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UN Rights Envoy Begins Fact-Finding Mission to Cambodia


Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith meets with Pa Socheatvong, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipal, on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh during her third visit to country. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith meets with Pa Socheatvong, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipal, on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh during her third visit to country. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Her arrival came a day after security forces beat rights workers and land activists during a demonstration in the capital against forced evictions.

Rhona Smith, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, began her third official visit to the kingdom on Tuesday, meeting with justice and human rights officials.

Her arrival came a day after security forces beat rights workers and land activists during a demonstration in the capital against forced evictions.

Following a meeting with Keo Remy, a secretary of state, and human rights officials she did not mention the attacks and said the discussions had focused on “the progress towards complying with … monitoring obligations”.

Keo Remy, head of Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) addresses the press after having a meeting with Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh. ( Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Keo Remy, head of Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) addresses the press after having a meeting with Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh. ( Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager at local human rights group Licadho, who was one of those beaten by the security forces on Monday, said he had filed a lawsuit against the police in Daun Penh district’s Chey Chumneah commune, where the alleged assault had taken place.

Om Samath, a rights investigator for Licadho, after being beaten while observing the celebration of 31st World Habitat Day in Phnom Penh on October 10, 2016.

Om Samath, a rights investigator for Licadho, after being beaten while observing the celebration of 31st World Habitat Day in Phnom Penh on October 10, 2016.

“I regret it [the alleged attack] because these people gave a gift to Cambodia of spoiling the image of the government the day that Rhona Smith [was due to arrive],” he said.

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith meets officials from Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh during her third visit to country. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Rhona Smith meets officials from Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in Phnom Penh during her third visit to country. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Remy told reporters that a staffer from the Interior Ministry had also been injured on Monday, adding that Smith had not raised the issue.

In March, Smith attempted to meet minority groups in Preah Vihear province, but was blocked by security forces. She came under fire in July for not making a statement after the daylight killing of prominent political commentator Kem Ley.​

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