Human Rights Activism and the International Community
This chapter explores the international community’s role in the implementation of human rights and democracy in Cambodia by focusing on the activities surrounding the arrest and subsequent release of Cambodian human rights activists from 2005 to 2006. After providing an overview of the 2005–2006 events, it considers the national, international, and regional responses as well as their implications for indigenous human rights activism in Cambodia. The Cambodian case demonstrates the positive side of international involvement in the realm of voice and accountability. Cambodia’s experience with freedom of expression was backed by an internal movement and got important results that probably would not have been delivered without international pressure. The international community helped to fund organizations that are working to make Cambodian democracy more liberal. However, foreign aid has not been targeted to build up civil society beyond elections, and pressure on government to reform has been weak. This chapter recommends future efforts to promote freedom of expression and human rights as democratic processes in Cambodia.
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