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Cambodia’s Rights Defenders Under ‘All Kinds of Threats,’ Advocate Says


Ny Chakrya chief investigator for the Cambodian rights group Adhoc (Courtesy of Ny Chakrya)

Ny Chakrya chief investigator for the Cambodian rights group Adhoc (Courtesy of Ny Chakrya)

That law will “restrict the freedom of NGOs in fulfilling their work in the status of human rights defenders,” Ny Chakrya said.

A prominent human rights advocate says Cambodia continues to operate in a repressive environment, with a government that fails to respect local and international standards and laws.

“I think the government should change its attitude [and] do something leading to the respect of human rights,” Ny Chakrya, lead investigator for the rights group Adhoc, told “Hello VOA” on Monday.

Rights workers in Cambodia are under “all kinds of threats, both spiritually and in personal security,” he said.

That includes in the courts, which have been used, he said, to charge and criminalize rights defenders and others in a “systematic process,” which has set in following the passage of a controversial law to regulate NGOs.

That law will “restrict the freedom of NGOs in fulfilling their work in the status of human rights defenders,” he said.

Meanwhile, international donors who seem not to care about human rights are a disappointment, he said, as crackdowns on protests, the barring of demonstrations from Freedom Park, and other restrictions continue.

Tensions have continued thanks to the government’s land policies, under which many people have lost land, but in the meantime are learning about due process, he said. “When people understand, they protest.”

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