Human Rights and SDGs, the Main Purposes of UN Special Rapporteur’s 7th Visit

Ms. Rhona Smith, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, concluded yesterday her 7th visit in Cambodia, from April 29 to May 9, 2019.

During her 11-day mission, Mr. Rhona Smith continued her review of the general human rights situation and the country's adoption of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Special Rapporteur drew attention to the UN SDGs which provide a guide to achieving sustainable development in ways that respect human rights. She welcomed the recent adoption of the Cambodian localisation plan of the SDGs and encouraged ways for it to strengthen human rights.

A stronger focus on SDG 16 will increase Cambodia's ambition to achieve access to justice for all, end violence, combat corruption, strengthen the rule of law, ensure participatory decision-making and access to information, protect fundamental freedoms and combat discrimination, Ms. Smith said. Including these targets can only strengthen Cambodia's development and would be in line with the Government's Rectangular Strategy Phase IV.

Ms. Rhona Smith also highlighted the importance of leaving no one behind in efforts to implement the Cambodian SDGs. She encouraged the Government to adopt a comprehensive understanding of who might be at risk of being left behind to ensure that development efforts are targeted where they are most needed, she added.

The poor and near-poor need to be brought from behind. However, within and beyond this category there are many other individuals and groups living in vulnerable situations, including women and children, persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, or people relocated from their land. Ms. Smith hoped that the recent census and the upcoming Demographic Health Survey will provide useful data to identify those most at risk.

The Special Rapporteur also called for inclusive development based on democratic principles and human rights that seek progress and prosperity for all, based on open dialogue and leaving no one behind. She reiterated her commitment to listen to all stakeholders in an impartial manner and support inclusive dialogue as she continues to monitor and advocate for the enjoyment of human rights for all in Cambodia.

At the same time, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia also shared some comments on the current political issue in Cambodia.

During this visit, Ms. Rhona Smith has met various senior members of the Royal Government, representatives of civil society and members of the diplomatic community.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press