Archive for February, 2008

Friday, 29.2.2008: National Election Committee Publishes Voter List on a Website so that It Can Be Reviewed

Posted on 29 February 2008. Filed under: Week 549 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 549

“Phnom Penh: The National Election Committee [NEC] posted its voter list on the website

so that citizens, political parties, and non-government organizations can check the names and data of their staff in the voter list, according to a press release from the NEC on 27 February 2008.

“NEC Secretary General Mr. Tep Nytha said that the list of more than 8 million voters for the 27 July 2008 parliamentary election was posted on a website, and citizens can look into the information on the website given above, from 26 February to the election day. If citizens cannot find their names or lose their data, they can contact the National Election Computer Center of the NEC during working hours at the following phone numbers: 011-787766, 015-867766, 017-467766, 092-797766, or 099-787766, so that the staff on standby can help them.

“He added that currently, the NEC has two websites. The first website has the address

General information on elections was entered into the website which was started for the 2003 parliamentary elections, and it is in operation until now. The second website has the address, which has been operational just this year. The website carries only the voter lists. He continued to say that citizens, political parties, and institutions related to the elections, can print or download and copy information concerning the voter list from the website.

“On 27 February 2007, the NEC held a press conference to disseminate the official voter list and to announce the number of the organizations which had given their opinions about the draft regulations and procedures for the 2008 fourth-mandate parliamentary election. Mr. Im Suosdey, the chairperson of the NEC, had examined and approved the voter list already on 26 February 2008. The list has a total of 8,124,092 voters. He confirmed that for the fourth-mandate parliamentary election, there are a total of 15,254 voting offices. Regarding the opinions that the organizations and institutions gave, in order to contribute to the draft regulations and procedures, Mr. Im Suosdey said that they came from the Ministry of Interior, from the Cambodian People’s Party, from the Sam Rainsy Party, from Funcinpec, from the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and from two NGOs – from the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, and from the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.

“In the press conference, representatives from political parties and NGOs proposed to the NEC to organize a meeting with relevant institutions which had provided recommendations about the draft regulations and procedures before the NEC approved them. The chairperson of the NEC responded that the NEC would organize a meeting between its general secretariat and representatives from institutions and NGOs which had given ideas about the draft regulations and procedures, in order to provide clear explanations about the reasons why the NEC had not included all into the draft. In the press conference, representatives from political parties requested the NEC to cease using Form 1018 [identity documents required to vote: national identification card, or passport, or civil servant, police, or army identification card, family booklet with identification pictures, and documents identifying monks; if Cambodian eligible voters do not have any of these documents, they could ask their Commune Council to establish an identification form know as Form 1018], and they also asked the NEC to urge the Ministry of Interior to issue Khmer nationality identification cards for all citizens as soon as possible, so that they can use these documents to vote.

“With regard to Form 1018, Mr. Im Suodey confirmed, “We cannot stop using the form, because sometimes those who already had identification cards might have lost them, for example because of a house fire, or when they were living on a dangerous boat that leaked… What documents would they have to cast their votes?” He added that for the national elections, the NEC plans to instruct commune chiefs and district chiefs not to issue Form 1018 before the election day.” Koh Santepheap, Vol. 41, #6284, 29.2.08

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 February 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2758, 29.2.2008

  • New Thai Prime Minister Will Visit Cambodia First [in early March]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #54, 29.2.2008

  • If Hun Sen Wants to Know if Yuon [Vietnam] Takes Khmer Land or Not, He Should Ask Heng Samrin [president of National Assembly – because Vietnamese soldiers moved border line into Heng Samrin’s home village in Ponhea Kraek, Kompong Cham]
  • Strongman Hun Sen Denies He Has Secretly Met His Friend Thaksin [Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister – in Phnom Penh]
  • Older Sister [Pov Chansotheary] of [female singer] Pov Panhapich Does Not Dare to Bring Her Younger Sister [Pov Panhapich] Back to the Country for Fear of Being Shot by Murderers Again

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1580, 29.2.2008

  • Royal Government Checks the Granting Political Asylum by UNHCR to Foreign Citizens in Cambodia
  • Thaksin [Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister] Shed Tears on Arrival in Thailand [he was surprised about tens of thousands of people greeting him at the airport]; Samdech Hun Sen Denies He Has Met Thaksin in Cambodia; Police Detained Mr. Thaksin for a Short Time
  • Japan Provides Aid of More Than US$172,000 to Promote Maternal and Child Health Services by Non-Government Organizations

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #119, 29.2-1.3.2008

  • Mr. Son Chhay [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: To Accept that there Are Contested Areas Causes Cambodia to Lose Land at Borders
  • Mr. Yim Sovann [SRP parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: Sam Rainsy Party Will Take Unemployment as Priority [if it wins elections]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6284, 29.2.2008

  • National Election Committee Publishes Voter List on Website so that It Can Be Reviewed
  • Denial of Thai Newspaper [The Nation] Report; Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: If I Met Mr. Thaksin [Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister], There Is No Need to Hide It

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3400, 29.2.2008

  • Hun Sen Boasts that Cambodia Does Not Lose Land, Causing Strong Critical Reaction [by border activists and observers]
  • Head of Royal Government Angry about UNHCR Using Khmer Land as a Refugee Camp
  • Chinese Investment Does Not Speed Up Cambodian Economy [but it destroy environment and Cambodian natural property, such as minerals and trees]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4528, 29.2.2008

  • Samdech Prime Minister Calls Citizens to Participate in Cambodian Population Census [2008]
  • Thai Prime Minister Asks His Soldiers to Send Reports on Preah Vihear Temple Before He Visits Cambodia
  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] Says He Will Still Be Prime Minister and He Waits to See Future of Khmer Oil
  • KOICA [Korea International Cooperation Agency] Invites Twelve Officials of the National Election Committee to Attend Election Management Training in [South] Korea
  • Canada Provides CA$1 Million [approximately US$1.02 million] for the 2008 Elections in Cambodia
  • Millionaire Kith Meng [chairperson of the Royal Group] Leases the Biggest Island [Koh Rung] in Sihanoukville

Sakal, Vol.15, #3187, 29.2.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Area of 181,035 Square Kilometers Remains the Same for the Kingdom of Cambodia
    Slot Machine Gambling Invades Phnom Penh

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #633, 29.2.2008

  • Does Hun Sen Waste $2 Million Each Month for Advisors to the Royal Government?

