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Human rights violations dismissed ahead of UN rapporteur visit

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Rhona Smith. KT/Mai Vireak

Ahead of a mission to the Kingdom by UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, a CPP spokesman yesterday said Cambodia has never been sanctioned by the UN for violating human rights, noting that the rapporteur and other rights workers are biased.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday issued a statement saying that the government has been following principles of democracy and the rule of law in order to ensure human rights are not violated.

“In Cambodia, there has been no serious human rights violations as some people suggest,” Mr Eysan said. “If there have been serious violations, Cambodia would have been sanctioned by the UN. The Human Rights Council and the UN offices have never named Cambodia on their list of human rights violators.”

Mr Eysan noted that Rhona Smith, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, and Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, were politically biased and accuse the government of violating rights.

Ms Smith will visit the Kingdom from today until November 8 on her latest mission to review the rights situation in the country at the invitation of the government.

During her 11-day visit, Ms Smith plans to meet senior officials, representatives of civil society and members of communities.

Ms Smith will draft a report on the current human rights situation in the Kingdom and present it to the UN’s Human Rights Council in September next year.

In her last report, Ms Smith called into question the “genuineness” of the July 29 national election, which the ruling CPP dominated, securing all 125 seats in the National Assembly and extending its decades-long position in power.

She said the election process in the Kingdom had been steadily improving until the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party and banned its senior politicians from politics for five years.

Ms Smith also cited concerns over staff and former staff members of human rights organisation Adhoc who remained under judicial supervision following their release from pre-trial detention in June 2017.

Soeng Sen Karuna, a senior investigator with Adhoc, said the group has been invited to meet Ms Smith and will present its concerns on how freedom of expression in the country has been suppressed.

“We will update her on the current situation of human rights in the country,” he said. “The government has tracked down those who expressed their ideas and opinions against it; I think the problem could be solved and the human rights situation could be better if the government just listens to Ms Smith.”

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