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UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai emerges from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following a meeting in 2014.
UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai emerges from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following a meeting in 2014. Hong Menea

UN rapporteur visits Kingdom

A top United Nations human rights official who has slammed Cambodian government legislation in the past was in the Kingdom for an “unofficial” visit on Saturday and Sunday, during which he discussed key rights issues with various civil society groups.

Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, met with members of Cambodian youth organisations and representatives of the evictees from Boeung Kak Lake, among others, during his two-day visit, according to a statement from rights group Adhoc.

“Mr Kiai repeatedly emphasised that the right to freedom of assembly and association are the pillars to a full and true enjoyment of every individual’s human rights,” the statement reads.

In July, Kiai criticised Cambodia’s law on non-governmental organisations following its passage for allowing authorities to withdraw recognition of politically unfavourable associations, calling it a “clear violation of international law”.

During his latest visit, Kiai made no official statements due to the “academic” nature of his passage, said Cambodian Center for Human Rights executive director Chak Sopheap, who met with him.

Sopheap said Kiai was following recent political events in Cambodia “very closely”, after tensions renewed following the beating of two opposition lawmakers on October 26.

“He knows about all this, but one thing he encourages us to do is to keep exercising our rights, because it is a fundamental thing,” she said.

Kiai did not immediately respond for comment.

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