Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs squeezed: CCHR

NGOs squeezed: CCHR

Adhoc staffers are bundled into a police van after an appeal of their request to have their cases dropped was rejected last week. CCHR has said the case is part of a broad crackdown on freedom of expression.
Adhoc staffers are bundled into a police van after an appeal of their request to have their cases dropped was rejected last week. CCHR has said the case is part of a broad crackdown on freedom of expression. Heng Chivoan

NGOs squeezed: CCHR

The past six months have seen an escalation in government repression of civil society and fundamental freedoms, according to a fact sheet issued by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights last week.

Detailing numerous incidents of what CCHR views as “interference with freedoms of assembly and expression”, the report concludes “Cambodia is rapidly becoming an [non-permissive] environment not only for explicit protests, but nearly all NGO and civil society activities”.

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights country representative Wan-Hea Lee in an emailed statement yesterday said, “The factual basis of CCHR’s findings corresponds to our observations.

“The UN Secretary-General has expressed similar concerns . . . about the diminishing civil society space,” she said. “The ability of civil society actors to perform their invaluable role in the defense of the human rights of the Cambodian people should be facilitated, not hindered or criminalised.”

Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson took a harder line. “The CCHR analysis is right on target. The Cambodian government is becoming more abusive, and this wave of repression has been much more systematic and sustained,” he said via email.

But government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday dismissed CCHR’s findings as the product of “the house of Kem Sokha, where foreigners pump money to topple the government of Cambodia”.

“They work against government . . . Kem Sokha’s from that, Ou Virak’s from that, Kem Ley’s from that,” said Siphan, himself a former CCHR employee.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The