Following SRP Boycott of Forums, CPP Signs Up

Just days after the Sam Rainsy Party announced a boycott of public forums sponsored by the Cambo­dian Center for Human Rights, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP announced its intention to take part in the events.

“CPP agreed to participate with the Cambodian Center for Human Rights…in order to promote human rights and development in Cambo­dia,” CPP Secretary-General Say Chhum wrote in a letter on Mon­day to the organization’s director, Kem Sokha.

CPP members declined invitations to CCHR forums in the past be­cause they were used only to slam the ruling party, CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said.

“Before we didn’t have mutual un­derstanding, because each time, people cursed CPP officials,” he said. “Hun Sen has asked people to offer constructive criticisms rather than trying to confuse people.”

CCHR spokesman Ou Virak welcomed the news, noting that it was the first time that top-level CPP officials had agreed to participate.

On Sunday, the SRP said it would boycott all CCHR forums, accusing Kem Sokha of using the forums to create a cult of personality and to consolidate support for a future political party.

SRP lawmakers said their boycott still stands despite the CPP’s an­nounced participation.

In a letter to SRP lawmaker Son Chhay on March 22, Kem Sokha lectured the Sam Rainsy Party on the principles of democracy and the role of his forums.

“I request all of you to further stu­dy the principle and role of NGOs in the democratic process and not in communist regimes,” he wrote.

Kem Sokha lashed the SRP on Tues­day, stating that the party was trying to undermine him personally.

“They did that to defame my name. I already told them about 100 times that I am not going to create my own party,” he said.

“Those who say I use forums to create a political party mean to de­stroy me,” he added.

   (Additional reporting by Kay Kimsong and Whitney Kvasager)


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