For Immediate Release: The Cambodian Grassroots Cross-Sector Alliance is calling upon all Cambodian politicians, regardless of parties, to commit to real, equitable and discernible solutions to the myriad of issues facing their constituents. Having presented a statement to the National Assembly of Cambodia in November during the ASEAN Grassroots People’s Assembly (AGPA) ahead of the ASEAN Summit, in the following seven months the Royal Government of Cambodia has not responded in any substantial way to the people’s demands. Their citizens are still facing the same problems and the problems are worsening.
At a press conference held today in Phnom Penh, the core organizers of the Cambodian Grassroots Cross-Sector Alliance announced their invitations for all politicians to attend the Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly (CGPA). The CGPA is a series of informational events that will be held in three regions around the country throughout June by the alliance of grassroots communities, networks and civil society organizations. Each event will provide politicians and others a chance to hear the evidence presented by Cambodian citizens about the issues they face and the solutions which they present. The issues include those relating to land and land concessions, fisheries, labor sector (formal and informal), healthcare, mining, farming, impact of tourism, migration, unemployment, violence against sex workers and more.
“Politicians, of all parties, are neglecting their constituents. Cambodia is not without its problems, problems that need real, equitable and participatory solutions – which we are providing – yet those in power and those seeking to be in power continue to ignore our needs,” said Sim Sopanha (Tonle Sap Fishery Network). “Our needs should be their needs, yet they’re not. How can any politician call himself a representative of the people when he does not listen to the people and speak with their voice.”
In Total, three events will be held, in Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Each will include grassroots communities, networks, civil society organizations and individuals from the surrounding region, who will gather to present the issues they face and the solutions they seek. Those assembled want more than mere empty promises, so many of which have been doled out by representatives of all political parties in Cambodia. To date there has been little development in the Kingdom that has benefited all, rather than just the few.
“We are holding these events to push for solutions. Our problems need to be addressed. That does not mean through violence, or saying that we are against our government. Rather it’s the opposite, we want the government to take a stance on these problems and in doing so highlight their willingness to truly represent the Cambodia people and their legitimacy as politicians,” said Ek Vitean (Preah Sihanouk Province Land Network). “By organizing our Assemblies, we mean only to hold peaceful events that illustrate the many difficulties faced by people all over the country every day. Ignorance is no excuse for inaction. After these events no politician will be able to claim that they did not know what their constituents face.”
Invitations to each event have been sent to representatives of the Cambodian People’s Party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party and FUNCIPEC. Should these peaceful events be prevented from occurring or the politicians choose not to attend, then Cambodians will once again have demonstrable proof that their representatives are anything but. The CGPA is about improving Cambodia for all who live in Cambodia.
“Seven months ago, in front of the ASEAN community and the world, including the likes of President Obama and others, we presented our case to the National Assembly,” said Prach Bunthouen (Farmer Association for Peace and Development). “Since that time nothing has happened. Nothing. We are tired of the empty promises some have offered and tired of the silence from others. Before the coming elections we need to see some real, equitable action take place.”