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Thursday, 28.2.2008: Hun Sen Reiterates That He Is Prepared To Have Coffins Made For Those Who Want To Reclaim Khmer Kampuchea Krom Territory

Posted on 29 February 2008. Filed under: Week 549 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 549

“Prime Minister Hun Sen reaffirmed yesterday that regarding those who want to claim back Kampuchea Krom territory to rule it like under the French regime, he is prepared to have coffins made for those strong people. The Prime Minister stated that some people always talk about the loss of the land of hundreds of meters [per day], but it is not true. If it were the truth, the eastern border [with Vietnam] would by now be in the region of Kompong Chhnang, while the western border [with Thailand] would be in the region of Pursat. To say so is misled political demagogy.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen said so in Kandal Province, bordering Vietnam. He also confirmed that he did not want to talk about the issue of Khmer Krom territory. He added that anyone who claims to be strong – “please go ahead.” He is prepared to help to have coffins made for them, and he has sympathy to help to have their corpses buried. It is not the first time that Prime Minister Hun Sen made such statements. The Prime Minister has claimed already many times that there is not any loss of land in relation to Khmer Krom as well as to Khmer territorial integrity. If there is such loss as claimed by some people, the Khmer land would not have remained until now.

“It is noted that this is not the first time that Prime Minister Hun Sen has said so. He also expressed his ‘welcome’ with strong language, such as saying that Prime Minster Hun Sen is sympathetic in helping to have coffins made for those who want to protest and to reclaim Khmer Krom territory.

“For Prime Minister Hun Sen, those who want to protest claiming Khmer Krom territory are ignorant. It is a problem inherited from a previous generation, and Prime Minister Hun Sen claims that he just protects the Khmer territory from being lost.

“In Koh Thom, Kandal, bordering Vietnam, where the Prime Minister conducted demagogy to seek votes yesterday, he said that the people in Koh Thom know whether or not territory was really lost to the Vietnamese who are accused to have occupied some land. According to the Prime Minister, no territory was lost.

“Territorial integrity is a hot topic, and because Prince Norodom Ranariddh raised the territorial issue, he resigned from the position of president of the National Assembly. Until now, Prince Norodom Ranariddh has continued to raise the territorial issue, as he understands that it is a vital issue for the nation, and he continues to mention it again and again. Even though an additional agreement [in addition to the border treaty of 1985 with Vietnam] was signed, it remains a problem, as the ruling party did not allow partners in the government to directly supervise the measuring of the border line. The problem was so serious that Prince Norodom Ranariddh decided to resign from his role as president of the National Assembly. Some Cambodian people understand that it is only Prime Minister Hun Sen who still claims that there is not any loss of Khmer territory. However, many Cambodian people, except Prime Minister Hun Sen, know that the Yuon [Vietnamese] and the Siam [Thai] people never give up. But why keeps the Prime Minister claiming that no Khmer land is lost?

“The issue of Khmer territorial integrity made many Khmer people scared, but they thank those who were arrested when they protested against the ratification of the additional border agreement. Mam Sonando, the director of Sambok Khmum Radio, Kem Sokha, the former president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, and Rong Chhun, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, had been arrested and were imprisoned, because they talked about these complementary border agreements, claiming that they result in the cutting off of a piece of land to give it to Yuon. Now, those who formerly had shown a strong attitude turned around and softened their attitude toward Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“However, an unidentified official from the Norodom Ranariddh Party claimed that the issue, which has been raised in the past, is not to send troops to protest and reclaim Kampuchea Krom territory, but to insist that Yuon respects human rights, universally declared values, and the Yuon government is also a signatory to human rights conventions.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3258, 28.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 28 February 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #53, 28.2.2008

  • Mr. Kem Sokha [president of Human Rights Party] Is Prime Ministerial Candidate to Compete in the 2008 Elections
  • Cambodia Has a Bad Name for Culture of Impunity and for Cambodia’s ‘Family Tree’ [Global Witness’ anti-deforestation study]
  • Krek Rubber Plantation Company Bulldozes Foundations of Five Ancient Temples in Svay Leu District
  • Krakor District Forestry Administration Officials Conduct Forest Crimes with Businesspeople [Pursat]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1579, 28.2.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: People at Borders Are Live Witnesses of Territorial Issues
  • [Former Khmer Rouge head of Tuol Sleng prison] Duch Deeply Sad While He Arrived at Tuol Sleng [Genocide Memorial, for a Khmer Rouge tribunal organized visit – 27 February 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6283, 28.2.2008

  • After 29 Years, Duch Had Lunch in the Room That Was His Former Office at S-21 [Tuol Sleng Prison – now during his visit]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3399, 28.2.2008

  • Inflation of 10.8% Harms Livelihood of Poor People and Low-Level Public Servants
  • Sam Rainsy: Traitors [Sam Rainsy Party officials who join the Cambodian People’s Party] Have to Curse the Sam Rainsy Party Much so the Cambodian People’s Party Trusts Them
  • Hun Sen Warns Again that He Will Prepare Money to Buy Coffins for Those Who Attack Yuon [Vietnam]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1284, 28.2.2008

  • Fast Progress Makes Big Investors Worldwide to Enter Cambodia [says Mr. Sok Chenda, secretary general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, at a conference of the Club of Cambodian Journalists]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4527, 28.2.2008

