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March 20, 2018

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UN envoys urges Cambodia to heed need for human rights

Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | 3:51 a.m.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The U.N.'s specially appointed researcher on human rights in Cambodia has said it is a mistake for the government of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen to prioritize stability and development over human rights.

Professor Rhona Smith, speaking Wednesday at the end of her fifth visit to Cambodia as a U.N. rapporteur, praised Cambodia for its gains in economic and social rights, but declared that "it is also necessary to respect civil and political rights."

Hun Sen has cracked down severely on his opponents ahead of a general election scheduled for July, shutting down critical media and using the courts to dissolve the only credible opposition party.

He has repeatedly cited the need for peace and stability as a reason for taking such measures.