News / Asia

Thailand Denies Cambodian Opposition Leader Entry

Members of the opposition Sam Rainsy's party take part in a local commune election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 18, 2012.
Members of the opposition Sam Rainsy's party take part in a local commune election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 18, 2012.
Daniel Schearf
Thailand has denied entry to Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy out of concern it could upset Cambodian authorities ahead of a July election.

Rainsy, who lives in France, was scheduled to launch his autobiography at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) but, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told immigration he was not allowed to enter Thailand.

Manasvi Srisodapol, director general of the ministry's information department, acknowledged that Rainsy has been allowed into Thailand in the past.  The opposition leader spoke at the FCCT in 2009 at a press event titled “Cambodia's Deteriorating Environment for Free Expression and Democracy."  But he says with the timing of Cambodia's election, Thailand did not want to get "pulled into the political campaign" in a neighboring country.  

"The Thai authorities concerned deemed that such a visit with such activity has a political motive against a neighboring country and is timed especially during an approaching election in that neighboring country," Manasvi said. "Accordingly, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested immigration department to ban Mr. Sam Rainsy's entry into Thailand."

Sam Rainsy speaks during a campaign rally in Kandal province, Cambodia in 2008.Sam Rainsy speaks during a campaign rally in Kandal province, Cambodia in 2008.
x
Sam Rainsy speaks during a campaign rally in Kandal province, Cambodia in 2008.
Sam Rainsy speaks during a campaign rally in Kandal province, Cambodia in 2008.
According to Manasvi, Rainsy was informed a few months ago that he would not be allowed to conduct political activities in Thailand.  He cited both the book launch and Rainsy's plans to meet with journalists as being political in nature.  

The book, titled "We Didn't Start the Fire: My Struggle for Democracy in Cambodia," tells Rainsy's decades-long story of fighting against abuse of power and corruption in the country.  

Rainsy has lived in self-imposed exile since 2005 to avoid prison in Cambodia for charges he says are politically motivated.  He was banned from the July election, but his Cambodia National Rescue Party will take part.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has threatened the country could devolve into civil war if his ruling Cambodian People's Party loses the election. Cambodian activists say the National Election Committee is passing unfair rules and warn if the election is not credible the government could lose public trust.

Manasvi rejected suggestions that Cambodian authorities may have urged the ban and says Thailand respects individual rights.

"But at [the] same time, [we]cannot allow individuals to take any activities that are deemed detrimental to a friendly country or that may affect Thailand's interests as well as cause damage to individuals, other individuals," he said.

Nationalist Thai governments of the past have had poor relations with Cambodia, notably over disputed border territory. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra revived warm ties with Cambodia established by her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.  

But Manasvi said the improved relations have nothing to do with the decision, which he called one of standing policy and in line with the charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"And, this is also reflected in..as a principle, one of the cardinal principles of ASEAN, that members states should not allow third parties to use that country, the member state, as a venue to launch political or activities that threaten the political stability or economic stability of another member state," Manasvi added.

Rainsy is welcome to visit Thailand any time for a personal trip, he said, but authorities would not consider allowing him in for a book launch, or similar activity, until after Cambodia's July election.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs