School of Law

Life as a UN special Rapporteur - Professor Surya P. Subedi, O.B.E.

1 June 2015 | Peter Edwards

Professor Surya P. Subedi’s special public lecture "Life as a UN special Rapporteur" was well attended by a range of students, staff, academics from other institutions, and practitioners.

After speaking there were a range of questions regarding Surya’s experiences in Cambodia, how he had found being a UN rapporteur, and how he had managed to generate impact. Since stepping down he has been appointed as an advisor to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said:

"It was a pleasure to chair Professor Surya P. Subedi’s special public lecture. As one of 12 UN country specific mandate holders Professor Subedi has had a significant impact, with many of his recommendations having been implemented by the Government. His work in Cambodia has been a real credit to the University, and it was wonderful to be able to share this story with students, external academics, and practitioners."

In this public lecture Professor Subedi examined the role of the UN country-specific mandate holders, the approach that he took to implement his mandate in Cambodia, and the impact of his work in the country. He was appointed to this position in March 2009 and has recently completed a six year tenure, becoming the longest serving UN Special Rapporteur for the country.  Many of his recommendations, especially those relating to judicial, electoral and land reform, have been implemented by the government and some others are in the process of being implemented. The parliament of Cambodia has enacted three fundamental laws designed to enhance the independence and capacity of the judiciary and amended the Constitution of the country to make the National Election Commission a constitutional, independent, and autonomous body, in line with his recommendations.

"I am thankful to my own institution, the University of Leeds, for its support, without which it would have been great deal harder for me to do this job on behalf of the UN. I have been fortunate to have had a number of opportunities to contribute to policy making at a very high level. In the course of my career I have consistently decided to roll up my sleeves and tried to put my ideas into action and drive myself as hard as I can for good causes – the promotion of rule of law, democracy and human rights and as a result I am a happy man!"

For those unable to attend the full text of Surya’s lecture is available online.

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