Press Release: June 12, 2018
Contact: Treasury Public Affairs, (202) 622-2960
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Dominican Republic Senator Felix Ramon Bautista Rosario (Bautista) for engaging in corrupt acts, including in relation to reconstruction efforts in Haiti, and Cambodian General Hing Bun Hieng (Bun Hieng) for being the leader of an entity involved in serious human rights abuse, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse and corruption. OFAC also designated five entities owned or controlled by Bautista.
“These actions are part of our continuing campaign to hold accountable government officials and other actors involved in human rights abuse and corrupt activities. Senator Bautista used his position to engage in corruption, including profiting off of humanitarian efforts related to rebuilding Haiti. General Bun Hieng commanded a Cambodian unit that engaged in a series of human rights abuses, and was personally implicated in attacks against a number of individuals, including a U.S. citizen,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “The United States will continue to use Global Magnitsky and our other authorities to ensure that corrupt actors and human rights violators cannot use our financial system to enable and support their abhorrent activities and exploit the innocent.”
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016, on December 20, 2017, the President signed E.O. 13818 “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.
To date, 59 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under E.O. 13818. This is in addition to the numerous human rights and/or corruption related designations Treasury has issued under a number of sanctions programs, including actions taken yesterday in connection with migrant smuggling in Libya, and designations over the last month against Evin Prison, Ansar-e Hizballah and other human rights violators in Iran, officials in the IRGC-Qods Force disrupting humanitarian efforts in Yemen, Diosdado Cabello Rondon from Venezuela and members of his corruption network, and many others. Including today’s actions, OFAC has designated 33 individuals and entities related to human rights and corruption in just the last month. In total, since January of 2017, Treasury has taken action against over 460 individuals and entities engaged in activities related to, or directly involving, human rights abuse and/or corruption, including actions in connection with Syria, South Sudan, Democractic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and other programs.
This Administration will continue to take action against human rights and corruption related targets around the globe, including implementing sanctions under Global Magnitsky and other authorities, throughout the year.
This week Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory on human rights abuses enabled by corrupt senior foreign political figures and their financial facilitators to warn financial institutions about the tactics and typologies they are using across the globe.
Bautista is a Senator from the Dominican Republic who has engaged in significant acts of corruption in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and who has been publicly accused of money laundering and embezzlement. Bautista has reportedly engaged in bribery in relation to his position as a Senator, and is alleged to have engaged in corruption in Haiti, where he used his connections to win public works contracts to help rebuild Haiti following several natural disasters, including one case where his company was paid over $10 million for work it had not completed.
In a related action, OFAC designated five entities in the Dominican Republic that are owned or controlled by Bautista: Constructora Hadom SA, Soluciones Electricas Y Mecanicas Hadom S.R.L., Seymeh Ingenieria SRL, Inmobiliaria Rofi SA, and Constructora Rofi SA.
Bun Hieng is the commander of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit (PMBU), a unit in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces that has engaged in serious acts of human rights abuse against the people of Cambodia. The PMBU has been implicated in multiple attacks on unarmed Cambodians over the span of many years, including in 2013 at Wat Phnom and in 2015 in front of the National Assembly. In the 2015 incident, only three members of the PMBU were sent to jail after they confessed to participating in an attack on opposition lawmakers, and were promoted upon their release. Bun Hieng and the PMBU have been connected to incidents where military force was used to menace gatherings of protesters and the political opposition going back at least to 1997, including an incident where a U.S. citizen received shrapnel wounds.
As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated today within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked. Additionally, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.
For identifying information on the individuals designated today, click here.
ASEAN MPs Say Cambodia Election ‘Not Legitimate’
FILE: The Cambodian citizens are checking their names on the voter list at a
setup polling station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 2017. (VOA Khmer)
A group of ASEAN parliamentarians has said excluding Cambodia’s former opposition party from July’s general election had damaged the legitimacy of the vote.
The MPs from the group Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said in a statement this week that the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party should be allowed to contest the vote and that all political prisoners in the country should be freed.
Charles Santiago, president of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights. (Courtesy of Charles Santiago's Facebook)
“The government’s latest moves to pressure and initimidate voters weaken its case that the upcoming election will be a true reflection of popular will,” said Charles Santiago, APHR chairman and a member of the Malaysian Parliament.
“The government is denying Cambodian citizens their basic rights to express their political views and participate in a democratic process without fare of reprisal. This toxic, threatening environment makes an already dubious election even less free,” he added.
Tom Villarin, a member of the Philippines congress, said pressure being applied by the Cambodian government in recent weeks against people who may be considering boycotting the election was undemocratic. “In such a situation, refusing to vote must be recognized as a legitimate right and a form of affirmative political choice to show disapproval of the electoral process.”
Sam Inn, secretary general of the Grassroots Democracy Party, said: “The election is not fully free and fair, but a road toward a solution is an electoral road to continuing the support of democracy in Cambodia. The stance of the Grassroots Democracy Party is to seek solutions.”
