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30 Apr 2020

Sokhean Ben, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Acting Head of State promulgates Law on Administration of the Nation during a State of Emergency; while NGOs raise serious human rights concerns

"State of Emergency draft signed into law", 30 April 2020

Acting Head of State Say Chhum ... signed the draft law on “State of Emergency” into legislation after the Constitutional Council of Cambodia unanimously approved it ..., a decree ... revealed...

CPP spokesman and senator Sok Eysan said ... the law will take effect on the same day of its signing...

“The possibility of declaring a state of emergency is low as what Samdech Prime Minister said,” he said. “But if the situation changes, I believe we would declare it immediately.”...

The law, which comes amid the global health crisis, consists of five chapters and 12 articles and is based on Article 22 new of the Constitution.

Article 5 of the emergency law stipulates the government may put in place mechanisms or delegate relevant authorities to use military forces in guaranteeing the enforcement of the law.

“In cases of war or any other circumstances in which national security is seriously jeopardised, management of the nation by the Royal Government may be implemented by a martial regime,” the article states.

Meanwhile, international NGO Human Rights Watch said in a statement ... that provisions of the “State of Emergency” Law raise several human rights concerns, including the possibility of indefinite renewals of a state of emergency and the wide scope of unfettered martial powers granted to the executive body without independent oversight.

“The state of emergency law will be a disaster for the human rights of the Cambodian people, who face having their civil and political rights stripped away,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW...