The UN’s visiting High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour held a two-hour roundtable discussion on Wednesday evening with local NGO representatives, focusing on judicial reform, NGO officials said.
“She didn’t say much, rather listened to all of us talking,” said Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of NGO Forum. “She said she would like to focus on the judicial system.”
Pa Nguon Teang, director of Voice of Democracy Radio, part of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, also said that the meeting focused on the country’s judiciary.
“We worry about the non-independence of the judiciary, the bias of the judges, no clear procedure for selection, no clear procedure for promotion,” he said.
Pa Nguon Teang said some of the participants asked Arbour to permanently station a UN human rights special representative in Cambodia.
UN Human Rights Special Representative Yash Ghai has made two fact-finding missions to Cambodia since his appointment last year.
On his most recent trip, Ghai enraged Prime Minister Hun Sen by stating that too much power was concentrated in the hands of one unnamed individual for human rights to flourish.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said on Monday that Prime Minister Hun Sen might not extend the mandate of the UN’s human rights office in Cambodia if the office does not work more closely with the government.
Earlier in the afternoon, Arbour toured the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum with Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.
Arbour is scheduled to meet with Hun Sen today.