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Enhancing access to justice as a Key to dialogue

1 July 2021 - I would like to thank the Royal Government of Cambodia for facilitating online meetings from 23 June through 1 July with representatives of various Ministries and Cambodian Human Rights Committee. I am particularly grateful to the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Standing Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Justice and President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee for engaging with me in an open and constructive dialogue. I also wish to express my gratitude to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights for their support and assistance. 

The objective of these meetings was to introduce my approach and priorities of the mandate and to discuss ways to intensify our dialogue and collaboration. These meetings also provided an opportunity to discuss key human rights priorities including civic and democratic space, COVID and human rights, situation of prisons, legislative development, gender and women rights and social and economic rights. The meetings also addressed possibilities for reforms of various laws and practices, which have impact on the enjoyment of human rights, and related situations, to enhance respect for pluralism and access to justice. Most of these issues will be discussed in my first report, which is due to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council.

As the independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, I have a specific mandate to assist the Government and the Cambodian people in the full realization of their human rights. I stand ready to extend my support to the Government in the implementation of its obligations under international human rights instruments including those voluntarily accepted under the Universal Periodic Review. I believe in a constructive engagement and open dialogue and my approach will be driven by the principles and values enshrined in international human rights norms and standards. 

Bearing in mind my longstanding links with Cambodia and my great respect for the country and its people, I will continue to work with the Royal Government of Cambodia, civil society and other relevant stakeholders in the discharge of my mandate and I look forward to an opportunity to conduct an in-person country visit as soon as conditions permit.

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