In a New Year’s message to the nation, Prime Minister Hun Sen praised his government for its “huge achievements” in keeping the country peaceful and prosperous in 2014.
The prime minister’s annual missive, signed December 29, reflected on what he said were successes as a result of the “hard work of the parties involved in the state and private sector.”
“Cambodia at present has peace, political stability, and good order, infrastructure systems and development in all sectors that guarantee people’s living in peace and improvements in their living [standards],” the letter says.
“In 2014, which will end shortly, the government was proud that it implemented and realized huge achievements for the nation and the people, which keep the peace…economic stability and improve the macro-economy.”
Senior opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua disagreed with the prime minister’s assessment of the past 12 months, instead describing 2014 as “a year of calling for democracy.”
“It started from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th of January with the crackdown, the killing [of garment workers]. The violence on the protesters at Freedom Park, the wages of the workers, that was not addressed throughout,” Ms. Sochua said.
“Even though Freedom Park was closed, the people were determined to express themselves and organize: it was a year of protests, especially land protests.”
However, Ms. Sochua said recent political developments, including a new “culture of dialogue” between the CPP and CNRP represented positive steps.
Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, said he had noted a number of serious human rights abuses in 2014, including the shooting deaths of protestors in January and the arrest of land activists in November.
“I hope that in 2015, both parties will continue to negotiate with each other peacefully and that they will not use the people as their political tools,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Holly Robertson)
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