WHEREAS free and fair elections are a vital component of a democratic state in the protection of the liberty and human rights of its citizenship; and
WHEREAS the Paris Peace Accords of 1991 sought to resolve political conflict and turmoil in Cambodia by setting forth the right to self-determination of its people through free and fair elections; and
WHEREAS significant expenditures in the form of international aid have been made in order to promote a pluralistic, multi-party democratic system in Cambodia; and
WHEREAS Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in Cambodia since 1985 and has consolidated authority over the nation’s government, granting control of every state agency and security apparatus to the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP); and
WHEREAS each of the five elections held in Cambodia for the office of Prime Minister since 1991 have been marked by fraud, voter intimidation, and the misuse of legal mechanisms by the government to suppress support for opposition candidates and parties, and have thereby not been free nor fair; and
WHEREAS the government of Cambodia has engaged in oppressive tactics aimed at limiting conditions that are intrinsic to a democratic state including the restriction of its media environment by ordering radio stations to cease operations and by arresting journalists; and
WHEREAS in efforts to repress viable political challenges, the government of Cambodia has dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and has arrested said party’s President, Kem Sokha, on politically motivated charges; and
WHEREAS the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been enriched by its significant population of Cambodian American people, many of whom entered the United States as refugees or as asylum seekers escaping genocide and from conditions that demonstrate the humanitarian hardships posed by the absence of democracy; and
WHEREAS the United States has a responsibility to take action in order to prevent the undermining of democracy around the globe;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature calls upon the Congress, the President and the Vice President of the United States to support and enact legislation imposing sanctions on the government of Cambodia in order to promote democracy and prevent the further erosion of human rights in the nation, including the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019 and the Cambodian Trade Act of 2019; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from Massachusetts in the Congress of the United States.
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