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US Accused of “Using a Stick” to Hurt Cambodians

Phnom Penh: Secretary of State in the Ministry of Information, Chum Kosal, says the US is using “a stick to cut the wounds of the Cambodian people, who were healed, by making a law to punish Cambodian officials.”

Chum Kosal believes that a bill approved by the US Congress, aimed at imposing sanctions against senior officials of the Royal Government, is akin to “making Cambodians bleed again” after spending the past 40 years healing. He posted on Facebook on Saturday that he was “outraged by the US Congress passing a law imposing sanctions on Cambodian officials as a payment for the destruction of Cambodian civil liberties.” He said he “understands that this is no different from using a sharp stick to stab the wounds again of Cambodians who have been healing for more than 40 years.”

He recalled the Cambodian war of 1970 and the sanctions imposed on Cambodia in 1979 by the United States and its allies. He wrote: "Dropping millions of tons of bombs on the heads of Cambodians, destroying lives, destroying property every day, are these so-called freedom or considerations for Cambodians by the United States? In order to fulfill Cambodia's desire to become a member of its organization, it pushed the situation in Cambodia into a coup d'état, overthrew Samdech Ov, led the war into Cambodia, and gave the Khmer Rouge the opportunity to seize power and kill millions of Cambodians. It participated in imposing economic sanctions on Cambodia after 1979 and continues to intervene in Cambodia endlessly. How many of those American politicians care about the Cambodian people?".

He added that the current Cambodian people have the right to be free enough not to be destroyed by any official, except for perpetrators who have broken the law, “And the US Congress' legislation is only to please some people who are their political puppets.”

He says he hopes the law will not be approved by the Senate.

The “Cambodian Democracy Act 2021" or “HR 4686”was proposed by two US lawmakers, Steve Chabot and Alan Lowenthal, with the aim of punishing senior Cambodian officials whom the United States considers to have “destroyed democracy and human rights.” Sanctions would include the confiscation of property or money in the United States or even a ban on entering the United States altogether.

A Cambodian government spokesman said on Thursday that the bill would only tarnish US-Cambodian relations, as he believed the US Senate and president would not agree to the bill. Analysts believe that if the United States wants to support democracy and human rights in Cambodia, it should use bilateral help rather than sanctions.

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