The U.N. was due to appoint its new human rights envoy to Cambodia on Friday night at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, with British academic Rhona Smith expected to be selected from a three-person shortlist.
The two other nominees for the position were Michael O’Flaherty, professor of human rights law at the National University of Ireland in Galway, and Ravindran Daniel Justin, an Indian lawyer and former deputy director of the Office of the U.N.’s High Commissioner of Human Rights in Cambodia.
Last week, HRC president Joachim Rueckether threw his support behind the 45-year-old Ms. Smith for her “in-depth knowledge of the country, her language skills…as well as her expertise on the human rights challenges faced by the country.”
Ms. Smith was traveling Friday and said she could not comment.
“[It] is not appropriate to comment at this stage given decisions are not confirmed,” she said. The new envoy will replace Surya Subedi, a professor of international law, who served in the position for six years.