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Cambodia: Eight US lawmakers urge US govt. to address human rights issues in Cambodia & call for protection of free speeches

"Fresh Calls for Sanctions against Cambodia from U.S. Lawmakers", 20 November 2020

Eight US lawmakers wrote to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo …, calling for tougher sanctions on Cambodia over the ongoing crackdown on free speech that has seen a slew of activists, environmentalists, journalists, artists and critics targeted and arrested.

The letter, signed by senators and congressional representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties, called for a review of Cambodia’s tariff privileges and for senior Cambodian officials to be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act.

“Dozens of opposition leaders and critics of the government have been targeted for criminal charges and arrests, and since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has ramped up its crackdown on dissent by adopting repressive laws and arresting more dissidents and opposition members,” the letter reads.

The US politicians went on to list notable activists who have been arrested or detained over the course of the year, including prominent unionist Rong Chhun, Mother Nature activists Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phoung Keo Reaksmey, before noting that more than 20 former opposition party officials have also been arrested.

“The US government must respond in concert with its allies to send a strong message to Hun Sen that his crackdown on opposition and freedom of speech is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that only strong pressure was likely to change the behavior of the Cambodian government that, they warned, is no longer responding to ordinary diplomatic engagement…

A Chinese developer believed to have committed human rights abuses in Cambodia was also sanctioned in September 2020, …

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