- 26/04/2020 9:19 AM
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- 13/06/2020 5:25 PM
Cambodian government says the legislation is unacceptable and based on baseless accusation
PHNOM PENH--The Cambodian government Tuesday strongly denounced the U.S. House of Representatives voting Monday the “Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019,” which would allow blocking Cambodian government or individuals’ assets for having undermined democracy or violated human rights in the country.
Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said he was surprised and regretted this move, adding that the bipartisan legislation was, he stressed, “unacceptable and based on baseless accusation.
“I regard the legislation as political motivation and is [in] contradict[ion] to the political will of Cambodians who have legitimately elected their leader through peaceful and democratic elections,” Siphan said in a Facebook post.
He then urged the U.S. legislators and Administration to carefully consider this legislation in order to preserve the bilateral ties and protect the two countries’ mutual interests.
In a press release posted at his website Monday, Florida Representative Ted Yoho said he introduced the bill last April.
“The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019 will push back against the Hun Sen regime’s undermining of democracy and related human rights abuses by applying financial sanctions to the figures who carry out this despicable agenda and codifying the Administration’s existing visa restrictions for these individuals.
“It is time to hold the Hun Sen regime accountable for their actions,” the Republican representative added.
Eliot Engel, chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and a Democrat, said during the session Monday that this legislation “gives the president and the State Department more tools to sanction Cambodia leaders who undermine democracy and commit gross human rights violation.
“This bill sends a clear message that the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with people of Cambodia and that the Congress will hold Cambodian leaders accountable for their assault on democracy and human rights,” Engel said.
Yoho had introduced a similar bill in May 2018. Approved in U.S. House of Representatives a few days prior to Cambodia’s national election in July 2018, it had not made it through the U.S. Senate.
This 2019 bi-partisan bill will next be sent to the U.S. Senate and, if approved, sent to U.S. President Donald Trump for approval.