Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities call for increased surveillance of unions, NGOs



Authorities call for increased surveillance of unions, NGOs

Nearly 30 vehicles donated to capital police are displayed at a meeting on internal security on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.
Nearly 30 vehicles donated to capital police are displayed at a meeting on internal security on Wednesday in Phnom Penh. Mech Dara

Authorities call for increased surveillance of unions, NGOs

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Chuon Sovann on Wednesday ordered authorities in Phnom Penh to tighten their grip on a broad cross-section of groups, including civil society organisations and communities with “opposition tendencies”, that attempt to cause “social instability” and “political turmoil”.

Civil society organisations and former members of the opposition have already reported increased scrutiny and interference from authorities since last year’s roundly criticised forced dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the nation’s largest opposition party by far.

But Sovann yesterday called for even greater participation from all authorities to “prevent gatherings and other protests related to strikes, human rights, land disputes [and] respect for the Labour Law”.

“The effectiveness for solutions remains slow,” he said, adding that “huge” demonstrations could still take place.

Sovann said authorities would find out about the demonstrations after the fact, when they should be getting that information before those events even take place.

“Strengthen all the expert measures in [the] management and control of the information of civil society organisations, unions and communities having opposition tendencies both inside the country and outside the country attempting to cause social instability and … political turmoil,” he ordered authorities. “Do not let this happen in Phnom Penh.”

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party in January adopted a five-year political program that called for heightened internal surveillance and crackdowns on any opposition “force”.

Authorities must continue to monitor information from “unfriendly groups”, such as NGOs and unions, regarding “tricks to incite and divide national solidarity”, according to a recent security report referenced by Sovann.

Licadho human rights monitor Am Sam Ath said these actions by the government are restricting rallies and demonstrations as well as the right for people to express their views as guaranteed under Cambodia’s Constitution.

He said the measures will make civil society organisations feel “scared” and “threatened”, when they should be working as a partner with the government to continue to develop the country.

Him Yun, with the Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability, said NGOs “are not working against [the] government”.

“Cambodian society needs all stakeholders contributing efforts in development,” he said.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.