Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Human Rights Party granted extension

Human Rights Party granted extension

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Supporters march after the Human Rights Party announced its dissolution in January 2018. Post Pix

Human Rights Party granted extension

The Ministry of Interior granted the Human Rights Party (HRP) and Candlelight Party six-month extensions to provide the government with official lists of party leaders, a letter written by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Friday.

“The ministry of interior agrees to allow the Human Rights Party to have a six-month delay in fulfilling the conditions as stipulated in Article 26 of the new Law on Political Party from the date of this notice until June 2020,” the letter obtained by The Post read.

Founded by Kem Sokha in 2007, HRP merged with the Sam Rainsy Party in 2012 to form the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

HRP former president Son Soubert announced the dissolution of the party last January, but the ministry said two-thirds of its party members failed to formally cast votes on the matter as prescribed by law.

Similarly, the Candlelight Party, which was founded in 1995 as the Khmer Nation Party and changed to the Sam Rainsy Party in 1998, held a congress last February to change the party’s statute in a bid to dissolve the party.

HRP secretary-general Hing Sok San said on Sunday that the party did not have any members left in its ranks, making it impossible to send a list of members as all of them had left to join the CNRP.

“The names of all party leaders must be sent to the Ministry of Interior, including the Candlelight Party and the Human Rights Party. The Candlelight Party has already sent the list and there is no problem.

“However, the Human Rights Party has no members remaining because they all left for the CNRP, so it could not provide a list as required by the Ministry of Interior,” San said.

The extension was granted two years after Sar Kheng, who is also a deputy prime minister, sent two separate letters to HRP president Son Soubert and Candlelight Party president Teav Vannol requiring them to send a list of leaders to the ministry after previous documents were found to be insufficient.

Kem Monovithya, the daughter of former CNRP president Kem Sokha, on Friday said on Twitter: “The Human Rights Party has not sent a list of names of leaders and requested a delay. It has sent a request to the authorities to dissolve the party since 2018.

“For the Sam Rainsy Party, it has fulfilled its obligations to the ministry in order to remain registered as a party.”

Soubert, who said he resigned as HRP president after the dissolution announcement, told The Post that he was not aware of the request for an extension as a replacement should have assumed his former role.

Former HRP senior official Pol Hom said that while he too was unaware of the party’s request for an extension, the ministry may have requested the list of senior members to provide them with “political rehabilitation”.

Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said that among those to be rehabilitated within the next six months maybe Kem Sokha if he chooses to return to the HRP.

“It is a good option, Kem Sokha should consider relegitimising the Human Rights Party. If [he] talks about the reviving of CNRP, it would be certain that Kem Sokha would still be under [court supervised bail],” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay told The Post: “Given today’s political climate, the ministry has an objective in mind when granting the Human Rights Party an extension.

“When there were demands for the release of its former president Kem Sokha, his release was the key demand from the EU to continue [‘Everything but Arms’] for Cambodia.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration