UN Envoy Raises Assembly Ban Concerns

Maina Kiai, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the freedom of assembly and association, met with a Foreign Affairs Ministry official Thursday and raised concerns about the government’s blanket ban on gatherings in Phnom Penh.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with ministry Secretary of State Ouch Borith, Mr. Kiai—who is on an unofficial academic trip to Cambodia—said he had also asked Mr. Borith if the government would issue an invitation for him to visit at a later date in an official capacity.

“I raised concerns about the blanket ban that was extended in January, expressing the strong view that under international law, blanket bans are not recommended,” he added.

“I was happy that [Mr. Borith] assured me that it’s a temporary ban and will be lifted at some point…it’s in the interests of the image of Cambodia and the people of Cambodia,” Mr. Kiai continued.

His visit wraps up today, and a thematic report he will issue to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June may include aspects of what he learned here, he said.

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