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

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United Nations Human Rights Council, 29 March 2022. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses concern over the "the abysmal human rights situation in Cambodia" and advocates for the release of "all detained activists, government critics, and political opponents" and the creation of elections "in accordance with international law and standards".

UN Human Rights Council – 49th Session

Item 10: Interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia

29 March 2022

Mister Vice-President,

FIDH thanks the Special Rapporteur for his oral update.

We remain concerned by the abysmal human rights situation in Cambodia. Civic and political space remains extremely limited and tightly controlled by the government. At least 52 people, including activists, human rights defenders, political opposition members, and three journalists, are currently imprisoned.

Repression of political opponents is intensifying ahead of the upcoming Commune Council elections on 5 June. The recent conviction of 20 members of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and the jailing of 12 of them in one of the many politically motivated mass trials is the latest example of this trend. Persecution of the members of a rising opposition party, the Candlelight Party, including the delisting of at least 45 of its candidates by the government-controlled National Election Committee, does not bode well for competitive elections.

Authorities have arbitrarily used the problematic COVID-19 Law to stop strikes by members of the NagaWorld union and forced hundreds of workers into government quarantine centers. Fifteen workers have been hit by criminal charges.

We regret that almost two years after the disappearance of Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit in Phnom Penh, authorities have failed to make any progress in determining his fate or whereabouts and to provide his family with regular updates on the investigation.

We reiterate our calls for:
1) the immediate and unconditional release of all detained activists, government critics, and political opponents, and
2) the creation of conditions for genuine, inclusive, and participatory elections in accordance with international law and standards.

Thank you.

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