La situation au Venezuela et au Cambodge présente une frappante ressemblance dans la mesure où le pouvoir en place – celui du président Nicolas Maduro comme celui du premier ministre Hun Sen – voit sa légitimité contestée par suite d’une élection elle-même contestée :

— Election présidentielle au Venezuela du 20 mai 2018 remportée par Nicolas Maduro, qui a obtenu 67,8% des voix au cours d’un scrutin entaché d’irrégularités du début jusqu’à la fin, avec notamment l’interdiction de candidature imposée à certains partis d’opposition.

— Election législative au Cambodge du 29 juillet 2018 remportée par le parti du premier ministre sortant Hun Sen (le Parti du peuple cambodgien), qui a remporté 100% des sièges à l’Assemblée nationale au cours d’un scrutin considéré comme illégitime par la communauté internationale après la dissolution subite et arbitraire, en novembre 2017, du seul parti d’opposition, le Parti du salut national (CNRP) dont le président, Kem Sokha, a été jeté en prison.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis 2001 le Cambodge bénéficie d’un avantage commercial exceptionnel que lui accorde l’Union européenne grâce à une initiative connue sous le nom «Tout sauf les armes» (TSA). Il s’agit de la possibilité d’exporter vers l’Europe sans quotas et sans droits de douane tous produits sauf les armes et munitions. Cet avantage est accordé à un groupe de pays en voie de développement et en transition vers la démocratie. Dans l’esprit de la Commission européenne, il s’agit d’aider des pays «les moins avancés» à sortir de la pauvreté mais aussi – c’est un critère parallèle obligatoire – à progresser sur la voie de la démocratie et du respect des droits de l’homme.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le Premier ministre du Cambodge, Hun Sen, à l'aéroport de Manille le 11 novembre. Photo Noel Celis. AFP

Le 29 juillet auront lieu au Cambodge des élections dont la nature et l’enjeu échappent encore à de nombreux observateurs. Il s’agit officiellement d’élections législatives pour renouveler l’Assemblée nationale qui devra soit désigner un nouveau Premier ministre, soit reconduire l’actuel chef de gouvernement, M. Hun Sen, pour un nouveau mandat de cinq ans, selon les dispositions d’une Constitution inspirée de celle de la quatrième République française.

Depuis les législatives précédentes de 2013, l’électorat est divisé en deux forces pratiquement égales : le Parti du peuple cambodgien (PPC) qui soutient M. Hun Sen, au pouvoir depuis trente-trois ans, et l’opposition représentée par le Parti du salut national (PSN) qui veut son départ pour ouvrir la voie à un changement démocratique.…  Seguir leyendo »

On 16 November, Cambodia’s Supreme Court struck a crippling blow to democratic rights in the country when it ordered the dissolution of the main political opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Cambodia is now essentially a one-party state. CNRP will lose all its seats in the National Assembly ensuring there is effectively no organized political opposition to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party. This blow to democracy will deeply affect both Cambodia’s people and the country’s external relations.

Inside Cambodia

While this may seem a shocking outcome, in some respects it is entirely unsurprising given the intense crackdown on the political opposition during the last few years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kem Sokha, the leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (C.N.R.P.), was arrested during the early hours of Sept. 3, reportedly without a warrant and in violation of his parliamentary immunity. Dozens of police officers surrounded his home in Phnom Penh, while a group of armed men forced their way inside.

He has since been charged with treason — and with conspiring with foreigners to overthrow the Hun Sen government — based on a 2013 speech in which he described wanting to bring peaceful, democratic change to Cambodia and receiving advice from American experts. On Monday, during a session that the C.N.R.P.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Descent into Outright Dictatorship,” read The Cambodia Daily’s final headline on Monday, a defiant last cry from a fiercely independent newspaper that has now been shut down by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. For the Daily’s final issue, its reporters worked through the night to cover the arrest of the country’s main opposition leader, Kem Sokha, as part of a government crackdown that has consumed politicians, journalists, and non-profits ahead of next year’s election.

