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.
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
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
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
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.