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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letter from SRP MP Son Chhay to US Ambassador Carol Rodley

HE Mrs. Carol Rodley
US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia
No. 1, Street 96
Sangkat Wat Phnom
Phnom Penh.

October 25, 2010
Ref: SC4-014/10
Dear HE Mrs. Carol Rodley,

I am writing on behalf of parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), regarding the upcoming visit of United States Secretary of State, Mrs Hillary Clinton, to the Kingdom of Cambodia. We very much look forward to the visit of such a high-ranking American political visit to our country. We do hope it will in particular allow for issues concerning the advancement of human rights, democracy and justice to be primordially discussed and tackled. Further, it is with this in mind that we would like to ask you to help in arranging for a meeting between Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

The current situation has deteriorated immensely in terms of implementing, the Democratic Principles and the respect of basic human rights in Cambodia, particularly targeting the poor, women, and all those individuals who might be suspect of political opposition. This has been expressed through the centralizing of power by the ruling party to solely control of all national institutions and the widespread land grabbing affecting essentially the poor, daily physical and psychological discrimination, the use of the judicial power for political ends, and brutal suppression of any form of protest and criticism. Several members of our party, including our leader, Mr. Sam Rainsy, have repeatedly faced life threats, forced exile, court trial and/or imprisonment. In the last annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last month, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Professor Surya Subedi, deplored that victims of all sorts of abuses in Cambodia seem to be “desperate for justice,” and is “concerned about the narrowing of political space in the country for people belonging to the opposition political parties and other political activists.”

Our party has been working relentlessly to push for all citizens, including women, to be able to speak out and to protect all Cambodian citizens’ freedom of speech and all other fundamental rights. We aim to bring an end to the culture of fear predominating in our country and with this Cambodian citizens’ silence.

For this, we are very thankful for the international community’s committed support, including that of the United States. We have been continuously encouraged and fully support the United States’ ever-strong commitment to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, worldwide and including in Cambodia. We have been particularly touched by your Excellency Carol Roldey past interventions, your statement in supporting the need to fight persisting corruption in our country. We have also been truly inspired by Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, a woman, who leads a very strong political career for the US democratic party, committed to battle for the improvement of her own country as well as for stability in the world, including especially with regards to human rights.

As one of the 48 Least Developed Countries, Cambodia stands to further gain from the international community’s support and as national parliamentarians we have the duty to ensure that our country’s most discriminated against benefit. It is also our duty to protect our citizens and make their grievances heard. We believe that meeting with Mrs. Hillary Clinton, would be an immense honor for our people as it will help to encourage the respect for the role of opposition in a fading Democracy in Cambodia as well as opportunity to discuss and further such matters.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration, and my personal respect.

Sincerely yours,

SON Chhay, AM
Member of Parliament
Party Whip of SRP

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