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Cambodia: US urge Cambodia to respect principles of human rights & freedoms amid recent arrests of activists & crackdowns on civil society

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"US Urges Cambodia to Respect ‘Shared Principles’ of Human Rights and Democracy", 16 October 2020

The United States continues to urge the Cambodian government to open democratic space for citizens to help the country toward a development path of durable democracy and respect for human rights, US officials say.

Recent communications between the US and Cambodia come amid the government’s current and escalating clampdown on dissent, worsening a brazen … crackdown … against …, civil society and independent media.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Robert A. Destro said … that the US was “deeply concerned” about a recent batch of detentions. He urged Cambodia to release those arrested for exercising freedom of expression and association.

US Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy indicated the arrest of longtime civil society and labor leader Rong Chhun caught the attention of US officials.

“We're concerned about the arrest case which does suggest some constraints on freedoms of association and speech,’’ W. Patrick Murphy said ... “And we hope that the government here will be very forthcoming and transparent with any charges that are related to this case. Cambodia has had some success in advancing these kinds of fundamental freedoms.’’

… Arend Zwartjes, chief spokesperson for the US embassy in Phnom Penh, said the US consistently has raised its concerns both publicly and privately with the government about the shrinking space for independent viewpoints and threatened human rights freedoms in Cambodia…

Prominent rights groups, including the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, have appealed … for the Cambodian government to release the detained…

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