The US has placed conditions on its aid to Cambodia over the kingdom’s human rights violations and growing ties to China. The change is not likely to achieve any major changes unless the US comes with an offer that matches China’s commitment to the current regime in Cambodia.
The case represents a civilian win against the military but likely doesn’t signal a shift as far as accountability for the military’s human rights abuses, including its record of genocidal acts against the Rohingya.
Malaysia has reportedly withheld a report on Rohingya graves a full year after a government probe. Its government should make its findings public on the grounds of transparency and accountability.
Vietnam’s economy is expected to gain enormously from the FTA with the EU. However, the country will face major criticism unless it adopts labor and human rights reforms.
Emboldened by its increasing influence in the UN, Beijing is ramping up its attempts to reframe the international human rights conversation.
Since taking office, President Duterte has eschewed traditional allies in favour of a pivot towards Beijing. Three years into his term, there are few tangible signs that it was a worthwhile endeavour.
The Cambodian government plans to eliminate six public holidays, including International Human Rights Day, in a move to attract investors. But the ploy has drawn criticism from civil society and suggests the government will refuse to engage with the EU on domestic rights issues.
A UN special rapporteur is urging the Cambodian government to improve its plans for inclusive development, protect freedoms of assembly and expression, and end unjust detentions.
As government officials and leaders from across the globe arrive in Beijing ahead of the Second Belt and Road Forum, they should consider whether China is meeting local and international environmental obligations.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced reforms to offset the loss of free trade privileges with the EU. His announcement shows that he is most concerned by how the sanctions may impact him politically.