Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Put Pressure on the Hole-in-the-Basket Government – Saturday, 29.11.2008

Posted on 30 November 2008. Filed under: Week 588 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 588

“A few days ahead of the meeting between big donor countries and international organizations and leaders of the Cambodian government, an organization, also big in the world, issued a statement for international donor countries to put pressure on the Hun Sen Cambodian People’s Party government to change the tradition and to eliminate corruption, and change its conduct of human rights abuses from which Khmer citizens suffer.
Global Witness, an organization that works actively to protect both the natural environment of Cambodia and Khmer citizens, released a statement, talking in detail about corruption under the responsibility of the Hun Sen Cambodian People’s Party government, on the destruction of the natural resources of Cambodia, and on human rights abuses, where Khmer citizens are the victims.

“According to a report of Global Witness which is based in London, the Hun Sen Cambodian People’s Party government did not make any improvement for Cambodia and for Khmer citizens during five years. The report directly addresses corruption against which, so far, the Hun Sen government has not created a law to suppress it effectively, a law against corrupt officials, who are mostly officials of the Cambodian People’s Party.
“This organization talked also about the human rights abuses happening around the country. This is entirely in line with the previous information from other human rights working groups, including high ranking representatives of the United Nations. It is almost entirely the same as a report of Mr. Yash Ghai, formerly the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, who conducted studies, covered information and then released the report, stating that Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party government lets human rights abuses happen against citizens, and he wrote that the power in Cambodia is gathered in the hands of one person, referring to Mr. Hun Sen of the Cambodian People’s Party.
“Global Witness talked also about the destruction of the country, including of the forests. An important concern for donor countries and for important individual observers from other parts of the world are the natural oil and gas resources which are in the initial process towards exploitation, to extract oil from the bottom of the Cambodian sea.
“This problem is raised while also important economists in the world used to comment to the Cambodian government: that not only the present Cambodian People’s Party government, but also any future governments will have to carefully think about the income from oil resources.
“Oil experts and economists have expressed concerns with the ruling of the country by the Hun Sen Cambodian People’s Party, which rules, including with very corrupt leadership, destroying resources of the country. Especially, the concerns related to corruption invite the anxiety that the exploitation of oil and gas, natural resources of Cambodia to be extracted from 2009 at the latest, might be ruined by corruption. The national income, which is estimated to be billions of dollar, might disappear by actions of corrupt officials.
“Oil in the Cambodian sea is estimated to provide millions of barrels and will make billions of dollar. It is enough to convert Cambodia into a developed country so that citizens can avoid poverty and misery, if the Cambodian leadership is competent to eliminate corruption.
“This concern is based on the the bad signals of a model like Nigeria in Africa, where there are oil resources worth billions of dollar, but so far, because corrupt officials control the sector of oil resource, the people of Nigeria are still poor. It is a disease which is named the ‘oil curse.’ Although Nigeria has oil resource worth billions of dollar, foreign loan to this country have grown, and the Nigerian people still live in poverty.


See also StatoilHydro’s Libyan “corruption” scandal shows need for oil industry disclosure laws. Troubling questions remain about oil deals in Libya and Angola.

A scandal over questionable oil industry payments in Libya, brought to light by the giant Norwegian company StatoilHydro, underlines the need for tougher regulations to deter companies from making undisclosed payments in return for access to oil rights.

“Because of the release of a statement by Global Witness some days ago, the Cambodian Ambassador in England responded by criticizing the statement of concerns by this global environmental organization about corruption in Cambodia.
“The mission of Global Witness, formerly supported by the World Bank, had been brought to an end by the Hun Sen government a few years ago, because it collected information, with photos attached, with claims and witnesses, about corruption and crimes of forest destruction in Cambodia, committed by high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party government who collude with businesspeople as their partners.
“On 1 June 2006, just a few days after Mr. Hun Sen’s statement, boasting that there was no corruption leading to the destruction of forests in Cambodia, Global Witness released a document which precisely linked different witnesses and photos under the tile ‘Cambodia’s Family Trees – Illegal logging and the stripping of public assets by Cambodia’s elite.’ This organization mentioned officials of the Hun Sen government by name, saying that they are in the list of those ‘stripping of public assets,’ those who continue crimes of forest destruction in Cambodia.
“The meeting between donor countries and leaders of the Cambodian government will be held next week on 3 December 2008. At that time, the Hun Sen government plans to ask for much international aid of more than US$500 million.
“Global Witness, civil society organizations, and non-government organizations that closely observe the restoration of the Cambodian society and economy, both of politics and of human rights, welcome international aid, but they want the aid to be used efficiently, avoiding corruption. Therefore, Global Witness asked representatives of donor countries to put pressure on the Cambodian People’s Party to eliminate corruption, in order to bring the culture of exploiting the nation and the citizens to an end, a culture which increases the wealth of the powerful leaders who collude with businesspeople.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #293, 29.11.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 November 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1807, 29.11.2008

  • Protest by Medical Students Achieves Solution [the school decided to reduce the mark for passing from 50 points among 100 to 25 among 100]
  • [Five] Robbers Robbed a House, Taking Three Cases of Jewelry and Money [the owner of the house is in the military, and a jewelry vendor at the Olympic Market; all robbers escaped safely]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #293, 29.11.2008

  • Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Put Pressure on the Hole-in-the-Basket Government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6512, 29-30.11.2008

  • Political Crisis in Siam [Thailand] Is Negatively Affecting Border Negotiations Next Month [said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong]
  • A Fourteen Year-Old Girl Working in a Brick Kiln Earning Riel 70,000 [approx. US$17.40] per Month [to support her family] Lost Her Right Hand in a Clay Mixing Machine [Prey Veng]
  • Opium Provides US$470 Million for the Taliban [Afghanistan] This Year [according to a report of the United Nations]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3626, 29-30.11.2008

  • Authorities and Armed Forces Warn They Will Use Violence unless Citizens Leave Their Land [the director of the Bokor National Park, Mr. Chey Uthirith, said he will take action according to the law, if citizens refuse to leave state land – Chey Sena village, Ta Kaen, Chhuk, Kampot]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4755, 29.11.2008

  • Agricultural and Rural Development Is the Main Topic of the 55th Anniversary Commemoration of Diplomatic Relations between Cambodia and Japan
  • Shooting at Three Different Places Killed One and Wounded Two [in Daun Penh and in Russey Keo – in one of the three cases, a man was shot dead by robbers when he tried to help a woman who was robbed for her motorbike; the perpetrator is not identified yet]
  • Man Died when a Truck Loading Sand Rolled over His Head [Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • The World’s Oldest Person, [Ms.] Edna Parker, Died in the United States [at the age of 115]
  • Special Forces Attacked Terrorists, while the Number of Deaths Is 130 [Mumbai, India, – and still rising]
  • China Condemns France about Tibet [after President Sarkozy announced he will meet the Dalai Lama]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3447, 29.11.2008

  • Siamese [Thai] Anti-Government Demonstrators Say They Will Continue to Occupy [public places] although the Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] Declared a State-of-Emergency in [parts of] the Country

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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