GENEVA (24 August 2021) - UN human rights experts have sharply criticised Cambodian authorities over the conviction of prominent human rights defender Rong Chhun, sentenced to prison last week along with two of his supporters over comments he made on Facebook about alleged community land loss and forced evictions along Cambodia's border with Vietnam.

UN human rights experts have repeatedly written to the Cambodian Government, raising concerns about the threats against 25 human rights defenders, who have reportedly been subjected to intimidation, violence, or detention. The experts criticised the systematic denial of bail even though, in principle, under Cambodian law, defendants should be free while awaiting trial. This becomes even more important now when the prison system is grossly overcrowded and hundreds of detainees and inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, they said.

The UN experts reminded Cambodia that it committed at its 2019 Universal Periodic Review to "end harassment and arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders" and to "create the conditions necessary to allow all individuals to enjoy their fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly."

Read the full News Release here.