Hun Sen’s government alleges that the Daily owes over $6 million in taxes, and ordered it to pay up or close. The paper was given until Sunday to make good on its arrears, and meanwhile Hun Sen called it Cambodia’s “chief thief.” The Daily, whose motto is “All the News Without Fear or Favor,” claimed that it has not turned a profit in nearly a decade, and responded with a statement that “the power to tax is the power to destroy”—acknowledging the possibility of a “legitimate” tax dispute with the government but insisting that its closure was politically motivated.…  Seguir leyendo »

Journalists in Cambodia are under siege. Scared of losing next year’s general election, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has recently launched a series of attacks on anyone it deems a threat to its power.

After losing ground to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in June’s local elections, it is paranoid that the tide of public opinion is turning against it.

In response to this crackdown, the US Embassy asked recently on its Facebook page, «Is #Cambodia Committed To Democracy?» Judging from repeated attacks on both nongovernmental organizations and newspapers, it appears the answer to the embassy’s post is a hard no.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿El complejo de Angkor y la ciudad de Siem Reap estarían a punto de ser víctimas de su propio éxito? Con el aumento de la población y del turismo, la conservación de sus ecosistemas terrestres se ve amenazada y los recursos hídricos resultan insuficientes. Para cubrir las necesidades, las autoridades se ven obligadas a aprovechar el agua subterránea lo que redunda en el hundimiento del suelo del sitio, inscrito en la Lista del Patrimonio Mundial. La UNESCO, en cooperación con expertos internacionales y autoridades locales, estudia la posibilidad de bombear en las aguas de la Reserva de Biosfera de Tonlé Sap, a fin de garantizar una gestión sostenible y a largo plazo de los recursos hídricos y detener los procesos de degradación.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, Cambodia’s National Assembly passed 22 amendments to the country’s Law on Political Parties. The law was pushed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, and his Cambodian People’s Party. Although the revised law still requires a rubber stamp endorsement from the Senate, Constitution Council and King Norodom Sihamoni, its consequences are likely to be dramatic.

The revised law would allow the Supreme Court and the Interior Ministry to suspend and dissolve political parties for the ambiguous offenses of causing “incitement that would lead to national disintegration” and “subverting liberal multi-party democracy.” The target is the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party.…  Seguir leyendo »

The World’s Disappearing Sand

Most Westerners facing criminal charges in Cambodia would be thanking their lucky stars at finding themselves safe in another country. But Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, who is half British and half Spanish, is pleading with the Phnom Penh government to allow him back to stand trial along with three Cambodian colleagues. They’ve been charged, essentially, with interfering with the harvesting of one of the 21st century’s most valuable resources: sand.

Believe it or not, we use more of this natural resource than any other except water and air. Sand is the thing modern cities are made of. Pretty much every apartment block, office tower and shopping mall from Beijing to Lagos, Nigeria, is made at least partly with concrete, which is basically just sand and gravel stuck together with cement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cambodian politics is in the midst of an ugly crisis. Prime Minister Hun Sen, after officially winning the 2013 election by just a narrow margin and facing months of massive anti-government protests, seemed to have regained control. Yet in recent weeks the authorities have cracked down on the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, C.N.R.P.

For a prime minister who has mastered a form of kleptocratic electoral authoritarianism during three decades in power, the resort to violence, intimidation and judicial harassment betrays Hun Sen’s great anxiety about the prospects of his party in the next general election in 2018.

On Oct. 26, two C.N.R.P.…  Seguir leyendo »

A prostitute waits for a client in her room ina brothel area known as Building in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (David Paul Morris/For The Washington Post)

“You can go Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The place is called Svay Pak. There are many there you can try. Age around 6 to 16. Depending on what u want to do. I find 12 to 14 year olds the best as they are freshest and is becoming a grown up girl soon. Innocent too. and very curious about sex.”

This is a milder excerpt from e-mails sent to an undercover police officer. They came from a Singaporean pedophile named Chan Chun Hong who was planning to visit Svay Pak, Cambodia, to have sex with children.

He had purchased airline tickets for April 2014.…  Seguir leyendo »

The image of a child sex-trafficking victim that most of us carry in our minds is probably something like the blurry, black-and-white shot taken in 2003 of a 5-year-old girl in a shanty settlement called Svay Pak, just outside Phnom Penh. The girl’s name is Taevy. My organization, International Justice Mission, obtained the undercover footage while investigating the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Cambodia and collaborated with “Dateline NBC” to tell the story.

