Senior Gov’t Officials To Meet UN Rights Envoy

Following up on a government pledge of cooperation with the new UN human rights envoy to Cambodia, three senior officials agreed to meet with UN Special Rapporteur for human rights Surya Subedi, who arrived June 15 for his first official visit, according to the foreign ministry.

However, by the afternoon of June 12, there had been no response from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen to a request to meet Mr Subedi, according to Sam Ratana, deputy director of international organizations at the Foreign Ministry.

“This morning I received confirmation from the municipality. [Phnom Penh Governor] Kep Chuktema has agreed. The Interior Minister has also ag-

reed,” he said, adding that Om Yentieng, president of the government’s human rights committee, was also scheduled to meet Mr Subedi on June 18 at 10 am.

Sry Thamarong, foreign affairs adviser to the premier, said Friday that he had yet to see a request for a meeting with the UN envoy forwarded via the ministry.

Mr Subedi said June 11 that his first visit to Cambodia is a bridge-building mission to meet officials and agree on how his work will be carried out.

Government contacts with Mr Subedi’s outspoken predecessor, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Yash Ghai, broke down almost completely prior to Mr Ghai’s resignation in September.

“My first visit would basically be a diplomatic one to re-establish contact with the Government of Cambodia and agree with them the priority areas for my future work for Cambodia,” Mr Subedi wrote in an e-mail.

“I have sensed a desire on the part of the people in the Cambodian government to engage in a serious, meaningful and constructive dialogue with me and am looking forward to interacting with them,” he wrote.

 

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