#cambodia : DEATH KNELL FOR DEMOCRACY
In February 2017, Cambodia’s Parliament approved a set of new amendments to the Law on Political Parties, which grant unprecedented powers to the executive and judicial branches to suspend and dissolve parties. The move marked a culmination of nearly two years of escalating persecution of Cambodian lawmakers. These attacks have come in the context of a renewed, broader crackdown on dissent, which has targeted nearly all segments of Cambodian civic life, as well as similar growing threats to other legislators across Southeast Asia.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the ruling party’s efforts to cripple the opposition, in advance of critical commune-level and national elections in 2017 and 2018 respectively, are undermining the fundamental functions and institutions of democratic governance. Addressing persecution and threats against lawmakers, including through revision and clarification of relevant statutes and efforts to ensure all actors adhere to the law, must therefore be a priority for all parties interested in stability, prosperity, and accountability in Cambodia.