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Govt warns UN rights head over criticisms

Govt warns UN rights head over criticisms

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the head of the United Nation’s human rights office of exceeding his mandate by criticising Monday’s deportation of two Thai Red Shirt activists, warning that further comments could prompt the government to reassess his presence in the country.

On Wednesday, Christophe Peschoux, the country representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the deportation was a “political decision” that lacked proper procedure.

In a letter dated yesterday, the ministry warned Peschoux that he had no right to criticise the move, which it described as the “monopoly right” of the government.

The letter added that “any such activities in the future will lead the Royal Government of Cambodia to make a decision on your presence in Cambodia”.

The letter follows a similar warning sent to UN Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick in March, threatening to expel him from the country for criticising the passage of the Anticorruption Law.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that the letter was sent to Peschoux to remind him to adhere to a January 2010 MoU signed with the Cambodian government.

“This does not mean [we] want to expel him. We just want to remind him,” he said.

Peschoux could not be reached yesterday, but Hang Chhaya, executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, said such threats had been issued in the past to keep UN officials from becoming too vocal in their criticisms.

“Any false move and the government will pounce,” he said.

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