July 24, 2023

The undersigned organizations express our profound concern over the upcoming election for the National Assembly in Cambodia, scheduled to occur tomorrow. We firmly believe that this election is poised to lack genuineness and meaningful electoral competitiveness, raising serious doubts about its adherence to democratic principles and international election standards.

Owen Lippert, Director of Opposition International, remarked,

“The Cambodian election was rigged thus invalid. The actually complete violation of the rights of opposition leaders invalidates the results. Hun Sen may not be legally elected to any position. A price must be paid.”

A Candlelight party procession before the ban

My colleagues and I agree with the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights to condemn the charade “election” in #Cambodia. “Southeast Asian MPs and international CSOs denounce undemocratic elections in Cambodia, urge international community not to lend legitimacy to Hun Sen’s regime.”

We agree with Human Rights Watch Asia Deputy Director Phil Robertson. “This entire election was a charade designed solely to give Hun Sen and the CPP a justification to say that they are democratic when in reality they are presiding over a deepening dictatorship.”

Lippert continued “The best course going forward is for democratic nations to begin to disengage from relations with the Hun Sen regime. Most importantly he and his family should have no further access to foreign credit guaranteed in the name of the sovereign Cambodian people. Turn the money tap off.”

He added, “The complaint and appeal mechanisms of the international lending agencies are weak and biased in favour of the entrenched rather than the sovereignty of the people. It is difficult for opposition parties to pursue financial accountability.”

“OI is consulting international legal experts to examine means to help the opposition to petition International donors to suspend lending to regimes who do not have genuine public approval to repay any further debts incurred. We anticipate that many opposition parties will take note.”

Lippert added, “We know already autocracies face higher debt premiums, and for good reason. In the event of an upheaval, debts piled up by autocrats may, and likely ought to be, repudiated.”

“Cambodia could be the test case that gives the Cambodian people the right to suspend repayment of international debt incurred without democratic approval. It may take time, but will ultimately be proven in international law.”

Peaceful direct action has saved some traditional lands

“In particular, Hun Sen’s debts violate the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People by a lack of consultation with the aboriginal peoples of Cambodia. Revenues from their traditional lands are used as collateral for loans for which they were neither informed nor consulted. When asked privately, Indigenous Cambodians say that traditional lands should support indigenous people; “No say, No pay” international bank debt,” Lippert concluded.

Aboriginal people of Cambodia have right to be consulted on traditional land and it’s revenues: United Nations DRIP Treaty