37th HRC Session: Oral Statement on the Human Rights Situation in Cambodia

On 22 March 2018, Human Rights Now gave a partial oral statement at the 37th Human Rights Council Session in Geneva about the Cambodian government’s recent assault against political opposition and civil society in Cambodia.

As described in this news report and recorded in the video below, the representative for Cambodia interrupted our representative’s intervention, and after she began continuing her statement, the HRC President cut off her ability to continue. This shocking development perfectly illustrates the goal of the Cambodian government to silence critical voices of civil society.

The video and transcript of the statement can be accessed below.

The full text of the statement can be downloaded here.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Human Rights Now is deeply concerned over the devastating human rights situation in Cambodia. The government has intensified its suppression of political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, and critical voices.

In November 2017, the Supreme Court dissolved the major opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and the government has harassed former members and used the Law on Associations and NGOs to dissolve civil society organizations [Point of order is called by Cambodia, cutting off the italicized text.]

Independent media, such as the Cambodia Daily, Free Radio Asia, and over a dozen other radio stations were shut down. The proposed amendment to change the constitutional guarantees of freedom of association and the right to form organisations and political parties.

[The President cut off our representative at this point, ending the statement. The statement would have continued as follows.]

Mr. President,

These actions defy the Council resolution adopted in the 36th Session and violate fundamental human rights. They virtually destroy sound civil society spaces and democracy in Cambodia. Under such conditions, it is impossible to have free and fair general elections in 2018.

We call on the Cambodian government to end its suppression of civil society, media, and political opponents and ensure all political parties can participate in the upcoming election. We call on the High Commissioner to monitor developments in Cambodia and submit an updated report. If violations of the previous resolution continue, we request the Council to take immediate and stronger measures to restore democracy and human rights in Cambodia.

Thank you.