HRN gives oral statement at Human Rights Council on the Cambodian Government’s Crackdowns against Civil Society

HRN has given an oral statement at the Human Rights Council in Geneva expressing our concern about the continuing crackdowns by the Cambodian government against civil society, as well as new laws which will further threaten it.

You can watch the oral statement on the UN’s video streaming site as well as below. A transcript of the statement is below the video.

Transcript of Oral Statement on Cambodia

In preparation for the 2022 and 2023 elections, the Cambodian government has accelerated its restrictions to silence all dissenting voices.

This includes the arrest of over 700 people under the overbroad and vague Covid-19 law, which allows up to 20-year prison sentences, many for political reasons such as policy criticism.[1]

The government continues to judicially harass CNRP opposition members, with 20 convicted just this month.[2] It has also arbitrarily arrested rights defenders for their activities, including Theary Seng and 44 other protestors,[3] members of the NGO Mother Nature,[4] and dozens of participants in a labor strike.[5]

Online speech continues to be attacked, evidenced by the arrest of Kak Sovannchhay for critical social media comments,[6] with new threats under the National Internet Gateway, which will severely control online speech and enable online surveillance, and the cybercrime bill, further criminalizing online speech. The draft public order law will also criminalize legitimate civil society actions, and LANGO continues to threaten NGOs.

Human Rights Now requests the Council to strengthen the monitoring mechanism for Cambodia and calls on the Cambodian government to end its harassment and arbitrary arrest of opposition members, human rights defenders, and journalists; and to repeal laws targeting civil society.