Archive for April, 2007

Sunday,2007-04-29: Between the Commune and the National Elections

Posted on 30 April 2007. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 505 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

For many weeks, there was one clear focus in the public discussion: the commune elections. Other questions were pushed in the background – even such questions directly related to the elections, like the activities which led to the split of allegiances between Funcinpec and the party which was quickly renamed as the Norodom Ranariddh party.

Fortunately, the elections did not result in public violence affecting the whole society, as it happened in several other countries around the same time, though a number of questions were raised, especially in relation to some weak administrative arrangements which created problems for many voters. It is hoped that these will be investigated and analyzed carefully now, so that similar problems can be avoided next.

But there are probably more questions which call for serious reflection on the way towards the next – national – elections: What is the concept of a political party, and what possible roles can be conceived, so that they may have practical, public impact in society?

One of the first writers who considered the nature of political parties was Edmund Burke (1729-1797), a member of parliament in London. It is obvious that all societies are composed of people with different culture, gender, skills, he said, – and therefore different interests. Politics are therefore often seen as an effort to try to make harmony between them. But Burke considered this as not realistic fallacy: instead of dreaming of an ideal, but un-real society, it is necessary to start with the realities of different interests in society, accept them as a starting point, and see them organized in political parties. Only after first accepting this reality, one can analyze – and design – political processes.

Accepting this, a political party may be considered to be viable only if it is a well organized group of people, who want to see that their interests get realized, so that they will achieve power, and the members of this group will receive certain benefits for themselves. Is this a correct description of many present day political interests?

To accept the reality of special interests alone can hardly lead to a society where most members feel satisfied. To safeguard against the prevalence of special interests, and to aim at the common good, requires that all members of the political society subscribe to common goals and common behavior: the modern constitutional state with a multi-party character sets the framework for this to happen.

Considering the way in which recently parties were created quickly and without specifically placing themselves under such principles, and considering that new party mergers, and the creation of new parties are to come, it is useful to analyze the dynamics in these processes.

There has been a lot of discussion about what the newly discovered oil will mean: overcoming of poverty in society or the “oil curse” experienced in some other countries.

The public has not yet seen – neither from the side of those who are concerned, nor from the side of those who consider to have the new oil revenue as a social blessing – any plan, even in a very general form, how such oil income would be made to benefit society.

The possibility of massive oil income is another challenge towards developing political rational political processes, which can be easily understood by the majority of the electorate.

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Saturday, 28.4.2007: Khmer Oil Experts Will Discuss in US Tomorrow

Posted on 29 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

“Khmer oil experts will meet in the United States of America tomorrow to discus oil resources. The discussion is held while the Prime Minister got angry at the expressions of doubt, whether financial resources of billions of dollars per year from oil will reach the poor citizens’ hands, or whether the money from this very rich resource will become a curse for the citizens.

“Mr. Sean Pengse, the president of the Cambodian Border Committee based in France, a former Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy, who is also an expert about oil, will hold a conference on oil and poverty alleviation in Cambodia on Sunday 29 April 2007, in Maryland, USA. The conference with other oil experts focuses especially on the question whether the money of billions of dollars per year from oil can alleviate poverty in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party in Cambodia, Mr. Joseph A. Mussomeli, the Ambassador of the United States of America in Cambodia, and many other experts said that if the current leaders do not manage the oil output well, it will make the poor citizens even poorer and poorer, and the oil output will become the citizens’ curse. This concern made Prime Minister Hun Sen angry, and he said that Cambodia is not stupid unless it would find paper to wrap up gold.

“Mr. Hun Sen responded to the opinions of concern when he attended the review of work accomplished in 2006 and the goal of work for 2007 at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport at Chaktomuk Theater in Phnom Penh on 24 April, ‘I have heard the repeated words of much concern when there is income from oil – very much concern. I say, however, it would be a concern if there were no oil. One should not worry when there is oil, some People still speak about it like in Nigeria, where there is an oil curse – and so on. These days, I can feed children [support the Cambodian citizens] by catching small fish and small crabs, but not gold. One will not be stupid until one knows how to use gold to feed the children – it is day by day a concern.’

“Mr. Sean Pengse told Radio Free Asia on Friday that the concern of Khmers in the country is about corruption, and so far the Hun Sen government has not adopted the anti-corruption law, so that the law could be enforced effectively and transparently. Mr. Sean Pengse said, ‘All oil exploration must be undertaken responsibly under the Ministry of Industry. In other countries, ministries of industries do this. But in Cambodia, Mr. Sok An, who is not an expert nor a technical person, does this work, and all workers had no special technical training.. What will the Ministry of Industry do then? Therefore, many experts say Cambodia has oil – and only two or three persons will get benefits… they fear this already, not only we do.’

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘The most important thing to be worried about is to have no oil. They should not worry instead of us. Thanks to those who worry instead of us. Another of their worries is that if Hun Sen gets oil, he will no longer listen to advice from Western countries. Because nowadays I can feed the children only by catching small fish.’

“Mr. Hun Sen’s boasts seems to imply that the citizens are stupid and do not know anything, while the government borrows from foreign countries millions of dollars per year. So the government owes foreign debts of billions of dollars.

“The International Monetary fund said that so far, Cambodia has survived by relying on foreign aid of up to approximately 50% of the annual national budget. A report of the World Bank, which was released in 2006, said up to 2005 Cambodia has owed foreign debts of approximately US$3.2 billion in total.

“Focusing on the concern about oil, Mr. Sean Pengse and some technical officials had the idea to discuss with each other in the United States of America, especially with Khmer-Americans in some states, focusing on whether money from oil can help alleviate poverty in Cambodia.

“This special meeting will be held tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the United States of America in a meeting hall in the state of Maryland.

“The concern about the oil has increased after the government had announced that the oil exploration off the Cambodian coast in late August 2006 had turned successful.

“Mr. Hor Namhong, the Khmer Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, recently told The Cambodia Daily that Vietnam and Cambodia will work together to map the areas of natural deposits in order to exploit them, including iron, and bauxite or aluminum. The Vietnamese oil experts will meet the Cambodian side to start the study at the sea and at the Tonle Sap Lake.

“Mr. Sean Pengse said between 1972 and 1975, when he was Minster of Industry, Mines, and Energy of the Khmer Republic, the government of that time allowed a French company to do a pilot research for oil drilling, and they dug three wells:

1. Near Koh Krachak Seh island or Koh Polopongjan
2. At Koh Ach Seh or Koh Polovay
3. At Koh Tang Island which is now in the realm of Sihanoukville

“These days there are two companies doing the research, and they have drilled ten wells, in order to explore oil in Section A.

