Joint Statement from Over 200 Civil Society Organizations Condemns Hun Sen’s Visit to Myanmar

This week, Cambodia Strong Man, Prime Minister Hun Sen is going to visit Myanmar on January 7 as part of his plan to “strengthen the ASEAN” as chairman of ASEAN in 2022, ignoring the ASEAN’s Five-Points Consensus during the ASEAN Summit in October.

Myanmar’s military junta took power by a coup in Feb 2021, since then, nearly 1,400 people have been killed, including children, and 11,328 people have been illegally detained  according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Many towns and villages have been destroyed by artillery shelling and airstrikes causing over 280,000 civilians to loose their homes and are displaced. Medical and humanitarian aid access have also been cut. Since the coup, the military junta have not been able to gain control of the Myanmar people because of the civil disobedience movement and their legitimately elected government, NUG, still have a seat at the U.N. Myanmar’s junta application for membership was rejected by the U.N. in December and the ASEAN excluded the junta from attending its summit meeting in October.

Protest of Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar. Courtesy Photo.

Over 200 civil society organizations of Myanmar and Cambodia issued a joint statement on January 4th, 2022 condemning Hun Sen’s upcoming visit, “we strongly condemn Hun Sen for supporting the criminal military junta in Myanmar and demand an urgent coordinated international response to immediately halt the junta’s campaign of terror.”

The statement included gruesome details of people burned alive to death in the villages by junta soldiers, amounting to war crimes and crime against humanity. The statement reminded the horrors of Cambodia’s past that, “Hun Sen must not condone and applaud such inhumane acts and should know well of the pain and immense suffering of genocide on a nation, given the millions of Cambodian people who were victims and survivors of genocide committed by the tyrannical Khmer Rouge. Hun Sen must not lend legitimacy to the genocidal junta, and he must not forget the suffering of millions of Cambodians who faced genocide.”

The statement calls upon the ASEAN, the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council, that have backed the ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, to ensure that Hun Sen must not act alone in 2022 – lending legitimacy to the Myanmar military junta. It further asked the ASEAN member states to cut all business ties with the military junta and programs that help legitimize the junta, as these activities are complicit in the junta’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the people of Cambodia are in the midst of their own struggle for a free democratic country, protection for human rights, and calling for a free and fair elections in 2022. Cambodia has become a one party state since 2018 after seizing power from the opposition party — Cambodia National Rescue Party.

“Myanmar declare in the strongest terms that Hun Sen is not welcome in Myanmar and the undersigned Cambodian civil society organizations declare that Hun Sen’s views are his own and do not represent the will of the Cambodian people,” wrote the statement. Many towns and villages in Myanmar have popped up protests of Hun Sen’s visit.