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[HRC54 Oral Statement] Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia

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54th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia

Oral statement delivered by Ahmed Adam

On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

10 October 2023


Mr. President,

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report.

The situation of human rights in Cambodia has continued to decline over the past year with systematic persecution of human rights defenders, environmental and land rights defenders, trade unionists, political opposition, independent media and media workers through judicial harassment, mass trials and legal action.

The conviction and sentencing to 2-years’ imprisonment of trade unionist and labour rights activist Chhim Sithar along with eight labour activists in May 2023, the conviction and 27-year prison sentence against opposition leader Kem Sokha in March 2023, and the arbitrary revocation of the media license of the Voice of Democracy are emblematic of this continuing pattern of repression.

A judiciary that lacks independence renders the prospect of fair trials and due process guarantees virtually non-existent for those perceived to be critical of, or a threat to, the interests of the ruling elites.

Serious rights violations in the context of the July General Elections, including the dissolution of the main opposition Candlelight Party and serious attacks against political opposition in the lead-up to the elections undermined the credibility and legitimacy of the electoral process and the results.

We call on Cambodia to fully implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations including the benchmarks and the action agenda.

In a context defined by systematic targeting and silencing of independent and critical voices, the mandate of Special Rapporteur is essential and we urge the Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur with a robust resolution that ensures continued independent monitoring and reporting on the situation.

Thank you