Cambodia: the thin line between development and human rights during COVID-19

Szablewska, Natalia; Ngouv, Muy Seo and Ly, Ratana (2023). Cambodia: the thin line between development and human rights during COVID-19. In: Hawksley, Charles and Georgeou, Nichole eds. Pandemic, States and Societies in the Asia-Pacific, 2020–2021 : Responding to COVID. Routledge Studies on the Asia-Pacific Region. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 182–200.



In the chapter on Cambodia, Natalia Szablewska (the Open University, United Kingdom) Muy Seo Ngouv (Royal University of Law and Economics, Cambodia) and Ratana Ly (University of Victoria, Canada) argue Cambodia has been steadily climbing the Human Development Index since the 1990s and the key dimensions of human development, like income, education and health, have been improving, placing Cambodia in the “medium human development” category among 189 countries and regions (UNDP, 2020). The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, impacted the social and economic progress to date. In response to the pandemic, the government introduced a number of measures, including emergency laws, on public health grounds that have had a negative impact on basic human rights by restricting people’s access to the essentials, healthcare or education. The authors examine the legal and policy developments in Cambodia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, adopting a human rights lens to analyse the implementation of COVID-19 measures with a particular focus on the education and business sectors.

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