Cambodian group lauds Trump, bashes local NGOs

Pro-gov’t group accuses NGOs, news agency of having received US funding, having ‘policy of interference’

Cambodian group lauds Trump, bashes local NGOs

World Bulletin / News Desk

A pro-government Cambodian group has written a fawning letter congratulating United States President-elect Donald Trump on his election victory and urging him to ensure that U.S. funding does not go to local human rights groups in the Southeast Asian country.

In the letter -- in which Trump is referred to as “Honorable” 10 times -- Pol Seyha, president of the Association of Youth for State Reform, alleges that a number of NGOs, as well as Radio Free Asia, have been recipients of U.S. funding.

He accuses the broadcasting agency of being “dishonest” and the rights groups of having a “policy of interference” in Cambodian affairs.

Seyha said such funding to groups like the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) and rights group Licadho, “under the pretext of democracy and human rights”, is “hindering the government effort in rebuilding the country and tearing down democracy progress in Cambodia.”

Comfrel and Licadho could not be reached for comment.

Trump’s platform during the bitterly fought campaign included the establishment of a Muslim registry, banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The letter also lauded him for promising “to stop the foreign policy of U.S. interference into the internal affairs of other countries and change their leadership including Cambodia.”

It said the U.S. bombing of Cambodia in the 1970s “gave rise” to the Khmer Rouge regime, which toppled the U.S.-backed Lon Nol government and went on to kill around 1.7 million people between April 1975 and January 1979.

Political analyst Ou Virak said on Friday that allegations of interference by local NGOs is nothing new and “has always been a concern, particularly after [the elections of] 2013”.

The new U.S. administration “could have an impact if the government keeps putting pressure on foreign-funded NGOs”, Virak said, but added that the groups focus more on non-violent forms of advocacy -- such as petitions -- and do not encourage violence.

Last Mod: 25 Kasım 2016, 14:44
Add Comment