UN Renews Mandate for Local Rights Office

The UN Human Rights Com­mis­sion Friday renewed the mandate of the UN human rights of­fice to operate in Cambodia, but noted that the human rights situation still needs improving.

The resolution, which was passed without vote, allows for the “continued functioning of the operational presence in Cambo­dia” of the UN human rights of­fice and also ensures that the UN special representative on human rights for Cambodia will continue working, according to a UN news release. The position of UN special representative is currently held by Peter Leuprecht.

Although the UN praised Cam­bodia for completing draft laws on the penal and civil codes and for removing land mines and re­ducing the number of small arms in the country, the world body con­demned Cambodia for a number of shortcomings.

The UN “expressed serious con­cern that the situation of im­punity still exists in Cambodia …and noted with concern the serious prison conditions in Cam­bo­dia,” the news release stated.

The UN also called on the government to ensure that the July general elections are free and fair and to “investigate fully past incidents of intimidation, violence and killings and reports of vote-buying” associated with past elections.

The UN also urged the government to address issues of excessive pretrial detentions, killings of political activists, involvement of police or military personnel in mob violence and any racial violence against minorities.

An unidentified Cambodian representative said that the reso­lu­tion contained “prejudicial sentiments that bore no relation to the social or customary behavior or the character of the Cambodian people,” the release said.

The Cambodian representative also criticized a recent report by Leuprecht on the human rights situ­ation in Cambodia, saying the report was “repetitive” and “generalized some single events, making them sound as if they were the wholesale situation in the country and as if such problems only happened in Cambodia,” the release said.

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