Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 8 - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, welcomes the increase in the legal aid budget of the Royal Government of Cambodia, speaking in a press conference to discuss the preliminary findings of her visit on Thursday 8 November at 15:00 local time at the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) in Khan Chamkar Morn, Phnom Penh.

“The availability of legal assistance to those in need is an important step in ensuring access to justice for all. In this regard, the progress in the development of the legal aid policy, including the consultative and participatory nature of the drafting process, is encouraging and I look forward to its speedy adoption,” the human rights expert stated.

“The increase in the legal aid budget is also welcome and I encourage its continued increase so that legal aid is available to all who need it in the near future. The Ministry of Justice advised of the planned roll out of regional Appeal Courts and local judicial service centres which I trust will help bring justice closer to people across the whole country,” she added.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia visited the country from 29 October to 8 November 2018, at the invitation of the Royal Government, according to United Nations Human Rights’ media advisory dated on 26 October 2018.

During her 11-day visit, the expert met senior officials, representatives of civil society and members of the diplomatic community.