Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer
Ireland's Senator Alex White intervenes in favour of Sam Rainsy
Micheál Martin TD
Minister for Foreign Affairs
80 St Stephen’s Green
21 October 2010
I write to you in relation to Mr Sam Rainsy, leader of the second-largest political party in Cambodia.
Mr Rainsy has denounced corruption and human rights abuses in his homeland but has been prosecuted by the ruling party and government of Cambodia. Mr Rainsy established a political party in 1995, but has been subject to assassination attempts, threats, intimidation, criminal cases, and civil court cases. In 1997, a grenade attack on a political rally he was addressing killed at least 16 people and wounded 150.
Mr Rainsy has been deprived of his parliamentary immunity and has received prison sentences twice. I enclose an article from Human Rights Watch dated 28 January 2010 entitled ‘Cambodia: Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy’s Trial a Farce’ which deals with these issues.
I would appreciate if you could inform me whether the department has been in touch with the Cambodian authorities in recent times and whether you have raised the case of Mr Rainsy. If you have not had such an opportunity, I would ask you to do so as a matter of urgency.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Senator Alex White
Senator Alex White,
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Dublin 2. 618 3972
Constituency: 1 Main Street, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Home: 30 Fortfield Road, Terenure, Dublin 6w. 490 3889
Labels: Ireland, Sam Rainsy, Sam Rainsy Party, Senator Alex White
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HOW WILL HUN SEN RESPOND TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE UNITED NATIONS' RECOMMENDATIONS?
Today, 17 opposition National Assembly members including Sam Rainsy wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking the Government to elaborate on its position and action plan following last week’s Resolution from the European Parliament strongly condemning human rights violations in Cambodia and calling for corrective measures.
Referring to Article 96 of the Constitution which requires the Government to answer any question from any National Assembly member within seven days, the 17 Parliamentarians, who enclosed in their letter to Hun Sen the original text in English of the European Parliament October 21, 2010 “Resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Cambodia”, asked the Prime Minister the following question:
« What measures and what decisions will the Government take to respond to proposals and recommendations from the European Parliament, which wants to see the resolution of a number of political problems in Cambodia in accordance with the principles of true liberal democracy based on pluralism? »
In their letter the 17 Parliamentarians reminded Hun Sen of the following points:
- « In its “Resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy,” the European Parliament specifically calls on the Cambodian government to “engage in political and institutional reforms to build a democratic state governed by the rule of law and founded on respect for fundamental freedoms.” »
- « The European Parliament also calls on the Cambodian government to “draw up an action programme and timetable for implementing the recommendations made in the June 17, 2010 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia”. This UN report notably “deplores external interference in the work of the judiciary.” »
- « All the political groups representing the 736 Members of the European Parliament representing 27 countries in all over Europe unanimously adopted the above-mentioned October 21, 2010 “Resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy.” »
SRP Members of Parliament
Labels: European Parliament, Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sam Rainsy, Sam Rainsy Party
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HE Mrs. Carol Rodley
US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia
No. 1, Street 96
Sangkat Wat Phnom
October 25, 2010
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.
