Despite a rocky relationship with several past UN human rights envoys, Prime Minister Hun Sen told hundreds of students during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh on Wednesday that he would cooperate with whomever might replace the most recent envoy, Special Representative Yash Ghai.
“Yash Ghai has resigned; I would like to congratulate him. Even if he stays, he can’t meet me,” Hun Sen said. “I am ready to meet with anyone who is appointed by the UN secretary-general; the only one person I won’t meet is Yash Ghai.”
He added Ghai had attacked the government even before meeting with government officials.
In a statement read before a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Ghai tendered his resignation, and in the process gave a blistering condemnation of the political and human rights situation in Cambodia and chastised the international community for not coming to his defense when Hun Sen publicly disparaged him.
Pending possible changes to the rights envoy mandate this week, the Council is expected to soon name Ghai’s replacement.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he was sad to see Ghai resign.
“He has worked for the sake of Cambodian people,” he said. “[But] if the human rights abuses continue, the [next] UN envoy will still continue to speak the truth.”