Five leading human rights groups appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen Tuesday to give his support to human rights commitments, including meeting with UN rights representatives.
The appeal follows a trip by the UN special human rights envoy Yash Ghai, whom the government shunned in December and Hun Sen said should be fired.
But Human Rights Watch, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organization against Torture said Tuesday it was time for the government to end its antagonism against the envoy and look to solutions for Cambodia's rights abuses.
"Professor Ghai has drawn attention to critical concerns shared by the wider international human rights community," said Basil Fernando, executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, in a statement. "There's no denying the facts. Expropriation of the land of Cambodia's poor is reaching a disastrous level, the courts are politicized and corrupt, and impunity for human rights violators remains the norm."
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Ghai had "looked down" on Hun Sen's senior human rights advisor, Om Yentieng, by not meeting him.
Ghai had insulted his host country by "eating its rice and then smashing the pot on the ground," Khieu Kanharith said.