Cam­bo­dia de­nies UN en­voy’s re­quest to meet Kem Sokha

The Myanmar Times - - Metro -

THE United Na­tions spe­cial rap­por­teur on hu­man rights in Cam­bo­dia says her re­quest to meet for­mer op­po­si­tion leader Kem Sokha has been re­jected.

UN en­voy Rhona Smith said in an email on Tues­day that she will not meet Sokha dur­ing her cur­rent visit to the king­dom.

“My re­quest to meet with Mr Kem Sokha was de­nied,” Smith said.

Jus­tice Min­istry spokesman Chin Malin said Smith’s re­quest was re­jected be­cause of se­cu­rity con­cerns.

“Sokha is un­der court su­per­vi­sion, so her re­quest can only be ful­filled by a judge,” Malin said on Tues­day. “There are clear rea­sons why Sokha is banned from see­ing peo­ple listed on the court’s pro­hib­ited list,” he added with­out elab­o­rat­ing. Sokha was re­leased on bail from Tboung Kh­mum prov­ince’s Tra­peang Ph­long prison in Septem­ber. His bail con­di­tions ban him from mak­ing trips abroad and meet­ing with in­di­vid­u­als linked to his trea­son case.

Govern­ment spokesman Phay Siphan on Tues­day slammed Smith for at­tempt­ing to meet with Sokha. “She is not a part­ner of the now-dis­solved CNRP, so I think that she should just meet with govern­ment of­fi­cials in or­der to co­op­er­ate and work to­gether in pro­mot­ing hu­man rights in Cam­bo­dia,” Siphan said.

Dur­ing her visit to Cam­bo­dia, Smith is ex­pected to hold meet with sev­eral govern­ment of­fi­cials.

In the email, Smith said she is wait­ing for her sched­ule to be fi­nalised. “I will also meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the diplo­matic com­mu­nity and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing on hu­man rights and with spe­cific in­ter­ests in this mis­sion,” she said.

Smith is ex­pected to present her find­ings to the UN’s Hu­man Rights Coun­cil next Septem­ber.

Ny Sokha, a se­nior of­fi­cial with the rights group Ad­hoc, said his or­gan­i­sa­tion met with Smith on Mon­day to dis­cuss con­cerns re­gard­ing hu­man rights, free­dom of as­sem­bly and free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

“She will bring th­ese mat­ters to dis­cuss with govern­ment of­fi­cials,” Ny Sokha said. – Kh­mer Times

Photo: EPA

Rhona Smith.

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