“Mr. Sean Pengse said that Cambodia will have to spend more money for the serious protection of the environment when oil is actually being drilled, especially for the drilling to explore oil at the Tonle Sap Lake.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #386, 28.4.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 April 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1325, 28.4.2007

  • Khmer Krom Association Plans to Meet Samdech Hun Sen [over difficulties of Kampuchea Krom Khmers in Vietnam]
  • North Korea to Support Cambodia to Be Non-Permanent Member of UN Security Council

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6025, 28-29.4.2007

  • Ministry of Interior Police Arrest Man Who Threatened to Destroy [015-016] Phone Stations in Romeas Haek [Svay Rieng – if Riel 2,500,000, approx. US$625, not given to him]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3144, 28-29.4.2007

  • Mr. Kong Korm Urges Chea Sim to Build an Atmosphere of Cooperation and Coordination for Commune and Subdistrict Decentralization and Deconcentration
  • [former Khmer Rouge S21 prison commandant] Duch Told [former correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review] Nate Thayer that Nuon Chea and Son Sen Ordered Him to Torture and Kill Prisoners in Tuol Sleng Prison
  • Hun Sen Plans to Provide Some Bodyguards to Private Companies [to reduce his financial burden]
  • Obstacle That Blocks Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Caused by Ky Tech [President of Cambodian Bar Association] Who Considers Money [for registration of foreign lawyers] to Be Very Important
  • US Criticizes Cruel Suppression by [Cambodian] Authorities of Kampuchea Krom Khmer Monks’ March

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4270, 28.4.2007

  • Gasoline Price in Koh Kong Goes Suddenly Up to Riel 7,000 [US$1.75] per Liter
  • Singapore Plans to Buy Sand in Large Quantities from Cambodia
  • Director of B.B Group Loses Baht 90,000 [approx. US$2,580] and Some Properties in Tokyo Hotel [Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3022, 28.4.2007

  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Says if Samdech Krom Preah Returns to the Country, Norodom Ranariddh Party Will Get More and More Supporters
  • 40 Sawmills in Ratanakiri Are [operated illegally] Under Protection by Officials

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #386, 28.4.2007

  • Khmer Oil Experts Will Discuss in US Tomorrow
  • Tioulong Saumura [former senior officer of the Cambodian National Bank, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, and wife of the Sam Rainsy Party president] Says Criminals in Cambodia Do Money Laundering through Buying Land and Building Expensive Housing
  • Nhek Bun Chhay [Secretary-General of Funcinpec] Prepares to Sell Funcinpec Offices Countrywide at Auctions [according to a source from a Funcinpec Standing Committee members]

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Friday, 27.4.2007: If Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth Do Not Reveal Murderers Who Shot Hy Vuthy, Global Companies Will Stop Buying Garments from Cambodia

Posted on 28 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

“A letter dated 19 April 2007 and sent to Hun Sen, the Prime Minister, Sar Kheng, the Minister of the Interior, Cham Prasidh, the very corrupt Minister of Commerce, and Vorng Soth, the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, five big global companies seriously declared, ‘The recent death of Mr. Hy Vuthy, the President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, at the Suntex Factory, makes us seriously concerned.’

“Because officials are not active to find and reveal the murderers who in February shot Mr. Hy Vuthy, an activist of the Free Trade of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, five big global companies wrote to Khmer leaders stating that they will stop buying garments from Cambodia, if the Khmer authorities cannot show more efforts to find the murderers of Mr. Hy Vuthy.

“The five big global companies, which are represented by the organization Business for Social Responsibility, are Eddie Bauer [public responsibility and commercial self presentation], Gap Inc [public responsibility and commercial presentation], H&M Hennes & Mauritz [public responsibility and commercial presentation], Liz Claiborne [public responsibility and commercial presentation], and Phillips-Van Heusen [public responsibility and commercial presentation] explained to Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth (who is [the President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin’s son-in-law), ‘The shooting of Mr. Hy Vuthy reminds us of the shootings of some other leaders of trade unions.’

“The companies, which buy garments from garment factories in Cambodia, stated in their letter, ‘This issue is very important for us as buyers, we want to see the law enforced timely with justice and transparency.’

“The companies added, ‘This must be guaranteed for the business atmosphere in which the workers can enjoy their rights and have the freedom to associate with each other, without fear of any negative repercussions.’

“Furthermore, the companies stressed, ‘The rule of law guarantees a business atmosphere and stability for us to continue to purchase products. Therefore, we have to wait and see if specific improvements are made by the Khmer leaders.’

“Mr. Chea Mony, the President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, a brother of Mr. Chea Vichea who was shot in 2004 [former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia], said that if the murderers of Mr. Hy Vuthy are not found and brought to trial, big companies will stop buying garments from Cambodia.

“Mr. Touch Naroth, the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Commissioner, told the media that police have issued an arrest warrant for two suspects of shooting Mr. Hy Vuthy. However, Mr. Touch Naroth refused to disclose the names of the two suspects. He confirmed that the murder of Mr. Hy Vuthy is not political. Touch Naroth stated that the police have not found the suspects. They continue to search, assuming the background is a dispute between trade unions.

“Mr. Chea Mony, the President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, continued, however, to say that the three activists of trade unions have been cruelly shot.

“It should be remembered that international companies, which buy garments from garment factories in Cambodia, once sent a letter expressing a similar concern, after the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea in January 2004, the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The murder of Mr. Ros Sovannaret, a Representative of the Free Trade Union of Workers, who was shot at a crowded junction, shocked also international companies. Finally, the companies warned Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth directly, because if the international companies would not express their strong reaction, the murderers that shot Mr. Hy Vuthy might live easily outside of the legal net.

“The threat by big global companies to stop buying garments from Cambodia causes concern, because garments are the biggest industrial export of Cambodia, amounting to more than US$2 billion per year, and this provides jobs for approximately 325,000 Khmer workers who support more than 1.4 million people.

“A senior technical advisor of Cambodia for a labor conflict solution project of the International Labor Organization said that the violence against the activists of trade unions is a very serious concern, and there is really a risk of spoiling the reputation of Cambodia.

“Especially the reputations of Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth may be completely spoiled, because they cannot find and reveal the identify of the murderers of trade union activists for trial.

“Observers said that if the five global companies stop buying garments from Cambodia, the Hun Sen government will have nothing to boast about any longer.

“The direct warning letter of the five big global companies sent to Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth seems not to have had any response. Only a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce said arrogantly, that this is just another issue among many issues which Cambodia is facing.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3143, 2720.4.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 April 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1324, 27.4.2007

  • Krom Preah[Norodom Ranariddh]’s Party and Thomico’s Party to Merge
  • Loyal Love: Son of a Military Region 2 General Commits Suicide with His Partner in Kompong Siem [because they cannot get married as soon as they want – Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6024, 27.4.2007

  • Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Expects Income from Oil Will Alleviate Poverty
  • Publisher of Samleng Khmer Krom Murdered; His Body Put in Suitcase and Dropped in Pech Nit Valley [Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3143, 2720.4.2007

  • If Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Cham Prasidh, and Vorng Soth Do Not Reveal Murderers Who Shot Hy Vuthy, Global Companies Will Stop Buying Garments from Cambodia
  • Mr. Yim Sovann [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Demands Ministry of Interior to Take Action to Stop Using Violence in Resolution of Land Disputes
  • John Miller [from US Department of State]: Hok Lundy Is Not an Appropriate Person to Be Granted a Visa to America

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4269, 27.4.2007

  • Ho Chi Minh City Announces that It Will Build a Branch of the Vietnamese Cho Ray Hospital also in Phnom Penh in 2007

Reach Seima, Vol.2, #183, 27.4.2007

  • Thomico Collects Monarchists to Overcome Cambodian People’s Party in 2008

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Thursday, 26.4.2007: US Puts Pressure On Khmer Police Chief Over Human Trafficking in Cambodia

Posted on 27 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

“When meeting with US officials this week, Mr. Hok Lundy, the National Police Chief, learned a lot from the United States of America about international anti-terrorism and other crimes. Meanwhile, Mr. Hok Lundy had to answer many questions from US officials concerning human trafficking in Cambodia.

