From: The Honorable Alan S. Lowenthal
Sent By: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign Letter Supporting Democracy in Cambodia
*Deadline: COB Wednesday, December 2*
We urge you to join us in sending a strong message to the Government of Cambodia about the importance of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights. Cambodia has been controlled by the same ruling party and Prime Minister for over 35 years. While democracy has been slowly on the rise in Cambodia, it remains under serious threat.
Sam Rainsy, the leader of Cambodia’s opposition party, was recently expelled from parliament and had his parliamentary immunity revoked, while the government seeks to arrest him in a politically-motivated investigation. The United States Embassy in Cambodia hasexpressed deep concern with the government’s actions and called for the immediate reinstatement of opposition parliamentarians and the revocation of the arrest warrant against Mr. Rainsy.
This latest incident follows violent attacks on two opposition lawmakers last month, and a law passed by the government restricting Non-Governmental Organizations earlier this year.
Alan Lowenthal Matt Salmon
Member of Congress Member of Congress
December XX, 2015
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Kingdom of Cambodia
c/o Royal Embassy of Cambodia to the United States
4530 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
We write to you as friends of Cambodia with deep concerns about efforts to disrupt the development of democracy in your country. The decision of the standing committee of the National Assembly on November 16 to expel opposition leader Sam Rainsy and revoke his parliamentary immunity is of gravest concern. We echo the statement of the United States Embassy in Cambodia, which has called on the government to revoke the arrest warrant issued against Mr. Rainsy, allow all opposition lawmakers to “return to Cambodia without fear of arrest and persecution,” and end the “harassment and intimidation of Cambodia’s opposition.”
While we were profoundly disappointed by widespread irregularities and fraud reported by national and international observers in the 2013 national elections that left the Cambodian People’s Party in power, we have been encouraged by efforts by your government to institute structural reforms after the elections, and by negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) that resulted in opposition parliamentarians taking their seats. We are also heartened by Cambodia’s continued strong economic growth and improved development for its people, efforts that will only be enhanced by reforms.
However, a number of recent developments have highlighted the shrinking space for democracy and civil society in your country. Earlier this year, the government passed the “Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations” which severely restricts the development of civil society by requiring registration and government approval of NGOs. We were also concerned to hear that last month protestors violently attacked two elected lawmakers from the CNRP in Phnom Penh.
These actions are detrimental to the development of democratic institutions in Cambodia; they further harm both Cambodia’s international standing and efforts to deepen ties between our countries. The people of Cambodia deserve to have their voices heard in a society that welcomes open debate and respects democratic values. We call on you to immediately cease the harassment and persecution of Cambodia’s opposition, revoke Mr. Rainsy’s arrest warrant and reinstate him to the National Assembly, renounce all forms of political violence, and foster an environment where democracy can thrive and flourish.