At Least 14 Activists Arrested in Cambodia since August

An unprecedented string of arrests has taken place since early August 2020 and shows no sign of slowing down as the government targets youth and environmental activists.

Some 14 activists have been arrested by the Cambodian authorities over the course of the past month, with youth activists, environmentalists, politicians, a rapper and a monk being rounded up in the wake of outspoken unionist Rong Chhun’s arrest. Throughout August 2020, protests and gatherings have sprung up as Chhun’s supporters continue to demand his release, but authorities have taken to arresting those participating.

Activists from youth group Khmer Thavarak, environmentalists from Mother Nature Cambodia, as well as a representative from the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association, a rapper, a former opposition party activist and president of the Khmer Win Party have all been detained in a rapid crackdown that looks likely to continue.

The startling rate of detentions prompted United Nations Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith to express her concern at the recent arrests of environmental activists who have now been charged with “incitement to commit a felony and create a chaos in the society” under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code, including a monk.

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