Mu Sochua

Cambodian human rights activist and exiled opposition politician

Mu Sochua is an outspoken and respected Cambodian politician who has dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights and democracy in Southeast Asia. As the daughter of disappeared Sino-Khmer parents, Sochua spent most of her young adult life in exile in the United States. When she returned to Cambodia in 1991, she strove to rebuild her country, first by founding Khemara, an NGO for women’s empowerment, and then by joining the FUNCINPEC party. She eventually won a seat in Parliament, where she served as the first Minister of Women and Veterans’ Affairs between 1998 and 2004. As the government grew increasingly corrupt under Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sochua stepped down and became vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, Cambodia’s main electoral opposition party. Still dedicated to her work combating sex trafficking and promoting gender equality, she received a Vital Voices’ Leadership Award and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Sochua is once again living in exile after Hun Sen dissolved the CNRP and threatened its leaders in 2017.

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