CNRP Calls for Paris Peace Agreement Signatories to Intervene

CNRP vice president Kem Sokha on Thursday renewed the opposition party’s calls for the 18 signatories of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement to intervene in Cambodia, saying that the more than two-decades-old agreement had still not been properly implemented.

The opposition has announced that October 23—the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the agreement—would be the date of its first mass demonstration since last month’s three-day protest against alleged irregularities at the July 28 national election.

“Cambodia today is defying the basis for the Paris Peace Accords, especially the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism,” Mr. Sokha said in a radio interview.

“We’re concerned that it’s not compliant with the Paris Peace Accords, which those countries have supported and helped us so far,” he said. “That’s why on behalf of the Cambodian people, we are submitting petitions to the U.N. and all signatory countries to help us.”

The agreements were signed in 1991 by the U.N. and 18 countries-including the U.S., China, Australia and Japan—who agreed to continue to monitor the implementation of the agreement after the end of mandate of the U.N. Tran­si­tional Authority in Cambodia, which expired in 1993.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann was on Friday vague about the type of assistance the 18 signatories could provide to help see the Paris Peace Agreement properly implemented.

“We want them to speak in one voice to condemn the violence and violations of human rights,” he said.

“Those [that] are corrupt, those involved in human rights violations, should not be allowed to enter the U.S. and other countries,” Mr. Sovann suggested, declining to propose a list of candidates the U.S. could deny entry to.

“I do not want to name people personally, but any corrupt top officials and anyone who is involved in human rights violations” should be denied entry, he said.

CNRP chief whip Son Chhay reiterated that until the Paris Peace Agreement was implemented, the U.N. and the 18 signatories still bore a responsibility to Cambodia.

“On the contrary, the government has returned to the old-style of governing of the ’80s, with one-party control of institutions,” he said. “I think it is important for the parties to remind the U.N. that they still have the obligation to ensure the full implementation of the agreement.”

CNRP president Sam Rainsy said that the signatories could intervene by refusing to recognize the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen and then implementing a program of sanctions.

“It’s not only their right to intervene—it is their obligation,” he said.

“It would be a disgrace if all the signatories of the Paris Peace Agreements continue to do business with leisure with the Cambodian government.”

A spokesperson for the government could not be reached for comment.

Independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay said it was unlikely that the CNRP could coax the peace agreement signatories to intervene in any meaningful sense. But well-directed international pressure had already pushed Prime Minister Hun Sen to compromise with the opposition in the past, such as his decision to allow CNRP president Sam Rainsy to return from exile in France two weeks before the national election.

“Intervention—even if indirect like this—has contributed to opening up the political process to fuller participation and peace in the recent election,” Mr. Mong Hay said. “And I don’t think we would have seen the return of Sam Rainsy without that kind of political pressure.”

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