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It is also deeply distressing that the government appears actively hostile to the idea of protecting human rights defenders," said Eva Kusuma Sundari, a board member of APHR.
This we find unacceptable,' the APHR chairperson said.
Noting that a similar law has been abused in Thailand, and that Cambodia already has a history of 'consistent misuse' of the law in general, APHR Chairman Charles Santiago said there was 'serious potential for its abuse in Cambodia'.
On 22 January, the APHR delegation visited Kutupalong and Balukhali refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have settled since August 2017, joining others who fled previous waves of persecution and violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
Meanwhile, the trend of shrinking democratic space in the Asean region has only grown starker,' the group said in the statement signed by Malaysian member of parliament Charles Santiago as APHR chair.
The APHR criticized Asean's principle of noninterference, arguing that the policy hampered an effective response and was being invoked by leaders in a disingenuous manner.
The case, which bore all the hallmarks of being politically motivated, is indicative of the persistent human rights challenges Malaysia faces, particularly in upholding the rights of individuals who criticize the ruling government, APHR said.
The charges are not only unfounded, they call into question the very credibility of the Justice Department itself," said APHR Chairperson Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament.
Several international organizations, including APHR, have vouched for her innocence and called for her immediate release.
That is the bedrock of any democracy and should not be compromised," said APHR Board Member Teddy Baguilat, a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines.
As elected representatives of the people, we urge heads of government - on behalf of our constituents - to incorporate stronger consultative mechanisms at the regional level that engage all voices, including women and youth, and allow space for civil society to operate in all Asean countries without government interference,' APHR Vice-Chair Mu Sochua, a member of the Cambodian National Assembly, said.
Malaysian Parliament Members Tian Chua and Charles Santiago, along with fellow APHR members, Ifugao Rep.