2014 one of the ‘worst years’ for human rights

2014 one of the ‘worst years’ for human rights

Human Rights Watch says that 2014 was one of Cambodia’s worst years in recent history in terms of human rights violations, citing “killings by security forces, arrests of activists and opposition politicians, summary trials and crackdowns on peaceful protest”.

The Cambodia section of its World Report 2015 also cited the government’s alleged use of the judicial system to silence activists, critics, trade unionists and opposition politicians.

HRW said that “the police, prosecutors, and courts pursued at least 90 politically motivated cases” last year, sentencing at least 44 people to prison after “unfair trials in which no credible evidence of wrongdoing was presented against them”.

At the same time “the security forces continued to enjoy total impunity for current and past human rights violations”.

The government has denied using the courts in a political fashion.

HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams was recently singled out for criticism by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who accused him of being unbalanced.

“Of course, I have made mistakes . . . but one has to balance [what has been done] wrong and right . . . you have to talk a bit more properly, not [say] everything is bad, [like] Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch,” he said earlier this month.

Chak Sopheap, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, agreed that the human rights situation had “deteriorated markedly” last year.

But she also cited encouraging developments, including unprecedented levels of public protests calling for change and newfound political dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition.

Mak Sambath, president of the government’s Human Rights Committee, said it was unfair for HRW to say last year was one of the worst for rights violations.

Referring to a crackdown on garment worker protests in January that saw at least five people killed by authorities, Sambath said the government had implemented law and order.

“As you see, during those demonstrations, a clinic was completely destroyed . . . and some of the roads were blocked by protesters which affected the rights of others, who could not get to hospitals or schools on time,” he said.

“Therefore the government has to [act] to ensure stability and public order. The government has to favour all people in the country, not just individual’s rights like Human Rights Watch.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • Woman who scaled Cambodia’s three highest peaks eyes Everest

    One of the very few Cambodian women to have successfully reached the Kingdom’s three highest peaks is now eyeing Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, and potentially even the world’s tallest straddling Nepal and China, Mount Everest. While in many Western countries it

  • Cheap, clean and efficient: The firm leading Cambodia’s solar revolution

    Sitting in her bright and airy 17th floor office, Rithya Menon, Okra Smart Solar’s lead firmware engineer, checks the frequently updating data telling her everything about how well their community services are operating. “I saw in the data that there was a problem with

  • PM Hun Sen: Cambodia will not die without EBA scheme

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday reiterated that he would not be overly concerned if Cambodia had its access to the EU’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) scheme withdrawn because the Kingdom would not die without it. Hun Sen was speaking to factory workers in