Rights Worker Reluctantly Resigns From Adhoc to Join CPP

A human rights monitor in Ratanakkiri province is one step closer to joining the ruling party that he has spent years criticizing after resigning from his post with rights group Adhoc on Thursday.

Adhoc provincial coordinator Chhay Thy submitted his letter of resignation to the organization on Thursday after disclosing plans to run as the CPP’s candidate for commune chief in O’yadaw district’s Pate commune, he said on Thursday.

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Chhay Thy in a photograph posted to his Facebook page

“I have decided to resign from Adhoc today and will join the political affairs with the Cambodian People’s Party as a candidate in the upcoming commune election,” he said. “I have to respect the policy of Adhoc because all officials are required to resign if they want to join any political party.”

Four senior Adhoc officials remain jailed for their alleged involvement in a bribery case related to acting opposition leader Kem Sokha, who has been pardoned for a related conviction.

The group’s president has fled to Canada in order to dodge the case, which is widely seen as being orchestrated by the ruling CPP.

Adhoc spokesman Sam Chan- kea said he met on Thursday with Mr. Thy and received the monitor’s request, which seemed to be made reluctantly.

“Chhay Thy told us that he just had a plan to join politics, but that he had not yet made a final decision,” Mr. Chankea said. “But since his plans spilled into the open, he decided to resign.”

“Mr. Thy seemed to hesitate to resign because he still wanted to work with Adhoc,” Mr. Chankea said. “He told us that he would stand as a candidate in Pate commune because his wife’s family lives in this area, and he will develop the area to become a tourism site in the future.”

Mr. Thy will stop work one month from his date of resignation, but continue to represent the organization in dealings with the media and government before then, according to Mr. Chankea, who said the organization would begin searching for his replacement.

Deputy provincial governor Ly Vin said Mr. Thy had told him about his plans to run for office, but he had assumed that the official would stand as an opposition candidate.

“I am not yet sure whether Mr. Thy will stand as the commune candidate for the CPP,” he said, adding that he would know if plans had been finalized.

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