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U.N. Representative on Human Rights in Cambodia Resigns

Cambodian politicians and civil society officials say they regret Peter Leuprecht's decision to resign from his position as the UN Secretary General's Representative on Human Rights in Cambodia. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Monday appointed a Kenyan lawyer as his new Special Representative on human rights to Cambodia to replace Mr. Peter Leuprecht who has resigned. Mr. Leuprecht served in Cambodia from 2001-2005.

Human rights activists call Leuprecht's resignation a great loss to Cambodia. Mr. Leuprecht is well known for his open criticisms on the Cambodian government. He has criticized the government on corruption, land grabbing, land concession and human rights violations. It is not known why Mr. Leuprecht resigned. He cannot be reached for comment.

In many of his reports, Mr. Leuprecht defended poor people in Cambodia which fueled strong reactions from Prime Minister Hun Sen. Mr. Kem Sokha, Cambodia Center for Human Rights' (CCHR) director said in his recent report, Mr. Leuprecht cited the human rights violation issues, but the international community did not react or take any actions. Kem Sokha said that the Representative has qualities compared to previous UN representatives.

Mr. Keo Remy, opposition Sam Rainsy party legislator said Mr. Leuprecht is very well-qualified for his job special qualities in his criticisms on human rights violation in Cambodia. He adds that Cambodia is still new in human rights and democracy endeavor and she needs someone with special personality and good activities.

Cambodian government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith cannot be reached for comment. In the past, Prime Minister Hun Sen used to mock Mr. Leuprecht's reports on human rights violations in Cambodia.