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Article

13 Lug 2020

Author:
Lucie Peytermann & Eléonore Hughes, AFP

Cambodia: Rights groups express concerns over govt's crackdowns on human rights defenders during COVID-19 pandemic

"Cambodia tightens repression under virus cover: Rights groups", 10 July 2020

The Cambodian government is using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to ramp up a crackdown on human rights defenders and environmental activists, two leading watchdogs charged ...

Rights activists, labor leaders and journalists have all faced increased violence, intimidation, detention and judicial harassment in the southeast Asian nation since a crackdown was launched…

"Since March 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic provided the government with a set of additional arguments and tools to further crack down on dissent in Cambodia," said the report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

A new law drawn up in the context of COVID-19 and promulgated … allows the government to declare a state of emergency whenever Cambodia faces "danger" and "a great risk" such as a pandemic.  

The law's terms are "ill-defined" and give the government sweeping powers to restrict movement, rights to freedom of expression and association as soon as the state deems a situation "dangerous", the report said.

"The accusations of fake news linked to the pandemic have increased in recent months. More than 40 people have been arrested since the beginning of the pandemic for posts related to posts on Covid-19," said Hugo Gabbero, who coordinated the FIDH and OMCT report…

He asked the international community to apply pressure to the Cambodian government to ensure the law isn't applied…

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