  • Thaksin [Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister] and Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Are Said to Have Met Each Other in Phnom Penh [between 22 and 24 February 2008 – according to the Thai daily newspaper The Nation]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3258, 28.2.2008

  • Hun Sen Reiterates That He Is Prepared To Have Coffins Made For Those Who Want To Reclaim Khmer Kampuchea Krom Territory
  • More Than 1,800 Families Seek Appropriate Compensations from the Repair of National Road 1 [from Neak Loeang to Bavet]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #632, 28.2.2008

  • Rong Chhun [president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Still Demands that Hun Sen Increases Salaries for [garment] Workers

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Wednesday, 27.2.2008: Son Chhay: Social Morality Declines Due to Attitude of Current Leaders and Foreign Culture

Posted on 27 February 2008. Filed under: Week 549 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 549

“The Khmer society has been dominated by the influx of foreign cultures and drugs which cause young people, who will become the future pillars of the nation, to forget taking responsibility for the fate of the country. Khmer culture and Buddhism are trampled down and degraded by a number of opportunists.

“Acts of insulting Buddhism in Khmer society resulted from the violence which many policemen imposed upon about 40 Khmer Krom monks on 17 December 2007, when those monks tried to submit a protest motion to the Yuon [Vietnamese] government through the Yuon embassy in Cambodia.

“Moreover, politicians from the currently ruling party have used money and benefits to persuade monks who follow the teaching of Buddha to become propagandists for their party, and to use pagodas as forums to propagandize for the ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP].

“According to a general observation, top-ranking monks and head monks in provinces and cities are all activists who serve the CPP. The top leadership of Buddhism is [the Patriarch] Tep Vong, and he is using Buddhism as a political tool for the CPP, as if he would consider that Buddhism was born on 7 January 1979 [the liberation day from the Khmer Rouge regime by the early leadership of the CPP].

“Mr. Son Chhay, a Sam Rainsy Party [SRP] lawmaker from Phnom Penh, and a leader of the SRP lawmakers, said on 25 February 2008 through the Candlelight radio program [Sam Rainsy’s radio program], that it is the politics in our society and the mistakes of the leaders of the country that lead neighboring countries to influence Khmer people very easily.

“Mr. Son Chhay referred to the strategy of the attacking Thais in the 16th century [in 1594], throwing Duong silver coins [as bait] for the poor people into the bamboo protection around Lungvek, and the people cut the protecting bamboos around the military outpost, to get the Duong coins – this kind of foreign influence destroyed Lungvek.

He added that after Cambodia was invaded by Yuon troops [in 1979], the influx of the way of ruling and training in the new society made Khmer citizens forget about their national interests by thinking only about seeking pleasure – for example television and radio stations broadcast only dancing and singing programs. The society is full of gambling, drugs, sex, and alcohol, which drive Khmer young people crazy.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that Khmer citizens have to be careful and not to indulge anymore in these things, even though foreigners intoxicated Khmer society with intoxicants, drugs, and gambling. Khmer citizens have to admonish each others to understand what is important and of advantage for Khmer society, by not letting themselves fall into a death pit because of such indulgence and its attractions.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that Khmer leaders should stop letting foreigners make storm and rain [= to stir up turmoil and trouble] according to their wishes, because Cambodia has a citizenship law, and an immigration law to apply.

“Mr. Son Chhay said when the SRP will have won the elections in July 2008, he will create a fund which will be recognized by King Norodom Sihamoni, to offer honorary medals to those who contribute to serving the country, for example, doing social work and doing good deeds to promote the society. He added that government officials will not need to implore the powerful to be promoted. When the SRP wins the elections, it will ensure that citizens have appropriate employment, to live with dignity in the society, appropriate to their living standards. Therefore, when the SRP leads the government, it will help citizens and government officials to have better living standards.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that leaders must not use insulting and immoral words, because such actions can spread to the whole Khmer society.

“So far, Hum Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, often uses inappropriate words, such as ‘…these guys….’ Such expressions have drawn much criticism from some scholars. Having said so, Hun Sen is not suited to be a leader.

“Regarding drug trafficking, Cambodia has become a transit-point for drug export into third countries, and it is also a place of secret drug production, even though there were some crackdowns. But the important ringleaders who produce and traffic drugs could not be arrested.

“If there would not have been a crackdown on the big location of drug production on 1 April 2007 in Phnom Srouch in Kompong Speu, the products from synthetic drugs, using nearly 6 tons of raw materials, would have been put into circulation by criminals across the country.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #117, 27.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #58, 27.2-4.3.2008

  • Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng Agrees with Action against [Ou Chrov District] Police Inspector Ing Song You Who Committed Misdeeds [he collude with smugglers]
  • Funcinpec Should Merge with Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #561, 27.2.2008

  • [Director of Sambok Khmum Radio] Mam Sonando Tells Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha [presidents of the Sam Rainy Party and of the Human Rights Party] to Board a Ship Together with Samdech Krom Preah, but not a Ship Built only from Banana Trees, to Cross the Sea [= democrats should join together]
  • Corruption System Will Not Allow Cambodian People’s Party to Get 81 Seats [as it expects]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #117, 27.2.2008

  • Son Chhay: Social Morality Declines Due to Attitude of Current Leaders and Foreign Culture
  • National Assembly Replaces Six Parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party and from Funcinpec [who had left their parties]
  • Rong Chhun [president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Says Teachers Have Not Been Paid for Nearly Two Months

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6282, 27.2.2008

  • [Former Khmer Rouge head of Toul Sleng torture prison] Duch Cried in front of Choeung Ek [Killing Fields Memorial – 26 February 2008]
  • Canada Satisfied with Smooth Process of Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3398, 27.2.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Pressure on Burma While US Provides Assistance to Association of Southeast Asian Nations
  • Garment Sector Declines because of Corruption of Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Labor
  • Khiev Samphan Does Not Cooperate with Khmer Rouge Tribunal [as he does not want to be tried]
  • Appeal [by Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights] for the Creation of an Independent Committee to Inspect the Cambodian Courts

