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Just been arrested? There’s an app for that, UN says

A person looks at the UN rights application on a mobile device earlier this week in Phnom Penh.
A person looks at the UN rights application on a mobile device earlier this week in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Just been arrested? There’s an app for that, UN says

Amid what has been characterised as a government crackdown on civil liberties, people confronted by police in Cambodia can now utilise a new UN-developed app to remind officers of their rights under the Kingdom’s laws.

Developed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights for Android devices, the app uses “interactive voice response” technology and can articulate the legal rights owed to an individual in the event of their arrest.

The rights include: to know the reason of arrest, to access a lawyer, to remain silent, to refrain from confessing, to be taken to court, to contact a family member and to be able to complain if any rights are breached.

OHCHR-Cambodia country representative Wan-Hea Lee said the software, released this month, was based on a booklet developed in conjunction with the interior and justice ministries in 2012. She said the “crucial” information was aimed at both arresting officials and members of the general public.

“As more officials, NGOs and ordinary people find themselves in conflict over the exercise of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, there is a need for all to better understand the applicable law.”

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