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New UN Special Rapporteur in first official visit to Cambodia

GENEVA / PHNOM PENH (14 September 2015) – The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, will carry out her first official visit to the country from 16 to 24 September 2015.
Ms Smith was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015 to report and advise on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

During her mission, Ms Smith is expected to meet the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sar Kheng and other senior members of the Royal Government. She will also meet representatives of the civil society and local communities as well as the United Nations Country Team and the donor community.

“I thank the Government for this opportunity to visit the country before I report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. In undertaking this mission, I am looking forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the Royal Government and people of Cambodia in furtherance of the promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” said the independent expert. The Special Rapporteur will report to the Human Rights Council during the last week of September.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at the end of her visit, on Thursday 24 September at 3 p.m. at the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), 10 Street 302, Boeng Keng Kang 1, in Phnom Penh. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Professor Rhona Smith (United Kingdom) was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2015, succeeding Professor Surya P. Subedi, who completed his six-year term on the mandate in March 2015. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur derives from the Paris Peace Accords Agreement on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodian conflict. Ms. Smith is a Professor of international human rights in the United Kingdom. Ms. Smith has also been a visiting professor at Pannasastra University in Cambodia where she worked on designing and developing course curricula for the re-launch of Cambodia’s first master level program in human rights law.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Cambodia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KHIndex.aspx and http://cambodia.ohchr.org

For additional information and media enquiries, please contact:
In Phnom Penh: Ms. Christine Pickering, (+855 23 993 590/91, Ext: 306/ cpickering@ohchr.org)
In Geneva: Ms. Olga Nakajo (+41 79 618 3429 / +81 1277 7831 / onakajo@ohchr.org) or write to srcambodia@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en