July 15, 2018

Cambodia: Military, Police Campaigning for Ruling Party

Officials Violating Law Prohibiting Political Activity by Security Forces

A supporter of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) uses a mobile phone to photograph a portrait of CPP president Hun Sen during an election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on July 7, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Samrang Pring

Human Rights Watch | July 12, 2018 8:00PM EDT

(New York) – Cambodian military officers, gendarmes, and police officers are actively campaigning for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), in violation of Cambodia’s law requiring political neutrality, Human Rights Watch said today. Cambodia is holding national elections on July 29, 2018, in an environment in which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has been dissolved, its president Kem Sokha has been detained, and its founder Sam Rainsy has been forced into exile.

Senior members of the security forces have endorsed Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP at numerous public rallies and other events throughout Cambodia. Article 9 of the Law on the General Status of Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) states that “military personnel shall be neutral in their functions and work activities, and the use of functions/titles and the state’s materials for any political activities shall be prohibited.”

“To win a sham election, it is not enough for the ruling CPP to ban the opposition, control all election institutions and maintain a chokehold on the media,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Apparently the CPP thinks it also needs to deploy some of the country’s most feared generals to campaign and intimidate people into going to the polls.”

"To win a sham election it is not enough for the ruling CPP to ban the opposition, control all election institutions and maintain a chokehold on the media." Brad Adams, Asia Director

According to local media reports, since the official campaign period started on July 7. Gen. Sao Sokha, acting supreme commander of the Cambodian military, campaigned for the CPP, told attendees on July 8 at a Buddhist pagoda in Kandal province that “under the wise leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, our country has developed everywhere in the country, including roads, bridges, canals, schools, hospitals, etc.”
  • Gen. Hing Bun Heang, who was recently sanctioned for human rights violations by the United States under the Global Magnitsky Act, spoke to an estimated 1,000 teachers at a CPP rally on July 8. He spoke to the crowd about the “whole nation's development and peace throughout the country under the wise leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen as the head of government and president of the Cambodian People's Party,” and called for those assembled to vote for the CPP.
  • Lt. Gen. Rat Sreang, deputy commander of the national gendarmerie and commander of the Phnom Penh gendarmerie, led a CPP team on July 8 in Phnom Penh to “explain to the people how to vote correctly.”
Human Rights Watch has received reports of many other senior members of the security forces campaigning for Hun Sen and the CPP before the official campaign period began on July 7, in violation of Cambodian law:
  • Gen. Hun Manet, son of Hun Sen, who was recently promoted to be acting commander in chief of RCAF, campaigned for the CPP on July 2.
  • Gen. Meas Sophea, deputy commander in chief of RCAF, inducted CPP members and called for a CPP election victory while campaigning in Preah Vihear province on June 15.
  • Chap Pheakdey, deputy army commander and Brigade 911 commander, campaigned for the CPP and Hun Sen in Svay Rieng province on June 17.
  • Kun Kim, RCAF deputy supreme commander, campaigned for the CPP in Oddar Meanchey province on June 23 and June 26.
  • Pol Saroeun, RCAF supreme commander, made a campaign trip to Preah Sihanouk province and introduced CPP candidates for election, with himself as number one on the list, on June 24 and again on July 1.
  • Chuon Sovan, National Police deputy supreme commissioner, presided over CPP campaigning in Pea Reang district of Prey Veng province on June 16.
The list of CPP candidates for seats in the election includes active-duty high-ranking military, gendarmerie, and police officers who have helped maintain Hun Sen’s continued rule since he became prime minister in 1985. These include Pol Saroeun, Meas Sophea, and Kun Kim, along with Lt. Gen. Dy Vichea, deputy chief of the National Police and Hun Sen’s son-in-law.

Guidelines promulgated in 2016 by the Venice Commission and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights state that “the non-involvement of judges, prosecutors, police, military, and auditors of political competitors in their official capacity in electoral campaigning is of essential importance. Concrete measures should ensure such official neutrality throughout the entire electoral processes.”

“Basic democratic principles require the political neutrality of the military and police for elections to be free, fair, and credible,” Adams said. “But nothing about this election is democratic, so it is hardly a surprise that the CPP is using senior commanders as ruling party campaigners. Foreign governments that have poured billions of dollars into Cambodia over the past decades to promote democracy should protest this blatant abuse of the electoral process.”


