Kem Sokha of the Human Rights Party(L)and Sam Rainsy shake hands after signing a joint agreement merging two of Cambodia's biggest opposition parties.
Leaders of the top opposition parties in Cambodia, the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and the Human Rights Party (HRP), convened at the CALD Secretariat in the Philippine capital of Manila to discuss the long-awaited unification of the two parties. After two days of careful deliberations, SRP President Sam Rainsy and HRP President Kem Sokha reached a historic agreement to "unite in accordance with the Khmer people's will in order to save Cambodia by bringing about political change to put an end to a dictatorship serving destructive foreign interests."
The merger between SRP and HRP aims to directly oppose the dictatorial government that lies at the root of Cambodia's problems. The ruling Cambodia People's Party (CPP) recklessly exercises its power in violation of human rights and without consideration of national interests. It is this government that has led Hon. Sam into multiple self-imposed exiles to avoid imprisonment for politically motivated charges.
During his exiles, Hon. Sam has turned to the CALD Secretariat on multiple occasions to host critical meetings and planning sessions. On 16 to 17 July 2012, the Secretariat once again proudly hosted Hon. Sam—this time for the momentous union between SRP and HRP.
The union of these two parties aims to establish a genuinely democratic regime that caters to the national interest. Among the many goals of the union, lie two important objectives. First, it intends to change the composition of the National Election Committee and overhaul election procedures to ensure free and fair elections. Second, it aims to promote free and full participation of the political opposition by halting the use of the judiciary for political intimidation and harassment.
With the imminent merger in motion, the two parties leave the CALD Secretariat with many critical tasks. However, the new responsibilities can now be executed with an expanded base, a fresh outlook, and a more promising future.
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE SAM RAINSY PARTY (SRP) AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY (HRP)
In meetings between the SRP, led by its president Sam Rainsy, and the HRP, led by its president Kem Sokha, in Manila on July 16 and 17, 2012, the two parties made the following decisions:
- The SRP and the HRP will unite in accordance with the Khmer people's will in order to save Cambodia by bringing about political change to put an end to a dictatorship serving destructive foreign interests.
- The two parties will merge to form a new party that will unite all patriots and democrats so as to establish a democratic regime that will properly defend our national interests.
- The two parties will push for the holding of free, fair and genuine elections that will peacefully lead to the desired democratic change. In this respect, the two parties absolutely insist on a change in the composition of the National Election Committee and an overhaul of the current complicated election procedures that make voting unnecessarily difficult.
- The two parties absolutely insist on the free and full participation of the leader of the opposition in the election process, so as to make any election legitimate and acceptable. In this respect, they demand that the authorities stop using the judiciary to harass political opponents and human rights defenders.
- The two parties will ensure close cooperation between recently elected leaders and members of commune councils who are party members in order to improve the efficiency of local governments and to promote democracy at the grassroots level.
While the new party is being formed, the SRP and the HRP have decided to set up the Cambodia Democratic Movement for National Rescue, to unite all patriotic and democratic forces so as to begin immediately to fulfill our national mission.
Manila, July 17, 2012