[Joint Statement] ASEAN Member States should respect fundamental freedoms

    (Bangkok, 14 November 2019) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), together with its members Pusat KOMAS and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) from Malaysia, and Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan (KontraS) from Indonesia, strongly condemns the recent tactics used by the Cambodian Government to repress the fundamental freedoms of opposition members in exile. FORUM-ASIA, Pusat KOMAS, SUARAM and KontraS believe that all individuals are entitled to their fundamental freedoms, including their freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and the freedom of movement regardless of political belief or affiliation.

    ASEAN Member States have the duty and responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill the fundamental rights and freedoms of everyone within ASEAN. In the last few weeks, we have seen the dereliction of these duties by various ASEAN Governments. Under pressure from the Cambodian Government, they have been in collusion to bar members of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) to realise their rights and freedoms. The detention of Mu Sochua in Malaysia; the storming by the Cambodian Ambassador of a press conference in Indonesia; and limiting the freedom of movement of Sam Rainsy and other opposition members: are the latest examples of this repression.

    FORUM-ASIA, Pusat KOMAS, SUARAM and KontraS condemn these tactics orchestrated by the Government of Cambodia, which continues to crack down on civic space in Cambodia itself, while also targeting exiled opposition members. FORUM-ASIA, Pusat KOMAS, SUARAM and KontraS call on all ASEAN Governments to firmly stand by their commitments to human rights, and not allow anyone, not even a fellow ASEAN Member State, deter them from these commitments.