ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen and Vice President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP as well as three ALDE MEPs have found themselves blacklisted from Cambodia after expressing their support to opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s right to return to his country.
According to Liberal International, the Cambodian government, led by hard-line prime minister Hun Sen, “has reacted furiously to the endorsement by global liberals and human rights defenders who pledged support to opposition leader Sam Rainsy.”
ALDE MEPs Phil Bennion (LibDems, UK), Abir al Sahlani (Centerpartiet, Sweden) and Javier Nart (Ciudadanos, Spain) joined with the ALDE Party President and Vice President and Portuguese Socialist former MEP Ana Gomes to publicly declare their readiness to accompany Sam Rainsy and the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) opposition on their mission home.
Mr Rainsy is currently living in exile in Europe but has vowed to return home to Cambodia.
Hakima el Haité, the President of Liberal International, hit back at the Cambodian regime following this move, saying “this blacklisting of elected representatives is concrete evidence that Cambodia under Hun Sen is in full retreat from multi-party democracy and respect for human rights.”
Liberal International have launched a petition calling on the Cambodian government to drop the ban on 6 EU lawmakers and allow Sam Rainsy to return home. You can sign the petition here: https://liberal-international.org/news-articles/sign-the-petition-cambodian-government-locks-out-li-parliamentarians-for-backing-democratic-leader/
Liberals from 46 countries around the world recently endorsed a resolution championing the right of Sam Rainsy to return home and his mission to lead the restoration of democracy in Cambodia at Liberal International’s 202nd executive committee meeting in London.
Hun Sen – the world’s second longest-serving prime minister – has previously threatened the life of Mr Rainsy should he seek to re-enter his native Cambodia.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party is a full member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) the sister regional organisation of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia.
In April 2018, the ALDE Party adopted a resolution on the EU as a key actor in restoring democracy in Cambodia.