Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 16:05 GMT

Cambodia: UN rights expert voices concerns over freedom of expression

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 29 September 2010
Cite as UN News Service, Cambodia: UN rights expert voices concerns over freedom of expression, 29 September 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ca989cd1e.html [accessed 29 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Defamation laws are being used disproportionately in Cambodia against journalists, activists and politicians, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today, warning against a narrowing of the political space in the South-East Asian country.

Surya P. Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, also voiced concern about issues related to land and housing rights and the narrowing of political space for members of the opposition.

"There has been a disproportionate use of the law regarding defamation and disinformation against journalists, human rights activists and political leaders," said Surya P. Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

Presenting his report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Subedi acknowledged that Cambodia has made important advances in recent years in strengthening human rights, including the enactment of major new laws.

At the same time, he noted that "Cambodia remains a complex country in terms of the protection and promotion of human rights, as democratization has not yet fully taken root."

The major areas of concern are those relating to access to land and housing rights, freedom of expression, and the challenges faced by the judiciary, he said, adding that they continue to dominate the legal and political landscape in Cambodia.

The expert recommended a series of measures to strengthen the independence and capacity of the judiciary and the overall human rights situation.

Mr. Subedi also voiced his concern about the narrowing of political space in Cambodia for those belonging to the opposition parties and other political activists, noting the conviction of the leader of the opposition, Sam Rainsy, since the submission of his report to the Council.

He hoped that the conviction will be subject to appeal and urged that this be conducted with the utmost attention to due process and principles of fair trial.

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