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Have Cambodian Youths Taken Part In Democratization Process?


After the Paris Peace Agreement on 23 October 1991, I have learnt that it was not only the achievements that has brought peace, security and stability to our nation, but also the newly political system known as Democratic regime which was introduced to every Cambodia’s citizen for exercising their rights based on our constitutional law. In this sense, every people who have the rights to vote could determine their national destination by choosing their representative at the National Assembly. Therefore, under the supervision of UNTAC, Cambodia was held its first national election successfully in 1993.

Currently, I have seen a significant development with a note that democratization process in Cambodia have been in tremendous changes as national elections have been maintaining its momentum till nowadays. As the evidence, the upcoming national election will be convened on 28th July 2013 which is the fifth Cambodian national election. While at the same time, there has no any such of violence or criminal actions which are suspicious as the political criminal act as it used to happen in the previous election. There is also another notion of the betterment of democratization process which is the reduction of political party numbers in this fifth national election. The reduction of political parties  has demonstrated the vital voice and the efficiency of  national election as it will strengthen the best option for population to vote for.

More importantly, youth participation is the essential play in progress of  the democratization in Cambodia. Another newly outstanding movement of Cambodia young generation has recently emerged which it is already reflected the active participation in the Cambodian social problems and daily political life. This year during the official visiting of Prof. Surya Subedi, Special Raporteur appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, there was a group of students who had demonstrated and expressed their opinions by criticizing on his report of the current human rights condition in Cambodia. Prof. Surya Subedi was not welcomed by those students who were participating in the lecture presented at the Mekong University of Cambodia. There were a lot of controversies regarding to the expression made by this group of students. On one hand, from this group of students point of view is that the report will significantly damage the Cambodia national interests, national prestiges and will lead to less foreign direct investment in Cambodia as the report of the human rights condition in Cambodia is biased without reflecting the reality of Cambodia Society. As they said, the report reflected only the negative side and did not point out Cambodian Royal Government’s efforts on the national development and other achievements. On the another hand, there was also another opinion which strongly opposed to the above mention as they have seen the advantages of this report. This point of view was indicated via a famous social network  known as Facebook. There were so many reactions regarding the unwelcoming event that made by a group of students at the conference of Mekong University of Cambodia. These pro-Surya Subedia group were from a lot of Cambodia youths who had came up with comments, suggestions and  many individual short video presenting their ideas; while at the same time, they expressed their regrets on those students’ activities regarding to the Surya’s report. The pro-group firmly believes that the report will significantly bring a numerous promotion and protection of human rights in Cambodia and that will definitely bring social justice and a betterment of human rights to Cambodian citizens. Therefore, they wish to see other official visiting and report that Surya may have once again.

However, beyond these controversies, I have learned that it is a good signed for democratization which participation from youths is the prominent importance of the process. Currently, Cambodian youths have been actively and increasingly involved in a wide range of  economic, socio-cultural and political issues. Without participation and support from population, there would be no such a development in all kinds of sectors. Anyway, youth participation and other rest people’s participation alone would not work well and would not also contribute much to the process as it obviously demands people’s understanding on the principle of democracy, fundamental freedom, rule of law, good governance, their obligations and duties as the citizens. Without these basic knowledges, even they are likely to involve in the process,  people would still participate in such an ignorant manner or like walking in the darkest place due to they will be easily cheated by a particular party which uses its political campaign and political propaganda to lobby the whole population in order to achieve its own selfish goal. Thus, in this sense, I would strongly encourage people, especially young generation of Cambodian who is the majority proportion among the total number of people who have rights to vote, shall actively participate in the exchange views, sharing constructive ideas, comments, suggestions and recommendations in terms of  the social problems and the political issues. In this context, a big thank shall be given to a newly social network, Facebook to be specific, due to it has provided a bloc for Cambodia users for not only communicating and entertaining, but also a very great place for group discussion while at the same time sharing their opinions on the recent development in society. To do so, it would enhance every individual awareness, position and deter respective political party from cheating people due to every one has closely followed-up activities and policies of every political party.

Well, it shall be also well-informed that the final indicator of every national election in every nation on earth is to find the good, the harmony, the prosperity, and the sake of their citizens and national interests. In this regard, there is no matter any one will vote for any party or vote for no party, that are their rights and those voters are still your friends, your families and your shared blood as Khmer citizens. Since the final goal is a common dream of every voter, then do not take political consideration to value someone, allow it affect on your the relationship and let the violence occur. Whatsoever, I am still encouraging every person to carry on expressing what they have gotten and share it for the sake of learning. Even though, you and I may not politicians but we have also to understand things and check-up what the government has done whether it is consistent with what they have promised in their policy before national election. To do so, we would be able to value on that particular political party for the next upcoming national election by our own self whether we should or not vote for them again.  Abraham Lincoln said that “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Therefore, We, Cambodian citizens have to know our own rights and powers to exercise it properly and appropriately in order to realize our dream as Khmer Empire in the past. It is time to start our own dream, let’s do it together!!!

Phnom Penh, 22 June 2013


By Khov Ea Hai.

A great achievement always starts from a simple pace.


One comment on “Have Cambodian Youths Taken Part In Democratization Process?

  1. Pingback: First Day of National Election Campaign | Home Page

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2013 by in Cambodia, Learning and tagged , .
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