SON Chhay, AM
Member of Parliament
Party Whip of SRP
Labels: Carol Rodley, Sam Rainsy Party, Son Chhay
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Thursday, 21 October 2010 - Strasbourg
European Parliament resolution of 21 October 2010 on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy
The European Parliament,
– having regard to its resolutions of 13 January 2005 on trafficking of women and children in Cambodia(1) , 10 March 2005 on Cambodia(2) , 1 December 2005 on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam(3) , 19 January 2006 on political repression in Cambodia(4) and its resolution of 15 March 2007 on Cambodia(5) ,
– having regard to the Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1997 between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia(6) , in particular Article 1 (respect for human rights) and Article 19 (suspension of agreement if one party violates Article 1) thereof and Annex I (regarding Article 19) thereto,
– having regard to the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,
– having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders approved by the Council on 14 June 2004 and updated in 2008,
– having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
– having regard to the 17 June 2010 report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, which deplores external interference in the work of the judiciary(7) ,
– having regard to the decision taken by the Inter-Parliamentary Union's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians at its meeting of 12 to15 July 2010,
– having regard to the resolution of 6 October 2010 of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's Governing Council,
– having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas a worrying authoritarian trend has been noticeable in Cambodia over the last few years; whereas this is reflected in a deterioration in the human rights situation, the stifling of fundamental freedoms, a brutal policy of land-grabbing that affects essentially the poor, the suppression of all forms of criticism and protest, the persecution of the parliamentary opposition and civil society activists, the use of the courts for political ends and a drift toward a one-party system,
B. whereas Sam Rainsy, a member of the Cambodian parliament and the leader of his country's second largest political party, has been persecuted by the authoritarian ruling party and government of Cambodia,
C. whereas on 23 September 2010 the opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison on charges of disinformation and falsifying public documents by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court; whereas his conviction was based on an act of civil disobedience involving the uprooting of six wooden temporary border posts at the Vietnamese-Cambodian border, which is still disputed between the two countries; whereas the action took place in support of villagers who claimed to be victims of land-grabbing, saying that the Vietnamese had illegally shifted the posts onto Cambodian soil, in their rice fields, and that their complaints to the local authorities had remained unanswered,
D. whereas on 13 October 2010 the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh decided to uphold a two-year handed down on 27 January 2010 by the Svay Rieng provincial court, in absentia , against Sam Rainsy in connection with a protest against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory, but decided to release two villagers convicted along with Sam Rainsy, after nine months and 20 days in prison,
E. whereas the strategy of Cambodia's ruling party is to use a politically subservient judiciary to crack down on all government critics,
F. whereas an alarmingly high number of people are being held in detention in Cambodia owing to various shortcomings in the criminal justice system, and whereas there is still no guarantee of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,
G. whereas, according to human rights NGOs, the government has used the courts to silence criticism of its responses to land-grabbing, corruption and border disputes,
H. whereas on 30 August 2010 a staffer of the NGO Licadho, Leang Sokchoeun, was sentenced to two years‘ imprisonment by the Takeo provincial court for allegedly distributing anti-government leaflets in January 2010; whereas, however, the trial was tainted by severe procedural irregularities,
I. whereas Mu Sochua, an opposition member of parliament, has been convicted on a charge of defaming the Prime Minister,
J. whereas the journalist Hang Chakra was detained for nine months after having denounced corruption in the entourage of Vice-President Sok An,
K. whereas in 1995 Sam Rainsy was unconstitutionally expelled from the National Assembly, but managed to recover his parliamentary seat at subsequent elections; whereas he has escaped several assassination attempts, including a deadly grenade attack in 1997, but some 80 of his supporters have been murdered,
L. whereas the ruling party has stripped him of his parliamentary immunity three times on questionable bases in order to have him sentenced to prison terms,
M. whereas the EU is Cambodia's single largest donor,
1. Condemns all politically motivated sentences against representatives of the opposition and NGOs, in particular the sentences of 23 September 2010, 13 October and 27 January 2010 against Sam Rainsy, as well as that of 30 August 2010 against Leang Sokchoeun and those against Mu Sochua and the journalist Hang Chakra;
2. Reminds the Cambodian Government that it must fulfil its obligations and commitments regarding the democratic principles and fundamental human rights which are an essential element of the above-mentioned Cooperation Agreement, as stipulated in Article 1 of that Agreement;
3. Calls on the Cambodian authorities to ensure that the NGO law which is currently in preparation will not restrict the activities of Cambodian civil society organisations on grounds of discretionary interpretation and will not be applied in such a way as to disadvantage civil society as well as the opposition;
4. Calls on all political players to foster good neighbourhood policies within the region and a policy of reconciliation among ethnic and cultural groups in Cambodia;
