Cambodia: deteriorating situation for human rights and rule of law (UN statement)

At the UN, the ICJ today highlighted the deteriorating situation for human rights and rule of law in Cambodia.

The statement came during a general debate at the UN Human Rights Council, on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention. It read as follows:

“Mr. President,

A State rapidly moving in an authoritarian direction, with widespread and deepening repression of human rights, whose civil society cannot even speak openly at this Council for fear of reprisals, should be discussed as a situation requiring the Council’s attention under item 4, and not merely a matter of technical assistance and capacity-building under item 10. An urgent example is Cambodia.

The continuing human rights and rule of law crisis orchestrated by the ruling party has deeply compromised national elections scheduled for 29 July.

Authorities continue to abuse the legal system to repress civil society, independent media, the political opposition, and increasingly, ordinary individuals.

The Government has threatened prosecution of any person calling for a boycott of the highly compromised elections. It has established a working group to monitor and control all information on websites and social media. Ordinary people are being arrested, charged and detained under a new lèse-majesté law.

Repression of civil society and independent media continues – with the sale of the last independent English-language newspaper to an owner allegedly linked to the Government, and judicial investigation of civil society members in criminal proceedings against detained opposition leader, Kem Sokha.

The Council and its members must respond more effectively to the ongoing crisis in Cambodia, particularly in the few weeks remaining before the election.

Thank you, Mr. President.”

The delegation of the Cambodian government exercised its right of reply at the end of the debate. Its statement is available here: UN_HRC38-Cambodia-Reply-2018

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