By James Heenan
I refer to this weekend’s article “UN Official Tells Government Not to Be Defensive on Rights Record.” The article reports on a meeting convened jointly between the Cambodian Human Rights Committee and the local U.N. Human Rights Office (OHCHR) on Friday, which addressed the preparation for Cambodia’s next human rights review by the U.N. Human Right Council 2014.
As a technical discussion, it focused on how the government might best prepare for the review, so that its report is as strong as possible. The meeting was but the latest event in ongoing technical assistance on the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that OHCHR and other donors are providing at the Royal Government’s request.
The article inaccurately suggests I “warned” the government not to be defensive in its UPR reporting. The U.N. and OHCHR do not “warn” member states, nor do they “tell” member states what to do in relation to a UPR review. The rules of the UPR are set by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and these formed the basis for Friday’s discussion. The meeting also heard constructive suggestions based on best-practice, including the experience of other member states having been through the UPR.
James Heenan is the representative a.i. at the OHCHR Cambodia Office
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