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Cambodia: UN Special Rapporteur's report shows that govt. violates human rights law and represses freedom of expression amid COVID-19 pandemic

"Cambodia rejects UN rights claim", 12 July 2020

Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva … hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and the right to information in certain countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, including Cambodia.

The Cambodian mission was utterly dismayed and said Kaye’s conclusion in his report was misleading and faulty regarding the nature of Cambodia’s integrated response to Covid-19.

…, Kaye presented his report on freedom of expression and pandemics to the Human Rights Council, raising serious concern over new measures that he said have been used to restrict and punish the free flow of information. He said some governments, including Cambodia, had exercised repression.

In an Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) news release, Kaye said: “In the past three months, numerous governments have used the Covid pandemic to repress expression in violation of their obligations under human rights law.

“Since the earliest days of the pandemic, I have raised concerns about the repression of expression that has a direct impact on public health information, including … Cambodia, ...”

… He made several recommendations including the release of journalists, reinforcing access to information and sharing as much information as possible about the disease.

People, Kaye said, should know about the tools available to protect themselves and their communities, while the practice of internet shutdowns and other limitations on access to the internet should be stopped…

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