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Groups Say UN Rights Office, Envoy Must Stay

Leading local human rights groups said Friday they would appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to continue its rights programs in Cambodia, following escalating criticism from the Cambodian government of the UN's special human rights envoy.

Leaders of the rights groups Licadho and Adhoc are in Geneva for an annual meeting of the Rights Council, where envoy Yash Ghai is expected to deliver a report on the government's human rights record.

Ghai, the UN secretary-general's special human rights representative to Cambodia, has been highly critical of the government's rights record in the past.

Kek Galabru, founder of Licadho, said from Geneva local groups would "plea and plea" with members of the UN to keep its rights office in Phnom Penh and keep Ghai as an envoy.

Rights groups are concerned the UN will not renew its human rights mandate in the country, where it has monitored rights since the Paris Peace Accords in 1991.