The APHR also noted the creation of a working group to monitor social media and other telecommunications that it believes could harm “national security” while last month a senior official said people on election day who did not have a mark to prove they voted would be classed as “insurgents and traitors”.
Fri Jun 08 2018 08:18:26 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Hor Kimsay | Publication date 08 June 2018 | 10:28 ICT
Amru Rice Group, one of Cambodia’s largest rice exporters, on Thursday
signed a contract purchase agreement with 4,000 organic rice farmers in
Preah Vihear province.
The agreement effectively means that the company will reserve nearly $10 million to purchase around 30,000 tonnes of organic paddy during the coming harvest season.
Also on Thursday, The Cambodian Agriculture Cooperative Cooperation – an Amru Group subsidiary – signed a purchase agreement with farmers in the same province to buy 10,000 tonnes of dried cassava, reserving about $1 million for it.
This is the fifth year in a row that Amru has secured contract farming agreements in Preah Vihear province for organic rice. However, it is the first year it is doing so for dried cassava.
While the rice harvest is from October to December, cassava farmers won’t start reaping their crop until early next year.
Amru Rice’s CEO, Song Saran, said on Thursday that the company guaranteed it would buy the crops from farmers above market value.
“We want to convert Preah Vihear into a province for organic paddy production,” he said, adding that the cassava purchasing agreement is small as it is meant to test the market.
“With greater support from the market, farmers can sell their crops at a higher price which will benefit their living conditions,” Saran said.
Cambodia exported organic rice for the first time in early 2002.
June 6, 2018
Of Cambodia’s total population, close to 150,000 people are said to be living with disabilities. While some lost their limbs to landmines, others were affected by the armed conflicts. There are also many who were born disabled or lost the function of a limb due to illness. To help integrate them into the society, many non-governmental organizations and authorities offer financial assistance and various facilities so that those with disability can sustain themselves by earning a livelihood.
Mon May 21 2018 09:52:29 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Ben Sokhean | Publication date 21 May 2018 | 09:40 ICT
After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty of Cambodia”.
Called the Cambodian Democracy Act of 2018, HR5754, and introduced on Thursday, the legislation would freeze assets, restrict all financial transactions with the US, and deny entry into the US all senior Cambodian government, military and security officials who US President Donald Trump determines have “directly and substantially undermined democracy in Cambodia”.
Alan Lowenthal, a Democratic Party congressman representing a California district, said in a statement on Thursday: “My colleagues and I have warned the Hun Sen government over and over that it must abide by the agreements it signed to hold democratic elections.”
“Yet the 30-year regime of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has done away with any and all pretense that it will conduct free and fair elections this year,” the statement continued.
“This regime has threatened, attacked, jailed, and then outright banned the nation’s major opposition political party. This regime has destroyed the free and independent press in the country, banished NGOs and international organisations, and subverted the national judicial system to do its dirty work.
“It is time that Hun Sen pays a price for his efforts to destroy the burgeoning democracy that was beginning to flower in Cambodia.”
Florida Congressman Ted S Yoho of the Republican Party and chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said in a press release last week that the “Cambodia Democracy Act of 2018 will push back against the undermining of democracy and related human rights abuses by applying financial sanctions to the figures who carry out the agenda and codifying the administration’s existing visa restrictions for these individuals”.
“This bill will help the people of Cambodia in their pursuit of democracy by imposing costs on Hun Sen’s consolidation of power,” he wrote.
Phay Siphan, government spokesperson, told The Post on Sunday that the US congressmen’s effort to enact a law to sanction Cambodian government officials could be seen as interference into Cambodia’s internal affairs and could deteriorate the relationship between the two countries. He said the amendment is “unpredictable”, as Trump may not implement it even if it is adopted by Congress.
“Does the pressure affect the Cambodian government and Cambodians? My answer to that is no, it does not. There is no influence and effect because we see some laws which are the political will of lawmakers and do not reflect the rights and interests of the US – they are just to create enemies with another country,” he said.
‘Puppets will face action’
Sok Eysan, a Cambodian People’s Party spokesperson, said the bill, along with other pressure being applied by the US, is “proof the US supports those who commit treason”.
“[This is] an act that violates the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia,” he said. “The making of rules to press the Royal Government of Cambodia and its people will not have any results. The leaders and puppets who want to unleash a colour revolution in Cambodia are the real destroyers of Cambodia’s democracy, and the puppets will face legal action from Cambodia’s laws.”
Eysan added that the US delegation that recently visited Cambodia said they would support justice for Cambodia’s government and people.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath welcomed this legislation but said he hoped it would not impact the poor or people in general in Cambodia.
“I welcome the effort made by the US Congress and Senate to restore democracy in Cambodia. The Cambodian Democracy Act shall be an effective pressure on the Cambodian government and high-ranking officials.
“But I just hope that the sanctions would not have negative impacts on the poor and the general population in Cambodia. However, I would still prefer talks between and amongst our Cambodian leaders for political solutions.”
Page 85 of 99