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10 Aug 2021

Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, & others

Cambodia: UN Special Rapporteurs express concern over prolonged pre-trial detention of 7 human rights defenders

"Cambodia: Human Rights Defenders held in prolonged pre-trial detention (joint communication)", 10 August 2021.

On 10 June 2021, I [UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders] sent a letter to the Government of Cambodia on the pre-trial detention and denial of bail of seven human rights defenders. The letter was written jointly with four other UN experts.

In the communication we expressed our concern that Mr. Hun Vannak, Ms. Chhoeun Daravy, Mr. Tha Lavy, Ms. Eng Malai, Mr. Koet Saray, Mr. Muong Sopheak and Mr. Mean Prommony appear to have been arbitrarily detained and deprived of their liberty in response to their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights... We also expressed concern at the length during which the human rights defenders have been kept in pre-trial detention, which appeared to have been in breach of the Cambodian Penal Code. We raised further concern about the mental and physical health of the human rights defenders...

The allegations form part of a continuing pattern of information received from the country that indicates Cambodia is targeting, threatening, and criminalising human rights defenders in the country in an attempt to incite fear amongst those working to protect human rights...