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4526, 27.2.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: Krom Preah [Price Ranariddh] Is Not Stable; It Is Difficult to Merge [our parties: the Sam Rainsy Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party]
  • [South] Korean Prime Minister Will Visit Cambodia This Year
  • Former President of Japanese Senate [Tsuchiya Yoshihiko] Promises to Bring More and More Investors to Cambodia
  • Thaksin [Shinawatra, former Thai prime minister] Will Return to Thailand on 28 February [according to his close friends]

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Tuesday, 26.2.2008: US Government Launches a Comprehensive Development Assistance Program for ASEAN

Posted on 27 February 2008. Filed under: Week 549 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 549

Top Official of the US Embassy and the Secretary-General of ASEAN Point to the Plan to Strengthen the Secretariat and to Achieve the Goal to Establish the ASEAN Community by 2015

“Phnom Penh: The U.S. Department of State and the US Agency for International Development [USAID] announced a development assistance program to help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] to achieve its goal of establishing a peaceful, prosperous and stable community of nations, namely the ASEAN Community, by 2015.

“According to a press release of the US embassy in Cambodia on 25 February 2008, the announcement was made by Mr. Scot Marciel, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, East Asia and Pacific Bureau, and Mr. Olivier Carduner, the USAID’s Regional Mission Director, and the new Secretary-General of ASEAN Mr. Surin Pitsuwan today.

“The ‘ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration’ program, in short ADVANCE, will be operated for eight years to match ASEAN’s time frame for establishing the ASEAN Community. ADVANCE received $7 million in funding in 2007 and will continue to be funded on an annual basis.

“Mr. Scot Marciel, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, East Asia and Pacific Bureau, and Mr. Olivier Carduner, USAID’s Regional Mission Director, made the announcement today with Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, the new Secretary-General of ASEAN.

“Mr. Carduner said, ‘ADVANCE is the cornerstone of USAID’s regional assistance program to ASEAN. This program is designed to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat as an institution which provides assistance to select ASEAN sub-regions and member nations, and facilitates greater economic integration and good governance within the region.’

“Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marciel underlined the Support of the U.S. government for ASEAN, saying, ‘The Joint Vision Statement of the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership, announced by President George W. Bush and ASEAN leaders in 2005, demonstrates the commitment of the US and our friends and allies in Southeast Asia to work together. We have a strong record of cooperation with ASEAN, and ADVANCE will deepen our engagement in the region.’

“ADVANCE, which stands for ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration, is intended to realize the developmental goals established under the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership Plan of Action signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July 2006. The program will complement the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) which was signed by Ambassador Ms. Susan Schwab, the US Trade Representative, the following year.

“Mr. Surin said, ‘We welcome ADVANCE, which reflects the strong commitment of the US to a vibrant dialogue between ASEAN and the US.’

“Recently, USAID has launched three regional programs under the ADVANCE program.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4525, 26.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #51, 26.2.2008

  • 80% of Media Support Cambodian People’s Party
  • Ken Sara [president of Student Movement for Democracy] Threatens to Hold Large Demonstration against Siam [Thailand] over the Case of the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Civil Society Organizations Criticize Use of National Funds for Ruling Party’s Interest
  • Hun Sen Government Classified for Human Rights Violations and Impunity [ironic]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1577, 26.2.2008

  • Civil Society [Dr. Kek Galabru, president of the human rights organization Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights]: Demand for Ieng Sary to Also Be Sent to Visit Sites of Killing People
  • Samdech Hun Sen Goes to Participate in Inauguration Ceremony of South Korean President [Lee Myung-Bak – Text of President Lee Myung-Bak’s inauguration speech]
  • Royal Government of Cambodia Continues Cooperation with US Government on Child Adoption Procedures
  • 25 Officials Appointed as Advisors to Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen at Tuol Krasaing [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s headquarters]
  • Mobile Customs Officers and National Military Police Seized 23 Trucks Which Illegally Transported Fruit in Kompong Speu [24 February]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #116, 26.2.2008

  • Student Movement [for Democracy] Pushes Khmer Government to Carry Out the Verdict of The Hague Court [concerning the Preah Vihear Temple]

Meatophum, Vol.52, #678, 25-29.2.2008

  • Prime Minister Supports Further Constructions of Khmer Scholars’ Statues

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4525, 26.2.2008

  • US Government Launches a Comprehensive Development Assistance Program for ASEAN
  • Samdech Krom Preah Agrees to Select a [joint] President if Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha [presidents of Sam Rainy Party and of Human Rights Party] Join to Create a New Party
  • Former President of Japanese Senate [Tsuchiya Yoshihiko] Acknowledges Progress in Cambodia
  • A Malaysian Man Gets Seven Years’ Imprisonment and a Fine of Riel 15 Million [approx. US$3,750] for Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #630, 26.2.2008

  • To Vote for Cambodian People’s Party Is Like to Support Dishonest Businesspeople to Rob Citizens’ Land [Sralanh Khmer editorial]

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Monday, 25.2.2008: India and Cambodia Plan to Create a Modern Technology and Information Technology Center in Phnom Penh

Posted on 25 February 2008. Filed under: Week 549 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 549

“Phnom Penh: A senior official of the Indian Embassy in Cambodia pointed to a plan for cooperation between Cambodia and India through the establishment of a center for modern technology and information technology in Cambodia in the near future.

“Mr. Aloke Sen, the Indian Ambassador to Cambodia, said that India would like to increase and enhance the cooperation with Cambodia by creating a center for modern technology and information technology in Phnom Penh. This is a new project, through which India would like to cooperate with Cambodia in order to provide professional training services and to improve the use of information science in Cambodia.

“Mr. Aloke Sen said so during a discussion with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh in the afternoon of 22 February 2008.

