The new law, passed on March 11, could put violators in prison for up to 20 years and a fine of up to 20 million riyals ($ 5,000). It also gives the government the power to prohibit or restrict any gathering or demonstration, according to A. New release Issued by rights experts.
“We are concerned that administrative and punitive measures, including excessive prison sentences and fines stipulated in the law, appear disproportionate and unjustified. All measures taken to combat the pandemic, including potential penalties, must be necessary, proportionate and not used,” the experts said. Excessively.
They also stressed that restrictions imposed on fundamental freedoms for reasons of public health “must not violate the rights and freedoms guaranteed by international human rights law, and they must be proportionate, non-discriminatory, time-bound, and limited in purpose.”
At least four people have reportedly been arrested since the law came into effect, and several others have been sent to quarantine.
“Panic” over the disclosure of personal information
While experts noted the government’s efforts to contain the virus and limit its transmission to society, experts also expressed dissatisfaction with the recent disclosure of personal information of individuals who had tested positive for the virus. Covid-19.
Since April 3, Phnom Penh City Administration has released private details of at least 976 individuals who have tested positive for the virus, including name, gender, age, profession, workplace and address, according to the press release. Local authorities in other provinces are currently publishing such personal information.
Experts highlighted that personal health data should be subject to strict privacy protection against disclosure to any unauthorized person for public health purposes, and that posting such details could discourage people from searching for Corona Virus the exams.
They said that “the public disclosure of personal data, including the names of those who have been infected with the virus, is an unfortunate violation of the right to privacy,” adding that “these measures have no fundamental link with public health measures, such as communication. The tracking does not need to disclose personal information. And personality. “
Last December, the country’s authorities overturned a decision to release such personal details after UN experts intervened.
Providing economic assistance to those affected
Experts also highlighted the impact of the recent restrictions, including the two-week curfew imposed on April 1 in the capital, Phnom Penh, which the government said aims to suspend “non-essential” business, gatherings and travel, as well as an inter-provincial travel ban between 7 and 7. April 20, which is the traditional Khmer New Year holiday.
Experts warned that such measures would further harm the most vulnerable, who had already suffered major economic hardship during the epidemic and risk pushing them into poverty, and urged the government to provide economic aid to those affected by the crisis.
“Those who will suffer the most are the individuals who work in the informal sector such as tuk-tuk drivers and street vendors … The government must ensure that economic relief measures target these groups and that people in vulnerable situations receive adequate support to deal with pandemic measures. “.
Experts urged the authorities to ensure that all Cambodians, especially those living in marginalized and vulnerable situations, have access to goods, services and facilities for COVID-19, without discrimination.
Among the independent human rights experts who have expressed concern are the special rapporteurs on the situation Human Rights in Cambodia; The The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; The The right to privacy; And the The right to physical and mental health.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as Special procedures Dependent Human Rights Council. Experts work on a volunteer basis; They are not United Nations employees and do not receive a salary. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.