Statement by Spokesperson Clayton M. McCleskey on the Dissolution of the Principal Opposition Party in the Kingdom of Cambodia

For Immediate Release

Friday, November 17, 2017
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

The U.S. Agency for International Development expresses its gravest concern at the decision of the Supreme Court of Cambodia to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).  The action is politically motivated, and represents a deliberate attempt by the Government of Cambodia to deny Cambodia's second largest party - which received 44 percent of the vote in the June 2017 commune elections - the right to participate in the country's 2018 National Elections.  The Cambodian government's disenfranchisement of millions of its citizens undermines fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law, and endangers Cambodia's economic prosperity and international standing.

The Supreme Court's decision follows other recent disturbing actions by the Government of Cambodia to restrict independent media, intimidate civil society and NGOs, and deny Cambodians their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms of assembly and free speech.

For the past quarter century, USAID programming in Cambodia has promoted human rights, supported democratic institutions, and strengthened the role of women and youth in the political process.  USAID has worked with the government and political parties - both those in power and those not - to enfranchise all of Cambodia's citizens.

To make the 2018 National Elections at all legitimate, we call upon the Royal Government of Cambodia to reverse its recent actions against the CNRP, release imprisoned CNRP leader Kem Sokha, and permit civil society organizations - that are committed to Cambodia's democratic development - the freedom to operate without interference.

Last updated: June 19, 2020

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