U.S. Statement at Human Rights Council Discussion on Cambodia

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for Cambodia

Delivered by Jason Mack

UN Human Rights Council – 30th Session

September 29, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.

The United States appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s report.  We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Cambodia.  We call upon Cambodia to make greater efforts to consult with and promote a vibrant, open and free civil society and to create more transparent legislative and judicial processes.

The Cambodian government is preparing to submit key laws to the parliament that raise serious questions of whether Cambodia is complying with its international obligation to respect the right to freedom of association, including the Trade Unions Act.  Bills for Cyber Crime and Telecommunications may threaten the privacy and freedom of speech of the Cambodian people.  Moreover, these laws have been drafted without or with insufficient public consultation or debate, or sufficient public disclosure of their contents.  This includes the recently enacted Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations, or LANGO, which contains provisions appearing to repress human rights.

The United States is gravely concerned about these developments.  We join the Special Rapporteur to call on the government of Cambodia to increase transparency and apply LANGO in a fair and transparent manner that does not unduly restrict civil society.

There has also been increased suppression of peaceful protests.  The United States welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to hold accountable perpetrators of violence during demonstrations, including members of the security forces.  Only with the contributions and support of public advocacy groups, human rights defenders, and the public at large can Cambodia secure an open and free society.

Question:

  • What are the Special Rapporteur’s observations about the impact of the passage of LANGO on civil society?

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.