Kim Ea said...

Don't be fool , This Khmer nation was under repression regime and corrupt rule of laws by thuggish government for so long ago . Communist fake democracy grabbed power in their hand and forced this race to accept only their forceful thuggish style of politic or recognized only their clandestine salacious navigator style to run a political systematic of this poor nation . All of their paid employees including arm forces, soldier, police forces, body guard unit, court and their surrounding apparatus , cronies corrupted state employees from high echelon to a small offices worker must be very faithful ,loyal or dire support of their political system to stay and survive. No one of these employees and state apparatus can have right to challenge or any opinion and different reservation outside from their political norm , they must obey and support dictator gut strategy even you like it or not to stay on their paid salary to survive . If these employees shift their point of view or motivate their political affiliation, they will met with a harsh punishment or accuse of disloyalty, treason with a long jail time without ending or sometime kick out or ending their ranking jobs right away . We saw this applicable totalitarian mechanism of punishment on Khmer freedom thinker and nationalist for so long ,why no one of Khmer thinker dare to speak out or raise a question of this obsolete abused because every Khmer fear and scare of their safety and havoc reprisal of harsh punishment by maniac dictator criminal regime .

Chun Sokha said...

CPP can do whatever they want and they are never wrong .

Hemondno Viata said...

របបកុម្មុយនិស្ត គេតែងបង្ហាត់ឲ្យនិយាយស្ដាប់បាន តាមសីលធម៌ តែគេត្រូវតែអនុវត្ថផ្ទុយជានិច្ច ។ ព្រោះសុជីវធម៌ជាថ្នាំដ៏មានប្រសិទ្ធភាពសម្រាប់ពួកគេយកទៅប្រើប្រាស់បោកប្រជារាស្ត ឲ្យបំរើន
មហិច្ឆតានយោបាយរបស់ខ្លួន ។ គេពុំដែលភ្លេចឡើយថាពួកគេកំពុងរស់នៅជាមួយខ្មាំងរបស់គេ!!។
សំណួរសួរថា៖ តើអ្នកណាជាខ្មាំងរបស់កុម្មុយនិស្ត?ដែលគេមើលឃើញពួកគេកំពុងរស់នៅជាមួយសត្រូវរបស់គេ! នោះគឺប្រជាជនខ្លួន ជាខ្មាំងសត្រូវរបស់បក្សរបស់គេ!"ចូរកូនខ្មែរចាំឲ្យច្បាស" ។ 
និយាយឲ្យស្រួលស្តាបគឺថា ដូច្នេះគឺថា៖ របបក្រហម គេយកពាក្យសមរម្ភមកប្រើធ្វើដើមទុន ដើម្បីបោកពលរដ្ឋឲ្យបំរើនយោបានរបស់បក្ស ហើយមិទទួលខុសត្រូវដល់អយុជីវិតពលរដ្ឋឡើយ ។ គេសម្លាប់ចោលដើម្បីជំរុញផលិតកម្ម គេសម្លាប់ដើម្បីបន្សល់របបហូបចុកទុកជូនអង្គការលើ កម្មាភិបាលអ្នកមូលដ្ឋានគេអាចពន្យាពេលស្លាប់ខ្លួនពួកគេបានមួរយៈៗ គេសម្លាប់ពលរដ្ឋបន្ថយរបប ដើម្បីពួកគេនៅរស់បានយូរជាងរាស្ត្រ ។ ដូច្នេះគេអនុវត្ថអ្វីៗផ្ទុយនឹងពាក្សគេបាននិយាយគ្រប់ពេល នូវអ្វីៗដែលមិនផ្តល់ប្រយោជន៍ដល់បែបគេនិងបក្ស ។ 

Justic Justice said...

Hun Sen playing fire and he will be burned. Right now, communists are planning to use Laos to verse with Cambodia, known as killing two birds with one stone or going to war without firing a shot. To borrow hands to kill one another for both Vietnamese and Chinese. Once it is done, they will turn on Vietnamese the last minute. Because Chinese aim is to conquer Southeast Asia and South China Sea. For hegemony.

What to do

Laos, Cambodians and Vietnamese must join hands in hands ready to counter Chinese before its too late.

Hemondno Viata said...

Good future for Kampuchea is to push Vietnamese back into Hanoy and keep checking Vietnamese mack sure stay foot within it perimeter boundary.