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Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy left home nearly two months ago after his parliamentary immunity was withdrawn - a move strongly condemned by the United States and the European Union.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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs