The UN’s special envoy for human rights, Surya Subedi, wrapped up a five-day mission to Cambodia Friday, expressing concern over Cambodia’s culture of impunity and its ongoing problems with basic rights and freedoms.
Subedi, who completed his second visit to the country this year and will report his findings to the UN, said the courts have failed to bring perpetrators to justice and have lost the confidence of the citizens.
“I remain deeply concerned about the culture of impunity in Cambodia,” Subedi told reporters Friday, citing “a long list of crimes for which no one has been brought to justice.”
At the same time, there have been “a number of cases of harassment” by the courts, of journalists and others, he said, including the case of jailed radio broadcaster Mam Sonando. He called the environment of impunity “corrosive.”
Subedi was not met by top government officials, and on Thursday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a public speech that Subedi needed “to learn about sovereignty.”
“I fully respect the sovereignty of this country and the competence of the government to take decisions in the national interest,” Subedi said Friday.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday that Subedi had not tackled the right issues in his inquiry.
“What has been raised does not touch on the right issues, because he has not received enough information from all sides,” Phay Siphan said. “This is a pity, that he cannot reflect from all sides of what is happening in the Kingdom of Cambodia that the government is striving for.”