A Change of Guard

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Friday, 22 January 2010

UN rights envoy to meet with opposition parties next week

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Ho Vann stands near a barricade that was erected to prevent some opposition MPs from visiting villagers awaiting trial in connection with an October border protest on Tuesday.

CAMBODIA’S opposition parties will meet with the UN’s human rights envoy, Surya Subedi, in the coming week to raise concerns about perceived injustices in the Kingdom, party members said on Thursday amid warnings from officials that these discussions should not be used to insult the government.
Human Rights Party spokesman Yem Ponarith said Subedi is scheduled to meet the Sam Rainsy Party on Saturday and then hold talks with the HRP on Monday.

“We want to talk about issues of injustice in society, including corruption, violation of land rights, human rights and freedom of expression,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said his party had not yet decided what issues to raise with Subedi and would have to meet first to discuss it.

Subedi, who arrived in the Kingdom on Monday, “intends to use the visit to examine the functioning of the National Assembly and judiciary, including the Supreme Council of Magistracy and the Constitutional Council”, according to a statement issued by the UN on January 15.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the opposition parties, while having the right to raise any issues they want, should not use their meetings with Subedi as an opportunity to attack the government.

“The UN human rights envoy comes to help compromise; he does not have a trend of ordering governments how to work,” he said.

“The opposition parties have to prepare themselves to be in a partnership,” Phay Siphan added.

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