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Government Sends Official Complaint Over UN Rights Envoy

The government has sent an official letter of complaint to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, following harsh criticism from UN rights envoy Yash Ghai, Prime Minster Hun Sen said Thursday.

Ghai said following a visit this month that everyday Cambodians lived in fear of the authorities and of losing their property to theft by government and military officials. He was shunned by government officials, but met with rights groups and rural Cambodians.

"Whomever supports that report is the lowest kind," Hun Sen said in public statements Thursday, adding that Ghai "belittles our nation and race."

Ou Virak, director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said Thursday the government should consider points raised by the envoy.

"Charging Yash Ghai of belittling the Cambodian people is not right," he said, because human rights is an issue of all the Cambodian people, not just the government.

"The one who puts pressure [on people], who prevents Cambodians from expressing their opinions, is the one who presently violates and belittles the Cambodian people," he said.