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UN Envoy Disappoints Government

The Cambodian government expressed strong regret in the findings of a new report expected to be delivered by a UN human rights envoy in Geneva Wednesday.

UN special rights representative Yash Ghai was scheduled to deliver an address on the human rights situation in Cambodia to the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday.

In his Rights Council report, alrady available online, he sharply criticized the government's commitment to rights and the international communities continued financial contributions.

Sim Bun Thoeun, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told VOA Khmer Wednesday the government expressed "strong regret and disappointment" in Ghai's report.

The government would release a full statement following Ghai's address, he said.

The Rights Council report states, in part, that Cambodia's widespread abuse of human rights continues even as the international community continues to pledge aid to the country.

US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle said the US "welcomes the report."

"Cambodia has stated that it wants to improve its human rights record, and has cooperated with the UN in permitting a Special Representative to visit, and in hosting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights," Daigle wrote in an e-mail. "We applaud the government’s commitment, and encourage it to maximize its use of these tools."

Ghai was not permitted to meet government officials on his last visit, in December, something the US "was disappointed to learn," Daigle wrote.

"We understand that the two parties may not always agree on human rights remedies, but it is essential that they have an open dialogue characterized by mutual respect," he wrote. "Given the tragic events of Cambodia’s recent history, the Cambodian government and people should draw on UN resources to develop a culture of dialogue and national reconciliation, particularly on issues related to rule of law."