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Villagers in Northeast Stopped from Meeting UN Envoy

A human rights worker said Tuesday a hill tribe group was stopped from meeting with the UN's special human rights envoy Tuesday in the northeast province of Ratanakkiri, the site of numerous property and political disputes in recent weeks.

Police and military police created a roadblock to prevent villagers from reaching a meeting place with UN envoy Yash Ghai, and outspoken critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen, said Pen Bona, a Ratanakkiri provincial investigator for the rights group Adhoc.

The villagers "wanted to report problems they encountered in the past, especially controversial land disputes in tribal minority areas," Pen Bona said.

Local police chief Ma Viceth said the security forces were present for Ghai's safety.