“The Reuters news agency reported that on Tuesday, the US pushed the National Police Chief – whom the US previously suspected as involved in human trafficking – to try to solve such problems better, and to punish officials who were involved in these crimes.

“The meeting of US top-ranking officials with Mr. Hok Lundy, the Khmer police chief, was held, after national and international human rights groups and the opposition party in Cambodia had severely criticized the issuing of a visa to him for meeting in the US, while the suspicion that he was involved in human trafficking and that he is behind many crimes, was not yet solved.

“The US Department of State said that after the meeting, officials of the US Department of State pushed Mr. Hok Lundy and other Khmer police officers to make further effort to fight against human trafficking, which is still a serious problem in Cambodia. According to a statement by the US Department of State, ‘the US also encourages Cambodia to make further efforts to arrest and punish public officials, including police officials, who were involved in human trafficking, and they urged the National Police Chief Hok Lundy to be more responsible for solving problems of human trafficking.’

“Mr. Hok Lundy and his colleagues, who arrived at Washington early this week, held discussions with officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on international anti-terrorism.

“John Miller, the former director of the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, told Reuters last week that in 2005, the US did not issue a visa to him, because it was believed that at the time there were many reliable evidences that claimed he was involved in human trafficking.

“In response to the question whether Mr. Hok Lundy requested someone to solve the problem of the accusations against him or not, when he had discussions with US officials, the US spokesperson refused to comment.

“Prior to his departure last week, Mr. Hok Lundy had rejected all accusations which claim that he was involved in human trafficking. But Mr. Miller stated that the National Police Chief was suspected of being behind the release of eight human traffickers after they had been arrested in Phnom Penh.

“According to a statement of Human Rights Watch – an international human rights organizations – Mr. Hok Lundy was also suspected of being involved in the hand grenade attack on the meeting of opposition party leader Sam Rainsy in March 1997. At the time, an attack killed 16 people and injured nearly 200. Mr. Tom Malinowski working at Human Rights Watch [as Washington Advocacy Director], stated that former statements mentioned serious accusations against Mr. Hok Lundy, and what was most important was whether the unsolved problems of political murders were raised or not. The US officials, who participated in the meeting on Tuesday, were Mr. Christopher Hill, the Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Mr. Anne Patterson, the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

“Even though there is much criticism concerning human trafficking and human rights violations in Cambodia, US officials finally noted that the cooperation between the US and Cambodia on anti-drug and anti-terrorism programs is a better than before.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #384, 26.4.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 April 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1323, 26.4.2007

  • Surprise throughout Cambodia: People Do Not Dare to Eat Cow Meat [because rumor says more than 100 cattle died in Banteay Meanchey and Ministry of Agriculture prohibits people from eating cow meat], but Ministry of Agriculture Says No Problem [with cow meet]
  • Cambodia Plans to Supply Electricity with Appropriately-Cheap Price [countrywide]
  • Thousands of People Meet to Mourn Mr. Yeltsin [former President of Russia]
  • There Are More Than 100 Family Names in China [“Wang” is the most frequent one]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6023, 26.4.2007

  • Income from Natural Gas Is Gold: Samdech Hun Sen Responds to Fear that Cambodia Will Get Infected with Disease from Nigeria [over gas]
  • Samdech Hun Sen: All Religions Born [in Cambodia] at Same Time after 7 January1979 [liberation from Khmer Rouge rule

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3142, 26.4.2007

  • Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] Reviews Its Expenses of More Than US$10 Million on Commune and Subdistrict Council Elections [according to a senior CPP official]
  • Donors Want Anti-Corruption Law to Be Adopted Before Term 4 National Election in 2008

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4268, 26.4.2007

  • US Announces Congratulations to Results of Commune Elections

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3020, 26.4.2007

  • Confederation of Cambodian Trade Unions Asks International Community to Help End Impunity in Cambodia

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #384, 26.4.2007

  • US Puts Pressure on Khmer Police Chief over Human Trafficking in Cambodia
  • American Embassy Asks National Election Committee to Review Reasons for Decrease of Number of Voters
  • Candidates for Tourist Guide Competition Get Angry with Officials of Siem Reap Tourist Office [because the candidates have to spend Riel 10,000 = US$2.50 for application]
  • Khmers in Kampuchea Krom Plan to Organize Big Movement against Yuon [Vietnam] Which Violates Rights of Freedom of Religion

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Wednesday, 25.4.2007: Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Completely Support Official Results of the Elections

Posted on 26 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

Apologies again for the delays – the office work suffers a lot from electricity cuts.

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

Final Results: Cambodian People’s Party Gets 1,591 Commune Chiefs, Sam Rainsy Party 28, and Funcinpec 2

“Phnom Penh: The National Election Committee [NEC] announced on 24 April the official results of the second term commune and subdistrict council elections countrywide, which show that the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] gets 1,591 commune and subdistrict chiefs out of 1,621 commune and subdistrict chiefs countrywide. The CPP and Funcinpec congratulate and welcome the announcement of the official results, but the Sam Rainsy Party does not completely agree with the results. It complains that the NEC did not check and solve properly its complaints in a number of communes and subdistricts.

“In the announcement of the official results, Mr. Tep Nitha, the Secretary-General of the NEC, said that five political parties get seats in the second term commune and subdistrict council elections 2007. The parties are:

  • the CPP gets 1,591 commune and subdistrict chiefs, 1,125 first deputy chiefs, 185 second deputy chiefs, and 5,092 commune and subdistrict council members; totally 7,993 seats
  • the Sam Rainsy Party gets 28 commune and subdistrict chiefs, 403 first deputy chiefs, 963 second deputy chiefs, and 1,267; totally 2,660 persons
  • Funcinpec gets 2 commune and subdistrict chiefs, 47 first deputy chiefs, 155 second deputy chiefs, and 70 commune and subdistrict chiefs; totally 274 persons
  • the Norodom Ranariddh Party gets 46 first deputy chiefs, 317 second deputy chiefs, and 61 commune and subdistrict council members; totally 425 persons
  • the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party gets 1 second deputy commune chief.
  • “Mr. Nitha stated that the official results are publicly announced at 24 town and provincial election committees and at 1,621 communes and subdistricts.

    “Mr. Khan Keomono, the Vice President of the Department of Training and Public Information [of the NEC], said that according to the calendar of the second term commune and subdistrict council elections in 2007, the deadline for the announcement of the official results was 24 April 2004. In fact, the NEC released official results since 10 April 2007. He added that the NEC broadcast the results through radio stations, the National Television of Cambodia [TVK], the Internet website of the NEC, and it produces CDs for relevant circles.

