Cambodia: UN envoy hears complaints over arrests, constraints on freedom

6 December 2005

The United Nations envoy for human rights in Cambodia, on his first visit to the country, is to take up with the Government the many complaints he has heard about the judicial system, the detention of eminent persons in politics, journalism and trade unions, and the lifting of parliamentary immunity of opposition party members.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Yash Ghai, who ended his eight-day visit yesterday, said non-governmental organizations told him of the constraints they face in the performance of their duties, and of increasing restrictions on their freedoms of association, assembly and expression.

Many concerns were also expressed over the difficulties rural communities face in sustaining their livelihoods as a result of losing land and access to natural resources, he said in a statement, adding that he would take up these matters with the Royal Government of Cambodia.

During his visit Mr. Ghai met with the King, senior Government officials, court authorities and representatives of political parties, non-governmental and community organizations and trade unions as well as with resident UN staff.

He was able to visit parliamentarian Cheam Channy in the Military Prison, and radio broadcaster Mam Sonando and trade union leader Rong Chhun in the prison of Prey Sar. He also participated in a radio programme on the occasion of Human Rights Day.

 

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