On Saturday 3 February the constitutive meeting of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) took place in Paris. The meeting was attended by Sam Rainsy, Saumura Tioulong, André Gattolin, Laura Harth and many members of the Cambodian community of various European countries. The newborn Movement aims to revive the battle for the rule of law and the democracy of the party that carried the same name and which, by an illegal and politically motivated decision by the Cambodian Supreme Court, was dissolved and declared outlawed on 16 November 2017.
Senator André Gattolin and Laura Harth reiterated the support of the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party Transparty to the Cambodian opposition, to Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha for the rule of law.
The following is an excerpt of the speech given by Sam Rainsy at the meeting:
“I am really excited to see the determination of so many people and how well they get the situation. The creation of this Movement is exactly what the people in Cambodia and abroad are waiting for in order to reclaim a regime change. […] At first glance you might believe that Hun Sen is winning, as he shows his muscles and his strong men and he looks like a giant. But on closer inspection you do realize that what he has done in the last months and weeks reflects not strength but weakness. And weak people are afraid. His most recent acts indicate that he is terrified and fear led him to make decisions and say things that made the population grow increasingly dissatisfied and furious at him. Elsewhere, as in France, with President Macron, presidents are strong by virtue of their popularity. They are leaders who listen to people, who are allowed to express their opinions freely, even if they belong to opposition parties. In this lies the strength of a political exponent. Hun Sen, on the other hand, did not show any of this. He dissolved our party without drawing any benefit from it. He was haunted by the CNRP and now he will be haunted by our new movement, the CNRM, because we continue to fight for freedom. By arresting Kem Sokha, expelling our elected representatives from the National Assembly and our local elected representatives (over 5,000) and forcing many of us to flee to Australia, Europe and the United States, Hun Sen believed he had written off the opposition. But the new Movement made him even crazier and more paranoid. It’s funny! He said that we are terrorists, that I am the head of those terrorists. He speaks a crazy language: if I am a terrorist, how is it possible that I live and move around freely in France? How can I meet regularly with André Gattolin? How can I go to the Quai d’Orsay? Why do they not arrest me? Why can I meet members of Congress and from the American administration, such as John McCain? They respect me and encourage me because they know very well that I work for freedom and human rights with peaceful methods.”