The UN and human rights groups called on the government Friday to honor its obligations as a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and thoroughly investigate the disappearance of 16-year-old Khem Sopath, who was last seen lying bloodied and injured during violent protests in January.
Saturday is International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
In an email, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia said that Khem Sophath’s family has endured “unspeakable suffering” and urged the government to take “all appropriate measures to search for, locate and release disappeared persons and, in the event of death, to locate, respect and return their remains.”
It added: “If it is found that Khem Sophath is a case of enforced disappearance, the Convention makes it clear that the State must bring those responsible to justice.”
A separate statement endorsed by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and Adhoc called upon Asean states—including Cambodia—to “redouble their efforts to investigate these and all other unsolved cases of enforced disappearances, bring those responsible to justice, and provide reparations to victims and their families.”