Archive for December 4th, 2008

Civil Society Asks the Government to Prevent Mineral Exploration That Affects the Environment and Security of the Citizens – Wednesday, 3.12.2008

Posted on 4 December 2008. Filed under: Week 589 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 589

“A joint statement ahead of next week’s annual Government-Donor Consultative Group Meeting by development and non-government human rights organizations said that Cambodia has the goals for its most important Protected Areas, which define local ownership rights or has clearly defined areas for independent and legal development, not yet clarified.

“This group pointed out that this is a step back in the implementation of the plans of the Royal Government for controlling land use, agriculture, and human resources development, with good governance, which is the traditional model in the process of development in Cambodia, as in the documents provided by the NGO Forum on Cambodia, published about activities of development partnership in Cambodia. This group added that during the Government-Donor Consultative Group Meeting this year, the government should show new models which could be presented publicly every three months, about all mineral licenses planned for the future and all already granted.

“The executive director of the NGO Development and Partnership in Action, Mr. Mam Sambath said, ‘I think it is necessary that the government reconsiders the conditions and how to improve development.’ He added, ‘I think that mineral exploration really affects the life of citizens in rural areas, especially of ethnic tribespeople.’

“According to the report, the non-government organizations said that mineral exploration licenses, which are now provided, result in concerns, as they cover areas amounting to half of all environmental preservation areas in Cambodia.

“According to this document, if such exploration continues, the influence on most Cambodian citizens can hardly be estimated. Existing legislation is not sufficient to control the exploration of minerals, where at present all official documents with companies related to mineral exploration are made secretly; that means also that the assessment of the effects on the environment are frequently kept secret.

“According to this report, residents of Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Banteay Meanchey reported that exploration of minerals is going on without any permission, by fencing their forest land, serving notice that there will be evictions, with no plans to relocate the citizens to live in new places, or by forcing them to sell their land.

“This statement by non-government organization was made while the mineral exploration industry worldwide is facing a significant crisis, with an increase in the price of metals and the collapses of the credit markets.

“The Credit Suisse Group said last month that as a result, US$50,000,000,000 for mineral development projects was postponed.

OZ Minerals, an Australian mineral explorer, announced recently that it is reducing US$440 million of projected expenses by postponing the project, including its plan to expand its copper exploration in Laos, and is reducing its operational budget. However, operators of the company said that the mineral exploration of the company in Cambodia continues as planed.

“The Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Suy Sem, said that mineral exploration in Cambodia is not slowed down by the financial crisis, and the authorities control the industry well.

“Mr. Suy Sem added that it is not necessary to impose any temporary restrictions, as the companies are proceeding only with tests in forests and are digging the land, only searching to find minerals.

“Mr. Suy Sem went on to say that mineral exploration does not affect the environment. But we should be careful when the real extracting operations start.

“The Minister of Environment, Mr. Mok Mareth, had criticized conservation groups in 2007, saying that ‘it is not so good’ that animal refuges and protected forests cover one fourth of the country’s land, and therefore minerals can be extracted. Since then, the government developed maps for reserved areas which have the most ecological problems and require to be controlled by recently adopted laws about protected areas, but they will be adjusted after mineral deposits are found.

“Mr. Suy Sem said that Cambodia will not destroy our own country. The government has already checked the balance of the benefit from mineral exploration. Non-government organizations suggested that the government should announce a temporary ban and not issue licenses for mineral exploration until Cambodia can control the safety of this industry well, because mineral exploration can threaten and destroy the landscape and affect the citizens and the environment.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #150, 3.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #96, 3-9.12.2008

  • Somchai Resigned from Position of Prime Minister after the Thai Constitutional Court Dissolved the Ruling Party [the People’s Power Party [Phak Palang Prachachon – พรรคพลังประชาชน], guilty of fraud in the December 2007 elections]
  • Protest over Electricity Cost at the Ou Russey Market Finished [the Phnom Penh authorities ordered the company to charge Riel 1,200 kw/h as before]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1810, 3.12.2008

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Will Sue the National Election Committee Back [for making fraudulent documents by allowing commune chiefs to issue the “Form 1018” illegally, which is a criminal case that can results in prison terms]
  • Three Robbers Robbed a House of a Forestry Official, Taking Money and Jewelry Worth More Than US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]
  • Khmer Opera Where Elephants Weep, Had Its Public First Showing [at the Chenla Theater, attracting a Khmer and foreign audience]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #295, 3.12.2008

  • Crisis in Siam [Thailand] Cuts International Post Delivery Route of Cambodia [normally, letters and packages weighing around 1,000 kg are sent from Cambodia to the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi international airport every day, which now is closed]
  • A Complaints Box to Submit Cases of Corruption Was Fixed at the Fence of the [temporary] Council of Ministers [at the former National Assembly building. [The deputy secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that it is just a farce of the government against corruption ahead of the meeting with donor countries]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #150, 3.12.2008

  • Civil Society Asks the Government to Prevent Mineral Exploration That Affects the Environment and Security of the Citizens

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6515, 3.12.2008

  • Border Problems Continue to Wait for Change in Bangkok – Cambodia Is Not Sure about Negotiations [between Cambodia and Thailand which were planned to happen in December] – [due since 1907, then since 1962, then since 2000]
  • A Student Was Shot Dead [because of a quarrel] – the Perpetrator Is Arrested [a police man from Kandal]

Mate Neak, Vol.1, #12, 3-9.12.2008

  • Khmer Phkar Malis Rice [high quality Jasmine Rice] Invades Markets in Vietnam

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3629, 3.12.2008

  • A Parliamentarian of the Opposition Party [Mr. Son Chhay] Asked [the Minister of Defense] Tea Banh to Stop Recruiting Soldiers in Kompong Thom [and in other provinces, recruitment is against the recent instruction of Prime Minister Hun Sen, prohibiting to force citizens to serve in the army
  • ]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4758, 3.12.2008

  • South Korea Wants Cambodia to Intervene to Improve Relation between South and North Korea, Where There Are Serious Problems [because Cambodia has diplomatic relations with both Koreas, according to Professor Yoo Ho-Yeol – 유호열 – 柳浩烈 – professor of Political Science at Korea University, specialist on North-South Korean relations]
  • The Fourth Ranking Member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party [Mr. Jia Qinglin – 贾庆林] Arrived in Cambodia [for an official friendship visit accepting the invitation of the President of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, and to sign Cambodia-China bilateral cooperation documents]
  • Cambodia and Korea Signed a Memorandum of Understanding about Cooperation in the Fight against Drugs
  • To Create an Old Peoples’ Association Is an Efficient Solution [according to the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, during a workshop: people over the age of 60 in Cambodia are increasing from 4.4% in 2000 to 6% in 2004, with the total number of more than 852,000; it is estimated their number will double by 2025 to 1.5 million]
  • Three Khmer Women Involved with the Russian Sasa [whose real name is Alexander Trofimov, now in prison] Were Sentenced to Serve Eight Years in Prison [for collusion and for child trafficking]

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

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