5. Notes that the UN Special Rapporteur has drawn attention to progress and efforts being made by the Cambodian Government, and wishes to see practical steps taken to bring about a noticeable and lasting improvement in the situation as regards human rights and the independence of the courts;
6. Calls on the Cambodian authorities to:
– engage in political and institutional reforms to build a democratic state governed by the rule of law and founded on respect for fundamental freedoms;
– demonstrate their will to combat effectively the endemic scourges of corruption, massive deforestation resulting in the displacement of people, and the sex tourism industry, to reject the current culture of impunity and to bring to justice all those involved in such activities;
– guarantee free and fair political expression without intimidation and harassment;
– draw up an action programme and timetable for implementing the recommendations made in the Special Rapporteur's report;
7. Is alarmed at the prosecution and sentencing to a 12-year prison term of the opposition leader Sam Rainsy, on account of a gesture which it considers to be of a symbolic and clearly political nature;
8. Is particularly alarmed that, should it be upheld, this verdict would bar Sam Rainsy from standing in the 2013 parliamentary elections and would have consequences far beyond Sam Rainsy's case, as it is bound to affect the opposition as a whole, all the more so because the recent prosecutions of a number of outspoken opposition members have already narrowed down the political space, and would hence be detrimental to the democratic process in Cambodia;
9. Calls therefore on the authorities to explore ways and means of resolving the issues at hand through political dialogue and to enable Sam Rainsy to resume his parliamentary activities as rapidly as possible;
10. Calls on the Cambodian authorities to heed the recommendations made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia; invites the Parliament of Cambodia to debate his report in parliament and to take the necessary measures to ensure implementation of his recommendations;
11. Calls on the European Union to take steps to ensure that fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in Article 1 of the above-mentioned Cooperation Agreement, are respected and that attacks on civil liberties have consequences; calls furthermore on the European Union to make continuation of its financial aid conditional upon an improvement in Cambodia's human rights record;
12. Calls for an emergency humanitarian plan to be put in place, with EU involvement and UN coordination, to assist the Cambodians who have been hardest hit by the crisis, in particular those working in the textile and construction industries who have lost their jobs;
13. Instructs its Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Committee on Foreign Affairs to monitor developments;
14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments of the ASEAN and ASEM member states, the ASEM secretariat, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the government and National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Labels: European Parliament, Sam Rainsy, Sam Rainsy Party
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By WILL BAXTER (The Wall Street Journal)
As Cambodia's economy booms after years of war and instability, its residents are struggling to cope with a new problem: Land grabs and forced evictions that have affected more than 250,000 Cambodians over the past five years, according to Cambodia-based rights group Licadho, which began recording data on land disputes in 2005.
The roots of the problem can be traced back to the rule of the Khmer Rouge, a radical Communist rebel group that abolished Cambodia's land titling system in 1975 when they outlawed ownership of private property.
Although the Khmer Rouge lost power in 1979, even today few Cambodians possess official land titles, making it easier for private businesses to force people off their land for urban development projects and large-scale agro-business plantations.
Often, residents are relocated -- sometimes without compensation -- to areas far from their jobs, health care and adequate water and sanitation, activists say. In many cases, the companies benefiting from land acquisitions are owned or controlled by government ministers, ruling party senators, military officials and their family members, activists add.
"Over the last 15 years, Cambodia's ruling elite have enriched themselves by selling off the country's forests, fisheries, land and most recently mineral resources," said David Pred, executive director of Bridges Across Borders Cambodia.
The government dismisses charges of excessive and inappropriate land deals and says some development projects are necessary to promote the country's economy.
"Land and cultural resources are the two major potentials Cambodia possesses (which) can be used to develop the country," says Im Chhun Lim, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, in Cambodia. So "there should not be a question to why Cambodia" uses its large tracts of land "for attracting investors for developing (the) country."
He adds that while some relocations create challenges for residents, over time living conditions improve as basic infrastructure is installed and relocated residents are integrated into their new areas.
Either way, advocates say, the disputes are likely to continue -- Cambodia's growing economy is expected to generate even more demand for land in the years ahead.
Labels: eviction, landgrabbing, LICADHO
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By Kenneth So
There is a story why the town/province was name Siem Reap.
Siem Reap was named so during the time of the Khmer King Ang Chan I (1516-1555). The brother-in-law of King Srey Sokonthor Bat (Brother of Prince Ang Chan I) named Kân usurped the throne by killing the king after he was elevated from a slave status to the rank of nobility.
After Kân took control of the country he proclaimed himself king or Sdach Kân. Prince Ang Chan had to flee Cambodia and took refuge in Thailand. After gathering his strength Prince Ang Chan asked permission from the Thai King to return to Cambodia to fight the usurper Kân but the Thai king refused to grant him permission.
