UPDATE | Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s (CA-47) and Congressman Matt Salmon’s resolution to condemn political violence in Cambodia passed the House on Monday.
The bipartisan resolution denounces the political repression of the nation’s current government while calling for free and fair elections, according to the release. You can read the resolution in its entirety here.
“As the upcoming elections draw closer, we must do everything we can to assure that the people of Cambodia are able to express their voices fully and fairly at the ballot box, without the fear of intimidation, violence, or retribution,” said Lowenthal in a statement.
Congresswoman Janice Hahn announced her support for the resolution in a separate statement released yesterday.
“As a representative of many Cambodian-Americans and a member of the Congressional Cambodian Caucus, I applaud the passage of this important resolution,” the congresswoman stated. “For years, we have seen Cambodia become a democracy in name only. Political opposition is routinely punished, freedom of speech and press is not fully protected, and political violence is not uncommon. This resolution sends a strong message that Cambodia must have free and fair elections and that all human rights abuses must end.”
The resolution is cosponsored by 21 House members including Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01), who along with Congressman Lowenthal, is a founding member and co-chair of the Congressional Cambodian Caucus.
PREVIOUSLY: Long Beach’s Lowenthal Introduces Resolution Pushing for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia
5/11/16 at 5:47PM | Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Congressman Matt Salmon introduced a House resolution today calling for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia—two days after the Killing Fields Memorial Center was commemorated and 41 years since the start of the Khmer Rouge’s agrarian revolution.
The resolution condemns political violence in Cambodia, urging for an end to human rights abuses by the Cambodian government in addition to calling on the government to respect the freedom of the press and the rights of citizens to freely assemble, protest and speak against the government, according to a release from Lowenthal’s office.
“The Cambodian national elections in 2017 and 2018 will be crucial to determining the future of the country as well as its standing in the international community,” said Congressman Lowenthal in a statement. “This resolution demonstrates the United States’ support for an environment that respects political opposition, human rights, and the rule of law. All of these are necessary preconditions to holding elections in Cambodia that can be considered free and fair.”
The resolution also details numerous human rights violations committed by the government against its people, supports “electoral reform efforts in Cambodia and free and fair elections in 2018 monitored by international observers,” urges “Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party to end all harassment and intimidation of Cambodia’s opposition,” and pushes for the Cambodian government to “drop all politically-motivated charges against opposition lawmakers, to allow them to return to Cambodia and freely participate in the political process, and to foster an environment where democracy can thrive and flourish.”
Lowenthal and Salmon’s proposed resolution comes weeks after members of the local Cambodian community protested Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Manet’s scheduled attendance to participate in the Cambodian New Year Parade. The backlash spurred Manet to cancel his plans to participate.
“Khmer New Year is a special occasion for our Khmer people and should unite us in a desire to support our race by working together to show the Khmer culture and civilization to the American people and other citizens,” Manet said in a statement last March. “It is not the time for supporters and non-supporters to show off their muscles, because it shows a break between Khmer and Khmer and gives our race a bad reputation.”
Manet had been invited to be part of the April 10 parade by the Cambodian Coordinating Council (Cam CC), which is charged with the organization of the parade and other events in the Cambodian community.
The resolution is co-sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39), HFAC Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16), Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-03) and Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01), who along with Congressman Lowenthal, is a founding member and co-chair of the Congressional Cambodian Caucus, according to the release.