According to a recent broadcast from CNN’s “Freedom Project,” Cambodia is still ground zero for the child sex trade. The report described Svay Pak’s “big business” of selling prepubescent girls to foreign pedophiles for thousands of dollars.…  Seguir leyendo »

Earlier this month a United Nations-assisted tribunal in Cambodia handed down long-overdue judgments against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for their roles in the catastrophic Khmer Rouge regime of 1975-79. Nuon Chea, the deputy secretary of the communist party, and Khieu Samphan, the president of the Khmer Rouge state, were sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.

For some observers, this seemed like too little too late for too much money. Eight years have passed since the Khmer Rouge tribunal — officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (E.C.C.C.) — began operations, it has cost more than $200 million, and these verdicts concern only a fraction of the total charges.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le gouvernement cambodgien est coupable de meurtres. Certes ils ne sont pas comparables aux massacres génocidaires commis par les Khmers rouges dans les années 1970 ou à ce que l’on voit en Syrie, et leur ampleur n’est pas la même que celle des violences en Ukraine, au Venezuela, en Thaïlande ou au Bangladesh, qui ont fait récemment la une des médias. Mais il s’agit de meurtres de citoyens cambodgiens délibérément visés par les forces de sécurité de leur pays.

Le 3 janvier, cinq personnes ont été tuées par la police à Phnom Penh lors de manifestations pacifiques d’ouvriers du textile qui revendiquaient un salaire minimum décent.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Gobierno de Camboya ha estado disfrutando de impunidad respecto de los asesinatos. No se trata del tipo de matanza genocida llevada a cabo por los jemeres rojos en el decenio de 1970 ni tampoco de la escala de asesinatos que ha estado agitando a Siria o que ha situado últimamente a Ucrania, Venezuela, Tailandia y Bangladesh en los titulares mundiales, pero, aun así, se trata de asesinatos de ciudadanos camboyanos en quienes las fuerzas de seguridad de su país han puesto la mira.

El 3 de enero, cinco trabajadores del sector textil que hacían huelga fueron muertos a tiros en Phnom Penh cuando pedían pacíficamente un salario mínimo con el que poder vivir.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Dec. 29, more than 100,000 Cambodians — garment workers, teachers, farmers and students from all over the country — marched through the streets of the capital calling for Hun Sen, our long-serving prime minister-dictator, to step down or allow an independent investigation into the flawed national elections that took place in July.

The massive demonstration was the culmination of months of nonviolent rallies and marches led by the Cambodia National Rescue Party (C.N.R.P.). It was also the most significant challenge to Hun Sen’s 28-year reign of exploitation and corruption.

And he could not tolerate it. He would sooner draw blood than enact real reform.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cambodia is at a standstill. Although the National Election Committee has yet to announce the official results of the July 28 general election, the ruling party has already claimed victory. It announced soon after polling closed that the governing Cambodian People’s Party (C.P.P.) had won 68 seats and the Cambodia National Rescue Party (C.N.R.P.) 55. But the opposition contests the count, alleging massive fraud, and it says it will boycott the new National Assembly if an independent investigation isn’t conducted. Prime Minister Hun Sen opposes any inquiry not overseen by the very election commission the opposition accuses of vote-rigging, and he has threatened to redistribute to the C.P.P.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the U.S. presidential election approaches, Barack Obama is in danger of allowing his good offices to be used as part of an attempt to deny Cambodians the opportunity for self-determination that Americans take for granted.

President Obama is due to visit Cambodia next month as the country holds the presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2012. Ahead of Cambodian elections in July 2013, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, has been engaging in a familiar pattern of cracking down on the voices of opposition. He knows that it’s an easier and safer way to win elections than allowing democratic debate.…  Seguir leyendo »

There’s a lot of hand-wringing in New York right now about what the United Nations should do to stop brutal, state-looting dictators. A good place to start would be not to consider them as candidates for a seat on the Security Council.

On Thursday, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will find out if his country has won the Council’s Asia-Pacific seat. Cambodia is unlikely to beat South Korea’s bid, but it shouldn’t be in the running at all.

Cambodia is in the grip of an unprecedented land-grabbing crisis as an increasingly confident and insatiable elite helps itself to pretty much any natural resource it wants, ignoring its own laws and bulldozing local communities and dissenters out of the way.…  Seguir leyendo »