“Furthermore, Mr. Aloke Sen talked about the visit of a big delegation of Indian investors to Cambodia in future. The potential investors include an Indian film production company which is interested in coming to conduct studies and assessments on the market in Cambodia.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, the Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, said also on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, that he would like to welcome the delegation of Indian investors who intend to pay a visit to Cambodia in the future, and he hailed the strengthening of cooperation between Cambodia and India through the creation of a center for modern technology and information technology. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An extended thanks to the Indian government for having assisted in various sectors in Cambodia in the past until the present.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1576, 24-25.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 25 February 2008

Apyea Kroet, Vol.6, #66, 25.2.2008

  • Those Who Leave One Party for Another Are Politicians Who Just Want to Boast in Front of the Citizens
  • Journalists Are Enemies of Corrupt Officials and Those Who Do Business Illegally, but Good Friends of Clean Officials and Those Who Do Business Legally

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #50, 25.2.2008

  • [President of Human Rights Party] Kem Sokha Calls Citizens to Vote to Change the Leader on 27 July
  • Keo Remy: Government and Ruling Party Cannot Solve Land Crisis
  • Corruption in Cambodia Can Be Combated if Hun Sen and Cambodian People’s Party Lose Power

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1576, 24-25.2.2008

  • India and Cambodia Plan to Create a Modern Technology and Information Technology Center in Phnom Penh
  • Samdech Prime Minister Inaugurated Site for Establishment of Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone Worth $320 Million
  • Sar Kheng Cancels Registration of Two South Korean Companies Seeking Marriage Partners in Cambodia [in an attempt to prevent fake marriages]
  • Duch Will Be Embarrassed at Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek Killing Fields Memorial on 26-27 February [where he used to work, as he will be sent to visit these places]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #560, 25.2.2008

  • Director of Ratanakiri Education Department [Phan Phirum] Spends Riel 20 Million [approx. US$5,000] to Silence Inspectors [over corruption scandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6280, 25.2.2008

  • Vietnam Is Leading after China in Exports to US Market

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3396, 25.2.2008

  • Duch Acknowledges Torturing People in Tuol Sleng Prison and Taking Them to Be Killed in Choeung Ek Lake
  • Corruption and Bureaucracy Become Serious Diseases in Khmer Society

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3256, 24-25.2.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Asks Khmer People to Learn from Pakistani People to Vote Out Ruling Party from Power

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #629, 24-25.2.2008

  • Illegal Yuon [Vietnamese] Immigrants in Cambodia Have Better Luck Than Khmers in Kampuchea Krom [Vietnamese government visits and gives gifts to illegal Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia]

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Week 548 – 2008-02-24: The Value of Human Lives

Posted on 25 February 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 548 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 548

Observing the news – be it in the printed press or on the radio and on TV – we see every day that the value of human life is very differently for different people. Every day we get new counts from Iraq or from Afghanistan – like the report from 19.2.2008 which is not different from many other days – that a suicide bombing had killed 80 people. Some day less, some day more. It is almost routine. Then there are the killings by the different military units trying to stop such killings. It is an almost endless circle – in far away places.

Then we are reminded, by the reports from the ongoing Khmer Rouge Tribunal, that there is an effort to get at least some more clarity, if not justice, about the years 1975 to 1979 in the country, when 1.7 million human person, or more than 2 million, or much less than 1.5 million, violently were made to lose their lives in Cambodia. But two persons, who were supposedly much involved or even responsible – the court is to clarify this – the “Brother Number Two” and the Head of State during most of that time, claim not to have known much about these events. Will we really get to know much more about these events and the motivation behind the killings and the killers – all from a far away past?

But human lives have also been lost closer by. Sam Bith, a former Khmer Rouge commander’s life came to an end during the week after a long sickness. It has always been a mystery, that while the majority of the press reports over the years focused on the death of the three foreigners who were killed after an attack on the train by a Khmer Rouge unit, the lives of ten Cambodians killed in the same attack are – like in the report we mirrored – not even mentioned.

They ordered their subordinates to attack the train almost every day, and finally to kill the three foreigners.

Every week brings us reports about people who are threatened, or even killed violently. And there is often not much reported what happened later.

  • A police official of the Anti-Terrorist Department was tied and shot, to steal some valuables
  • A journalist was threatened to be shot because he exposed what he thought to be illegal business in wood
  • 50 young people fought against each other in Battambang with axes and knives – 2 were killed, and 3 were wounded
  • A man entered a house and stabbed a housemaid – he was beaten dead

We could collect such or similar lists almost every week. There are surely other countries with similar records. But does this mean, that others have similar problems, that the question of justice, and change in the course of a society, cannot be raised?

During the week the public in Phnom Penh could witness an act difficult to interpret: the authorities erected a table to commemorate the Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi – who was at the same time a spiritual leader. He had put together a list of seven sins which destroy a society. And in his own life he was practically committed to live observing these warnings. How would the life of society change, if Gandhi’s warnings would be observed.

  • “Wealth without work” – is the description of wealth without work not a condemnation of a system, where wealth creates more wealth, and the poor, how much they work, in their great majority never can achieve wealth?
  • “Pleasure without conscience” – is the large number of women who work for their livelihood to give pleasure to men not an indicator that those who have enough wealth to pay for their pleasure lack conscience?
  • “Knowledge without character” – is there not reason to question the kind of knowledge obtained in higher education, when the many reports of gang rape mostly identify the groups of males involved as university students?
  • “Commerce without morality” – why did Transparency International, making surveys in many countries according to the same method, find that only only Cameroon, in the whole world, has a higher incidence of corruption than Cambodia? And also, that more Cambodians paid bribes than were asked to pay bribes? How can corporate accountability grow in such an environment?
  • “Science without humanity” – in which ways do the many educational institutions in the country orient their students not only to build up objective understanding to think scientifically, that is also, to think independently of powerful interests and independently of emotions, but to orient their thinking towards the best of humanity, and not only to the best of their own economic interest, or to the advantage of their own interest as Cambodians in an international context of a wider humanity of many different peoples?
  • “Worship without sacrifice” – how many public ceremonies, to which monks are invited to lead in religious acts, are more than a cultural decoration?
  • “Politics without principle” – the public will observe in which way the erection of the table with Gandhi’s words leads to principled action.

