Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in the shade. Photo: PinInterest

A report early this month in US media lent credence to rumors that for the last two decades Cambodia’s leader, Hun Sen, has been paying foreign diplomats who served in Cambodia as his advisers to “cooperate and engage” with the international community and the United Nations.

News that Doug Ericksen, a Washington state senator, had been put on Cambodia’s payroll, reportedly to the tune of US$500,000 annually, should cause international furore, particularly for foreign-aid donors like Australia, Japan and the European Union that continue to treat Cambodia as an impoverished nation worthy of their support.

As Cambodia receives foreign aid to help improve the lot of its impoverished people, the Hun Sen regime sees it as its right to pay foreigners to “give advice to improve” relations with the West for “peace and economic prosperity.”

Donor countries and the international community have a moral responsibility to condemn the regime for its efforts to plunder the kingdom’s wealth.

Rumors about Ericksen aroused suspicions as he was one of the “international observers” during the national election in 2018, after which, as described by The Seattle Times, projected “a surprisingly rosy view of the recent election in Cambodia, which the US government and many others have condemned as unfair and undemocratic.”

Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch, called out legislators who “have put their hand up to serve as cogs in Hun Sen’s propaganda machine.… Their presence here shows they hold in contempt the principles of free and fair elections, an independent media, and a neutral election administration – because all those things are lacking in Hun Sen’s Cambodia.”

Lesson for Australia

In 2018 Australia passed the landmark National Security (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act. Strong community concern had demanded that lawmakers take action in the aftermath of a scandal that claimed the political career of a senator linked to a Chinese businessman.

While the Australian law does not target Chinese nationals – it aims to criminalize covert, deceptive or threatening actions that are intended to interfere with democratic processes or provide intelligence to overseas governments – nonetheless recent actions by the federal government point to a different motive.

A Chinese billionaire became the first casualty as his Australian citizenship application was denied and was banned entry to Australia, despite being a longtime resident in Sydney.

However, implementation of this law across the board is yet to apply to members of the Cambodian regime, who fly in and fly out of Australia to promote political recruitment among students and members of the diaspora community – legitimized and participated in by Cambodia’s ambassador in Canberra.

Foreign interference takes different forms, besides contributing political donations and accepting payment from leaders such as Hun Sen. As laws became more stringent, so does the strategy of anti-human-rights networks that seek to exploit the loopholes. Contributions to local charity organizations and holding “dodgy community fundraising events organized by … goons” is an effective strategy aimed at gaining access to local politicians to legitimize their connections and popularity.

Hun Sen’s investment in these foreign politicians and diplomats has resulted in his status as a strongman. That strategy culminated with his draconian reign of terror.

In Hun Sen’s Cambodia, money, power and status are used as means to terrorize impoverished people by those helping to gloss over the regime’s crimes under the pretext of peace and prosperity, resulting in foreign aid achieving harmful rather than meaningful effects.

Australia slashes aid to Cambodia

In a surprise move early this month, Australian aid to Cambodia was slashed from A$53 million to A$43 million (US$30.2 million) for the 2019-20 fiscal year according to the federal budget announcement by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Local Cambodian diaspora groups have lobbied the Australian government to remove or restrict foreign aid to Cambodia until the Hun Sen regime implements human rights under the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.

While Pacific nations had their aid retained, Cambodia and Pakistan were affected by the budget announcement. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that the budget was about “advancing Australia’s national interests by protecting our security and prosperity.”

Another area that should be reviewed by Australia and other donor countries is educational aid, for foreign-funded education has not given Cambodian students the opportunity to apply their “leadership skills” as claimed by most Western countries helping Cambodia.

Students educated in countries such as Australia have not been able to put their skills to good use, as patronage becomes a criterion – with the exception of those students working for a few private corporations. Students are being used to help the system that their scholarship was supposed to help eradicate – the very regime that deprived them of education in the first place.

Besides misspending Cambodia’s wealth on foreign politicians, Freedom House recently noted, “The prime minister has his own mobile application, encourages social media use amongst civil servants, and livestreams events and speeches on both official government websites and on Facebook, where he has more than 10 million followers. The apparent popularity of Hun Sen on Facebook has prompted questions about government manipulation of online content, potentially facilitated by public funds.”

The international community including Australia have an obligation to combat authoritarianism as much as terrorism, especially when a regime like Hun Sen’s openly pays foreign politicians to do their dirty diplomatic work as part of a strategy to present a rosy image to the world, while at the same time threatening its citizens with civil war and issuing a declaration for the army to crush political opponents against the banned opposition – of which reinstatement has been demanded by the European Parliament.