    “It should be noticed also that the total number of second term commune and subdistrict council members elected in 2007 countrywide is 11,353.

    “While the NEC announced the official results, Samdech Chea Sim, the President of the CPP, released a statement on 24 April, ‘The second term commune and subdistrict council elections held on 1 April were successful, free and fair. Many Cambodian people whose names were on the voters’ lists voted at voting stations in each commune and subdistrict countrywide with common sense. Each voter expressed their will freely, equally, directly, and secretly, to select the representatives they like to continue to lead and develop the communes and subdistricts in the political atmosphere of neutrality, democracy, and safety. This is a great historical event for Cambodia in 2007, which reflects clearly the great national conscience of our people, and a strong step to strengthen the foundation of democracy at every locality.’

    “Samdech Chea Sim said, ‘For the CPP, I would like to announce clearly that we support the results of the second commune and subdistrict council elections countrywide that the NEC has officially announced. The results of the elections completely reflect the goodwill and the goals of the Cambodian people in all communes and subdistricts in the consistent improvement of development of communes and subdistricts, the strengthening of local administration, and the promotion of living standards. We all must respect and protect the results of the elections, and continue our full efforts to achieve the implementation of the goals of the people.

    “‘The CPP would like to appreciate the work of the NEC, of provincial and town election committees, and of the commune and subdistrict election committees which arranged the elections smoothly at the scheduled time by adhering complete to independent, neutral, and transparent positions based on a strict implementation of laws, regulations, and election procedures. We also would like to appreciate the Royal Government, local authorities, and officials of all levels, who used all their ability to support the elections, so that the elections were held well and with security and safety before the elections, during the elections, and after the elections.’

    “The president of the CPP also used the opportunity to appeal to all compatriots countrywide who voted for any party, to continue the solidarity under the Constitution and under the shade of the King, in order to join with each other, to achieve new successes in implementing the policy of the Royal Government as well as the development plans of every commune and subdistrict. He also appealed to all second term commune and subdistrict council members who will take up positions, to take all their spirit to cooperate with each other, to serve the people honestly and responsibly, based on a strict implementation of the laws on commune and subdistrict administration management.

    “Mr. Tep Nunry, the Deputy Secretary-General of Funcinpec, told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on the evening of 24 April, ‘I welcome and support the results of the second commune and subdistrict elections which were announced by the NEC today.’

    “He added, ‘I have no comments, but I have been concerned that the general procedures of the NEC in arranging the elections were difficult and complicated.’

    However, Ms. Mu Sochua, the Secretary-General of the Sam Rainsy Party, told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on the evening of 24 April, ‘The Sam Rainsy Party opposes the irregularities which effect the results of the elections, for example: in Poipet only 30% of the people voted, it opposes the NEC’s bias, the presence of village and commune chiefs at the polling stations during the election day, the threats, the vote buying before the election day, and the irregularities in issuing Form 1018 [for voters who had problems with their voting documents].’

    “She said, ‘The Sam Rainsy Party finds that the results released by the NEC today cannot be acceptable, especially for the communes and subdistricts where the Sam Rainsy Party filed complaints, but the NEC did not check and solve the complaints properly, and rejected them under the pretext of not having sufficient evidence.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4267, 25.4.2007

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 25 April 2007

    Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #16, 25.4-1.5.2007

    • Prime Minister Warns Against Worry about Income from Natural Gas

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1322, 25.4.2007

    • Prime Minister Explains to Parliamentarian [Son Chhay, Sam Rainsy Party from Phnom Penh] about Land Disputes and Measures to Prevent Them
    • Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Pushes Authorities to Investigate Shooting Death of Fisherpeople in Pursat [while supposedly suppressing illegal fishing]
    • Poland Asks Cambodia to Support It to Host International Trade Fair [in 2012]
    • Strom Destroys 34 Houses and a Number of Properties in Chrey Commune, Thma Koul [Battambang]

    Khmer Mekong, Vol. 5, #262, 24-25.4.2007

    • [Khmer Kampuchea Krom] Association Asks Samdech Heng Samrin to Raise Issue of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Monks with the President of the Vietnamese National Assembly

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6022, 25.4.2007

    • Web Sites of Two Districts [Battambang and Siem Reap – “one-window administration”] and Khmer Embassy in Germany Launched [addresses not given]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3141, 25.4.2007

    • When Mr. Sam Rainsy Wants Village Chief Elections to Be Conducted by Villagers, This Makes Hun Sen Fear Secession
    • [Foreign] Experts Call for Khmer Government to Be Cautious about Gas and Oil Benefits
    • Cambodia Plans to Adopt Standardization Law but Still Leaves Anti-Corruption Law Unsolved Which Is Important
    • Yuon [Vietnamese] Embassy Strongly Reacted When It Knew that Vietnamese People Were Killed by Khmer [fisheries] Officials [in Pursat]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4267, 25.4.2007

    • Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Completely Support Official Election Results
    • [Chey Yano] Publisher of Sochivathor Sued [by a businessman] on Accusation of Publishing False Information
    • Bird Flu in Kompong Cham: H5N1 Found in Two Birds
    • Collection of Road Taxes for 2007 Will Start on 2 May
    • Former Russian President [Boris] Yeltsin Dies [from stroke, at 76]

    Reach Seima, Vol.2, #181, 25.4.2007

    • Low Level Officials Ask Government to Arrange Payment of Their Salaries through Banks [then their small salaries cannot be taken by corrupt officials]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3019, 25.4.2007

    • Success of Ruling Party [in commune elections] Is Opportunity for Vann Sophanna [chief of administration of forestry officials north of the Tonle Sap Lake] to Continue to Create Desertification in Siem Reap and Kompong Thom [through forest crimes]

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    Tuesday, 24.4.2007: Kem Sokha Seeks Supports for His Human Rights Party in US

    Posted on 25 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

    Apologies for the delays – office work suffers a lot from electricity cuts.

    The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

    “The human rights activist from Cambodia Mr. Kem Sokha is returning to the political game again. After spending more than five years outside politics as an observer of the situation of human rights and democracy, and as a strong critic of Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen of the ruling party, he held the position of Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. Now Mr. Kem Sokha announced that he has resigned from this non-government organization to create a new party. The new party is named Human Rights Party; he has submitted the request for permission to the Ministry of Interior with the expectation that the ministry will officially recognize the party after completing some missing points in the formalities.

    “To seek supports from the international community, Mr. Kem Sokha has recently left Cambodia for North America. He stopped in Canada, then proceeded to Seattle and to North California.

    “Last Sunday, he made a statement in Long Beach [California] in the Holiday Inn Hotel, 1133, Atlantic Street at 3 p.m., about the developments which led to the creation of the Human Rights Party. Long Beach is the most important point for Mr. Kem Sokha to seek support from the Khmer community in the United States of America. This is the second time in one year that Mr. Kem Sokha has been to Long Beach. Concerning the national elections to be held in 2008, Mr. Kem Sokha hopes that his Human Rights Party will become a party to participate in the competition.

