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Cambodia: Three NGOs' report shows that govt. appears to use laws to curtail civic space and restrict fundamental freedoms

"Fourth Annual Report of Cambodia Fundamental Freedoms Monitor 2019 to 2020", 29 July 2020

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”), the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (“ADHOC”) and the Solidarity Center (“SC”) are pleased to announce the release of the Fourth Annual Report of the Cambodia Fundamental Freedoms Monitor, produced by the Fundamental Freedoms Monitoring Project (“FFMP”). The report provides a comprehensive overview of the exercise of freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly (“fundamental freedoms”) in the Kingdom of Cambodia…

The fourth annual report of the Cambodia Fundamental Freedoms Monitor reveals that the space to exercise fundamental freedoms continues to be restricted. Key developments highlighted in the report include: (a) a continued crackdown on political dissent; (b) silencing of speech, which creates an environment of widespread self-censorship; (c) arbitrary uses of the Criminal Code of Cambodia to discourage public participation and inhibit the exercise of fundamental freedoms – namely the crimes of defamation, plotting, incitement to commit a felony and falsifying information; and (d) a decrease in the public’s understanding of fundamental freedoms.

In Year Four, the FFMP recorded persistent restrictions to the fundamental freedoms, carried out by national and local authorities, demonstrating a lack of compliance with international human rights law and domestic law. The RGC appears to utilize laws, not to protect fundamental freedoms, but rather to curtail civic space and restrict the exercise of fundamental freedoms…

In providing insight into the curtailment of these fundamental freedoms, the FFMP seeks to inform positive legislative developments to bring domestic law in-line with international standards and encourage constructive steps to build an enabling environment for a vibrant civil society.