When it comes to political rights and civil liberties, Cambodian citizens continue to be “not free,” according to U.S.-based organization Freedom House, which released its “Freedom in the World 2016” report on Wednesday.
Cambodia has been unable to shake its “not free” status since the annual study began in 1972.
Freedom House defines a “not free” country as “one where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.”
Cambodia joins 50 out of 195 countries in the category, including regional neighbors Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
Cambodia’s scores are broadly unchanged compared to last year, with political rights obtaining a score of 6 and civil liberties 5 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing weaker freedoms.
During his visit to Cambodia on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said progress on human rights, universal freedoms and good governance were “critical” to Cambodia meeting the aspirations of its population.