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Gov't Dismisses UN Envoy's Rights Report

The Cambodian government said Friday a UN human rights report was "unacceptable" and unrealistic, at the end of a three-day visit from the UN rights envoy Yash Ghai.

Ghai met only with Interior Minister Sar Kheng, after he rankled Prime Minister Hun Sen last year, when the premier called the envoy "deranged" and vowed never to meet with him. Ghai, the UN secretary-general's human rights representative to Cambodia, is expected to issue his rights report to the UN next month.

The report calls human rights abuses in Cambodia "intentional and systematic acts of the government in maintaining power," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The report "does not reflect the reality" and "overlooked" efforts by government agencies to curb rights abuses, the statement said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the report should not be submitted without consensus from the Cambodian government.

"The report was written by [Ghai] alone," Khieu Sopheak said. "The writer only saw the bleak aspects. If the writer saw white, he will write white, and if the writer saw black, he will write black. He only sees black and not white; it always rains, and there is no blue sky."