While considering these challenges from India, two new reports came in from India. On 23 February 2008, the President of India, Madame Pratibha Patil, addressed, a seminar on judicial reforms, organized by the Confederation of the Indian Bar – of associations of lawyers and judges. She said, among others:

  • “With a lot of pride, we may recall that the Bar was not only in the forefront of the freedom struggle but later made invaluable contributions in envisioning our Constitution. Those legal stalwarts included Mahatma Gandhi, … Pandit Nehru,… to name only a few… I am confident that the distilled wisdom emerging from the thought-provoking deliberations of the trained legal minds would provide a clear direction in outlining a creative roadmap for comprehensive judicial reforms towards a more sensitive and responsive judiciary.
  • Our freedom struggle culminated in the victory for the Rule of Law, for the values of equality, for wholesome life with dignity and justice.
    The care, diligence and empathy with which the judiciary protects even a lone individual who has truth on his side invests the judiciary with a superior purpose and a higher moral authority. It is this progressive and humanitarian role of our judiciary and the judicial caliber that has earned international acclaim…
  • Time has come when we as stakeholders, without being unduly touchy and sensitive to criticism, have to collectively introspect the causes of the ills of judicial administration and find solutions squarely.”
  • On the next day, on 24 February 2008, it was seen that such words were not words alone, as the law is only as useful as it is applied and enforced. Seven people have been arrested and four policemen were suspended in India’s Bihar state, after a mob had dragged a murder suspect from police custody and had beaten him until he was unconscious. On TV, at least one policeman could be seen standing by, as the murder suspect was taken out from police custody by an angry mob.

    The President of India declared: “The realm of judicial administration is not without its own share of inadequacies and blemishes… Something needs to be done to prevent ordinary citizens taking the law into their own hands.”

    In Cambodia, some members of the police, of the armed forces, and sometimes crowds of people, act as if they were entitled to enact the law with lethal force, or even to be above the law. Maybe new developments will only set in, when persons of high authority in the state speak with similar immediate clarity, leading to publicly visible legal action. The setting up of the table with Gandhi’s words could be such a starting point.

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    Saturday, 23.2.2008: Armed Force Use Violence, Machinery, and Teargas to Evict Citizens of Bonla S’et Village Out of Their Residences

    Posted on 24 February 2008. Filed under: Week 548 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 548

    “About ten citizens suffered from violence and injuries, and were arrested in the morning of 22 February 2008 when they were resisting the implementation of the order of the Supreme Court which had decided to evict them out of their residences located on more than one hectare of land in Bonla S’et village, Khmuonh commune, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh.

    “The citizens, who faced violence at gun-point from hundreds of police forces, were evicted on the morning of 22 February 2008 by the armed forces who used two excavators to bulldoze the 23 houses of the citizens of 23 families residing in the location since 1993. In 2005, Chhin Vibol had lodged a complaint to the court in this case, alleging that the citizens lived on his land. The citizens lost the case at the court continuously and also lost at the Supreme Court; therefore, people were evicted out of their residences on 22 February 2008.

    “Victims of the violence said that armed forces and police were led by Deputy Prosecutor Hing Bun Chea, Deputy Prosecutor of the Court of the Phnom Penh municipality, and by Russey Keo Deputy Governor Keut Chae. The victims said that the authorities used 10 machine guns and 2 excavators to evict the citizens out of their houses. After they refused to leave, police shot a gun up into the air to threaten the people, and they shot 27 teargas-bombs towards the citizens. Police also threw bottles of gasoline into their houses; then two excavators were immediately used to bulldoze the houses of the citizens. These measures of the police spurred the anger of the citizens.

    “Mr. Chan Soveth, an investigating official of the local human rights group ADHOC and officials of the Human Rights Action Committee, who went to observe the situation of Bonla S’et village, said that more than ten citizens suffered from being violently beaten by police. Some citizens were hand-cuffed and immediately pushed into a waiting vehicle.

    “Mr. Chan Soveth said that the ten people arrested by the authorities on the morning of 22 February 2008 include:

    1-Keo Nel, male, 50, who suffered head and body injures
    2-Saem Sum, male, 55, was severely injured
    3-Paeng Sam Ang, male, 40, was severely injured
    4-Paeng Sam An, male, 45, was injured
    5-Meoung Smy, male, was injured
    6-Meoung Path, male, was injured
    7-Mann, male, was injured
    8-Seoung, male, was injured
    9-Uk Savin, female, 30, was arrested and released
    10-Long Srey, 42, was arrested and released

    “Mr. Chan Soveth condemned and criticized the use of violence by the armed police force led by the Deputy Prosecutor Hing Bun Chea, the Russey Keo District Governor Keut Chae, and the Four-Star General Peng Vannak, who is the deputy director of Light Penal Crime Department in Phnom Penh, for causing bloody wounds on citizens. He also condemned the serious violation of human rights. Civil society organizations cannot accept such solutions.

    “Mr. Chan Soveth said that civil society organizations are greatly disappointed when seeing that the authorities caused serious injuries, arrested citizens, and destroyed the property of these people. Such activities are serious violations of human rights, adding that the authorities did not respect the law.

    “Phuong Pha, female, 51, who suffered head injures, said that policed had stoned her and kicked her. She added that police did not only beat, but also arrest people. She continued that people were not even given time to collect their properties from their houses.

    “Phuong Pha said that the government did not help to protect the legal position of the citizens. All of these citizens’ families are formerly from the military, and they came to live on this location since 1993. The court decided that Chin Vibol won the case, as they secretly handled the ownership titles of the land that these citizens were living on. The court did not conduct a thorough investigations, but it based its decision on false documents.

