The Delusion of Progress: Cambodia's Legislative Assault on Freedom of Expression

Published on October 26, 2011

Since 2008, the Cambodian government has embarked upon a furious campaign to propose and enact a wide range of new laws. While this new legislation is typically touted as evidence of Cambodia’s progress toward the rule of law, a new LICADHO report has found that in many cases, it actually marks the opposite.

In the report, “The Delusion of Progress: Cambodia’s Legislative Assault on Expressive Rights,” LICADHO analyzes five key laws proposed or enacted since 2008: the Penal Code, the Anti-Corruption Law, the Law on Associations and NGOs, the Law on Peaceful Assembly, and the Law on Unions of Enterprises. Overall, the analysis reveals several disturbing trends: Legislation is littered with improper restrictions on freedom of expression, provisions are misapplied, and vast sections are deliberately drafted to be used as weapons against those who speak out against the political and financial elite.

In other words, the idea that Cambodia’s new laws represent progress is simply a delusion.

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