Cambodia: UN Human Rights Council urged to respond to human rights and rule of law crisis

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Advocacy, News

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) attention to the entrenched pattern of human rights violations in Cambodia, and called on the HRC to adopt a resolution to extend the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and ensure it has adequate resources and support.

Oral statement of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia

“Madam Vice President,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) concurs with the Special Rapporteur’s assessment that Cambodia has largely failed to implement the 20 human rights-related benchmarks proposed in his previous report to this Council.

In the lead-up to the national elections, there was a rapid escalation of the human rights and rule of law crisis in Cambodia. Human rights defenders and political opponents were convicted based on non-human rights compliant laws for exercising their right to freedom of expression, both online and offline, with new draconian laws on cybercrime and cybersecurity being drafted and considered.

The authorities have arbitrarily revoked licenses and blocked online access to independent media outlets without due process. The government at the highest level has employed rhetoric, reproduced online, to threaten and incite violence against political opponents with impunity, with credible reports of actual physical violence as an apparent consequence.

This systematic disregard for Cambodia’s international human rights obligations has been further exacerbated by the absence of an independent and impartial judiciary. The convictions of human rights defenders and political opponents were frequently accompanied by massive fair trial violations, including the effective application of a presumption of guilt.

It is imperative that the Council responds decisively to reverse this entrenched pattern of human rights violations in Cambodia by adopting a resolution to extend the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and ensuring it has adequate resources and support.

Thank you.”

Contact

Sandra Epal Ratjen, ICJ UN Representative and Senior Legal Adviser, e: sandra.epal@icj.org

Daron Tan, ICJ Associate International Legal Adviser, e: daron.tan@icj.org

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