Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia refutes US’ human rights report

Cambodia refutes US’ human rights report

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign ministry spokesman An Sokkhoeurn. MFAIC

Cambodia refutes US’ human rights report

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed dismay at the US Department of State’s 2022 Human Rights Report on Cambodia, which alleged that the government generally did not respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Ministry spokesman An Sokkhoeurn dismissed the report as "unfounded, biased, prejudiced and political in nature”.

“The US Department of State’s annual human rights report on other countries, including Cambodia, blatantly exposes a double standard in its practices, particularly the absence of a report on their own country,” he said in a March 23 press release.

“After 200 years of its own version of democracy, the US still encounters on a daily basis systematic human rights abuses, among them racism, hate crimes, mass shootings, police brutality, prison abuses, over one million pandemic-related fatalities, use of the death penalty and the lack of the right to abortion, to name just the major ones,” he added.

Sokkhoeurn said the report was simply a selective compilation of events based on unverified publications by foreign-funded NGOs, and he questioned the credibility of the sources used in those reports.

“The narrative on Cambodia is not balanced, objective or proportionate. It presumes the importance of civil and political rights over other rights, namely the rights to life, health, food, education and development.

"Such assumptions deviate from the UN standards which recognise that all human rights must be considered in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, with the same emphasis,” he said.

The US State Department's country report, released on March 20, claimed that although the Cambodian Constitution guaranteed the freedom of peaceful assembly, the government generally failed to respect this right.

It cited a report published by a local human rights group claiming that in 2021, only 35 per cent of NGOs and trade union leaders believed they were free to assemble peacefully.

The report said that although the Constitution guarantees freedom of association, the government continued to restrict it, targeting specific groups it believed could be involved in political dissent.

It said the Constitution also provides for freedom of expression, including for members of the press and other media, but the government “greatly restricts” free expression, including by independent news media and other dissenting voices, and that many individuals and institutions report widespread self-censorship, particularly on social media.

Sokkhoeurn countered that freedom of expression remains alive and well in Cambodia, as evidenced by the high rate of mobile internet penetration, which he said has provided ordinary citizens with unhindered access to information from wide-ranging sources, including those critical of the government, as well as enabling them to file their grievances via social media platforms directly to the nation's top leadership.

“Their voices are further amplified by the robust presence of nearly 2,000 digital and traditional media outlets. The government continues to welcome lawful rallies and appreciates sincere criticisms from various camps,” he said.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Struggling Battambang artist dreams of staging full-scale gallery exhibition

    Leav Kimchhoth, a 55-year-old artist from Battambang province, is a familiar face to locals and tourists alike on the streets of the riverside in Phnom Penh. The one-armed painter and illustrator often hawks his work near the night market on weekends and public holidays. He

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • New Law on Taxation comes into effect

    Cambodia has enacted the eagerly-awaited new Law on Taxation, which aims to improve the national tax regime’s compliance with present and future international standards and economic conditions; encourage accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the collection process; and promote investment in the Kingdom. King Norodom

  • PM warns of int’l election interference

    With the national election scheduled to take place in less than two months, Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned foreign nations and their diplomats not to interfere into Cambodia’s domestic affairs. He also hinted that their statements on court verdicts handed down to any