This past year, Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, consolidated his power, observers say, pointing to intimidation of the opposition and a minimal improvement of human rights following the European Union’s threat to withdraw the trade agreement Everything But Arms. The deal grants free access to the EU single market for all products, with the exception of arms and armaments.
“We’re seeing the real Cambodia and the real Cambodian government, which is rights abusing, corrupt and non-democratic,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “The situation has just not improved in any way, shape, or form over the past year.”
Exiled acting opposition leader Sam Rainsy first announced earlier in 2019 that he was returning home, but then in August stated he would be back on November 9, Cambodia’s Independence Day.