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PM Hun Sen to Cooperate With U.N. Human Rights Office in Cambodia

Prime Minister Hun Sen agrees to cooperate with U.N. office of human rights officials in Cambodia after meeting with U.N. High Commissioner for human rights Louise Arbour.

He says that Cambodia is not a hell. This change of position happens after his attack against U.N. human rights special representative in Cambodia Yash Ghai.

Professor Ghai says that the power is centralized in one person, and he criticizes the judiciary system in Cambodia.

Ieng Sophalleth, spokesman for Mr. Hun Sen and Ms. Arbour at the meeting alleges that Mr. Hun Sen told Ms. Louise Arbour that he wants human rights officials to speak the truth.

Ms. Arbour has no comment about Mr. Hun Sen's statements, but that she will have a press conference Friday.

To clarify people's confusion about his intention to close the U.N. human rights office in Cambodia, Mr. Hun Sen says that he will not close it, alleges Mr. Sophalleth.

Mr. Sophalleth told Ms. Arbour that Mr. Hun Sen does not want praise but only the truth.

Ms. Arbour says that human rights and democracy in Cambodia are improving, for she sees the reporters' activities, and many NGOs.

Mr. Sophalleth says that Ms. Arbour feels that her visit to Cambodia does not reflect her intention as being an expert, but rather as a partner.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) legislator Son Chhay welcomes the cooperation between Mr. Hun Sen and Ms. Arbour.

Relations between Cambodia and the U.N. have been tense since March when special envoy Yash Ghai criticized the Hun Sen government for "iron-fisted" leadership, suppression of dissent and lack of reform.

Ms. Arbour visits Cambodia for one week, having an audience with King Sihamoni, Thursday afternoon, meeting with high ranking government officials, and civil society organizations.