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30 Sep 2020

Khuon Narim, CamboJA

Cambodia: UN Secretary-General is scheduled to present a report calling on member states to address reprisals & intimidation issues against NGOs

"UN chief’s report addresses intimidation of NGOs", 29 September 2020

As part of his annual address to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, UN Secretary-General António Guterres … will present a report calling on member states including Cambodia to educate public servants on reprisals and intimidation, noting that local officials had previously harassed groups for engaging with the UN.

The UN chief’s report to the council will highlight instances of reprisals and “intimidation made by security officials against those who engaged with the United Nations,” according to a statement from Garga Mahmoud, communication and information officer at Cambodia’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The report on intimidation says that …, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rohna Smith, had “received many reports of local police coming uninvited to events, training sessions or meetings, taking photographs, enquiring about organizers and the agenda or demanding information on participants.”

“OHCHR in Cambodia corroborated reports of multiple incidents of police interference in United Nations activities and, …, the High Commissioner noted alleged intimidation impeding human rights organizations’ capacity to monitor and report, including to the Human Rights Council,” Guterres’ report says.

… Chin Malin, vice president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said that the latest report from the UN secretary-general was just another one-sided conclusion that does not reflect the facts of human rights in Cambodia…

… Soeng Senkaruna, senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, said he supported the UN’s report regarding the suppression of the right of assembly in Cambodia, saying that Adhoc had also faced challenges in organizing some events…