Cambodia: Fundamental Freedoms Monitoring Project


The Fundamental Freedoms Monitoring Project, which began in 2016, examines and evaluates the extent to which the freedoms of association, expression, and assembly are exercised in Cambodia. The information used was systematically compiled from a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, including public polling, media monitoring, and surveys of civil society organizations (CSOs) and trade unions (TUs).

The FFMP’s Sixth Annual Report monitored fundamental freedoms in Cambodia from January through December 2021. Key findings include:

  • More than 300 restrictions and violations of fundamental freedoms occurred across Cambodia in 2021.
  • Most individuals do not feel free to exercise their fundamental freedoms. Only 36% of individuals feel free to exercise their freedom of assembly, while only 43% of individuals feel free to exercise their freedom of association, and 46% of individuals feel free to exercise their freedom of expression.
  • Notably, 54% of individuals erroneously believe that it is illegal to protest peacefully, and 74% erroneously believe that it is illegal to strike without permission.
  • Freedom of assembly was selectively upheld—while 95% of ‘Friday Women’ assemblies, calling for the release of imprisoned CNRP members, were interfered with, only 22% of other assemblies were impeded.
  • 77% of incidents of interference with fundamental freedoms involved lawful online expression.
  • Overall, only 42% of individuals polled feel free to speak in public, and just 47% feel free to speak on social media. 84% of CSO and TU leaders, and 59% of the public, reported regularly self-censoring.
  • Only 55% of individuals said they felt free to assemble.
  • Only 29% of individuals polled reporting feeling free to take part in political activities.
  • After declining for four years, the proportion of women respondents who reported feeling free to participate in political activities almost doubled from Year Five to Year Six, at 30%. Although still low, the increase is notable given the historically low rate of women’s political participation in Cambodia and may be attributable to the upcoming 2022 commune elections, which could be acting as a catalyst for women.

The FFMP is a joint initiative of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), with technical assistance provided by the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL).