Global youth organizations call for free and fair elections in Cambodia

August 14, 2013 9:14 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Resulting from recent discussions on political freedom, representatives of CALD Youth member organizations committed to take action for free and fair elections in Cambodia. CALD Youth sent a petition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while its member and observer organizations, which are youth wings of liberal and democratic parties from around Asia, sent similar petitions to the Cambodian Embassies in their respective countries.

Although a petition for a CALD Youth member country, the action has received global support. The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY), of which CALD Youth is regional member for Asia, approved a resolution on the issue during its Executive Committee Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on 23 June. IFLRY also sent the petition to the Cambodian Embassy in London. The European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), a fellow IFLRY regional member organization, sent the petition to the Cambodian Embassy in Brussels.

The following national youth organizations from Europe and North America have also shown their support: Jonge Democraten (The Netherlands), Radikal Ungdom (Denmark), Centre for the Analysis of Public Policies (Dominican Republic), JuLis (Germany), and Jeunes Radicaux de Gauche (France).

The petition is a way for youth in Asia and the world to show solidarity with the Cambodian youth and protect the political freedom of the people of Cambodia. It realizes that free and fair elections can only take place when there is a free political environment and the people are able to exercise their rights and freedom; affirms that the Government of Cambodia must ensure high standards in line with its international human rights obligations before, during, and after the casting of votes in order to hold a credible election; and believes that Cambodia has come far enough to aspire to hold election that meets international standards.

The petition expresses concern over possible continuing irregularities in the upcoming Cambodian elections on 28 July, including that supporters of the ruling parties dominate the national and local election bodies; the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of eligible voters; the use of state resources by the ruling party and the distribution of money and gifts by their candidates and officials; the unequal access to state media for electoral contestants; and the conviction of Mr. Sam Rainsy, the leader of the Cambodian opposition, on politically motivated charges.

The petition calls upon the Cambodian government to ensure that the composition of the National Election Committee in Cambodia is truly independent; guarantee that all political parties have fair and equal access to the mass media particularly during the election campaign; and find a political solution to the case of Mr. Sam Rainsy to enable him, as the leader of the opposition, to play a full role in Cambodian politics, especially in the forthcoming election.

“We would like to thank all our friends and partner organizations who keep in touch with us and monitor the general election process in Cambodia,” said Kim Sophea, Sam Rainsy Party representative to the CALD Youth Executive Committee and member of the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s youth wing. “Your petitions and other actions are meaningful in calling for free and fair elections in Cambodia. It shows that people around the globe are keeping an eye on Cambodia and pushing the current government to fulfil its commitments and reform its actions to ensure that standards are met in conducting the general election and that the results can be acceptable.”

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The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) was inaugurated in Bangkok in 1993, with the support of then Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and South Korea’s Kim Dae-Jung. CALD, which offers a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation, is the only regional alliance of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia.
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