Cambodia’s modern history after its independence from France in 1953 has been tragic. In 1975, following years of guerrilla warfare, the radical communist Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot seized power. The Khmer Rouge were responsible for up to two million deaths. Their forced evacuations, systematic killings and torture lasted almost four years.
The first general election was held in 1993, supported by the United Nation Transition Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). Today, Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy. The Government is led by Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), who dominates politics. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on foreign aid.
FNF in Cambodia
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom began its activities in Cambodia in the late 1980s along the Cambodian-Thai border. In 1994, we started to work inside the country. The foundation aims to promote democracy and the respect for Human Rights Cambodia. Therefore, we cooperate with liberal politicians and civil society organisations in organising conferences and workshops and establish networks among them.
Partners in Cambodia
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)
Founded in 1995, the Sam Rainsy Party is the largest opposition party in Cambodia. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Sam Rainsy Party have been working together, providing political consultancy and capacity building programs for local politicians, district and commune councillors. Furthermore, we support the youth wing and the women’s wing of the party.
Sam Rainsy campaigning
We also encourage attempts to establish cooperation between the SRP and the Human Rights Party, another opposition party in Cambodia.
Centre d'Etude et de Développement Agricole Cambodgien (CEDAC)
CEDAC is the largest agricultural NGO in Cambodia. The foundation supports CEDAC´s efforts to increase its capacity to expand its networks. Joint activities include workshops on leadership skills, basic agriculture techniques and communicative skills. CEDAC supports network building of farmers' association leaders, rural school teachers, rural youth leaders as well as media representatives.
Group photo of participants (Press Saving Association) at a CEDAC workshop on
"Climate change and agriculture in Cambodia"
Citizen Action Net for Social Development (CAN)
CAN is a civil society organisation which aims to contribute to a society of open-minded citizens who are committed towards the development of their country. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and CAN jointly organise workshops on good governance, financial freedom and leadership skills. We support the creation of liberal student networks in Cambodia. The foundation funds CAN’s youth activities, including the weekly radio talk show “Youth and Freedom” on Sarika FM 106.5.
Cambodian working group on Human Rights (CWGHR)
Founded in 2000, the Cambodian Working Group on Human Rights (CWGHR) compromises of ten Cambodian Human Rights Organizations. At the national level, the CWGHR works to prepare the ground for the establishment of an independent National Human Rights Commission according to the Paris Principles. The CWGHR has presented a draft law to that extent and is in discussion with the government. Regionally, the CWGHR supports the ASEAN Human Rights mechanism. FNF also funds workshops and meetings.
Dr. Jürgen Koppelin, Deputy Chief of the Parliamentary Fraction of the German liberal Free Democrat Party visiting mine clearing experts and speaking to villagers about land rights in Cambodia.
Since 1997, 61 Cambodians from more than 50 organizations have attended seminars at the foundation’s International Academy for Leadership (IAF) in Germany. Back home in Cambodia, IAF Alumni replicate seminars they attended in Gummersbach. Topics include liberal democracy, human rights, market economy, property rights and globalization. IAF Alumni meet with potential IAF candidates and other interested young people once a month in Phnom Penh to discuss political issues.