HRN Gives Oral Statement on Cambodia at Human Rights Council

On October 5, HRN gave an oral statement at the 51st Human Rights Council session in Geneva on Cambodia, calling for the Council to pass measures for the protection of meaningful political opposition and civil society in Cambodia ahead of its general elections next year.

You can watch a video of the statement below and see a transcript of it below that. The statement is also viewable on the UN’s website at:

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Less than a year before the 2023 general elections and five years after the major opposition party, the CNRP, was dissolved, political and civic space in Cambodia remains firmly closed and controlled by its one-party government.

At least 39 political activists are currently in prison, including former CNRP officials and opposition candidates from newer parties. Dozens of former CNRP supporters and leaders, including the lawyer Seng Theary, have been convicted in mass political show trials. The fifth mass trial against 37 former CNRP members and supporters started last month, and more than 60 other political activists have pending criminal charges. This year’s commune elections and next year’s general elections lose all legitimacy under such unrelenting persecution.

Civic space has also further closed. OHCHR’s recent press freedom report for Cambodia documented 23 journalists with criminal charges since 2017. 80% reported being surveilled, and 60% being officially threatened. In August 2022, five journalists and four youth activists were arbitrarily detained for several hours after attempting to report on massive deforestation.

Human Rights Now calls on the government to end its arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment, and surveillance of political opponents, human rights defenders, and journalists, and urges the Council to recommend measures for the protection of meaningful political opposition and civil society ahead of the general elections.

I thank you.