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Paris Peace Agreement in Cambodia and How to Follow It

Cambodia is a developing country with an authoritarian government of Hun Sen. It has an uneasy history, connected with the local battles and revolutions during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The most terrible period was the ruling of the Khmer Rouge, a communist revolutionary group supported by the People’s Republic of China. After the end of their reign, there were many coups and local conflicts, despite not being such cruel. To stop the instability, the Paris Peace Agreement was concluded; still, it was not fully applied and thus unable to solve the country’s problem.

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To understand why the Paris Peace Agreement was not fully implemented and how the situation can be changed, it is helpful to review the country’s history before the Agreement. One of the most terrible parts of its history is the reign of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 – 1979 when more than one and a half million of the country’s population were killed (McGrew & Worden, 2017). After their fall, the country plunged into civil war and the external war with Vietnam. Paris Peace Agreement was concluded on October 23, 1991, at the end of the Cold War (McGrew & Worden, 2017). Its objectives were to provide peace and conditions for development in Cambodia. It ended the war between Vietnam and Cambodia and prescribed that the country would not join any military blocs in the future; it also prescribed respect for human rights. The problem is that the government did not follow those prescriptions.

The current prime minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has been serving in his post for more than thirty years: he was in office when the Paris Peace Agreement was concluded. He is, de facto, an authoritarian leader of the country: his party is ruling, and the opposition is suppressed (McGrew & Worden, 2017). It means that the points about political freedoms and human rights were rejected. Many members of the Khmer Rouge, who were engaged in war atrocities, were not punished during the reign of Hun Sen. Only in 2007 did the UN and Cambodia start a trial of former leaders and members of the Khmer Rouge (McGrew & Worden, 2017). China still supports them; in addition to that, Cambodia has many agreements with this country. All this shows that the Paris Peace Agreement does not work: there are still human rights violations and political tensions.

As the main objectives of the Agreement are only partially fulfilled, the country still has many problems. Despite Cambodia’s economic growth and the end of the main conflicts connected with the country, there are threats toward opposition and a lack of effective disarmament (McGrew & Worden, 2017). To keep Cambodia on track with the Paris Peace Agreement, a lot needs to be changed in its political system and government. Its leader Hun Sen, should not oppress the opposition and human rights; this approach leads to crises and instabilities. Those who performed atrocities in the past, especially Khmer Rouge leaders, should be convicted for their crimes. The principle of neutrality should be respected; the country should balance between main military and political blocs, preferring none of them. Those measures can help to follow the Agreement and to solve the mentioned country’s problems.

Thus, the Paris Peace Agreement was not fully implemented due to a lack of changes in the Cambodian political structure. An authoritarian government ruled the country, the Khmer Rouge member was not punished for their war crimes, and there were human rights violations. In addition, the country has turned into an alliance with China, which violates the point of avoiding the militant blocs; in that way, China influences Cambodia. To get Cambodia back on track with the Paris Peace Agreement, political changes should be made: the government should become democratic, human rights should be respected, and those involved in war crimes should be punished.

Reference

McGrew, L., & Worden, S. (2017). Lessons from Cambodia’s Paris Peace Accords for political unrest today. United States Institute of Peace. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, October 3). Paris Peace Agreement in Cambodia and How to Follow It. https://studycorgi.com/paris-peace-agreement-in-cambodia-and-how-to-follow-it/

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StudyCorgi. "Paris Peace Agreement in Cambodia and How to Follow It." October 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/paris-peace-agreement-in-cambodia-and-how-to-follow-it/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Paris Peace Agreement in Cambodia and How to Follow It." October 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/paris-peace-agreement-in-cambodia-and-how-to-follow-it/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Paris Peace Agreement in Cambodia and How to Follow It'. 3 October.

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