Mu Sochua, a former GFW board member, was recently profiled in The New York Times for her courageous re-election bid for Cambodian Parliament.
Over the last decade Sochua has continued to face political harassment from Cambodia's ruling party, following her defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen in Spring 2009, when she was ultimately stripped of her parliamentary immunity. Without her immunity, Sochua faces imprisonment and continued political intimidation. Cambodia's political state has declined as the ruling Cambodian People's Party continues to implement a national crackdown on its critics: criminal defamation, disinformation, and incitement lawsuits have been used against journalists, union leaders, and opposition members of parliament.
Sam Rainsy, the president of Sochua's political party, has been sentenced in absentia after a closed door trial found him guilty of racial incitement and destroying demarcation posts on Cambodia's contentious border with Vietnam. International groups have blasted the trial as a 'farce'.
As the former minister of women's affairs and a current Member of Parliament, Sochua has continually advocated for Cambodian women's rights and representation, giving visibility to human trafficking, violence against women, child abuse and domestic violence.
Devi Leiper is part of the Asia/Oceania program team of the Global Fund for Women.