Jeff Vize/Office of UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai

PHNOM PENH (03 December 2016) – “When a state stops you from protesting peacefully, that is not an internal issue,” insists Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai. “That is an international issue.” The UN expert on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association made a short academic visit to Cambodia last week and spoke on Saturday at a public lecture organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation at Meta House in Phnom Penh. Mr. Kiai, who was joined by OHCHR Country Representative Ms. Wan-Hea Lee, spoke on the significance of public protest as an outlet for expression, as well as the obligations that States have to their citizens in respecting and upholding their citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly. Despite the global rise in crackdowns on protests and the detention of public dissenters, “there is hope,” the expert said, citing movements across the world where people mobilized to claim their rights.