Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Date: 30 October 2015
We are concerned about the worsening climate for opposition politicians and activists in Cambodia. While 11 opposition activists are serving prison sentences of between seven and 20 years for participating in or leading an “insurrection”, another opposition Member of Parliament is currently awaiting trial on a range of charges, including incitement to commit crimes and forging public documents. And last Monday, a group of pro-Government protesters in Phnom Penh verbally and physically assaulted opposition Members of Parliament, and threatened the safety of the private residence of the National Assembly's First Vice-President, in what appears to be an organised attack. Reports suggest that police and other State security forces looked on while the attacks took place, in stark contrast to their response to protests that have been organised in the past by groups criticizing the Government.
We stress that the right to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression belongs to all individuals, regardless of their political or other opinion. It is the Government's responsibility to ensure that individuals are not targeted for their political affiliation or for expressing dissenting views.
We welcome the establishment of an investigative commission into last Monday’s incident, but we stress that the investigation will only be credible if it is independent, impartial, thorough and prompt. Those responsible for the violence must be brought to justice.
We also urge the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of all the democratically elected representatives of the people of Cambodia, irrespective of their political affiliation, and to also ensure that the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and other state security forces conduct themselves in full accordance with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169).*
* Link to the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/LawEnforcementOfficials.aspx
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