This paper makes a strong case for viewing local communities as a foundation for political life and organizing people for the promotion of local democracy (Chaskin and Garg, 1997). Communities form a basis for collective deliberation, mobilization, and action. An emphasis on local rights is grounded in the basic assumption within democratic societies that individuals have a fundamental entitlement to a meaningful voice regarding issues that affect their lives.

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The paper explores strategies of deepening democracy in countries like Cambodia, which have a democratic constitution whose potential can only be realized when communities are empowered and experience that their rights are upheld. Rural Cambodia is currently in a transformative phase, moving from an oppressive communist regime to a democracy. The country witnessed a series of brutal wars and conflicts and...

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