Human Rights Council Extends Cambodia Mandate

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of Cambodia’s human rights envoy Surya Subedi for another year.

The Sept 30 resolution, which was sponsored by Japan, Norway, the US and non-council members Denmark, Serbia and New Zealand, expressed its concern about the human rights situation in Cambodia and called on the government to improve its efforts to reform the judiciary and deal with land disputes.

The resolution also welcomed several achievements by the government, including its acceptance of all of the Council’s recommendations from its quadrennial human rights review of Cambodia in 2009 and its adoption of the new penal code and anticorruption law.

“The Human Rights Council […] decides to extend by one year the mandate of the special procedures on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, and requests the Special Rapporteur to report on the implementation of the mandate to the Council at its eighteenth session” in 2011, the resolution said.

Extending the mandate first adopted in 1993 means Cambodia will continue to be one of just eight countries in the world that the UN Human Rights Council has assigned an independent human rights monitor. Of the eight nations, only Burma has been assigned a human rights envoy for longer.

The extension of the mandate came after Mr Subedi delivered a report to the Council last month that was critical of the current state of the Cambodian judicial system.

Mak Sambath, deputy president of the government’s human rights committee, said yesterday he had not yet read the latest resolution, which was only recently published on the UN Human Rights Council website.

“I think what the Council has advised [in the resolution] seems to show that they do not understand clearly what the government has been doing,” he said when told of the resolution. “The government is trying its best to improve land issues, the judiciary and relations with the UN’s human rights office, etc.”

Mr Sambath referred questions about the extension of the UN human rights envoy’s mandate to the Foreign Ministry, whose spokesman, Koy Kuong, said he was unaware if the ministry had received any details about the Council’s resolution yet.


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