Oral Statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia

01/10/2020
Statement

Mister Vice-President, Madam Rapporteur,

FIDH remains extremely concerned over the closing civic space in Cambodia, illustrated by the recent wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions of activists, human rights defenders, and artists for the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

We call for their immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against them to be dropped. We also reiterate our call on the Cambodian authorities to: cease all acts of harassment and intimidation against individuals for their legitimate and peaceful criticism of the government: amend repressive legislation, such as the Law on Associations and NGOs, the Law on Trade Unions, and the draft Law on Public Order; and repeal the State of Emergency Law.

We are disturbed by the government’s ongoing inaction following the disappearance of Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who was last seen on 4 June 2020 in Phnom Penh. The scarcity of information collected by the authorities during the investigation they have purportedly conducted since June points to their acquiescence, at best, or their complicity, at worst, in Mr. Wanchalearm’s disappearance.

We urge the authorities to immediately set up an ad hoc investigative body tasked with determining effectively, independently, and impartially Mr. Wanchalearm’s fate or whereabouts, in accordance with the CED Guiding Principles for the Search for Disappeared Persons, and the WGEID recommendations on effective investigations.

We recall that Cambodia is a state party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which imposes upon the government a legal obligation to investigate Mr. Wanchalearm’s disappearance and to ensure his family has effective access to justice.

Thank you.

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