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The region’s police and security forces need urgent reform. Otherwise, we are likely to continue seeing serious abuses against protesters

Years of frustrated expectations and dissatisfaction with governments’ social policies boiled over in many Latin American countries in 2019, leading to massive protests. This year, the measures taken in response to the pandemic have forced people to…
Police surround a protester in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.
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As the European Commission is in the final month of a 12-month review of its trade preferences for Cambodia under its Everything But Arms (EBA) programme, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has thrown down the gauntlet to the EU by putting Kem Sokha, the…
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Two Years Since Arrest, No Evidence of Crime

  (Bangkok, November 14, 2019) – Cambodian authorities should drop the bogus espionage charges against two former Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists, Human Rights Watch said today. Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were…
Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin outside the courthouse in Phnom Penh, October 3, 2019.
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Chinese Businesses Are Changing Cambodia. And Not for the Better.

On June 22, in Sihanoukville, a port city in southwest Cambodia, a Chinese-owned building under construction collapsed, killing at least 28 people, all Cambodians. The owner had undertaken the construction without the required permit,…
An excavator removes the rubble at the site of a collapsed building in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, Saturday, June 22, 2019.
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Tokyo is fighting a losing battle for Hun Sen’s support, and selling its own legacy in the democratization of Cambodia short.

In a dimly lit ballroom at a Tokyo luxury hotel, Sok Chenda Sophea, the secretary general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and the minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, persistently asked about 200 Japanese…
2017asia_cambodia_hunsen Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends the celebration marking the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from France, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 9, 2017.
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This article was published in five newspapers in Latin America. Leaders in the Americas have often been confronted in recent years with hard questions about accountability and prisoners’ rights. Should people imprisoned for…
Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori listens to the judge's verdict about his sentence in prison, in Lima October 29, 2013.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s crackdown on dissent is in full swing ahead of national elections later this month. But who are the generals around Hun Sen who act like a praetorian guard protecting him and the ruling party, helping to crush or…
Top row, from left to right: Gen. Kun Kim, RCAF Deputy Supreme Commander; Gen. Mok Chito, Deputy Supreme Commissioner of National Police; Gen. Neth Savoeun, Supreme Commissioner of National Police; Gen. Pol Saroeun, RCAF Supreme Commander.
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A European Union monitoring mission was in Cambodia this week to assess the country’s compliance with the human rights obligations that lie at the core of the EU-Cambodia preferential trade deal. The timing could not be more…
Cambodia’s secretary general for development Sok Chenda Sophea greets Emmanuel Menanteau of EuroCham during the Cambodia-EU business dialogue in Phnom Penh, March 28, 2016.
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Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings has a real-world equivalent in Cambodia. Call it the Book of Imaginary Enemies. This imagined book would tell tales of government attacks against rights activists, journalists and other peaceful critics…
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I will follow you all the way to your doorstep and beat you right there.… I can use violence against you. –Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly threatening violence against any protesters in Australia who burn…
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attends a counterterrorism drill demonstration by Australian and Philippine soldiers on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN summit in Quezon City, Philippines, November 13, 2017.
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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Last month, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile introduced a bill in Congress that appears to be a reaction to the recent release, in Peru, of the former autocratic President Alberto Fujimori. The proposal limits the early release of people convicted of…
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“Whore.... Do you think this is a brothel? You must meet the production demand here. If you want to continue to work here, listen to us.” This nasty threat is a snapshot of the harassment that supervisors and managers heap on many Bangladeshi…
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What’s wrong with the prime minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen? He seems to be in a foul mood lately. His Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which has run Cambodia for nearly four decades, has embarked on a new campaign against the political…
Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a campaign rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 2, 2017.
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I know my autocrats. After all, I once voted for one. As an 18-year-old college sophomore, I voted for Alberto Fujimori for president of Peru in 1995. By then, Fujimori, a relatively unknown agronomy professor elected in 1990 in a…