One day the Thai king heard of a white elephant roaming in the forest and wanted to capture the elephant. Because of its rarity, the white elephant was believed to bring luck and prosperity to whoever possess it. Ceasing on this occasion, Prince Ang Chan volunteered to lead the hunt for the white elephant. The Thai king agreed and offered 500 soldiers to accompany the Khmer prince for the hunt of the white elephant. The objective of the prince was not to hunt the white elephant but rather to return to Cambodia to fight the usurper Kân. Once the prince entered Cambodia he started to raise an army to fight the usurper Kân.
Finally, after many battles, King Ang Chan (He was invited by his officers and members of his royal family to accept the title of King in 1516) conquered Kân’s army and had him killed. After the war, the king of Siam wanted the Khmer monarch to pay tribute to the Siam kingdom. He demanded that King Ang Chan send the magnificent white elephant that he possessed as a tribute to Siam. King Ang Chan refused to obey because to do so would put Cambodia into a vassal state of Siam. Upon hearing King Ang Chan’s refusal, the Siam king decided to teach the new Khmer king a lesson.
Sensing that Cambodia was weakened after the exhausting civil war against Kân, the Siam king sent his fresh army to invade Angkor. King Ang Chan hastily recruited Khmer volunteers, who were very enthusiastic to fight the invading Siam army. At Angkor, the Khmer army thoroughly defeated the Siam army and took 10,000 prisoners. From that time on, the village at Angkor was called Siem Reap, which meant Flattened Siamese or Defeated Siamese.
When I visited Angkor Wat in 2007, I was told by Khmer people that the Thais argued with Khmers on the meaning of Siem Reap. They said it meant "Thais building things" as "Siem Reab Chhom." You see how they twisted the meaning of our town/province.
Siem Reap was named so during the time of Ang Chan I. After Sdach Kân took control of the country, Ang Chan had to flee Cambodia and took refuge in Thailand. Many times Ang Chan wanted to come back to Cambodia to fight Sdach Kân but the Thai king refused to give him permission to leave Thailand. In order to leave Thailand Ang Chan had to trick the Thai king. He volunteered to capture the white elephant as a gift to be presented to the Thai king. Once Ang Chan entered Cambodia he started to raise an army to fight Sdach Kân. He finally defeated and killed Sdach Kân. After his victory the Thai king asked Ang Chan to pay tribute to him but Ang Chan refused. The Thai king got mad and wanted to teach Ang Chan a lesson. The Thai king attacked Ang Chan at Angkor but instead of defeating the Khmer king it was Ang Chan who had the upper hand and destroyed the Thai army. The Thais returned to Thailand in defeat and shame. It's from that time on that the place was called Siem Reap.
I just purchased the book "The Khmers: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization" that was published by your company White Star. I would like to pinpoint a mistake in the Introduction on page 12 when it said "Siem Reap" meant "Conquered by Siam." The author of the text is mistaken in his translation of these words because it means completely the opposite. It literally means "Flattened Siam" and not "Conquered by Siam." The word Siem means Siam and the word Reap means to flatten in Cambodian. "Siem Reap" in Cambodian means the "Siam was flattened or conquered."
Labels: 1516-1555, Kenneth So, Khmer King Ang Chan I, King Srey Sokonthor Bat, Sdach Kân, Siem Reap
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October 23, 2010 : Commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Agreements on Cambodia
To all Overseas Cambodians and all Friends of Cambodia : Please send the Appeal below to your elected representatives (House Representatives, Senators, Congressmen, Members of Parliament) in your respective countries of residence
APPEAL FROM PARLIAMENTARIANS
FOR THE REACTIVATION OF THE PARIS AGREEMENTS ON CAMBODIA
A worrying authoritarian trend has been noticeable in Cambodia over the last few years. It shows in the form of a deterioration in the human rights situation, the stifling of fundamental freedoms, a brutal policy of land grabbing that affects essentially the poor, the suppression of all forms of criticism and protest, the persecution of the parliamentary opposition and activists of the civil society, the use of the judicial power for political ends and a drift toward a one-party system.
