UN rights envoy Surya Subedi expressed concern for Cambodia’s human rights situation, especially for the judiciary and a “narrowing of space” for expression.
Ending a 10-day tour on Thursday ahead of a report the UN Human Rights Council, The UN’s special rapporteur for human rights said he was “particularly concerned…by the use of the crime of incitement against human rights defenders.”
Subedi’s findings echoed concerns local groups have voiced in recent years, especially with the jailing of rights workers and journalists under criminal laws.
Subedi told reporters Thursday a functioning democracy required an effective opposition.
“I am concerned about the narrowing of space for people to express their views peacefully and without fear, including those belonging to different political parties,” he said. “Political actors and civil society organizations should work towards creating and environment which is conducive to the enjoyment of human rights by all and to economic development for the benefit of all.”
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said government leaders and Subedi had discussed better promotion of human rights through the implementation of law.
“The concerns of [Subedi] on the situation of human rights in Cambodia are the concerns of the Cambodian government,” he said. “We have a clear goal of human rights protection.”