    “It should be noticed that there are pretty many opposition parties in Cambodia, but the biggest opposition party is the Sam Rainsy Party. After leaving politics in 2002, Mr. Kem Sokha has gained great popularity in the country, especially in rural areas, because he is an important person doing advocacy for human rights and democracy. It can be said that Mr. Kem Sokha’s group has held public forums countrywide where the people could express their difficulties in their everyday lives. The contents of the discussions in all public forums contained criticism of the Hun Sen government, and they were broadcast through the Voice of Democracy radio program.

    “On 21 April 2007, Long Beach Press Telegram [?] quoted from Mr. Kem Sokha’s speech:‘For almost five years, I have educated citizens about human rights and democracy. Now the citizens ask me to enter politics.’ According to the same speech of Mr. Kem Sokha, more than 200,000 citizens signed a joint petition asking Mr. Kem Sokha to create a party like what he told the Long Beach Press Telegram, ‘I told them that I don’t want to create a party. I want them to create a party themselves and then I help them.’

    “Mr. Kem Sokha is not a stranger to or new in politics. He had been a parliamentarian after the 1993 elections, which was organized by the United Nations; in 2002 he became a senator. He used to be the chairperson of the Senate Committee for Human Rights and Complaints.

    “However, his political standing was fragile, partly because of his opinions reviewing democracy. In July 2006, he was jailed for 17 days based on defamation charges, and then the charges were dropped. When Mr. Kem Sokha was released, the international community immediately condemned the arrest and the jailing , as he was an activist on behalf of human rights and democracy.

    “In 1997, Mr. Kem Sokha escaped from the country while Mr. Hun Sen conducted a bloody coup to remove Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh as first Prime Minister. In 1998 he sheltered in the American Embassy in Phnom Penh [reason not mentioned]. Mr. Kem Sokha’s criticism raised some doubts about the reasons, especially as he created the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, while some thought that the Cambodian Center for Human Rights was just a temporary shield of Mr. Kem Sokha on his way towards politics.

    “Now the Sam Rainsy Party, which is a shrewd opposition party against the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, expressed its neutral position towards all political parties which adhere to democracy.

    “Mr. Chrea Sochenda, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kandal, told Radio Free Asia: ‘The Sam Rainsy Party welcomes all political parties that respect the policy of democracy like we do. In general, the Sam Rainsy Party does not worry about the creation of any party or about any person creating a political party.’

    “Mr. Kem Sokha has recently commented on the second term commune and subdistrict elections which were complicated for many voters. He said that more than 2.5 million Khmer citizens, who have the right to vote, failed to vote. This is a loss of their rights. Mr. Kem Sokha added, ‘I want the 2.5 million citizens to vote in the 2008 elections, which is to provide hope and proper choices for democracy.’” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #382, 24.4.2007

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 24 April 2007

    Chakraval, Vol.15, #2673, 24.4.2007

    • [More than 20] Chinese Workers of Iron Heating Factory Protest Opposite Chinese Embassy for Salaries
    • Most Phnom Penh Residents No Longer Need Funcinpec [according to Funcinpec’s decline of votes in commune elections]
    • Kien Svay District Police Announce Riel 2 Million [US$500] Reward for Arrest of Anyone Who Disturbs Police Handheld Radio Network [Kandal]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1321, 24.4.2007

    • Khieu Kanharith [CPP spokesperson]: Those Who Want to Create Alliance of Politicians [or a collection of democratic movements] Are Like Sharing 500-Riel Note [costing US$0.12] with 10 People
    • Lu Laysreng Wants to Invite Samdech Krom Preah to Lead Funcinpec Again [after Prince Thomico’s appeal for royalist parties to join with each other]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3140, 24.4.2007

    • Yuon [Vietnamese] Communist Authority Continues to Surround Khmer Pagodas in Kampuchea Krom Land – and Arrested and Defrocked Four More Monks

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4266, 24.4.2007

      • Samdech Hun Sen: ‘Peace and Political Stability Brought Happy Atmosphere during Khmer New Year’
      • Mr. Sar Kheng Welcomes Mr. Sam Rainsy Who Wants to Discuss Decentralization
      • Three Vietnamese Dead; Office of Fisheries Officials Burned [in a conflict between officials and fisherpeople during suppression of illegal fishing in Krakor, Pursat]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3018, 24.4.2007

    • Voters’ Lists Are in Serious Disorder under National Election Committee [which caused 2.5 million people to fail to vote – according to an NGO official]
    • Corruption Provides Possibility to Dishonest Businesspeople and International Criminals to Use Cambodia as a Place to Produce Drugs
    • Yuon [Vietnam] Arrests and Defrocks Four More Kampuchea Krom Khmer Monks While Demonstrations Are Held Worldwide

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #382, 24.4.2007

    • Kem Sokha Seeks Support for His Human Rights Party in the USA
      Chea Sim Wants to Give Position of President of CPP to Sar Kheng but Hun Sen Refuses [according to Khmer Intelligence network]

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    Sunday/Monday, 22/23.4.2007: Nhek Bun Chhay And Lu Lay Sreng Ask Hun Sen to Remove Funcinpec Officials Who Join the Cambodian People’s Party

    Posted on 24 April 2007. Filed under: Week 505 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 505

    Mr. Lu Lay Sreng, the First Vice President of Funcinpec, and Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay, the Secretary-General of Funcinpec, have asked Prime Minister Hun Sen many times to remove Funcinpec officials who have positions in the government, but Mr. Hun Sen did not agree, responding briefly not to worry about the reshuffle, because the term is almost finished.

    However, Mr. Hun Sen agrees to remove officials from their positions who are known to be still faithful to Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh].

    The requests by Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay and Mr. Lu Lay Sreng for the removal of Funcinpec officials from the government is to prevent other Funcinpec officials from joining the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP]. But Mr. Hun Sen ignores these requests; therefore, opportunistic officials still continue to defect from Funcinpec and join the CPP. Recently Mr. Ly Thuch, a standing committee member [of Funcinpec] and the Second Vice President of the Committee for Disaster Management, defected from Funcinpec and joined the CPP. However, Funcinpec elders said that this issue is not surprising at all, because Mr. Ly Thuch is an opportunist who seeks only personal benefits.

    An official of Funcinpec said that Mr. Ly Thuch is a brother of Mr. Suy Sem, the Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy. The source said that he has been a person with CPP relations also at the time while Samdech Krom Preah was President of Funcinpec. Thus, this resignation is like to make Funcinpec lose an undetermined person, it doesn’t matter whether he is in or out, there is no benefit from him anyway.

    Funcinpec elders ask all those in Funcinpec who are aboard on two boats to be brave like Mr. Ly Thuch. They should not hide any longer.

    A Funcinpec elder said that Mr. Ly Thuch is also a former bag carrier of Mr. Sam Rainsy. After Mr. Sam Rainsy had become a Senior Minister and the Minister of Economy and Finance of the first term government, Mr. Ly Thuch, who doesn’t have a high degrees like other Funcinpec elders do, could not work with Mr. Sam Rainsy, so Mr. Sam Rainsy left him at Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s cabinet.

