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UN hears litany of human rights abuses in Cambodia

Democratic space continues to contract as media self-censors, says special rapporteur

UCA News reporter, Phnom Penh

UCA News reporter, Phnom Penh

Updated: October 06, 2020 07:30 AM GMT
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UN hears litany of human rights abuses in Cambodia

A vendor prepares fruits for sale outside a market in Phnom Penh on Oct. 2. The UN is concerned about a deterioration in human rights in the Southeast Asian nation. (Photo: Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

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More than 150 supporters of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have been arrested since June last year as democratic space within the authoritarian country continued to shrink in the wake of elections held in mid-2018, the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council has heard.

The session discussed the findings of special rapporteur Rhona Smith and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in relation to Cambodia. 

Smith said that in addition to the arrests the OHCHR had recorded at least 71 cases where activists were forced to sign agreements with the government saying that they will cease their criticisms of the government.

“I believe that a level of self-censorship is being deployed by civil society and the media in relation to human rights matters,” she said.

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