US House of Representatives Passes Cambodia Sanctions Bill

Fresh sanctions could entrench the Cambodian government’s determination to free itself from outside ‘interference.’

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cambodia Democracy Act, which recommends the imposition of sanctions on senior Cambodian officials responsible for undermining the country’s democracy.

The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021, which was proposed by Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Lowenthal (D-CA), is intended “to promote free and fair elections, political freedoms, and human rights” in the nation, after five years that have seen a ruthless consolidation of power by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Over the past five years, the CPP administration has banned the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), exiled one of its leaders, and arrested another on charges of treason. It has also cowed Cambodian civil society and neutered the independent press, arresting dozens of human rights defenders, low-level CNRP officials, and ordinary citizens for expressing critical views about the government.

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