A written statement by Amnesty International to the 15th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010 says, “the systemic lack of protection of human rights in Cambodia arises from long-standing impunity for human rights violations [and] very serious shortcomings in the rule of law. The legal system remains biased against the poor and marginalized. Forced evictions continue to affect thousands of families, predominantly people living in poverty. Actions in the courts [initiated by the government] against housing rights defenders, journalists and other critical voices stifle freedom of expression. Amnesty International strongly calls for an end to the “ongoing serious human rights violations” in Cambodia.
Amnesty International’s observations are corroborated by reports from Professor Surya Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Cambodia. In his last annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last month, the UN Envoy deplores 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.”
On the same topic and in the same period of time, a coalition of sixteen best-known local NGOs denounces a recent series of “political trials” and rings the alarm bell by stressing that Cambodia is at risk of becoming a “de-facto one-party state” as during war time.
Nineteen years ago, in order to put an end to war and massacres and to help in the reconstruction of Cambodia, the international community, under the aegis of the United Nations, brought all Cambodian factions together so as to achieve national reconciliation and to lay the foundations of a system of liberal democracy, on the basis of pluralism. It is this type of political system that the international community accepted to guarantee for Cambodia by signing the Paris Agreements on October 23, 1991.
In effect, the Paris Agreements guarantee that “all persons in Cambodia shall enjoy the rights and freedoms embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (Article 3 of the Agreement Concerning the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia). Their signatories represented by eighteen friendly countries including all Western powers and also Australia and Japan, “undertake to promote and encourage respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cambodia” (Article 15 of the Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict). Besides, important Annexes to that Agreement legally bind Cambodia to “a system of liberal democracy, on the basis of pluralism”. The official texts more specifically promise the Cambodian people the respect for “fundamental rights ”, “an independent judiciary”, “due process et equality before the law”, “protection from arbitrary deprivation of property” and “periodic and genuine elections ”, but all these fundamental elements of democracy have not materialized, which explains the current authoritarian, if not totalitarian, drift.
In order to put the democratization process back on track and to strengthen the mechanisms designed to protect human rights in Cambodia as enshrined in the Paris Agreements, the governments of signatory countries and donor institutions such as the European Commission must immediately take adequate measures to ensure the effective respect for all the relevant provisions of the Agreements,
Guided by the desire to help consolidate democracy in Cambodia and to help this country achieve a harmonious and sustainable development on the basis of sound political foundations, the elected representatives from the Cambodian democratic opposition (**) and parliamentarians from friendly nations (***) together launch this Appeal for the reactivation of the 1991 Paris Agreements on Cambodia. They are doing it on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the historical signing of the Agreements, which is the coming 23rd day of October.
(*) Full text of the Agreements at http://tinyurl.com/24558zn
(**) 26 Cambodian National Assembly members and 2 Cambodian Senators from the Sam Rainsy Party initiated this Appeal.
(***) Parliamentarians from friendly countries who want to express their solidarity and support, please simply send your names to email@example.com. Thank you.
23 octobre 2010 : Commémoration du 19ème anniversaire de la signature des Accords de Paris de 1991 sur le Cambodge.
A tous les Cambodgiens d’Outre-mer et à tous les Amis du Cambodge : Prière d’envoyer l’Appel ci-dessous à vos représentants élus (Députés et Sénateurs) dans votre pays de résidence.
APPEL DE PARLEMENTAIRES
A LA REACTIVATION DES ACCORDS DE PARIS SUR LE CAMBODGE
Une inquiétante dérive autoritaire se manifeste au Cambodge depuis plusieurs années. Elle se caractérise par une détérioration de la situation des droits l’homme, un étouffement des libertés fondamentales, une politique brutale de confiscation de terres qui touche surtout la masse des pauvres, la suppression de toutes formes de critique et contestation , la persécution de l’opposition parlementaire et des militants de la société civile, l’utilisation du pouvoir judiciaire à des fins politiques et un glissement vers un système de parti unique.
