Cambodia: UN body reviews civil and political rights situation amid intensified government repression

07/03/2022
FIDH at the UN
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STR / AFP

Paris. The Cambodian government has intensified its repression of key civil and political rights through draconian laws and persecution of political opponents, human rights defenders, striking workers, and peaceful critics, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said today ahead of a review by a United Nations (UN) human rights body.

The situation of civil and political rights in Cambodia will be examined by the UN Human Rights Committee (CCPR) from 9 to 11 March 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. The CCPR monitors state parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Cambodia is a state party to the ICCPR.

“Cambodia’s human rights downward spiral shows that the government has utterly failed to comply with its obligations under international law. The UN Human Rights Committee has a timely and crucial opportunity to issue authoritative recommendations for the improvement of the civil and political rights situation ahead of next year’s general election.”

Adilur Rahman Khan, FIDH Secretary-General

As part of the CCPR review, FIDH submitted a shadow report that documents the numerous and serious violations of key civil and political rights committed by the Cambodian authorities since the previous review by the CCPR in March 2015.

Key concerns raised in the shadow report include:
1) violent attacks, arbitrary arrests, and politically motivated prosecutions of political opponents ahead of local elections in 2022 and the 2023 general election;
2) repressive laws that undermine the right to political participation and the right to freedom of expression;
3) legislation to establish a National Internet Gateway in 2022, which grants the government broad surveillance powers and will shrink online civic space;
4) continued crackdown on freedom of expression of unions, activists, independent media, and government critics;
5) specious charges and excessive use of force against striking workers, communities protesting land grabbing, and other peaceful demonstrators;
6) the dispossession of indigenous peoples’ lands through unethical lending practices in the microfinance sector; and
7) high rates of lengthy pretrial detention for men, women, and children in overcrowded prisons, which subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

The report also highlights how the Cambodian government has used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to expand its powers and unjustifiably restrict the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly.

Press contact
Ms. Eva Canan (Paris): +33648059157 / ecanan@fidh.org
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