A UN envoy has urged Cambodia's political leader to return to the negotiating table, saying the country stand at "a crucial crossroads" following a bloody crackdown by security forces on street protests.
Surya Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia, said on Thursday politicians on both sides of the kingdom's deep political divide should "embrace change".
"It is imperative for the leaders to overcome the mistrust and immediately return to the negotiating table without further delay," he told reporters during a fact-finding visit to the country.
He urged the government to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the protest crackdown, saying the measures taken did not seem to respect international laws.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled for nearly three decades, has faced accusations of excessive force against striking garment factory workers seeking higher wages as well as opposition demonstrators who allege vote-rigging in elections last July.
Earlier this month police opened fire on striking garment factory employees demanding a minimum wage of $160 per month for their work in an industry which supplies brands including Gap, Nike and H&M, killing at least four civilians.
Security personnel armed with shields and batons also chased opposition protesters, including monks, women and children, from their rally base in a park in Phnom Penh.
The government says the recent rallies were illegal and has indefinitely banned opposition demonstrations in the capital.