Human Rights Groups Call on UN for Intervention

In the lead-up to the U.N.’s periodic review of Cambodia’s human rights situation, two rights groups issued a joint statement Sunday calling for U.N. member states to speak up about the government’s recent violence against protesters and suppression of demonstrations.

Local rights group Licadho and Amnesty International called on countries with representatives on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, who will meet for an annual meeting on Tuesday in Geneva, to “demand an end to the measures that have given rise to the current human rights crisis.”

“[S]ince the beginning of 2014, respect for human rights in Cam­bodia—including treatment of human rights defenders—has worsened significantly to the point of crisis,” the statement says.

“A crackdown has left at least four individuals dead, two missing, scores injured, 23…detained, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly suspended,” it continues.

The statement says that in order for local civil society organizations to trust the U.N.’s human rights mechanisms, countries involved with the review “must address the dire situation in the country and make concrete and measurable recommendations to the government to address the recent human rights violations.”

Those recommendations should include calls for a prompt bail review of 23 protesters who were imprisoned on January 2 and 3, an end to excessive use of force by state security forces, an impartial investigation into the killing of protesters earlier this month and an end to the ban on public gatherings.

The U.N.’s last periodic review of Cambodia’s rights record was in 2009. The recommendations made by countries participating in the review included implementing measures to ensure judicial independence, ending forced evictions and protecting freedom of assembly and expression.

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