Kem Sokha

Cambodia is criminalising democracy

The sham trial of Kem Sokha, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), is underway in Phnom Penh. How the international community responds will send a powerful signal to Hun Sen, the world’s longest-serving prime minister, about his ability to continue to trample on Cambodia’s democracy and its people’s human rights.After Kem Sokha and I founded the CNRP, Cambodia’s first united democratic opposition party, in 2012, we quickly gained strong public support.

18 January 2020

Treason trial opens for Cambodia opposition leader

The treason trial of Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha opened Wednesday, more than two years after his arrest in a case decried by his family as a "farce" and widely pilloried as politically motivated.The 66-year-old co-founded the now-banned Cambodia National Rescue Party, once considered the sole viable opponent to the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) led by strongman premier Hun Sen - who has ruled the country with an iron fist for 35 years.Sokha was arrested in 201

16 January 2020

Is pressure growing on Hun Sen?

Cambodia’s self-exiled opposition figurehead Sam Rainsy said Tuesday he had not given up on getting home after an initial bid to return was thwarted, and external pressure on strongman Hun Sen would force him to change course.Rainsy spoke to media in Malaysia after flying in at the weekend from France, where he has lived since 2015, as he sought to fulfil a vow to return home by Independence Day on Saturday.Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985, had denounced efforts by arch-rival Rainsy

13 November 2019

Kem Sokha freed from house arrest

Cambodia has freed a prominent opposition figure from house arrest more than two years after he was charged with treason, a court spokesperson told media on Sunday, after attempts by his colleagues to return to the country were thwarted.Kem Sokha was arrested in 2017 and accused of plotting to overthrow the government of strongman Hun Sen, who has ruled since 1985.He was sent to a remote prison, then confined to his house and the surrounding block and prohibited from talking to the m

11 November 2019

The fall and rise of Cambodia’s opposition

Nearly seven decades after Cambodia gained independence from France, its people are still struggling for the right to determine their future. But today, it is not an outside power that is stealing Cambodians’ autonomy, but their own authoritarian government, led by Hun Sen, the world’s longest-serving prime minister.

3 November 2019

The rising cost of Hun Sen’s rule in Cambodia

On 4 April, a group of international buyers’ associations from the garment, footwear, sporting, and travel goods industries sent a letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to express concerns over abusive labour practices and human-rights violations. Already, Cambodia’s tax-free access to the vast European Union (EU) market, granted under the EU’s Everything But Arms scheme, is in danger of being suspended over such violations.

14 April 2019

A hard test of mettle

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently revealed that he will be asking for a royal decree to grant permission for more than 100 senior members of the now-dissolved opposition party, Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to re-enter politics based on “individual merit,” following a ban last year. The ban led to a controversial yet overwhelming win in the recent election on 29 July for Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

17 December 2018

Cambodia to ease grip on opposition and media

Cambodia said Monday that banned opposition members may be allowed back into political life and shuttered media outlets could reopen as the European Union (EU) considers pulling a trade deal the country is loath to lose.Numerous activists, journalists and government critics were released from jail in the months after strongman Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party won all parliamentary seats in July elections held without the main opposition party.But the concessions did not deter the

4 December 2018

The dangers of cornering Hun Sen

Soon after November rolled in, reports surfaced of a bet between Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen and Cambodian National Rescue Movement (CNRM) leader Sam Rainsy on the fate of former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial on treason charges.

20 November 2018

Cambodia opposition leader released

Cambodia's opposition leader Kem Sokha was released from jail early Monday a year after he was detained on treason charges, as the country's strongman ruler loosens his grip on opponents after sweeping one-sided elections.Over a 33-year rule, the wily Hun Sen has tightened and relaxed his chokehold on opponents at will, most recently launching a broad crackdown in the run-up to July elections that gifted his ruling party an uncontested victory.As part of that action, Kem Sokha, the

11 September 2018

Behind Cambodia’s new opposition movement

After the government disbanded the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) last November, Cambodia’s opposition was thought to have quivered into nothingness, with no hope of a comeback. However, a resurgence is in the offing with the newly minted Cambodian National Rescue Movement (CNRM).From the get go, one thing is obvious.

24 January 2018

Why Cambodia’s opposition failed?

Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen’s authoritarian crackdown has rendered his critics defenceless. His last major blow to the opposition was the dissolution of the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). Media outlets, analysts and international observers have been quick to wag their fingers at Hun Sen. Indeed, his actions has understandably dealt a death knell to Cambodia’s democracy.

8 January 2018