26 June 1995
EXPULSION OF SAM RAINSY FROM CAMBODIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The Australian Government has received with regret the news of the dismissal of former Finance Minister Sam Rainsy from the Cambodian National Assembly on 22 June.
The international community, including Australia, has an abiding interest in Cambodia upholding democratic constitutional principles. Democracy in Cambodia or anywhere else cannot of course be created overnight. The identity of the new Cambodia is still being formed. The procedures and systems which will influence the kind of country Cambodia becomes are just now being created.
It is therefore important that decisions such as the expulsion of a member of parliament be taken scrupulously in accordance with the Constitution, the Electoral Law and the National Assembly's rules of procedure in a fully transparent manner. It is not clear that this occurred in this case.
Sam Rainsy, although a controversial figure politically, has made a valuable contribution to Cambodia's economic management and to the development of Cambodian democracy. I strongly hope that he will be given the opportunity to contribute further to Cambodia's political and economic development and that his expulsion from the National Assembly will not have wider implications for free speech in Cambodia.
The Australian Government, along with other members of the international community, has made its views known to the Cambodian Government, and more widely, concerning the importance of good governance, transparency, accountability and respect for human rights. It will continue to do so whenever appropriate.