Archive for December 10th, 2007

Monday, 10.12.2007: Today is the International Human Rights Day

Posted on 10 December 2007. Filed under: Week 538 |

Today is the International Human Rights Day, a National Holiday in Cambodia – so we do not have any regular Mirror texts and headlines to publish – instead we share a document for the day, and the link to the original relevant UN document for the occasion.


10 December 2007

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued the following
statement to mark Human Rights Day which is commemorated on 10 December 2007.

As we jointly celebrate today not only Human Rights Day but also launch the
year-long campaign leading to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, we have cause to celebrate the accomplishments made, since 1948, on
the road to ensuring fundamental freedoms for each one of us.

The Universal Declaration and its core values- inherent human dignity, justice,
non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality- apply to everyone, everywhere,

In all parts of the world, individuals, groups, organizations, and Governments
have striven to transform into reality the promises contained in the Universal
Declaration. Many have died in the pursuit of these ideals.
Today is also the day to reflect upon our individual and collective failures to
stand up against violence, racism, xenophobia, torture, repression of unpopular views
and injustices of all sorts.

In today’s growing divisions between the rich and the poor, the powerful and
the vulnerable, the technologically advanced and the illiterate, the aggressors and the
victims, the relevance of the Declaration and the universality of the enshrined rights
need to be loudly reaffirmed.

In the course of this year, unprecedented efforts must be made to ensure that
every person in the world can rely on just laws for his or her protection. In advancing
all human rights for all, we will move towards the greatest fulfillment of human
potential, a promise which is at the heart of the Universal Declaration.

Go to last week’s editorial

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Week 537 – 2007-12-09: Persons or Structures? Persons and Structures!

Posted on 10 December 2007. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 537 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 537

We frequently pay attention to the interplay of different structures and institutions which make up our societies: the United Nations, the constitution, the World Trade Organization, families, the government, ASEAN, states, businesses, the legal system, unions, and many others. How are they being moved, how do they move? There are a lot of different dynamics at work, but often it is one individual person who sets something in motion – either actively by doing or just by saying something, or passively by being the object of wider interest by others. We randomly collect here some observations about different people from the past week. We are reminded that “news” is about real persons, and how they relate to other persons and to the challenges in our societies.

  • “Thai authorities arrest 300 to 500 male and female Khmer laborers every day and hand them over to the Cambodian side”

    So they know and still go, they must have strong reasons

  • “Khmer laborers in Thailand, legal or illegal, suffer many dangers, such as labor exploitation, sex trafficking, because there is no law to protect them”

    Which level of priority is given, by whom, to create protective legislation?

  • “12-Year-Old Chinese boy, in China, contributes $2,700 of his earnings from selling cans and bottles with drinks to AIDS orphans”

    Commitment to public service has no conditions – even the rich can participate

  • “Seven women accused of selling their own daughters to Alexander Trofimov in Sihanoukville, who is now detained on accusation of debauchery with underage girls”

    Business for the family – family relations totally broken. Why?

  • “Cambodian man rapes his 15-year-old daughter until she is more than five months pregnant”

    Also family relations, broken

  • “Five former Khmer Rouge leaders charged… the Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for killing approximately 2 million Cambodian citizens”

    Finally, after so many years. Five people were charged – they did it not alone

  • “More than 3 million Khmers were killed, but foreign countries say only 1.7 million were killed”

    Almost 30 years were not sufficiently used to clarify this point of public interest. Which foreign countries say so: France? Vietnam? The USA? China?

  • “Malaysian-Australian woman becomes Australian cabinet minister”

    When will something similar happen in Cambodia, proudly announcing the appointment of an immigrant, being made a cabinet minister?

  • “Bodyguard of a high ranking official pulls out gun and points it at motorcycle driver’s head”

    The power related to a public function is often irresponsibly mixed up with the power of an individual

  • “There is grabbing of land by powerful officials, there is grabbing by rich people, there is also grabbing by anarchic groups”

    If it happens at all levels, will it be controlled top-down, first at the highest level, to be widely seen as improving society?

  • “Prime Minister was opposed to listing of Cardamom Mountains as a World Heritage; it is a place for hydroelectric plants, electricity batteries for Cambodia”

    Caring for the public good of the country…

  • “Sam Rainsy disagrees to destroy national resources by hydroelectric power plants at Cardamom Mountain”

    …but not political power, but rational arguments to weigh both positions are needed, from both sides, in a democratic state

  • “Tsering Chungtak, Miss Tibet, gave up competing in the Miss Tourism contest in Malaysia, because she would have to be called Miss Tibet-China”

    With ethnic Cambodians in Vietnam, and ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia – does it help to understand this public action of a strong young woman? Yes, the legal situations are very different in every case, but the emotions?

  • “Two Taiwanese women arrested and 1.2 kg of heroine seized at Phnom Penh International Airport”

    They are responsible – more so are those behind them who used them

  • “Frightening collapse of embankment after dredging: houses of Lu Laysreng, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, and of some few other citizens met disaster at night”

    Other actions, evicting whole communities from their houses by human force, also bring disaster at night and at day

  • “Samdech Hun Sen agrees to suspend sand dredging countrywide”

    Not the concern that lakes should not be filled in, but only an administrative intervention seems to help. Probably at least for a while – as it is reported that forbidden dredging is done anyway during the night, at present

There are always people behind the news. People are in the news. The news is about people. The news relate in some way always also to us, the readers, challenging us to make up our minds, seeing us as actors in society, not only as spectators.

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