October 23, 2017

Australia defends Cambodia military ties as soldiers prepare to crush demonstrators

Earth: During the Vietnamese military occupation of Cambodia in 1979 until UNTAC involvement in 1991, Australia had diplomatic ties with the then Cambodian government, which the world knew as communist and ruled by a single-party state, supported by the former U.S.S.R.

The Sydney Morning Herald, October 20, 2017

The Turnbull government has defended Australia's support for the Cambodian military, even as its soldiers train to use force against civilians amid a ruthless crackdown on democracy and political freedoms.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman told Fairfax Media that defence engagement with Cambodia "remains a constructive way to deepen and maintain bilateral ties over the long term," despite mounting evidence the country is fast sliding into a dictatorship.

A video surfaced on Facebook this week showing armed soldiers in Prime Minister Hun Sen's 6000-strong personal bodyguard unit training to disperse civilian demonstrators with armed personnel carriers and tanks.

Pointing AK-47 assault rifles, chanting soldiers are seen charging on mobs of mock demonstrators to break them up, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

On Wednesday, Australia upgraded diplomatic ties with Cambodia in a champagne-clinking ceremony, sparking criticism that Canberra is moving closer to Mr Hun Sen at a time human rights groups are calling for donor countries to pressure his regime by imposing punitive sanctions.

Mr Hun Sen, a former commander of the murderous Khmer Rouge who defected to Vietnam, commands the bodyguard unit near his fortress-like resident outside of Phnom Penh. It bristles with sophisticated military hardware, including rocket launchers and 100 tanks.

Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh has repeatedly warned that soldiers would "smash the teeth" of protesters and side with the ruling People's Party in any conflict.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the military has a long record of intimidating political foes of the government and shooting down protesters on the streets.

"Why the Australian military would want to have anything to do with them is beyond understanding," he said.

"This is a recipe for more Australian taxpayer's money disappearing into a haze with little to show but the uncomfortable taint of close association with a serious rights abusing regime."

The Australian Defence Cooperation Program provides wide-ranging support for the Cambodian military, including scholarships for soldiers to attend office- training courses in Australia.

The spokeswoman said the program focuses on practical engagement activities, including "training and education, maritime security cooperation, senior level dialogues and reform and professionalism of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces".

Mr Hun Sen has claimed a US-backed conspiracy is trying to oust him after more than three decades in power, but exiled opposition leaders say he is using the claim as a pretence to silence his critics and dismantle democratic institutions.

The regime has forced the collapse of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, human rights and community activists are being harassed, independent media outlets have been forced to close and long-time expatriates say a climate of fear pervades in Phnom Penh at a level they have not seen for more than a decade.

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson has been charged with espionage, stoking fears among foreigners they risk being falsely accused, and could face years in jail.

Rhona Smith, the UN's human rights envoy to Cambodia, has warned the country appears "to be approaching a precipice".

Australia has pledged $87 million in development aid to Cambodia this year, on top $55 million it paid the regime to accept refugees from the Nauru detention centre.

Only a handful of refugees have agreed to make the journey to one of Asia's poorest and corrupt nations.

In recent days Australia has faced growing criticism over its refusal to cut support for Myanmar's military which is accused of committing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
The UN has described the Rohingya crisis as ethnic cleansing and human rights groups say it amounts to crimes against humanity.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said Australia is deeply concerned about the violence, but she has refused to directly condemn the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, or the country's military.


O_O said...


Kim Ea said...

This not the first time Australia stab Khmer democracy and people in the back . Remembered after 2013 election as example, Khmer still in tumult in an undecided voting count, and the country did not have legitimate government yet because the vote did not have a result decision yet. Australia a Khmer people nation trust, was the first western nation to recognized this stolen and non legitimate Hun Sen administration after China . They took that special troubling occasion ,to gain access to this country they can buying to get rid some of their embarrassing policy of an unwanted Muslim refugee out of their nation . This scheme was not a normal event, this was a trick to pave a way to recognized a none legitimate administration and gave them 40 millions bribe .This scenario was a big slapped to the face of Khmer nation .Did this is an act of best friend and a democratic lover ? No ,not at all . Please wake up Khmer, don't ever depend or hope very much on friend ,but depend on yourself instead , they feed their mouth first before feed your to mouth .

