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Yearbook 2019

Cambodia. Cambodia continued to be criticized for the negative democratic development. The key EU trading partner investigated Cambodia's duty-free status under the "Everything but Arms" program. If Cambodia is deleted, it would hit the important export of textiles, an industry that employs up to 800,000 people.

2019 Cambodia

Minimum wages in the tech industry will be increased by 4.4% from the beginning of 2020 following a government decision. The trade unions had demanded greater premiums, while employers wanted less. Opposition leader Kem Sokha was released on November 10 from his year-long house arrest, but still faces a 30-year prison sentence for alleged coup plans. The EU and others demand that the prosecution be discontinued and more political relief not to punish Phnom Penh.

Other shortcomings highlighted by the UN and human rights groups relate to the difficulties faced by individual organizations in Cambodia, the closure of media companies and the failure to investigate the assassinations of oppositionists.

The government and the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) considered that the UN Special Rapporteur for Cambodia, Rhona Smith, violated her role when she criticized the continued lack of dialogue with the opposition.

The disputed espionage process against two journalists working for Radio Free Asia (RFA) rolled on. They were arrested in November 2017. In October, the judge requested a new investigation instead of serving the expected sentence. Reporters Without Borders listed Cambodia at 143 among 180 countries on its press freedom index, a decline of eleven placements in two years. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in July that Cambodia will buy weapons for about $ 40 million from China. Previous purchases totaled approximately $ 290 million. He denied that China would gain access to a secret base near the port city of Sihanoukville.

Hun Sen ordered in early November that some 60 political prisoners, many linked to the banned opposition party CNRP (Cambodia's National Rescue Party), should be released on bail. But some 20 were detained according to other data and even the released were forbidden to work politically for five years.

According to CountryAAH, CNRP's acting leader Sam Rainsy tried to return from his exile in connection with Independence Day, November 9, to lead a campaign to restore democracy. The plan kicked off when he was denied entry into Thailand, from where he intended to continue to Cambodia. However, Rainsy stated that he had important conversations with leading politicians in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In 2019, the 40th anniversary of the Red Khmer event was marked by various ceremonies. On August 4, the movement's former chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, aged 93, sometimes known as "brother number two" died. He served a life sentence for genocide during the Red Khmer terrorist regime in 1975-79 when at least 1.7 million people are believed to have died.

Cambodia joined several neighboring countries that refused to receive waste from Western countries. In July, 1 600 tonnes of plastic waste were returned to the US and Canada. The country is not a waste bin for other countries' waste and waste electronics, the Ministry of the Environment announced. A Chinese company was fined $ 250,000 for illegally importing the waste, several media reported.

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