Can Surya Subedi do his job and still maintain a relationship with an increasingly sensitive government?A United Nations rights envoy says Cambodia must accelerate the pace of its democracy reforms, but it’s unclear how much sway he holds with a government that has become increasingly resistant to international criticism.
Surya Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, says he has seen encouraging developments in the south-east Asian nation. But there remain worrying trends.
Subedi faces a difficult balancing act when it comes to fulfilling his mission in Cambodia: being a vocal critic could risk alienating a government with which he must ultimately work, while underplaying key concerns could render him ineffective.
"He has all the room in the world," says one observer. "But if his objective is not to offend Mr. Hun Sen and the Cambodian government, then he has no room at all."