    The source added that Mr. Ly Thuch did not know how to work well, but he was good at favoritism, especially he understood the wishes of Samdech Krom Preah who is an old man of young attitude and he loves young women, actresses; Mr. Ly Thuch was promoted to be chief of cabinet of Samdech Krom Preah, while Samdech Krom Preah was the First Prime Minister. At that time Mr. Ly Thuch was well off by having the position of chief of cabinet of Samdech Krom Preah, until he had a villa, cars, lots of dollars, and wealth.

    Mr. Ly Thuch used the resources he had earned from the position of chief of cabinet of Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh to buy envelopes [for bribes] for the prince until he got the position of the Minister of Rural Development, replacing the incompetent Mr. Chhim Siek Leng at the middle of the second term, to look for dollars for Samdech Krom Preah.

    Mr. Ly Thuch became a standing committee member after the party coup which overthrew Samdech Krom Preah from the position of the presidency of Funcinpec on 18 October 2006.

    Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay, who won in the party coup to overthrow Samdech Krom Preah by listening to the ideas of Funcinpec elders, promised the elders to conduct reforms to restore Funcinpec’s popularity. However, after he had won, he no longer listens to the elders, but he listens only to the incitations by Mr. Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, and to a number of his partisans, such as Mr. Kol Pheng, a Senior Minister and the Minister of Education, and Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, the Minister of Women’s Affairs.

    The Funcinpec elders said that Mr. Ly Thuch left Funcinpec and joined the CPP is not important, but the important point is whether Mr. Hun Sen really considers Funcinpec as a partner in a coalition government, or uses Funcinpec just as a tool, because all Funcinpec officials who join the CPP are promised that their positions will be maintained until the end of the term. Some Funcinpec elders predicted that the last ones who will defect from Funcinpec and join the CPP are Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay and Mr. Lu Lay Sreng.

    Mr. Ly Thuch’s defection from Funcinpec to join the CPP was done publicly. This is different from the defections of two other officials, Mr. Khun Hang, the Minister of Cults and Religion, and Mr. Mao Hasmanal, an official of civil aviation, who joined the CPP without writing official letters resigning from Funcinpec.

    Because Mr. Hun Sen is not faithful to Funcinpec, and in view of the results of the commune and subdistrict elections showing that Funcinpec’s popularity had badly declined, Mr. Keo Puth Rasmey plans to resign as president of Funcinpec soon.

    Funcinpec elders said that Mr. Keo Puth Rasmey is a good person. He is competent and honest. His warning to resign from Funcinpec means that he does not want to become Mr. Hun Sen’s tool like Ta [grandfather] Sreng [Lu Lay Sreng] and Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay. However, the Funcinpec spokesperson denied on 20 April 2007 that Mr. Keo Puth Rasmey will resign as Funcinpec president, although there will be only between 4 to 10 officials remaining.

    Some Funcinpec elders affirmed that they will leave Funcinpec before the 2008 elections, but they will not join the CPP nor the Norodom Ranariddh Party. They will join one party which adheres to real democracy and is willing to serve the people, and protect the territorial integrity as well as the national interests.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #381, 22-23.4.2007

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Sunday/Monday, 22/23 April 2007

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1320, 22-23.4.2007

    • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong Goes to Visit Union of Myanmar
    • More Than 70,000 Cambodian Citizens Have Tuberculosis, and 10,000 Die of the Disease per Year [according to a senior official of the Ministry of Health]
    • Man Rapes Twelve-Year-Old Stepdaughter in Prey Chhor [he is arrested – Kompong Cham]
    • Man and Son Kidnapped for US$500 Ransom in Kompong Thom [Baray]
    • Violence [fighting between Somali Muslims and Ethiopian troops] for Three Days in Somalia Kills 113 People

    Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #261, 21-23.4.2007

    • Price for Vehicle License Plates: US$30 for Motorcycle and US$90 for Car License Plates when Issued Immediately [corruptly at municipal Public Works and Transport Department]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6020, 23.4.2007

    • Funcinpec Rejects Report Which Says President [Keo Puth Rasmey] Wants to Resign
    • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Blame Each Other After They Lost Three Subdistrict Seats In Phnom Penh

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3139, 23.4.2007

    • [Opposition leader] Mr. Sam Rainsy Plans to Meet and Discus with [Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng about the Implementation of Decentralization in Communes and Subdistricts
    • Representatives of Kampuchea Krom Monks Worldwide Accuse Yuon [Vietnamese] Authority of Forcing the Monks to Respect a Ho Chi Minh Statue Instead of a Buddha Statue
    • Police Arrest, Beat, and Jail 13 People in Spean Chheh Area, and Even Seek to Arrest More [over land dispute – Mittapheap, Sihanoukville]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.14, #1171, 23.4.2007

    • 16-Year-Old Boy Rapes 5-Year-Old Girl in Bathroom [he is arrested –Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4265, 22-23.4.2007

    • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community Calls on All Monks Not to Be Used to Suppress Other Monks
    • Japanese Delegation Studies Investment Environment in Cambodia
    • Association of Cambodian Radio Stations Is Created
    • World Bank and [Australian] AUSaid Provide US$36 Million Grant Aid for Road Maintenance [in Cambodia]
    • UN Provides US$100 Million To Fight Poverty [in eight countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East – also including Cambodia]
    • South Korea Considers Cambodia to Be a Country Which Can Participate in Seeking a Solution for the Korean Peninsula
    • Storm Destroys 59 Houses and 7 School Buildings and Injures 3 People in Malai [Banteay Meanchey]
    • Kidnap Victim [a former teacher] in Baray Released, But Riel 20 Million [US$5,000] Spent for Ransom [Kompong Thom]

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #381, 22-23.4.2007

    • Nhek Bun Chhay And Lu Lay Sreng Ask Hun Sen to Remove Funcinpec Officials Who Join the Cambodian People’s Party
    • Sam Rainsy Party Condemns Use of Violence to Suppress Kampuchea Krom Khmer Monks and People
    • Princess Marie [Ranariddh] Prepares for Unhappy Residence [in Phnom Penh] to Be Used as a Restaurant of Rice and French Food [according to a Royal family member]

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    Sunday,2007-4-22: After The Commune Council Elections

    Posted on 23 April 2007. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 504 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 504

    Looking back three weeks to the day of the Cambodian Commune Council Elections of 1 April 2007 it is a challenge to reflect on what has happened, in spite of the fact that the official results are to be published by the National Election Committee only on 24 April.

    The numbers are impressive. More than 100,000 candidates from 12 parties tried to get the 11,353 seats in the 1,621 communes and urban sub-districts (sangkats) – appealing to the 7.8 million registered voters, though only about 70% of them – the lowest number in Cambodia in any election since the 1993 UNTAC organized one – cast their ballots at 14,428 polling stations.

    Though the official results are not yet published, it seems that about 98% of all elected commune chiefs are members of the Cambodian People’s Party, with the Sam Rainsy Party having probably only 28, and Funcinpec getting 2, while the Norodom Ranariddh Party – and all others – got none.

    From the presidential elections in Nigeria, held this Sunday – the African country with the highest oil production – news are still coming in: 12 persons killed by violence, then it was corrected to 14, and at present the news say 21 persons lost their lives during the election. The constitution does not allow President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been in this office since 1999, to continue to hold the highest power for more than two 4-year terms, to avoid too much personal power to be built up.

    Also the presidential elections in France are still continuing today – the voting stations will be open until 20:00 in the evening to allow all voters to vote – but even now it seems to be clear that the voter turnout is the highest since 1981, as the 44.5 million voters seem to be very concerned about the further direction of French politics. The two strongest candidates, the conservative Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy and the Socialist Ms. Ségolène Royal, provide clearly different political programs.

    First of all, the fact that the election day in Cambodia was fairly peaceful is positive – compared to the violent outbursts observed at present in Nigeria and at other times elsewhere. There were problems perceived in Cambodia during the time before the elections, and when there is too much anger building up during the campaign period, the election itself may turn violent – instead of being the occasion where future solutions for existing conflicts in society are being found: precisely by electing representatives of the different ideas, plans, and visions for the future.

    But it is exactly here that serious reflection is called for: this time, many people in Cambodia did not care to vote – or they could not. Since the 1993 UN organized and supervised elections, more than 90 percent, later more than 80 percent of Cambodian voters took their voting power very serious. This time, the percentage was down to around 70 percent. Why? And what does this mean for the future?

    Quite different reasons have been proposed: from electoral apathy to electoral confusion. Many people are disappointed seeing party political games of personality centered politics – the Norodom Ranariddh Party got only about 8 % of the popular vote, while the 25% for candidates of the Sam Rainsy Party translates only to a tiny number of commune chiefs. Election observers point also to the rather high number of voters who suffered from administrative confusion – their name was not in the voter list – many of these people had been recently, and not always voluntarily resettled – or they were to go to a different voting station from where they assumed to be related to. The Prime Minister even suggested that many women might not have voted, because they did not want their polished and painted fingernails to get dirty from the undeletable black ink used to mark those persons who had already voted.

    The attitude and approach of many politicians who would like to see political change in Cambodia have, so far, been among the powers who have clearly contributed to the present political constellations which the opposite results: the many different small parties consume a lot of activists’ commitment and energy, leading to election results for most of them under 1 percent of the votes – and this strengthening the biggest party. Unless a fundamental rethinking and reorientation about the role of political parties in a democratic state gets more attention – not groups with a common loyalty towards a person can play constructive roles in society (the present demise of the Norodom Ranariddh Party is an example with its own problems), but parties which bring together broad coalitions of different personalities who – together! – elaborate constructive, practical plans and strategies for the future of the whole society. Then, the creative power of the “multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law” mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitution can come to its full development: in a society where different parties do not want to compete to get much positions of power and of benefits, but the multi-party democracy will compete in presenting the most useful and helpful ideas for all – and they will hope to find support from the electorate.

    What is to be hoped for towards the 2008 national elections is a broad public debate about the different party programs, instead of personality contests. The more Cambodia becomes an integral member of the international community of nations, the more such a change from focusing on leadership persons to focusing on ideas and concepts will be called for.

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    Saturday, 21.4.2007: Kampuchea Krom Monks Demonstrate… Another Group Of Monks Oppose Them And Cause Injury

    Posted on 22 April 2007. Filed under: Week 504 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 504

    “Phnom Penh: Part of Preah Monivong Boulevard was blocked for three hours. About 100 Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks demanded freedom in Vietnam, appealing to the Royal Government through petition and a march on Friday morning, although they did not have a permission to demonstrate by the Phnom Penh municipality. Their activity caused traffic jams on Preah Monivong Boulevard near the Vietnamese Embassy for about three hours, and also in some other streets in Phnom Penh. A monk was injured on his left eyebrow in a conflict with another group of monks who opposed the demonstration.

    “About 100 monks and laypeople, who identified themselves as Kampuchea Krom Khmers from pagodas in Phnom Penh met and marched to the Vietnamese embassy early morning. However, the plan was known by police and by military police who then deployed forces around the Vietnamese embassy, especially on Preah Monivong Boulevard, which was, from the Bokor junction to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, completely blocked.

    “The demonstration was led by Yoeung Sen, the head monk of Wat Samaki Reangsey in Stung Meanchey Subdistrict, Meanchey District, who is from Kampuchea Krom. Local police officials deployed forces to prevent the monks from getting out the pagoda to demonstrate, but they could not prevent the monks from getting out of pagoda.

    “Due to a strict intervention, the demonstrators could get only 100 meters towards the embassy.

    “Chief Monk Yoeung Sen said, ‘The demand by the monks from Kampuchea Krom was not violent at all. The officials should not worry about this. I only take a petition to the Vietnamese Embassy in order to demand freedom for Kampuchea Krom Khmer people and monks who live in Kampuchea Krom land.’

    “He added that this demand is made not only in Cambodia but worldwide, especially wherever Kampuchea Krom Khmers live.

    “Like in the previous petitions, Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks ask the Vietnamese government to provide complete freedom to Kampuchea Krom Khmer people and monks who live in Kampuchea Krom. The Vietnamese authorities should release all jailed Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks and immediately stop to violate their freedom, especially the freedom of religion of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks and people who rightfully live in their land.

    “In the petition they also ask the international community to push the Vietnamese government to stop all inhuman activities, and to implement a human rights policy towards Kampuchea Krom Khmers, to respect their freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of culture and tradition, irrespective of their race, and the freedom to create associations, irrespective of their race, independently. They ask the Vietnamese government to stop immediately grabbing of heritage land of Kampuchea Krom Khmers, and the land of some pagodas such as Wat Prasat Kong, and of Wat Boeng Kracha Thmey in Khleang Province [former Khmer name used].

    “Monk Yoeung Sen also wonders why a monk died in Kandal Province, but why did the officials prevent people and monks from holding Buddhist ceremonies for the monk?

    “When, after about three hours, they were still not able to enter the Vietnamese embassy, the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks marched to the Royal Palace with some banners.

    “Banners with writings – ‘Long live the solidarity force of Kampuchea Krom Khmers,’ ‘Yuon government must stop the violation of the rights of religion and the right of Kampuchea Krom Khmers who rightfully live in their land,’ ‘The Yuon government must release the three Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks and reinstate them as monks again without conditions.’

    “Then the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks chanted holy texts and sang songs about resistance in Kampuchea Krom Khmer land.

    “Three Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks read the petition of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks and of people who live in the Kingdom of Cambodia, to be sent to the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in Khmer, English, and Vietnamese.

    “Meanwhile, a number of higher monks from Wat Langka, Wat Ounalom, and from some other pagodas arrived to discuss with the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks to stop the demonstration and to send representatives to take the petition to the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh instead, but this talk was not successful. Therefore, the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks marched instead to the US embassy in Phnom Penh.

    “When the march arrived at the opposite of Wat Ounalom, anther group of monks appeared to prevent the march and there was a dispute which led to fighting. As a result, the monks who opposed the march ran in their robes back into Wat Ounalom. A Kampuchea Krom Khmer monk named Lim Yuth, who stays in Wat Samaki Reansey, was injured on his left eyebrow at that time.

    “After this had happened, the Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks and a number of supporters expressed their strong anger.

    “After they had calmed down, the Kampuchea Khmer monks marched to the opposite side of the road across the US embassy, which was also under strict protection by Phnom Penh municipal police officials.

    “There, a Kampuchea Khmer monk named Huch Phirum was allowed to enter the embassy.

    “When the monk got out of the embassy, he told the journalists that he did not meet directly with the ambassador, but he met only with a representative of the embassy.

    “During the meeting, the representative of the US embassy promised to seek freedom for Kampuchea Krom Khmers. At that time, the representative of the embassy also accepted the petition from the Kampuchea Khmer monks, to send it to the American government in Washington.

    “At that time, the representative of the US embassy affirmed that he will invite human rights organizations and all Khmer Kampuchea Krom associations to meet and find ways to seek rights for Kampuchea Krom Khmers.

    “After that, all Kampuchea Krom Khmer monks met and chatted with each other opposite the US Embassy and then went back to their pagodas.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4264, 21.4.2007

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 21 April 2007

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1319, 21.4.2007

    • Funcinpec Announces Openly That It Doesn’t Plan To Dissolve Itself And Join Other Parties
    • National Election Committee Has Announced Official [commune] Election Results For 13 Provinces and Towns
    • Legal and Illegal Khmer Laborers Rush To Work In Thailand after Khmer New Year
    • Six Good Cambodian Students Participate In The Physics Olympiad Competition Of Asia In China
    • NATO Soldiers Kill 27 Taliban Militia Members

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6019, 21.4.2007

    • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Program [by Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization] Broadcast Three Days And Three Hours Per Week [from Monday to Wednesday] Through FM 90 MHz [Phnom Penh]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3138, 21.4.2007

    • Petition of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Monks, Which Is Rejected by Yuon [Vietnamese] Embassy, Is Welcome by US Embassy
    • Japan Urges Solution To Overcome Deadlock Of Khmer Rouge Tribunal Caused By Ky Tech [President Of The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia]
    • Only US$16 Million Collected From 24 Casinos Per Year [in Cambodia, because powerful officials take bribes]
    • 400 Sellers Of Pursat Phsar Thmey Market Ask For Those Who Had Put Arson To Be Revealed, And For Them To Continue Selling On The Same Location

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4264, 21.4.2007

    • Kampuchea Krom Monks Demonstrate… Another Group Of Monks Prevent It And Injure Them
    • Ministry Of Interior Reacts Against Opposition Party’s Initiative Over Village Chief Elections
    • Cambodian Prime Minister Concerned About Traffic Accidents
    • Kidnapping Recurs In Kompong Thom [former teacher kidnapped for US$6,000 ransom – Baray]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3016, 21.4.2007

    • Norodom Ranariddh Condemns Violence Against Kampuchea Krom Monks
    • Sihanoukville Authority Uses Violence, Burns Houses, and Arrests People Over Land Dispute

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #380, 21.4.2007

    • Nhek Bun Chhay [Funcinpec Secretary General] Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Says He Is Involved In 3 Tonnes Of Drugs In Kompong Speu

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    Friday, 20.4.2007: Director General Of National Police Proud About Cooperation With The US Federal Bureau Of Investigation

    Posted on 21 April 2007. Filed under: Week 504 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 504

    “Phnom Penh: General Hok Lundy, the Director General of National Police, expressed his optimism about the cooperation between the [Cambodian] National Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] of the United States of America.

    “He expressed this opinion in an interview with CTN [Cambodian Television Network] which was broadcast on Thursday. He is invited by the FBI for an official visit to the United States of America starting from Friday, 20 April.

    “He said that during the visit of him and a delegation from the National Police, he may meet with secretaries of three important US ministries, such as the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, as well as with representatives of the FBI and the Office of National Drug Control Policy [? – or the Organized Crime/Drug Investigation Program? – translated terminology not sure].

    “He stated that his visit is really important in order to exchange opinions over prevention of terrorism, cross-border crimes, and drug trafficking, which he considers Cambodia cannot solve alone – it has to cooperate with other countries.

    “He added that during the visit he will also meet with the leaders of the Department of State which will focus on actions and measures to prevent trafficking of women and children. He said, ‘We also want to do in Cambodia what the big power countries have done well. We don’t want others to criticize us any longer.’

    “Concerning the visit, the Director General expects that the Cambodian police and the FBI will continue to strengthen their cooperation in order to prevent terrorism, drug trafficking, and cross-border crimes which are of joint concern in the region and globally.

    “In response to this, he also plans to invite the presidents of the FBI and of the Office of National Drug Control Policy [? – or the Organized Crime/Drug Investigation Program?] to visit Cambodia in order to exchange ideas and experience with each other.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4263, 20.4.2007

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 20 April 2007

    Areyathor, Vol.13, #1230, 20-21.4.2007

    • 54 People Dead And Nearly 500 Injured During Khmer New Year [countrywide – according to a report from the Ministry of Interior]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1318, 20.4.2007

    • Sam Rainsy Plans To Meet Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng Over Broad Plan On Decentralization in Government
    • Cambodian Center For Human Rights Reduces Staff By 70% [after former president Kem Sokha entered politics]
    • Ministry Of Social Affairs Plans To Help 3,000 Homeless People Per Year [with vocational training]

    Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #260, 19-20.4.2007

    • Born Samnang And Sok Sam Oeun [accused of murder of Chea Vichea, former head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Unlikely To Appeal, But To Ask For Amnesty From The King

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6018, 20.4.2007

    • Murder of Trade Union Head Chea Vichea: International Labor Organization Demands Investigation By Independent Group

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3137, 20.4.2007

    • Condemnation Of Hok Lundy [director general of National Police] By Human Rights Watch And Mr. Ron Abney [former Cambodia resident director of the US based International Republican Institute] Surprises Washington
    • Sellers at Shopping Center Soriya React Against Announcement Which Forces Them To Buy Stalls For Ten Years’ Time [Phnom Penh]
    • Chiefs Of Military Region 4 Use People As Shields To Grab Land At Dangrek Mountains [Oddar Meanchey]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.14, #1170, 20.4.2007

    • National Election Committee Rejects Sam Rainsy Party’s Request For Repetition Of Elections In Poipet Commune [Banteay Meanchey]
    • Many Funcinpec Officials Join CPP

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4263, 20.4.2007

    • National Police Director General [Hok Lundy] Proud About Cooperation With US Federal Bureau of Investigation [as he is invited by the FBI to visit USA]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3015, 20.4.2007

    • Corruption And Foreign Debt Become Serious Problems In Khmer Society [says an unnamed senior official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
    • [Through an interview with Radio Free Asia] Samdech Krom Preah Speaks About His Wish To Return To The Country To Restore Democracy In Cambodia

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #379, 20.4.2007

    • Keo Puth Rasmey [new Funcinpec president] Plans To Leave Funcinpec [after Funcinpec has got very few votes in commune elections – according to a Funcinpec official]; Uk Phalla [Ranariddh’s unmarried partner] Prepares To Leave Ranariddh [because he is no longer powerful]
    • Does Government Sell Khmer Embassy Land In Bangkok At US$20 Million? [yes]

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