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Cambodia: 2021 HRW's world report says that Cambodian govt. escalate crackdown on civil society groups & media during COVID-19 pandemic with donors' silence

"Cambodia: Escalating Crackdown Amid Pandemic", 13 January 2021

The Cambodian government passed draconian laws and arbitrarily detained over 60 activists, journalists, and political opposition members in the past year, Human Rights Watch said … in its World Report 2021

In the …World Report 2021, …, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 100 countries…

Cambodian authorities filed unsubstantiated charges of incitement, conspiracy, and other offenses to enforce its crackdown. Activists, union leaders, online critics, and others faced escalating intimidation, threats, and arbitrary arrests…, while … at least 14 youth and environmental activists were charged with baseless incitement charges for peaceful protest activities…

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) accelerated efforts to pass repressive laws…, the government adopted a state of emergency law that grants the prime minister and others unfettered authority to surveil private telecommunications, and to ban the dissemination of information, while generally restricting the rights to peaceful assembly and association.

…, the government drafted a public order law that seeks to police ordinary actions and prohibits a vast array of public and private behavior. The government also drafted a National Internet Gateway regulation that would empower the government to block or disconnect network connections that it claims affects social order..., Human Rights Watch said…

“The Covid-19 pandemic, which caused hundreds of thousands of Cambodians to lose their jobs and livelihoods, was compounded by a deepening human rights crisis that foreign governments, UN agencies, and donors did little to address,” Robertson said. “… they should set clear, strict benchmarks for the Cambodian government to ensure compliance with its international legal obligations, and set out the consequences for failure.”