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Rhona Smith to visit Kingdom next month

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Ms Smith meets NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok. KT/Chor Sokunthea

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith will visit the Kingdom at the end of next month, when she plans to discuss the human rights situation in Cambodia, Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn said yesterday.

“I will prepare a schedule for her to meet with Cambodian officials, including me,” he said at an event in Phnom Penh.

In an email yesterday, Garga Mahmoud, communication and information officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, forwarded details of the visit which were provided by Simon Walker, OHCHR representative to Cambodia.

Mr Walker said that the government has agreed to Ms Smith’s visit next month.

“Her next visit is scheduled to take place from April 29 to May 9 and she will continue her focus on the integration of human rights in the Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals which the Ministry of Planning launched this morning at the Phnom Penh Hotel,” he said.

Mr Walker said Ms Smith will continue focusing on issues such as leaving no one behind in development planning and implementation.

These include public and civil society participation in development planning and implementation and public accountability for development decisions, implementation and budgets.

Mr Walker noted that Ms Smith’s meetings with government officials and partners have not been finalised yet.

Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager of human rights group Licadho, yesterday said that he does not know yet who Ms Smith will meet to discuss the rights situation in Cambodia, stressing that it is important for the government to show her the improvements that have been made.

He also said that he did not know if Ms Smith plans to meet former opposition leader Kem Sokha, noting that during a previous visit she was not allowed to meet him.

Last year, Ms Smith called on the courts to drop the treason charges against Mr Sokha or speed up his case and lift his restrictive bail conditions.

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