We are deeply concerned by today’s removal of Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy from the National Assembly in a unilateral move by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. We call on the National Assembly to reinstate him immediately and to restore his parliamentary immunity. We also call on the government to revoke the arrest warrant issued against Rainsy on seven-year-old defamation charges and to allow him and other opposition Parliamentarians to return to Cambodia without fear of arrest or persecution.
Today’s actions are the latest incidents of harassment and intimidation of Cambodia’s opposition, including the recent violent attacks against two opposition Members of Parliament and the removal of opposition party deputy leader Kem Sokha from his position as First Vice President of the National Assembly. These developments are harmful to Cambodian democracy and contrary to the wishes of the Cambodian people.
We urge the government to take immediate steps to guarantee a political space free from threats or intimidation in Cambodia, and for the government and opposition to engage in serious and meaningful dialogue on actions to strengthen Cambodia’s democratic future.