 days ago
1.7 million Thais without smartphones register for "Rao Chana" benefits
Health1 week ago
200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Distributed to 13 Thai provinces