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21 Sep 2021

Cambodia: Human rights defenders remain in jail, government rejects UN concerns of arbitrary detention

Our database of attacks against human rights defenders (HRDs) has highlighted the cases of Cambodian HRDs Hun Vannak, Chhoeun Daravy, Tha Lavy, Eng Malai, Koet Saray, Muong Sopheak and Mean Prommony. The activities of these defenders focussed on environmental issues and their attendance at protests demanding the release of prominent union leader Rong Chhun who was arrested for his labour and land rights advocacy campaigns.

UN Special Rapporteurs expressed concern regarding the prolonged pre-trial detention of many of these defenders, and information suggesting Cambodia is targeting, threatening, and criminalising human rights defenders in the country. The government's response rejected these concerns, including relying on the outbreak of Covid-19 to explain why the hearings had been postponed several times.