The Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) on Monday led an inter-ministerial meeting at the Council of Ministers to review “factual errors” in the draft annual reports compiled by Rhona Smith, the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia.
CHRC spokesman Chin Malin said Smith’s report would be submitted to the 42nd session of the UNHRC, which will be held in September. He said Smith’s report showed the result of her last two visits to Cambodia.
He said the procedure is for the Special Rapporteur to send her draft report to the government for assessment and feedback on errors before submitting it to the UN.
“After the government received the draft report, CHRC organised the inter-ministerial meeting to check its contents because they are relevant to many government institutions."
“During the meeting, we categorised the report into parts so that the relevant institutions could check and give feedback on whether there are any errors or any points that do not reflect the real situation in Cambodia,” said Malin.
Smith recently made two visits to Cambodia – in November last year and in May.
During her May visit, she continued to focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She said at the end of her visit that an important development since November was the adoption of the SDG localisation plan.
However, she said some important human rights aspects of the SDGs did not appear in the plan.
She also called for the release of the leader of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, Kem Sokha and said there was a “need to change the political culture to one that focuses on issues rather than persons”.
Mahmoud Garga, spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia said Smith would report at the 42nd human rights council session and her report would be available publicly early September 2019.
Chin Malin said the government would give their feedback to Smith, but it would be up to her to accept or reject it.
“It is her right to accept or reject our advice for corrections on her report because she is an independent expert,” he said declining to cite the exact errors Smith had made.