WLC Official Statement
Condemnation of Hun Manet’s Illegal Appointment
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you on behalf of the World Liberty Congress, an organization which represents hundreds of pro-democracy activist leaders in over 50 countries under the rule of autocrats. I write in regards to the recent developments in Cambodia, where autocrat Hun Sen has recently transferred power to his son, Hun Manet, who he has been grooming to continue the dictatorship which has taken Cambodia and her people hostage for decades.
The human rights violations committed by Hun Sen’s regime have deprived Cambodians of their basic rights, paralyzing political opposition through the threat of arbitrary detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings. There were brutal physical attacks against two elected opposition members of parliament at the end of a parliamentary session in 2016. The attackers were members of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit which operates under the close supervision of Hun Manet. These attacks have also been inflicted on opposition grassroots members, including women and elderly people. Four of the victims succumbed to severe injuries and at least two remain disabled for life. No independent investigation has ever been conducted.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved in 2017; its president was arrested and sentenced to 27 years in prison. In the 2018 election, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won all 125 seats in parliament. The Candle Light Party, another viable opposition party, was prevented from competing at the 2023 election. Millions of voters were deprived of the party of their choice. The CPP won 120 seats.
The result is that Cambodians have been excluded from the politics of their own country. The CPP is built upon nepotism. Almost a quarter of the members of the ruling party who ran in the July 2023 election are related. The new minister of interior replaces his father who was in the ministry for 30 years. The new minister’s wife is the president of many companies, such as GoldFX Investment Co.Ltd, with as much as $27 million reported to have been stolen for private gain. Hun Manet’s wife and the wife of the minister of economy and finance head investment companies that have received thousands of hectares of land from the government leaving hundreds of farmers landless.
The regime in Cambodia, which resorts to violence and corruption to preserve its power, is incompatible with the rules-based international order the United Nations defends in its charter. Thus, the planned visit of Hun Manet to New York to speak at the UN is an insult not only to the United Nations and what it represents, but also a disregard to the Cambodians who have suffered under the boot of his father for nearly half a century.
We, the opponents of autocrats from all over the world, demand that the upcoming Universal Periodic Review for Cambodia reflect the dire situation of dissidents, minorities, and other vulnerable groups who face repression by the current regime and its collaborators.