HRN has gives an oral statement for the 54th Human Rights Council session in Geneva on the crackdown on civil and political rights surrounding Cambodia’s recent national elections this summer. The text of the full statement is below the video.
Thank you, Madam Vice President.
The Cambodian government’s mass arbitrary arrests and harassment of political opponents and critics, particularly surrounding this summer’s manifestly unfair national elections which saw the arbitrary disqualification of the major opposition Candlelight party, demonstrate its lack of any will to respect civil and political rights or democratic norms.
The role of Hun Sen in the new government and comments by the new prime minister Hun Manet give every reason to expect a continuation of this total disregard for civil and political rights.
Since the last Council session, six Candlelight party officials and activists were arbitrarily convicted and at least nine others arbitrarily arrested before or shortly after the national elections and are still detained. Former president of the dissolved CNRP Kem Sokha was arbitrarily convicted in March to an exorbitant 27-year sentence, and since March 2021 at least 189 CNRP leaders and supporters have been arbitrarily arrested, 85 of them convicted. Political activists such as Seng Theary and Mech Heang, labour rights leaders such as Chhim Sithar, and land and environmental rights activists have also been convicted. Independent media have also been shut down including Voice of Democracy last February and several media websites blocked in July.
We call on the international community to take appropriate measures pressuring the Cambodian government to end its flagrant and persistent civil and political rights violations.