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UN rep responds to CPP

THE UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia on Sunday brushed off government criticisms that he has taken a biased view of the rights situation here, three days after telling the UN’s human rights council in Geneva that “core political rights … have been undermined” in the Kingdom.

On Thursday, UN rapporteur Surya Subedi criticised Cambodia’s criminalisation of defamation and said that rule of law and judicial independence remain limited, according to a UN news report summarising the human rights council proceedings.

Speaking Sunday, Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap criticised Subedi’s remarks, accusing him and other UN representatives of holding a bias against the Cambodian government.

“Based on my observations, Mr Subedi is not different from Yash Ghai,” Cheam Yeap said. Yash Ghai preceded Subedi as UN special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia before resigning in September 2008 after a notoriously stormy relationship with the government.

In an email on Sunday, Subedi rejected the claim that he had taken a one-sided approach to his position. “I am an independent, objective and impartial person, and this is reflected in my report. I have to speak my mind on the basis of information received and personal observations made,” he said.

The Nepalese law professor reiterated his confidence that he will be able to work productively with the Cambodian government. “I hope the government will continue to engage with me and other human rights agencies as the country and the government stand to benefit from such a constructive engagement,” he said.

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