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UN envoy making informal visit

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association will arrive in Cambodia on February 5, his office announced on Friday.

While the special rapporteur, Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist Maina Kiai, is only paying a “brief non-official academic visit”, his trip comes as the constitutional right to freedom of assembly has been suspended following violent clashes between protesters and authorities last month that left at least four dead.

While the ban on assembly has been sporadically enforced, two peaceful protests have recently been put down by security forces, leaving several injured.

“The post-election protest movement in Cambodia has been remarkable in its size and persistence,” Kiai said in a statement. “This is a testament to the importance of the right to peaceful assembly, and I am deeply concerned by the authorities’ harsh crackdown over the past month.”

During his three-day visit, Kiai will meet with civil society groups, labour activists and “other stakeholders”, according to the statement.

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