Cambodian Youths Organizing a Global Cambodia Youth Network

Lowell, MA – Global Cambodia Youth Network held an online election for the 2nd time since its inception in 2021. Sophorn Lary was re-elected as president and said “our mission is to actively engage Cambodian youths to influence changes in Cambodia, promote democracy so its citizens can live with integrity.”

Sophorn Lary, GCYN President
Eam Bunnarith, Secretary General

Additional results included Ing Chhung Leang as vice president; Eam Bunnarith, secretary general, and Seng Mengbunrong, treasurer.

The Global Cambodian Youth Network aims to mobilize young people around the world, both “patriots and democrats who want to organize and rebuild Cambodia well and correctly based on the principles of morality, truth, and justice,” wrote in the statement.

The group said despite the promises of the Paris Peace Accords in 1991 which was carried out by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia to rebuild free and fair election in 1993, it failed the mission because major national issues such as corruption, poverty, social injustice, deforestation, human rights abuses, illegal immigration and territorial integrity.

Global Cambodia Youth Network, Australia

Cambodia was ruled by dictator Hun Sen for 38 years as the world longest autocrat until he recently “handed” over to his son, Hun Manet by a one-party vote. A report published by the Human Rights Watch in 2018, “Cambodia: Hun Sen’s abusive generals” which named twelve Hun Sen generals who committed human rights abuses and war crimes since 1970 gets paid handsomely and are responsible for keeping him in place. The report also wrote that each general is a member of the Cambodian People Party Central Committee, the party’s highest policy-making body. Members of the central committee are required to carry out all party policies. This conflicts with international human rights standards which Cambodia signed in the Paris Peace Accords. Apparently, it is also violated article 9 of Cambodia’s Law on the General Status of Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (1997), which states that “military personnel shall be neutral in their functions and work activities, and the use of functions/titles and the state’s materials for serving any political activities shall be prohibited.”

Seng Mengbunrong, Treasurer
Ing Chhung Leang, Vice President

Human Right Watch also stated, “under Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia is in a human rights freefall. Despite the strong human rights provisions in the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements and the 1993 constitution—and billions of dollars in development aid, including a plethora of technical assistance devoted to the rule of law, judicial reform, and human rights—the country is rapidly reverting towards a one-party state.”

Cambodia has peaked twice as a biparty state and both had been crushed by the Hun Sen regime. In 1997, Hun Sen staged a coup against his co-prime Minister Prince Randarith and in 2017, Hun Sen dissolved the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) which received 45% of the country’s votes. Sam Rainsy, the founding father of the party was convicted on trumped-up charges in multiple criminal cases and has been living in exile since 2015 to avoid imprisonment. His successor, Kem Sokha, was arbitrarily arrested in September 2017 on baseless treason charges, imprisoned and banned from doing politics.

GCYN workshop presentation by Dr. Seng Sary, Australia. Feb. 9, 2024.

“Our goal is strengthening ties amongst Cambodian youths living abroad, together we learn and train leadership skills, technology, democratic process, and provide support to Khmer youths in Cambodia who wants make changes in Cambodia,” said President of Global Cambodia Youth Network Sophorn Lary.

Lary said his group helped support 70 candidates whose are under 35 years old in the last election cycle. “Our group is open to not just those who are actively engaged in politics in Cambodia, but to anyone who is concerned about Cambodia and wants to make changes to the current governing system. We also welcome youths from the current ruling’s party who dares to speak the truth and express disagreement with the way its party currently operates.” Global Cambodia Youth Network successfully recruited 394 members and is established in 11 countries around the world at the time of this report.