President Barack Obama is hosting a summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Rancho Mirage next week.
For Obama and the Southeast Asian leaders who join him at a Sunnylands estate, this meeting is expected to mean discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. For the Cambodia-America Alliance, the summit is the first chance to protest against Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
A protest organized by the Cambodia-America Alliance is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, according to a press release — Presidents' Day. Traveling to the U.S. for the summit will mark Sen's first official visit to the Land of the Free, and according to Cambodia-America Alliance Vice President Veansna Roeun, it's a chance to tell the prime minister "enough is enough."
According to Roeun, Sen's 35-year rule in Cambodia has been filled with mass human rights violations. Human Rights Watch agrees.
Roeun cited an October 2015 example of oppression in Cambodia. A news release from Human Rights Watch goes into detail about the incident, which involved two opposition members of Cambodia's parliament getting dragged from their cars and beaten.
The release said no arrests were made, despite video taken of the beating:
សកម្មភាពហឹង្សាយ៉ាងឃោរឃៅរ ចំពោះតំណាងរាស្ត្រ នៅមុខរដ្ឋសភាកាលពីព្រឹកមិញ! ទង្វើរនេះ ប៉ះពាល់ដល់កិត្យានុភាព និងឧត្តមាភាព របស់់ប្រទេសជាតិ! តំណាងរាស្ត្រ(មិនថាមកពីគណបក្សណា) គឺតំណាងអោយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរគ្រប់់រូប! បើសូួម្បីតែតំណាងរាស្ត្រត្រូវបានគេក្របួចចេញពីឡានដែលមានផ្លាកលេខរដ្ឋសភា រួចវាយតប់ដូចសត្វធាតុនៅក្បែររបងរដ្ឋសភា តើគុណតម្លៃរបស់ប្រទេសជាតិនឹងទៅជាយ៉ាងណា?Posted by Ren Chanrith on Monday, October 26, 2015
According to Human Rights Watch, peaceful protests are prohibited in Cambodia, and Sen's "rule continues to rely on security force violence and politically motivated prosecutions."
“The benefit of this is we’re able to do what our brothers and sisters in Cambodia can’t,” Roeun told KPCC.
Cambodia-America Alliance is based out of North Carolina, but Roeun said that people are traveling from across the United States to attend the protest. He also said that you don't have to be Cambodian to attend the protest — all are welcome.
“It’s not every day where you get a chance to confront an evil man in your backyard, underneath your roof, alongside your fellow Americans,” Roeun said. "We're going to tell the whole entire world that we take human rights and liberty and justice seriously."