    “Another victim, Sek Seoun, female, 37, said that she lost her hope and did not know where she should go to live, because she lost her house, her properties, and the land that she has tried to secure for many years. All her properties were destroyed by the police at the blink of an eye. The same victim requested that civil society organizations help to seek justice for her and other victims because the Deputy Prosecutor Hing Bun Chea led the armed forces that carried out the order of the court, which caused bloodshed of some citizens, and the destruction of their houses. These people were given only one day before police come to evict them.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3395, 23-24.2.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 23 February 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1575, 23.2.2008

    • Eleven Funcinpec Resistance Members Will Go to Meet Samdech Euv [former King] in Beijing [24-29 February]
    • US Provides Mosquito Nets to Citizens in Koh Kong District [Koh Kong]
    • Party of [Murdered] Ms. Bhutto and Party of Mr. Nawaz Sharif Will Create a Coalition Government

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6279, 23-24.2.2008

    • Cambodia Does Not Lack Respectable People; Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Encourages Further Construction of Statues of Famous Khmer Scholars
    • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Tells Ministry of Economy and Finance to Check Allowances [to be of benefit] for Wives and Children [allowances to be increased]
    • Paññasastra University and Troy University from America Cooperate with Each Other

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3395, 23-24.2.2008

    • Armed Force Use Violence, Machinery, and Teargas to Evict Citizens of Bonla S’et Village Out of Their Residences
    • Big International Non-Government Organizations Criticize Human Rights Violations in Cambodia
    • Allowances for Public Servants’ Wives and Children Are Considered to Be Increased Only Now When Elections Approach
    • Diplomats: Ruling Party Starts to Fear Sam Rainsy Party [over its popularity for the 2008 elections]
    • Eng Chhay Ieng [secretary-general of Sam Rainsy Party] Criticizes Cambodian People’s Party for Not Respecting Political Ethics [by buying Sam Rainsy Party officials’ feelings with money and positions]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4523, 23.2.2008

    • Japanese Investment in Cambodia Is at 0.2% [among all investments in Cambodia – notices Senior Minister Sok An]
    • Human Rights Party Declares to Hold Extraordinary Congress to Select Prime Ministerial Candidate [on 27 February]
    • A Man Entered a House and Stabbed a Housemaid All over Her Body; He Was Beaten Dead by the House Owners [who say he was a robber, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh]
    • Washington Hotel Has Operated Karaoke Parlors for Nearly Four Years without License [along National Road 6A – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

    Sakal, Vol.15, #3186, 28.2.2008

    • Cambodia and Thailand Will Discuss Issue of Preah Vihear Temple in Late February

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #628, 23.2.2008

    • Son Chhay [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh]: Hun Sen Vows to Continue to Abuse the Constitution [by continuing to appoint his personal advisors]

    Go to last week’s editorial

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    Friday, 22.2.2008: Spanish Queen Sofía Pays a Visit to the National Institute of Education

    Posted on 23 February 2008. Filed under: Week 548 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 548

    Spanish Queen at National Institute for Education

    “During her visit to Cambodia, Queen Sofía of the Kingdom of Spain paid a visit to the National Institute of Education on the morning of 20 February 2008, visiting the workplace of the Open Schools Program, using communication and information technology, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the [Cambodian non-government organization] Open Institute, with support from the Spanish International Coopertion Agency for Development [Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo] for the Khmer Software Initiative KhmerOS.

    “Mr. Kol Pheng, the Senior Minister and Minister of Education, who was present to welcome the Spanish Queen Sofía, explained that with the support from the Spanish International Coopertion Agency for Development and the Khmer Software Initiative KhmerOS, the Ministry of Education initiated the Open Schools Program, making free [Open Source] computer programs in the Khmer language available, for word processing, for Internet use including blogging, and many other computer programs. Currently, these programs are being introduced in all Teachers’ Training Colleges and in all high schools [that have computers] in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

    “The Senior Minister also stated that the Ministry of Education considers that the wide utilization of technology is a crucial element for the development of Cambodia, and this becomes possible as this technology can now be used in the national language. Moreover, the Ministry also considers that this system of education provides a vehicle for disseminating technological knowledge to people across the whole country at high speed.

    “At this occasion, Mr. Kol Pheng presented to the Queen also an example of original ancient Khmer text inscribed on palm leaves.

    “During the tour, Queen Sofía expressed her interest and her appreciation for the good cooperation, which had let also to the creation of a computer laboratory for low cost computers for the sector of education, something which before did not existe in Cambodia. She also talked to students of communication and information technology. These communication and information technology projects are promoted by the Khmer Software Initiative KhmerOS for the Open Schools Program, supported by the Spanish Coopertion Agency for Development, by UNECO, and by InWEnt [Capacity Building International Germany].” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vo.16. #4521, 21.2.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 21 February 2008

    Chakraval, Vol.16, #46, 22.2.2008

    • Lawyer [Ang Tony Pa] Accused of Deceiving $150,000 [from a Chinese national in exchange for preparing papers to obtain Cambodian nationality – Phnom Penh]

    Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #49, 22.2.2008

    • Siamese [Thai] Boats Enter to Fish in Khmer Waters; They Are Not Suppressed by Any Authority [Koh Kong]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1574, 22.2.2008

    • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] Still Declares to Continue to Appoint Defectors [from other parties, despite request by opposition officials to stop such appointments as government advisors]
    • Korean Christians Distributes Rice Gifts to 500 Poor Families in Sihanoukville
    • Prohibition of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader – from standing as a candidate because she has been married to a foreigner] Destroys Hope in Elections in Myanmar
    • International Community Observes Changes in Cuba after Castro

