Rights groups deplore worsening repression in Cambodia

Rights groups say foreign governments should refuse to recognize Cambodia's next elections and consider sanctions on its leaders if the main opposition party is dissolved.

Prime Minister Hun Sen's government took legal steps earlier this month to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the latest escalation in a series of attacks on the opposition, the media and civil society groups before elections next year.

At a news conference Wednesday, organizations including the International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch said democratic governments need to act decisively to halt what they described as Cambodia's slide into dictatorship.

Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, said foreign governments should also withdraw technical assistance for Cambodia's elections if the main opposition is disbanded.