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Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

USAID is nurturing the development of the next generation of Cambodian leaders.
USAID is nurturing the development of the next generation of Cambodian leaders.
USAID/Dustin Roasa

Cambodia’s transition to democracy started approximately 20 years ago with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. At that time, the Royal Government of Cambodia emphasized stability while taking key steps toward democratization. Under its 1993 constitution, Cambodia is a multi-party democracy with a constitutional monarchy. For nearly three decades, however, the political system has been widely regarded as being dominated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Most observers note that the CPP exercises considerable control over the judiciary, the electoral system, the media, and the National Assembly (NA). Moreover, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s (RGC) inconsistent commitment to human rights has a negative impact on relations with the United States and the international community.

USAID works closely with civil society organizations to promote human rights, civil and political liberties, and strengthen the role of women and youth in the political process. By informing and encouraging constructive public debate about transparency and accountability, USAID lays the groundwork for building the political will for change. Our programs encourage youth and women to get involved in the democratic process.


  • Involved over 370,000 youth in civic educations programs, and reached over two million viewers with the Youth Leadership Challenge TV program. 
  • Created an interactive voice response (IVR) operated election information system that logged over 600,000 calls during the 2013 elections and IVR political party platform hotlines that generated over 645,166 calls since August 2014. Awarded almost $950,000 in 23 small grants to civil society organizations and companies to develop 42 technology solutions.
  • Funded counter trafficking-in-persons prevention campaigns that reached almost 180,000 people. Provided assistance to over 1,000 survivors of human trafficking.
  • At least 125 party activists and community representatives received legal representation, and more than 1,000 other individuals received paralegal advice often combined with trial monitoring and advocacy support.  
  • Support for labor rights and advocacy helped meet garment worker’s demands for increased minimum wage from $100 to $140 per month.

Last updated: October 04, 2016

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