Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Statements by Members
I hereby lodge this petition, subject to the approval of the Petitions Committee, of 1,400 Cambodian Australians pertaining to the grave human rights abuses that are being perpetrated on the Cambodian community. I do so today in the presence of a large group of Cambodian community leaders who have come a long way today to the parliament and to them I say: chum reap suor. Welcome to your parliament. It is a great privilege to represent so many of you in my community of Hotham.
Human rights and democracy in Cambodia are under grave attack. The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has dissolved the Cambodian opposition party. He has banned senior opposition officials from politics for five years. The president of the CNRP faces up to 30 years in prison. The ruling party has been implicated in the assassination of protesters, including Dr Kem Lay, who was assassinated in the streets of Phnom Penh not long after addressing a big group of activists in my community of Hotham. His widow has now settled under refugee protection in my electorate.
Hun Sen has threatened to beat Australians who live in this country who demonstrated against his visit recently. On 9 November, Sam Rainsy will return to Cambodia as an act of protest. I want to say that the world, this parliament and Australia are watching his return. We demand that he be treated with respect, as any political leader should be in their country of origin.