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Cablegate: Phnom Penh Response to Activists for Democracy And

VZCZCXYZ0012
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPF #0381/01 1270945
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 060945Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0000

S E C R E T PHNOM PENH 000381

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2018
TAGS: PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: PHNOM PENH RESPONSE TO ACTIVISTS FOR DEMOCRACY AND
DISSIDENTS OUTREACH REQUEST

REF: A. STATE 44903
B. PHNOM PENH 360
C. PHNOM PENH 310
D. 07 PHNOM PENH 1500
E. 07 PHNOM PENH 143

1. (S) Summary: This is a response to Ref A requesting a
summary of Post's outreach and activities to support, seek
out and meet with activists for democracy and those who
demand human rights. There are no known major dissidents
from other countries living in Cambodia, however the Embassy
has been active in supporting North Korean asylum seekers
here and raising the situation of activists in Burma and
North Korea with the Cambodian government. In addition, the
list of Embassy activities to support and meet with Cambodian
democracy and human rights activists is long. As we have
stated elsewhere, the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia
destroyed the country's social and political underpinnings
such that, while democratic structures and processes have
advanced markedly, the government is still more autocratic
than democratic. In this context, there are no political
action groups in Cambodia and democracy and human rights
activists often accomplish their work through NGOs. End
summary.

2. (S) The Embassy promotes U.S. policies to support North
Korean asylum seekers, including the 2004 North Korean Human
Rights Act. Embassy officials maintain rigorous contact with
Cambodian government officials regarding North Korean
refugees who approached the Embassy, including the first four
in January 2007 (Refs E and F), to confirm the government's
assistance in ensuring a low-profile, relatively swift U.S.
resettlement process for the individuals. Since then, three
more North Koreans have approached the Embassy and a total of
four North Koreans have been resettled in the U.S. from
Cambodia.

3. (SBU) The Embassy has made multiple representations at
the highest level pressing for stronger support for the
democratization of Burma, release of political prisoners
there, and the transparent adoption of a constitution by the
Burmese people according to international norms. The Embassy
has also facilitated exchanges on Burma between senior U.S.
Government officials and high-ranking Cambodian officials.
U.S. Embassy support for democracy activists in Burma helped
keep the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) focused on
ASEAN's support for international efforts such as the Gambari
mission and to use the RGC's own influence to effect positive
change in Burma.

4. (SBU) Embassy officials frequently reach out to Khmer
Kampuchea Krom human rights activists in Cambodia. Khmer
Kampuchea Krom are ethnically Khmer, like the majority of
Cambodians, but they historically have inhabited an area that
is within Vietnam's borders and Cambodian Khmer Kampuchea
Krom closely follow the treatment of their ethnic kin in
Vietnam. As stated in the 2007 Cambodia Country Report on
Human Rights Practices (HRR), the Cambodian government has
disrupted some Khmer Kampuchea Krom demonstrations against
alleged mistreatment of Khmer Kampuchea Krom persons in
Vietnam. Among the many Embassy outreach efforts in regards
to the Khmer Kampuchea Krom, we called a meeting with several
Khmer Kampuchea Krom human rights activists to discuss issues
specific to this minority group. In addition, in the wake of
a bombing plot nominally linked to a small, unorganized group
of Khmer Kampuchea Krom supporters, we have reached out to
Khmer Kampuchea Krom political activists, including a former
Cambodian Senator, to ascertain the situation of their civil
and political rights and to offer the continued assistance of
the Embassy to ensure their right to conduct legitimate
political activities.

5. (SBU) We also regularly engage with activists for
democracy and human rights. In early April, the Embassy led
discussions with members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party
(SRP) and the Ministry of Interior (MOI) when the MOI and
other government officials signaled they would deny
permission for a rally organized by the SRP (Ref C). In
advance of Human Rights Day on December 10, the Ambassador
headed another Embassy intercession with the MOI when
government officials denied local human rights leaders and
NGOs permission to march and rally in observance of the day
(Ref D). Both peaceful marches and rallies were permitted
after Embassy involvement in the discussions about granting
permission.

6. (SBU) The Ambassador met (septel) with four major
political party leadership groups -- including the opposition
Human Rights Party and Sam Rainsy Party -- to emphasize the
USG's support for democratic processes in the run-up to the

July national election and to outline the Embassy's
commitment to monitoring the election, to promoting more
equal access to media, and to advocating for a free and fair
electoral process.

7. (SBU) In addition, the Embassy encourages high-level
visitors to meet with human rights and democracy activists
while they are in Cambodia. For example, during Senator
Maria Cantwell's (D-WA) November 2007 visit, she participated
in a coffee hosted by the DCM with NGOs active in the issue
of trafficking-in-persons, and a November 2007 Congressional
staff delegation met with human rights leaders during a human
rights roundtable at the Embassy.
MUSSOMELI

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