Today, the ICJ and 64 civil society organizations jointly called on the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to discard the draft Law on Public Order (“draft law”) which, if adopted, would breach Cambodia’s international legal obligations.
The draft law aims to regulate public spaces and public behavior within those spaces, covering aesthetics, sanitation, cleanliness, noise, and social values, all under the broad aim of maintaining “public order”. It sets out a number of specific activities that are prohibited, lists a range of penalties that may be imposed for violations, and grants unfettered enforcement powers to authorities across all levels of government, with the proclaimed objective of creating “a more civilized society”.
The organizations expressed concern that the draft law contains multiple overbroad and arbitrary provisions which violate numerous human rights protections enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and human rights treaties to which Cambodia is party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Amidst an ongoing crackdown on fundamental freedoms in Cambodia, a number of existing laws already grant overbroad and unfettered powers to the RGC and are regularly deployed abusively to undermine human rights. Adoption of this draft Law on Public Order would serve to facilitate a further deterioration of the human rights situation in Cambodia.
The joint statement is available in English here.
The joint statement is available in Khmer here.
Kingsley Abbott, Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ Global Accountability Initiative e: kingsley.abbott(a)icj.org
ICJ, ‘Cambodia: State of Emergency bill violates the rule of law’, 8 April 2020
ICJ, ‘Misuse of law will do long-term damage to Cambodia’, 26 July 2018
ICJ report, ‘Achieving Justice for Gross Human Rights Violations in Cambodia: Baseline Study’, October 2017AdvocacyNewsWeb stories