Justice said...

All professional leaders around the world are working for their national interests, unlike Cambodian leaders, they are working for their personal interests.. Especially Chinese, they are closing in South China Sea. Why? For their own state sovereignty, security and economical growth reasons. Because Chinese's ambition is to conquer the whole Southeast Asia and to block from Westerners' influences over Southeast Asia, to avoid from another Cuban's crisis, e.g how USSR once tried to use its country aiming to attack US soil in the 1960s. In other words, there was a missed trust going on, even after certain agreement already been made of not to interfere of its internal affair. But time and time again, the agreements been broken. In this case, Chinese also are very much aware of its political implications (political game) Because of such situations,, a new system had to be emerged, known as the 'preemptive strikes', that is ready to attack whenever possible, if necessary, for security reasons, meaning 'kill them before they kill us' e,g what happened to Middle East, like how they tried to use gold as their commodity, instead of 'paper dollars'. Therefore, there is no right or wrong answer, as every leader is there, to work to protect their own state sovereignt and in the end, only the strongest will survive. In this sense, no one will be at peace but ongoing crisis.

Unless all leaders have great respect for one another and try to understand in term of human development, that all people are in the same boat of needing love, of doing the right thing for one another, instead of war. Because war is not the only answer but a self destruction for all. Until then, only time will tell, as all things will come to an end, just a story of the 'beginning, middle and end'.

Narin Vong said...

You wanted to talk about respect, you need to ask Rainsy and Sokha. You wanted to talk about human rights, you need to ask the US. You should have known by now.

Who can garrantee that these demonstrators won't lead themselves to a revolution, you? These are rebellions. They must be controlled before they become out of hand.

Cambodia cannot afford for another revolution. No more killing! Hun Sen is fighting hard to keep our County at peace and economic property.

We have to go with the majority because our government is doing its job as it should be. Many thanks to Hun Sen and of course Australia.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...It has become cliche that AH kOOK Hun Cent Vietcong slave dictator promised that Cambodia will have peace and economic prosperity but at the end it is the dictator who has amassed the most wealth worth billion of dollars in personal fortune while more and more dirt poor Cambodian people are forced to break-up their family and risk their life and limbs just to find job in other countries!

If any Cambodian people including the dictator himself who can't even respect the Cambodian constitution and why do they want other countries to respect Cambodia! Cambodia has always been the land of contrast and soon Cambodia will descend into turmoil and chaos for those stupid and hardheaded Cambodian people who failed to learn the past will condemn to repeat the same misery and the f..cken curse that will bestow upon the next Cambodian generation to come!!!!

Kohtral said...

Ah choy mray Narin Vong

Justice said...

Hun Sen needs to focus on unity, not ongoing elimination. Just look at Chinese and Vietnamese, they would encourage all educated to work with them (collective ideas) to improve and to develop into a more advance civilisation. E.g. Focusing on job security for all, assisting each other to grow etc. But instead Hun Sen is focusing on corruption and eliminating those who may have the ability to do good. Meanwhile, Chinese has up to 1.4 billion population and Vietnamese up to 90 millions population verses Cambodia up 15 millions, and in which almost half are of Vietnamese descendants. The question is, why are they doing so well comparing to Cambodia with so little population? Because leaders capabilities. Leaders who are able to encourage others to work together as a team, not eliminating but including. At the same time, they would love to see others falling apart, they love to interfere in Cambodian's internal affair, to help to ruin her and her colony. They would encourage Cambodia leaders CPP to lead into a mere total destruction. They believe the only way to win the war is to lead others into self destruction, doing so is to save their men, money and energy, that is 'work smarter not harder'.

Hun Sen needs to wake up. That keep on killing his opponents is not the only answer. Hun Sen needs to include all, to work together as a team. Putting them in jail is not the only answer either. E.g when you hit your child, it is called child abuse, but when you teach them right from wrong, they will become smarter and will give you so much pride. In other words, no one deserve punishment but to be correct toward what is right and just. Because non of us are perfect. Born to learn and to grow.and we all are in the same boat, the need to survive, to do the right thing etc. Plus, when you abuse them, you would lose everything instead of gaining e.g better to love then to hate. Love equal to gaining verses hate equal to losing. Plus while you are fighting, others are laughing. So be wise.