Academic Visit to Cambodia by Mr Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association
During his visit, Mr Kiai had the opportunity to meet with diverse groups of Cambodian society, including community representatives of Boeung Kak Lake and Borey Keila, trade unionists, political opposition members, youth activists, environmental activists, students, embassies, and civil society organisations.
Mr Kiai, a professor of law, engaged in honest dialogues and discussions with all groups, both reminding his audience of international human rights standards and of the importance to actively exercise their right to freedom of assembly and association. Mr Kiai repeatedly emphasised that the right to freedom of assembly and association are the pillars to a full and true enjoyment of every individual’s human rights. It provides individuals, among others, an opportunity to express their political opinions in a collective manner. He reminded us that there has never been an improvement of a human rights situation without a struggle; it is how society works through those challenges – at times with personal sacrifices – in order to achieve positive change.
ADHOC truly agrees with Mr Kiai’s inspiring words; it is crucial that all members of Cambodian civil society – whether organisations, community-based groups or individuals – join their forces in the fight against the shrinking democratic space as well as against corruption, injustices and human rights violations in order to improve the deteriorating human rights situation throughout Cambodia.