Ainsi, on peut lire dans une déclaration d’Amnesty International à la 15 ème session du Conseil des droits de l’homme en septembre 2010 : “La déficience systématique en matière de protection des droits de l’homme au Cambodge tient à l’impunité de longue date pour les violations des droits de l’homme [et] aux très graves manquements à l’état de droit. Le système judiciaire reste biaisé à l’encontre des pauvres et des marginalisés. Les expropriations par la force continuent de toucher des milliers de familles, essentiellement des gens vivant dans la pauvreté. Les actions en justice [intentées par le gouvernement] contre ceux qui prennent la défense des spoliés, les journalistes et d’autres voix critiques, tendent à étouffer la liberté d’expression”. Amnesty International demande que des mesures soient prises pour que cessent ces “sérieuses et persistantes violations des droits de l’homme” au Cambodge.
Les constatations de Amnesty International sont corroborées par le Rapporteur spécial des Nations unies pour la situation des droits de l’homme au Cambodge, M. Surya Su bédi. Celui-ci, dans son dernier rapport au Conseil des droits de l’homme le mois dernier à Genève, constate que les victimes d’abus de toutes sortes sont “désespérées de la justice”, et se dit “préoccupé par le rétrécissement de l’espace politique pour les partis d’opposition et d’autres militants [des droits civiques]”.
Dans le même ordre d’idée et durant la même période, une coalition de seize ONG locales les plus connues dénonce la récente série de “procès politiques” frappant des dirigeants de l’opposition, et tire la sonnette d’alarme: le Cambodge est en train de revenir en fait à un “système de parti unique” comme au temps de la guerre.
Pourtant, il y a dix-neuf ans, afin de mettre fin à la guerre et aux massacres et aider à la reconstruction du Cambodge, la communauté internationale, sous l’égide des Nations unies, avait amené toutes les factions cambodgiennes à se réconcilier et à jeter les bases d’une démocratie libérale pluraliste dont elle garantit le respect par la signature des Accords des Paris le 23 octobre 1991 (*).
En effet, les Accords de Paris garantissent que “toutes les personnes se trouvant au Cambodge jouiront des droits et libertés formulés par la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme” (Article 3 de l’Accord relatif à la souveraineté, l'indépendance, l'intégrité et l'inviolabilité territoriales, la neutralité et l'unité nationale du Cambodge). Leurs signataires composés de dix-huit pays amis incluant toutes les puissances occidentales ainsi que l’Australie et le Japon, “s'engagent à promouvoir et encourager le respect et l'exercice des droits de l'homme et des libertés fondamentales” (Article 15 de l‘Accord pour un règlement politique global du conflit du Cambodge). Par ailleurs, des annexes importantes au même Accord prévoient bien pour le Cambodge “un système de démocratie libérale, fondé sur le pluralisme”. Les textes promettent plus spécifiquement aux Cambodgiens le respect des “droits fondamentaux”, “un pouvoir judiciaire indépendant”, “le droit à un procès équitable et l’égalité devant la loi”, la “protection contre la dépossession arbitraire” et des “élections périodiques et authentiques”, autant d‘éléments dont la non-concrétisation explique la dérive autoritaire, pour ne pas dire totalitaire, du pouvoir actuel.
Pour remettre sur les rails le processus de démocratisation et renforcer les dispositifs de défense des droits de l’homme au Cambodge figurant dans les Accords de Paris, les gouvernements des pays signataires et les institutions pourvoyeuses d’aide comme la Commission Européenne doivent prendre immédiatement les mesures nécessaires pour assurer le respect effectif de toutes les clauses essentielles de ces Accords.
C’est dans le but de consolider la démocratie au Cambodge et aider ce pays à se développer harmonieusement et durablement sur des bases saines que les élus de l’opposition démocratique cambodgienne (**) et des parlementaires de nations amies (***) lancent cet Appel à la réactivation des Accords de Paris de 1991 sur le Cambodge, et cela à la veille du dix-neuvième anniversaire de leur signature, le 23 octobre prochain.
(*) Texte intégral des Accords sur le site http://tinyurl.com/2ua2awb
(**) 26 députés et 2 sénateurs cambodgiens du Parti Sam Rainsy ont initié cet Appel.
(***) Nous demandons aux parlementaires des pays amis du Cambodge qui désirent exprimer leur solidarité et leur soutien de bien vouloir simplement envoyer leur nom à firstname.lastname@example.org. Nous les en remercions vivement à l’avance.
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Labels: 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Sam Rainsy, Sam Rainsy Party
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