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Rights Leader Regrets Loss of UN Envoy

For the first time since the Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia will not have a UN human rights envoy from the secretary-general, but will instead have a rapporteur assigned by the UN Human Rights Council.

Kek Galabru, a leading human rights activist in Cambodia who founded the group Licadho, said she "regretted very much" the change.

"We still see the UN human rights envoy as being able to help promote human rights in Cambodia," she said Thursday, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

Former rights representatives of the UN secretary-general have been unbiased in their reporting, she said.

This reporting has sometimes led to a strain on relations between the UN and Cambodia, especially with the previous envoy, Yash Ghai, who resigned earlier this year.

Kek Galabru said the Paris Peace Accords required an envoy from the secretary-general, but on Sept. 24, the Human Rights Council chose instead a posting for rapporteur. This will make a difference, she said, because the rapporeur will not report directly to the secretary-general.

Om Yentieng, head of the government's human rights committee, said in a recorded statement Ghai had made inaccurate reports on Cambodia.

Om Yentieng declined to comment on the current human rights situation in Cambodia, leaving it to "third parties" in order to avoid sounding "proud."