New UN report highlights shrinking political and civic space in Cambodia

A new report of the United Nations’ human rights commissioner and secretary-general has highlighted shrinking political and civic space in Cambodia, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Wednesday (Feb 7).

The report, signed on February 2 and published on Monday, covers a period by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia from July 2017 until the end of the year.

The report said the period witnessed continuing escalation in political tensions and curtailment of civic space with arrest of opposition leader Kim Sokha, the dissolution of the opposition CNRP and the intimidation of other politicians and civil society members.

Cambodia is scheduled as the topic of a session at the Human Rights Council on March 21 when the report will be presented.
During a meeting last week at the Human Rights Council, Japan’s parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs Manabu Horii said Japan would watch the situation in Cambodia with great interest and continue to reach out to the Cambodian government “as necessary” while stressing the importance of the July elections.

Japan is funding the July elections whereas the European Union and the United States have withdrawn their assistance.
At the same meeting, United Kingdom’s minister of state at the foreign and commonwealth office Tariq Ahmad warned Southeast Asia’s economic growth could be put at risk if political and civil space is eroded, pointing to the dissolution of the CNRP and other developments.