Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Black Day in Cambodia

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, today was yet another black day in Cambodia's history and for freedom. However, given the nature of the current regime nobody should be surprised by this latest assault on liberty.

Behind closed doors, the country's rubber-stamp National Assembly executed the devious plan of FUNCINPEC Party head Norodom Ranariddh and CPP hardline Prime Minister Hun Sen to undermine the democratic opposition led by Sam Rainsy.

In a series of secret votes, Rainsy and SRP parliamentarians Chea Poch and Cheam Channy were stripped of their parliamentary immunity. The three now face trumped up charges that place their fates in the hands of a corrupt government that is infamous for its human rights abuses and injustices against the Cambodian people.

This is outrageous and unacceptable.

It should now be clear to everyone that Norodom Ranariddh has cast his lot with CPP hardliners. This is a slight against all FUNCINPEC members who continue to support democracy and justice in Cambodia, and a grave dishonor to those who have given their lives in the struggle for freedom.

The State Department has been following the situation closely, and I commend the efforts of Ambassador Charles Ray and his staff for promoting reason and the rule of law during this latest charade. I encourage the State Department to respond in a forceful and appropriate manner, including compiling a list of those individuals who voted to strip the immunity of SRP members. They and their family members should be prohibited from entering the United States. Such action is consistent with the President's Proclamation of January 12, 2004.

I encourage other donors to publicly condemn the actions of the National Assembly, and to consider sanctions against the Cambodian government. Any activities with the National Assembly should be immediately and indefinitely suspended.

Donors should know by now that there is no progress or development in Cambodia without democracy--and what little democracy existed prior to the votes has been stripped away. An opportunity exists for the tough talk of donors during the last consultative group meeting to be followed by concrete actions. They must not miss it.

I strongly advise all international financial institutions--particularly the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank--to add their voice to their chorus of concern and to consider a suspension of operations in Cambodia until the corrupt leaders get the message that tyranny will not be tolerated.

Those who have pledged resources for the Khmer Rouge tribunal may now want to reconsider--the actions of the National Assembly underscore that there is no justice in Cambodia today. It is ludicrous to believe that the country's legal system, even with outside participation, will function in a professional and independent manner. Let me be clear that justice is unquestionably needed for the millions of victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s, but justice is also needed for more recent crimes in Cambodia, including the 1997 grenade attack against Sam Rainsy and his supporters and the murders of Om Radsady and Chea Vichea.

Finally, I encourage King Norodom Sihamoni to find his voice during this political crisis. The world awaits an indication of the character and priorities of the new monarch.

Hun Sen and Ranariddh underestimate the resolve of the United States, as articulated by President Bush in his inaugural address and again last night, to stand by those championing freedom and liberty. Today, we stand with Sam Rainsy, Chea Poch and Cheam Channy and add our voices to their demands for democracy and justice. I hold Hun Sen and Ranariddh responsible for the security and the safety of these individuals--now and in the future.

As Chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, I would remind Cambodian officials that my staff and I will be putting together the fiscal year 2006 foreign aid bill over the coming weeks and months. Hun Sen and Ranariddh should know that Washington--and the world--are watching.

Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top