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Carter Center Condemns Dissolution of Cambodian Opposition Party

Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,

ATLANTA — The Carter Center deeply regrets the decision of the Cambodian Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. The decision, taken in response to a government-initiated lawsuit, follows a government crackdown on peaceful opposition that has included the arrest of CNRP leader Kem Sokha in early September and the closure of numerous media outlets. The abuse of the judicial system to eliminate the main opposition party is a serious violation of the right of Cambodian citizens to freely choose their representatives, specified in international law. 

The move against the CNRP is particularly disheartening in view of the positive efforts Cambodia has made since 2013 to reform the election administration and to improve the quality of the voter lists. The decision to reverse course means that Cambodians will not have genuine choice and competition in the upcoming election.

During a Carter Center pre-election visit to Cambodia in August, representatives of the ruling party, the opposition, civil society, and the election administration expressed interest in a Carter Center observation mission for the upcoming election. However, the court decision and the serious deterioration of the political environment means The Carter Center cannot consider deploying observers to an election process that is manifestly unfair. 

The Carter Center urges the government of Cambodia to take the following steps immediately to allow the Cambodian people to exercise their democratic rights in accordance with Cambodia’s international and regional commitments and obligations:

  • Annul the dissolution of the CNRP and the ban on many of its activists from participating in politics for the next five years
  • Release Kem Sokha from detention
  • Allow print and electronic media to function and report freely


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.