Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - HRW slams NGO Law, court cases in report




HRW slams NGO Law, court cases in report

HRW slams NGO Law, court cases in report

In what has become a yearly tradition, Human Rights Watch levelled a broadside of criticisms at the Cambodian government yesterday, accusing it in its annual report of enacting “draconian” legislation and granting itself broad “arbitrary powers” to suppress dissent.

The global report’s Cambodia section details a litany of alleged abuses including, among other things, the suppression of civil society, the jailing of more than a dozen opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party activists, the mob bashing of two CNRP lawmakers and the pursuit of politically motivated court cases against party members, including leader Sam Rainsy.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government launched new assaults on human rights in Cambodia” in 2015, the report reads, before going on to accuse Hun Sen personally of “increasingly undermin[ing] human rights”.

The government’s controversial NGO Law received particular attention in the report, which characterised it as giving authorities broad powers to “arbitrarily deny NGOs registration and shut them down”.

“The law is aimed at critical voices in civil society . . . Its restrictions on the right to freedom of expression go well beyond the permissible limitations allowed by international human rights law,” it reads.

Also mentioned was a telecommunications law pushed through the National Assembly that, according to the report, “gives government arbitrary powers” to secretly monitor telecommunications.

The report also spends considerable time outlining government non-cooperation in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Cases 003 and 004, and the government’s repeated detention of “undesirables” at Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Speu social affairs centre.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said that the report “reflects the reality in Cambodian society”, and added that his party would take steps to curtail restrictive legislation once it had “enough power”.

The report comes just over a year after 30 Years of Hun Sen, a HRW report that detailed decades’ worth of allegations of abuses against the premier.

“Instead of devoting his time as prime minister to equitably improving the health, education, and standard of living of the Cambodian people, Hun Sen has been linked to a wide range of serious human rights violations,” that report reads.

Spokespeople for the government could not be reached to respond to the accusations yesterday, however the prime minister himself has in the past accused HRW Asia director Brad Adams of being biased against him.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of