Problem & Context
Cambodia is still recovering from the cataclysm of the Khmer
Rouge, and following this, years of political instability and poor governance
leaving the Cambodian people of today heavily restricted in exercising their
democratic rights. Despite progress 'the democratization process still lacks
solid roots in the social, political and institutional context. There is a
strong tendency toward shrinking democratic spaces at the national level, while
violations of human rights are still commonplace, as well as restrictions to
freedom of speech, movement and assembly. People are still not conscious enough
of their rights and obligations derived from being part of a democracy ... and
legislation and policy are not being reflected in the actual implementation of
those policies. Rule of law is very weak, and corruption is widespread.'
Cambodia's ranking in the Corruption Perception Index is indicative of this,
seeing the nation ranked 164 of the 183 countries included therein.
Decentralization programs see Cambodia's democratic profile
continue to worsen. As the democratic space shrinks so does the respect for
human rights and the rule of law. The results are no separation of power and
inadequate participation in the decision making processes, allowing impunity
and abuse of power.
 Carlo Merla, UNDP-Cambodia Report: Strengthening Democracy and Electoral
Processes in Cambodia focused on Civil Society Empowerment and Democratic
Governance in Cambodia by Civil Society (2010), p 9.
 Transparency International, Corruption
Perception Index (2011), available at: