E.U. Parliament to freeze Cambodian officials' assets for human rights abuses

By Ray Downs  |  Dec. 15, 2017 at 2:12 AM
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Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The European Parliament passed a resolution this week to impose visa restrictions on Cambodian officials and freeze their assets due to ongoing human rights concerns in the country.

The resolution says the human rights situation in Cambodia has "deteriorated, with an increasing number of arrests of political opposition members, human rights activists and civil society representatives being carried out in Cambodia."

It also criticizes the Cambodian Parliament for passing laws that are "tailored to create obstacles for opposition parties."

"Cambodia is heading towards increasing authoritarianism," said European Commission member, Karmenu Vella, according to the Phnom Penh Post. "In recent months, the Cambodian government has taken action to stifle, to suffocate democracy."

Europe has heavily criticized the Cambodian government in recent days. On Tuesday, one day before the European Parliament passed the resolution, the European Union announced it would suspend support for Cambodia's National Election Committee because it believed fair elections would be impossible under the current political climate.

In November, Cambodia's Supreme Court voted to dissolve the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party due to allegations it planned to overthrow the government.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court then charged the party's leader, Kem Sokha, with treason based on allegations he colluded with the U.S. government to carry out the overthrow, Radio Free reported.

Dissolving the CNRP virtually ensured that Cambodia's ruling party, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, would run unopposed in elections next year, prompting outcries from European politicians.

U.S. lawmakers are also considering imposing sanctions on Cambodia.

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