A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Cambodians abroad should have right to vote: UN

Wednesday, 29 August 2012
By Bridget Di Certo 
Phnom Penh Post
A woman votes during nationwide commune elections at a polling station in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in June. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian citizens living abroad should be entitled to vote in national elections, UN special rapporteur Surya Subedi emphasised in his 2012 report on electoral reform.

Allowing Cambodian citizens abroad to vote, “at least in the countries where it has diplomatic and/or consular representation”, was one of 18 recommendations Subedi made on Monday

The sentiment was echoed by election monitor Comfrel’s director Koul Panha yesterday.

“Cambodians living abroad contribute in a big way to the economy in Cambodia and they should be able to be connected to Cambodian politics and encouraged to vote,” Panha said. “They sacrifice a lot to live abroad and we should be connecting them with the contribution they make to the economy through democracy.”

Special rapporteur Subedi also stressed that “voting should not be a privilege but a right”.

“As a country that has ratified many international human [rights] treaties and that currently holds the chairmanship of ASEAN, Cambodia should aspire to be a model in the region when it comes to holding free and fair elections, and should do better than many States whose democracy remains in its infancy,” he said.

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua said Cambodians living abroad were often upset about being unable to vote.

“This recommendation is not for party gain, but to protect constitutional rights,” Sochua said, noting that voting rights are not restricted to residents.

“This is not just Sam Rainsy Party members who are outside Cambodia, the Cambodian People’s Party also has its own members,” she continued, adding that all Cambodian citizens were allowed to vote in the UN-sponsored elections in 1993.

However, Panha said the clock was ticking on making reforms before next year’s elections.

“If [the NEC] really wanted something to happen in one year, it can happen, but I think now it is too late,” for change before 2013, he said.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha welcomed the recommendations in the report.

“For voting abroad at election time, we can allow people living in the country but who are working or studying abroad to have rights to vote. But for those who have been living abroad forever, no country would allow them to vote.”[Italy allowed Italians living overseas permanently to vote.  In 1993, UNTAC allowed Cambodians living permanently abroad to vote].

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Meas Sokchea


Anonymous said...

Yes that right khmers lives any where can vote,Khmer Surin can vote..khmers krom can vote,Yuons can't vote.Stop Cpp from using Yuon to gain their vote.

Anonymous said...

Khmer surin would probably vote for thai prime minister yingluck to rule cambodia.

Anonymous said...

LOL, but in reality CPP knew that most Khmers who were living abroad got exposed to FREEDOM & LIBERTY will not vote for a repressive regime CPP. Youn will not let us oversea vote. Sad we had foreigners tell us that we can't vote in our own country political process. Khmer Surine, Khmer Krom are not Cambodian citizens so even though they are our Khmer brothers & sisters but they are citizens of that respective country. I am both U. S and Cambodian citizenship so BY LAWS I can vote the CPP out of the office.

Anonymous said...

But Cpp using illegal Yuons to vote for them or using the death people name to vote for them, when came to khmers everywhere can't or won't allow to vote in an election process,that is sad for all khmers that want to make their voices heard and control freak's regime won't let them.

Anonymous said...

Be serious about this situation. Under the International law the Khmer Krom or Khmer Surin, Boreirom or Ubon-Sisaket can't take part of the Cambodian national election.
Only oversea Khmer from Cambodian have the right to vote, except some immigrants of Khmer descents from the Mekong delta and Thailand, who also have the wish to take part, they are eligible to vote, in case they are US or European citizenships.

Anonymous said...

If Cambodia is serious about giving Khmer the opportunity to move forward. The leader can make many things possible, whether allowing Khmer Surin or Khmer born overseas to vote.

But the reality is very slim, as we all know the Virtminh Hun Sen is a Khmer traitor. He will never allow such thing to happen. This Khmer traitor will kill any Khmer who brings him no gain. Chea Sim and Heng Samrin were born in Vietminh, now ther true colour reveals.

These Khmer traitors will do anything to kill Khmer for as long as the Vietnamese support them for national gains.