Cambodia Tightens Repression Under Virus Cover: Rights Groups

The Cambodian government is using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to ramp up a crackdown on human rights defenders and environmental activists, two leading watchdogs charged on Thursday.

Rights activists, labour leaders and journalists have all faced increased violence, intimidation, detention and judicial harassment in the southeast Asian nation since a crackdown was launched ahead of the July 2018 general election, a new report said.

“Since March 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic provided the government with a set of additional arguments and tools to further crack down on dissent in Cambodia,” said the report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

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