17 Mar, 2021

Restoring democracy in Cambodia essential, panellists say

On 12 March, Liberal International (LI) organised a webinar to discuss the Cambodia Mass Trials with ALDE Party President and LI President of Honour Hans van Baalen, Svenja Hahn MEP (FDP, Germany) and Sam Rainsy, acting President of Cambodia National Rescue Party. The session was moderated by LI Vice-President Emil Kirjas.

Rainsy, who lives in Paris since 2015, was an opposition leader and president of the opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party. He is sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment for an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The court of Cambodia has also sentenced other opposition members to 20-25 years of imprisonment without any possibility of rightful defense.

Sentences are accumulating and shut all doors and opportunities for the opposition to resume its fight for democracy in Cambodia. Prosecutors sentence without us even being present. These courts are kangaroo courts without any independence”, Rainsy says.

ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen, charged by the Cambodian court as an accomplice of the opposition, stands by Rainsy and his party who strive for democracy in their country.

European sanctions are not effective, because the Cambodian government find help elsewhere. We cannot accept that China is helping the regime of Hun Sen, Myanmar and others who suppress human rights, people’s freedoms and the rule of law”, van Baalen says.

Svenja Hahn MEP speaks up and defends the Cambodian case, which needs more media attention than what it gets right now, saying:

We are giving a stage to the Cambodian case and calling upon the Council and Commission that this is not acceptable. The civil society and opposition must be supported and relations with the Hun Sen regime need to be re-evaluated.

Hahn led the approved resolution of the European Parliament on the mass trials in Cambodia and during her intervention in the European Parliament, she pleas to restore democracy in Cambodia and calls to target Hun Sen and accomplices with individual sanctions:

You can re-watch the webinar here.

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