Cambodia: Joint Submission for Universal Periodic Review Documenting Human Rights Violations

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cambodia that is taking place in Geneva next year, Freedom House, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) submitted a joint report, with the support of Covington & Burling LLP.

The report documents the human rights abuses committed by the government of Cambodia against journalists, which have resulted in a chilling effect affecting the freedom of the press. These violations include systematic killings, threats, mistreatment and detentions as a retaliation for their work. The detentions often result in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The judicial processes used to target journalists are based on alleged criminal incitement and anti-state charges and are often characterized by due process violations, undermining the right to a fair trial.

Recent cybersecurity laws have exacerbated the constraints on press freedom, as they restrict internet access and heighten state censorship of online information. The Cambodian government has notably expanded its authority over internet and social media platforms, leading to a substantial reduction in press freedom and the freedom of expression for journalists and human rights advocates.

Among the recommendations in the report, Freedom House and RFKHR urged the immediate release of Theary Seng, and called on the Government to free the journalists it has arbitrarily detained, end the mistreatment of detained journalists and uphold their rights to a fair trial and appeal. They also called for the review of vague and overbroad laws which are misused to imprison journalists and to repeal the cybersecurity laws used to censor information online.

Cambodia will undergo the UPR from 29 April to 10 May 2024 as part of the 46th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group in Geneva. To read the full submission, please see below.

Read the full submission here.