News

Cambodian Opposition Leader Calls on Japan to Help Stop Anti-Democratic Trend in Phnom Penh

Cambodia's opposition leader is calling for Japan and other donor nations to put pressure on the Phnom Penh government because of its recent political moves which the opposition calls anti-democratic.

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy left home nearly two months ago after his parliamentary immunity was withdrawn - a move strongly condemned by the United States and the European Union.

Cambodia's government wants Mr. Rainsy to face charges of defamation for his allegations of widespread government corruption and for accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of having a hand in the murder of opposition-affiliated union leader 14 months ago.

After Mr. Rainsy left Cambodia, another opposition legislator was arrested and is believed to be held in a military prison.

Speaking in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr. Rainsy, head of the political group that bears his name, the Sam Rainsy Party, says Japan, as the biggest donor to Cambodia, can to use its clout to protect the country's democracy.

"This weakening of democracy has led to an increase in corruption, an increase in poverty, so this is the message I have been delivering to the Japanese authorities."

Japan's Foreign Ministry late Thursday said it does not believe that Cambodia misuses Japanese aid and says that Tokyo carries out inspections to prevent illegal of use funds.

As for the plight of Mr. Rainsy and the opposition, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Japan "hopes the issue will be solved in a democratic way."

Mr. Rainsy, a former finance minister, says the opposition has been "virtually wiped out" from the National Assembly.

The opposition leader, whose party placed third in the 2003 national elections, says he has written to both former King Norodom Sinahouk and his son, the current monarch, Norodom Sihamoni, appealing for their help.

"We want the king to play his constitutional role fully," he said. "According to the constitution, the king is the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary."

Since early February, Mr. Rainsy has been on the road, appealing to legislators around the world for help.

Mr. Rainsy says he plans to return home soon. He brushes off the possible legal charges, noting he has not been intimidated by a previous expulsion from Parliament, assassination attempts and the killings of dozens of his supporters.

Mr. Rainsy travels Friday to Manila to make an appeal for support to the general assembly of the International Parliamentary Union.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs