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UN Envoy Wants Cooperation on Rights

UN human rights envoy Surya Prasad Subedi on Wednesday encouraged Cambodia’s leading rights organizations to establish better cooperation with the government in an effort to improve the country’s rights situation.

“We support a cooperation mechanism between the government and non-governmental organizations,” said Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. “It is very important to promote and protect human rights and to reduce the tension between the government and non-governmental organizations.”

The government has a prickly relationship with many rights groups, seeing them as critical naysayers aligned with the opposition.

Rights groups have been sharply critical of the government’s record of rights violations, such as forced evictions, arrests of protesters and threats against rights leaders.

Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodian, arrived Monday on a two-week mission.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen Tuesday, Subedi suggested similar cooperation, according to Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee.