Archive for June 15th, 2007

Thursday, 14.6.2007: Yash Ghai Says Land Law Is Good, but the Government Doesn’t Care about Implementation

Posted on 15 June 2007. Filed under: Week 512 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 512

“On Tuesday 12 June, Mr. Yash Ghai, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia, released a report regarding land issues in Cambodia which are in trouble, because rich and powerful people grab people’s land – but the government does not solve the issue. However, Hun Sen announced loudly at a meeting at the Inter-Continental Hotel that the government has canceled the contracts with five concession companies which violate the contracts. This situation is difficult for donor countries to trust, and therefore he calls Hun Sen’s speech a shout before the Consultative Group [donors] meeting, in order to attract the donors’ feelings only.

“The land issue has existed for a long time; even the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party gave Hun Sen the power to wage war against land grabbing, but finally it was still impossible to achieve much, because the land grabbers are not people in general, but they are those who are close to Hun Sen. Because everything is not addressed frankly, Hun Sen cannot solve the issue, although the Khmer people, whose land has been grabbed, come to ask for help from Hun Sen, confidently holding the portraits of Hun Sen and his wife.

“On 12 June, in front of diplomats and the World Bank representatives for Cambodia, Hun Sen firmly promised to solve the land issue soon; but it is difficult for the donors to believe him. Hun Sen spoke about the elimination or the reduction of poverty of the citizens. However, the government cannot solve the issue that the rich and powerful people grab poor people’s land. On the contrary, the government even uses force to suppress poor people and helps to take their land for the rich. Thus, it makes the powerful and rich people to have armed forces at their disposal to increasingly harm the poor.

“Mr. Yash Ghai, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia, released a report regarding land concessions in Cambodia. He affirmed that land concessions do not help to develop the economy of the country, but they cause the citizens more sufferings.

“Mr. Yash Ghai agreed that the land law of Cambodia is good, but the government ignores the implementation of this law, allowing the powerful and the rich to grab other people’s land as they like. He said, ‘Khmer people have never received public information about the issue of land concessions, so the rich and powerful people can often deceive the citizens and take their land to make it their own property. And the original inhabitants lose their farmland.

“According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Chinese and Yuon [Vietnamese] companies got the rights to take over tens of thousands of hectares of land in different places, making the Khmer inhabitants lose their land. On 12 June, Chan Sarun, the Minister of Industry [sic – actually he is the Minister of Agriculture], told journalists that on 14 June, he will lead an ASEAN delegation to inspect those forest concession areas where he is accused of corruption, relating to logging.

“According to diplomats of donor countries, concerning the land issue in Cambodia, donors should pay attention to urge the government to conduct reforms and to prevent the grabbing of citizens’ land, because the Khmer people in rural areas are very poor, they survive by farming. However, if all their land is grabbed, how can they survive? Therefore, foreign aid should be given under the condition for the government to prevent the grabbing of people’s land: Just as Mr. Yash Ghai had said, that the Cambodian land law is good, but the government ignores the implementation of this law, making Khmer people suffer without end.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3184, 14.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 14 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1365, 14.6.2007

  • Japan Welcomes Adoption of Internal Rules of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
  • US International Republican Institute Survey Says [Cambodian] Government Moves on Good Way; Sam Rainsy Party Boasts that if It Governed [the country], It Would Do Ten Times Better
  • World Bank Supports Program “Our Lives, Our Society” of Cambodian National Radio [because they find the program is democratic]
  • Samdech Krom Preah’s Daughter Rattana Devi Resigns as Secretary of State of Ministry of Tourism [reason not mentioned]
  • Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Receives New Laotian Ambassador
  • US Troops Kill 14 Afghan Police [in an attack by mistake]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6065, 14.6.2007

  • Cambodia Still Classified Second Tier on US Human Trafficking List
  • League of Civil Society Organizations Calls for Authorities to Provides Documents for Voters
  • Two Khmer Boys Paid to Look After Cattle for Thai Traders; They Are Shot by Thai Police: One Is Dead and Another Is Wounded [Aranyaprathet, Sakaeo, Thailand]
  • Thailand Invests $6 Billion in Nuclear Center

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3184, 14.6.2007

  • Yash Ghai Says Land Law Is Good, but the Government Doesn’t Care about Implementation
  • Ty Sokun [Director-General of the Forestry Administration and an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen] Tries to Condemn Global Witness in Order to Protect Corruption of Himself and His Partisans

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4310, 14.6.2007

  • Mr. Kem Sokha [President of Human Rights Party and former President of Cambodian Center for Human Rights] Is Summoned to Appear in Court on 28 June for Questioning about Defamation [against his former staff]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3061, 14.6.2007

  • Hun Sen Leads Cambodia, Increasing Number of Poor People from 3 Million in 1994 to 5 Million Now

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #4226, 14.6.2007

  • Civil Society Organizations Ask Kem Sokha to Change Party Name [so it is not confusing between NGO and party human rights work]

Go to last week’s editorial

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