Cambodia’s Senate Approves State of Emergency Law as UN Expert Warns of its Risks to Rights

Legislation authorizing a state of emergency to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Cambodia risks violating the right to privacy, free speech, and peaceful assembly, a United Nations expert said Friday, as lawmakers gave their final approval of the bill.

“Emergency measures must be necessary and proportionate to the crisis they seek to address,” Rhona Smith, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, said in a statement.

“The broadly worded language on the protection of national security and public order, ostensibly aimed at addressing COVID-19 [the disease caused by the coronavirus], can potentially be used to infringe on the right to privacy and unnecessarily restrict freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

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