Arrest of Kem Sokha in Cambodia is yet another attack on human rights and the rule of law

In the early hours of Sunday 3 September, the President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha MP and member of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transnational, was arrested in his home in Phnom Penh on charges of “treason” and plotting against the nation by colluding “with foreign countires”. The news was spread by the Cambodia Daily, the independent newspaper that will be shut down on 5 September after Prime Minister Hun Sen suddenly and instrumentally demanded the payment of alleged debts.

Kem Sokha’s arrest is the umpteenth act of aggression that confirms and exacerbates the authoritarian drift of the Cambodian government, which applies an anti-democratic law at odds from the rule of law. The entire Cambodian opposition has been supporting the nonviolent radical struggle for universality and respect of human rights, for the transition to the rule of law through the recognition of the human right to know as a tenet of democracy. For this reason, president Kem Sokha MP as well as all 66 MPs and Senators of the CNRP, including former CNRP president in exile Sam Rainsy, have joined the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transparty.

The crisis in Cambodia is hardly surprising. For years, a law-abiding European Union has tolerated, if not supported financially and politically, Hun Sen’s authoritarianism and now it carries a heavy responsibility. A totally different path was shown and pursued consistently and far-sightedly in the 2000s by the Radical Party of Marco Pannella, who sided unequivocally with the democratic opposition of Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, carrying out, among other things, several missions to Phnom Penh.

We therefore call upon President Paolo Gentiloni, sensitive to the radical fight for the right to know, to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to speak up in the face of abuses and to urge the competent UN agencies to set up a mission of international observers in the country.

Matteo Angioli
Secretary of the Global Committee fr hte Rule of Law “Marco Pannella”
Member of the Presidency of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transparty

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