Oral Statement for the presentation of the Secretary-General’s country report on Cambodia

05/10/2020
Statement

Mister Vice-President,

FIDH and Amnesty International welcome the Secretary General’s report on human rights in Cambodia. We commend the vital work of the country office of the OHCHR during this critical period and express our steadfast support for the strengthening of its mandate and reporting frequency.

Last week, the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia’s presentation to this Council stated that “the language of human rights is increasingly deployed” by government officials. However, this does not equate to an improvement of the human rights situation in the country. To the contrary, our organizations have documented a dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation in Cambodia over the past five years.

This ongoing crackdown has included: the arbitrary dissolution of Cambodia’s only viable opposition party; the mass criminalization of its members; the decimation of Cambodia’s independent media landscape; and the systematic repression of human rights defenders and independent civil society through repressive legislation, intimidation, and bogus prosecutions. We are particularly alarmed by the spate of arbitrary arrests and charges targeting youth and environmental activists in recent weeks and months.

This Council has witnessed first hand how Cambodian authorities silence their critics when the delegation and its allies brazenly tried to discredit and hinder from speaking Venerable Luon Sovath during last Thursday’s interactive dialogue. Venerable Sovath, a laureate of the Martin Ennals Award, is a renowned human rights defender who has advocated tirelessly for the rights of Cambodian communities. What we witnessed last Thursday exemplifies the intolerance of the Cambodian government towards peaceful dissent and human rights advocacy.

Thank you.

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