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Cambodia protests UN rights envoy remarks

[JURIST] Cambodia has lodged a formal complaint with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over a UN official's comments earlier this month criticizing Cambodia's human rights record, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday. Speaking at a rally in Phnom Penh to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Cambodia Yash Ghai [press release] said that Cambodians still live in fear of the state, courts, and police [DPA report]. Hun Sen dismissed Ghai's comments Thursday, but did not provide detail on the specifics of the letter sent to Ban. AFP obtained a copy of the letter sent by Cambodian Ambassador to the UN Sea Kosal, and reported that Cambodia is considering not allowing Ghai to return to Cambodia.

Ghai's conduct has prompted similar reactions from the Cambodian government in the past. He was appointed to the post in 2005 and in 2006, Hun Sen called for Ghai's removal [JURIST report] after his public criticism of Cambodia's intolerance of dissent. Ghai issued a report earlier this year concluding that the Cambodian government has systematically violated human rights and civil liberties [JURIST report] to maintain its hold on power, causing Cambodian officials to refuse to meet with Ghai [JURIST report] during his visit to the country in May. Officials similarly refused to meet with Ghai during his December visit and Hun Sen has never met with the envoy. AFP has more.

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