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #559, 22.2.2008

    • Eight Human Rights Organizations [the Committee Restrict Laws Enforcement for Human Rights in Cambodia including CNRO, ADVD, HROTP, KERD, KSPC, COLT, VOCRID, and WHC – not well known organizations] Ask the King to Give Amnesty for Samdech Krom Preah So He Can Participates in Elections
    • Hearings of [former] Khmer Rouge Leaders Are Planned to Be Held between April and July in Time for Cambodian People’s Party to Conduct Election Campaigns

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #115, 22.2.2008

    • Transparency International: Corruption Exists Most in Courts and Police Institutions [in Cambodia]
    • Son Chhay [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Phnom]: Win-Win Policy Makes It Difficult for Me to Breathe

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6278, 22.2.2008

    • Japan Provides Aid of Nearly $3 Million for the Upcoming Elections
    • France Seeks Tourist Cooperation in Cambodia

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3394, 22.2.2008

    • Concern over Influence of Chinese Economy and Politics on Cambodia

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1282, 22.2.2008

    • Statues of Patriarch Chuon Nath [put in Hun Sen Park] and Statue of Preah Phirum Phiasa Euv Inaugurated [better known as Krom Ngoy who is considered as the father of Khmer poetry – put in the park opposite Cambodiana Hotel]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vo.16. #4521, 21.2.2008

    • Spanish Queen Sofía Pays a Visit to the National Institute of Education

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4522, 22.2.2008

    • Prime Minister Declares to Provide Positions to All Members of Sam Rainsy Party Steering Committee Who Join Government
      [Khmer Republic] Party of [Khmer Republic President] Lon Nol’s Son [Lon Rith] Appears [his party starts its activities]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3254, 22.2.2008

    • 90% of Khmer Women, Who Got Married to Taiwan, Fall in Sex Exploitation

    Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #627, 22.2.2008

    • Corruption in Cambodia Is Highest in Asia

    Go to last week’s editorial

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    Thursday, 21.2.2008: National Holiday: Meak Bochea Day

    Posted on 22 February 2008. Filed under: Week 548 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 548

    Gandhi’s “Seven Sins” Table

    Meak Bochea Day commemorates the spontaneous gathering of monks to listen to the Buddha’s preaching.

    Is it a sheer coincidence that on 18 February 2008, a memorial tablet with the list of Seven Sins which destroy a society, composed by Mahatma Gandhi, was officially inaugurated in Phnom Penh?

    The Seven Sins list states:

    1. Politics without principle.
    2. Wealth without work.
    3. Pleasure without conscience.
    4. Knowledge without character.
    5. Commerce without morality.
    6. Science without humanity.
    7. Worship without sacrifice.

    Are these words, put up for the public by the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the head of the administration of the Capital City of Phnom Penh, going to usher in a new era of social and personal ethics in Cambodia?

    Have a look at last week’s editorial which had been delayed

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    Week 547 – 2008-02-17: Dealing with International News

    Posted on 21 February 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 547 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 547

    When there are rumors in the national press which allegedly relate to defined events in the country, it may be easy to stop them: for example, there were reports saying “The Government Plans to Draft a Law Allowing Foreigners to Have the Right to Own Khmer Land.” The Prime Minister was able to easily deny this, as was reported: “Dekchor Hun Sen: I Have Never Had Even a Dream about Making a Law to Sell Land to Foreigners.”

    In other cases it is not at all easy to separate rumor from facts. Newspapers often note that their efforts to verify a report or to get the government side of a story failed because the officers in charge did not respond to a phone call, declined to respond by saying they were too busy, or just hung up the phone when they understood that a journalist was calling. This is bad practice in a democratic society, as it leaves the national public uninformed and forced to rely on rumor. Unfortunately, there are currently few mechanisms to fix this in the Cambodian situation. There are even frequent complaints that Article 96 of the Constitution is not honored; this prescribes that the deputies of the National Assembly “have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government… The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers… The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received.”

    When it comes to internationally raised questions, recent examples show that these are not so easy to ignore or suppress as questions raised within Cambodia. Those who start international public debate are not so easily quieted when questions are evaded or responses take up side issues instead of the substance of the concerns . Sometimes a response or tactic which may have finished public debate nationally is counter-productive on the international level – instead of calming the debate, it magnifies it.

    Two recent examples demonstrate this:

    After Global Witness published its controversial report “Cambodia’s Family Trees” – 100 pages with over 400 carefully compiled footnotes from Cambodian and international resources – the Cambodian government prohibited its distribution. This probably resulted in much wider interest in the document than it would have received otherwise, especially as it can be downloaded from the Internet in its English and its Khmer versions. This interest was raised even further, after a Cambodian ambassador called the report, “groundless, unacceptable, and rubbish,” without specifying in detail the reasons for this judgment, and he called on those agencies that had financially supported Global Witness to review their decisions.

    One of the reactions: the government of Ireland, a supporter of Global Witness, requested the Cambodian government to substantiate their objections to the detailed allegations contained in the Global Witness report. It can be expected that other governments will also look forward to the response of the Cambodian government.

    In an example this past week, Amnesty International published – easily accessible internationally on the Internet – a 74-page report entitled “Rights Razed – Forced Evictions in Cambodia.” The report quotes many specific incidents with locations and dates, and details how these incidents violate relevant Cambodian laws as well as international covenants to which the Cambodian government has subscribed in the process of regaining its rightful place in the international community of nations after decades of tragic conflicts.

    Instead of taking the time to carefully study and respond to this document, a refutation of less than one page was given to the international public. It criticized an Amnesty International staff member who had been interviewed by an international news agency. In fact, what needs attention is not what was reported about the brief press review with that staff person, who is not the head of Amnesty International or an official spokesperson, but what needs attention is the detailed description of many serious problems suffered by people displaced in Cambodia, whose fate is described in the 74 pages of the official report of Amnesty International. Unless specific cases can be carefully refuted, with facts and documentation, the Amnesty International report will of course be used by the international public to form an opinion about the state of law and the atmosphere of care for the weak and poor sections of society in Cambodia.

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