Join the Conversation


  1. I always spent my half an hour to read this
    website’s articles all the time along with
    a cup of coffee.

  2. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  3. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog.
    You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good
    asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d
    really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested.
    Thanks! plenty of fish natalielise

  4. Attractive part of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and
    in accession capital to say that I acquire actually enjoyed account
    your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing on your augment or even I success
    you get admission to consistently rapidly. plenty of fish natalielise

  5. Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your site.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hey there, You have performed an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my
    friends. I’m confident they will be benefited
    from this website.

  6. Hello there I am so excited I found your webpage, I
    really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Aol for something else, Anyways I am here
    now and would just like to say thank you for a marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I
    also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have bookmarked
    it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

  7. Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and
    don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  8. Thanks , I’ve just been looking for information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve came upon so
    far. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  9. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no backup.
    Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

  10. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I will definitely return.

  11. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am
    having troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it.
    Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

  12. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds
    and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  13. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours as of late, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty price enough for me. In my view, if all
    web owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet can be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  14. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem
    to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I’m not sure if this is
    a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d
    post to let you know. The layout look great though!
    Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks

  15. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m
    impressed! Extremely useful information particularly the last
    part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  16. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

  17. Las averías defectos ocultos que, eventualmente, puedan aparecer durante la confección del presupuesto durante la reparación del aparato deben comunicarse al usuario a la mayor brevedad posible. Al dejar el aparato en el SAT para valorarlo arreglarlo, nos deben dar un resguardo con la descripción técnica del aparato, fecha de recepción, plazo previsto de entrega del presupuesto del aparato ya reparado, etc.

  18. En un país con casi millones de parados, tres veces más personas acogidos a los programas de alimentos de Cáritas que en el 2008, la degradación sistemática de los servicios públicos y con 150 desahucios y 10 suicidios diarios, la huelga debe desbordar el timorato planteamiento de las centrales sindicales mayoritarias. Méndez y Toxo sostienen que hay más motivos que nunca para ir a la huelga y denuncian que en España se está abusando de la propaganda para adormecer a la sociedad”. He investigado todos los informes del Defensor del Menor en cuanto al funcionamiento de estos centros.

  19. C) El Servicio de Asistencia Técnica (SAT) deberá cumplimentar los datos de identificación del mismo que constan en la hoja de reclamación. Nuestro afán por evolucionar y perfeccionar nuestro servicio nos ha permitido ofrecerle un SERVICIO EXCLUSIVO, es decir, TENEMOS TÉCNICOS EXPERTOS EN Neveras Ignis que sólo se dedican a reparar e investigar sobre Neveras Ignis.

  20. Servicio tecnico joannes, reparamos la marca Joannes y otras en Madrid y Toledo. Servicio técnico Joannes, Madrid, Aranjuez, Paracuelos del Jarama, Alcobendas, Alcala de Henares, llegamos a casi todas las localidades de Madrid. SERVICIO TECNICO DE CALDERAS JMR CLIMACALOR Empresa autorizada de gas y calefacción. Empresa autorizada por la DGI de Madrid y Toledo para la reparacion y el mantenimiento de aparatos a gas calderas calentadores de gas y gasoil, servicio tecnico de calderas, control de gases, revisiones, instalaciones de gas, calefacción y aire acondicionados. Al servicio de nuestros clientes desde hace 18 años seriedad, responsabilidad y precio justo.

  21. Estuve apunto de trabajar alli, y en mi epoca no eran nada malos, ahora, en otros centros donde yo trabaje, cuando se da un terminal por irreparable pr ohumedad (mojado) se suele hacer un escaneado de la zona y se adjunta al pack en devolucion para que el cliente lo vea. No digo que sea tu caso, lo expongo para la gente, en el sat no son tontos, y te digo yo que SE VE MUY BIEN si esta mojado no. En todo caso, cuando me gasto un dinerillo en un aparato, no quiero tener problemas con él a las dos semanas.

  22. Con nuestro Servicio de Urgencias podemos estar presentes en Badalona en un tiempo mínimo, para darle al cliente una solución rápida y eficaz. En AT18 le ofrecemos el servicio de mantenimiento preventivo de sus electrodomésticos, realizando una limpieza profunda y sustituyendo las piezas que presentan desgaste, con lo que prevendremos muchas averías futuras. Para que se anime a buscar nuestra ayuda conozca primero algunos aspectos de nuestro servicio.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *