Cambodia: UN Rights Envoy Plans Visit in Wake of Deadly Shootings

PHNOM PENH — The UN’s human rights envoy to Cambodia will make a six-day visit to the country, following deadly shootings last week on striking workers.

The envoy, Surya Subedi, said in a statement the upcoming visit was part of his ongoing assessment of Cambodia’s rights environment.

Subedi said he hopes to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen and other top officials. He will also meet with the UN country team, rights organizations and other members of civil society.

Hun Sen has on multiple occasions refused to meet with Subedi, and a government spokesman said there is no agenda for Hun Sen to meet with the envoy.

Cambodia has seen major backslides in its human rights obligations in recent years, including the jailing of activists and government critics, as well as violent crackdowns on demonstrations.

“We hope that Mr. Subedi can help in terms of human rights in Cambodia,” said Pung Chhiv Kek, founder of the rights group Licadho. “We cannot accept the killing of workers.”

Kem Sokha, vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said opposition officials will meet with Subedi and request an investigation into the killings. They will also ask for help in pushing for greater freedoms of assembly and for a solution to the ongoing political deadlock, in place since July elections the opposition says were marred by fraud, he said.