Oral statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights

26/09/2018
Statement

Mr. President, Madam Special Rapporteur,

FIDH thanks you for your report.

We condemn the conduct of the July 2018 general election, which was not credible, competitive, inclusive, or participatory. In December 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for 33 years, declared his intention to head the country’s government for another 10 years. As the year leading up to the general election showed, Prime Minister Hun Sen is determined to use all necessary means to achieve this goal. This is having disastrous consequences for Cambodia.

With regard to fundamental civil and political rights, the situation remains bleak: the government has erased all meaningful political opposition; the few remaining independent media have either been shut down or brought under government control; and the judiciary, which lacks independence from the executive branch, continues to be used to prosecute and imprison government critics, human rights defenders, and journalists. Repressive laws that are not in line with international standards have been enacted and remain in effect and, under a Parliament in which 100% of the seats are now occupied by members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, there is no chance they will be amended or repealed.

We note the continued judicial harassment of human rights defenders, activists, government critics, journalists, and members of the political opposition. Just this morning, four current and one former senior staff from our member organization ADHOC received a five-year suspended prison sentence on fabricated charges. All those detained must be immediately and unconditionally released, while charges must be dropped against those who have been released but still face prosecution.

We urge the Council to demand the Cambodian government immediately implement the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur and her predecessors and undertake the necessary legal and institutional reforms within the framework of international human rights instruments to which Cambodia is a state party.

Thank you.

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