Political rights

The UN denounces violations of civil and political rights

Paris, April 5, 2022. A United Nations (UN) body has painted a grim picture of the civil and political rights situation in Cambodia, amid the Cambodian government’s intensified crackdown on peaceful critics, political opponents and protesters. members of civil society.

FIDH welcomes the assessment of the UN body and urges the Cambodian government to take immediate measures to address the many areas of concern identified by the UN.

“The UN Human Rights Committee has established clear benchmarks against which progress in civil and political rights should be measured. The international community should take note of the recommendations made by the UN committee and pressure the government to implement them without delay, ahead of crucial local and general elections.

Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary General of FIDH

On March 30, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR) issued its concluding observations on the situation of civil and political rights in Cambodia, following the consideration of the country’s third periodic report under of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The exam took place March 9-11, 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. The CCPR monitors states parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the ICCPR. Cambodia is a state party to the ICCPR.

In anticipation of the upcoming Communal Council elections on June 5, 2022 and the general elections in 2023, the CCPR has expressed concern regarding: threats, harassment, arbitrary arrests, mass trials, revocation of passports and acts of violence against members of the political opposition; the lack of independence and impartiality of the National Electoral Commission; the difficulties encountered by the new parties in carrying out a “fair, free and transparent electoral campaign”; and the persistent under-representation of women in leadership positions.

The CCPR reiterated its concern over the lack of progress in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for past human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. He was also “deeply concerned” about the extrajudicial executions of opposition leaders, human rights defenders, journalists and land rights activists, including the lack of effective and impartial investigations into these killings.

The CCPR remained concerned about the “continuing absence” of an independent and impartial judiciary and the high number of allegations of corruption within the judiciary.

Other areas of concern for the CCPR were the continuing violations of freedom of expression in Cambodia, including: the closure of several national and international media outlets; blocking websites critical of the government; the use of criminal and civil lawsuits against journalists and human rights defenders; and widespread harassment and intimidation of online activists. The CCPR noted that various criminal offenses contained in the Penal Code and the Telecommunications Act, including defamation, incitement, insult and lèse-majesté, were often used to disproportionately and excessively restrict the freedom of expression.

The CCPR also expressed concern over the use of excessive and disproportionate force to disperse peaceful protests, leading to numerous arrests and detentions of protesters, including human rights defenders, environmental activists, opposition leaders and trade unionists. The CCPR said the most recent amendments to the Trade Unions Act and the Public Order Bill may further restrict the right to peaceful assembly.

The drastic increase in the prison population and the overcrowded conditions are of concern to the CCPR, as well as the fact that prisoners do not have adequate access to food, drinking water and medical care.

With regard to freedom of association, the CCPR noted that the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) continued to be used to impose onerous reporting obligations on organizations leading to denial of registration and to facilitate the monitoring of human rights defenders.

The CCPR has also criticized the “broad powers” that the Emergency Management of the Nation Act (enacted in April 2020) has given the government to severely restrict a range of fundamental rights and freedoms. Furthermore, he noted that the law on preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 and other serious and dangerous contagious diseases (enacted in March 2021) leads to disproportionate restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the dispersal of gatherings. peaceful.

Many of the CCPR’s findings reflected concerns raised by FIDH in its shadow report published prior to the CCPR’s review.

The CCPR has made over 50 recommendations to the Cambodian government on a wide range of issues, including those mentioned above. The CCPR asked the government to provide, by March 25, 2025, information on the implementation of the recommendations on three priority issues: corruption; freedom of expression; and political participation.

The previous review of the civil and political rights situation in Cambodia was conducted by the CCPR in March 2015.

Press contacts

Ms. Eva Canan (Paris): +33648059157 / [email protected]