Opposition Party and Civil Society Call the Present Freedom of Khmer Citizens to Be Like the Freedom of Baby Chicken in a Fox’s Cage – Monday, 11.5.2009

Posted on 12 May 2009. Filed under: Week 612 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 612

“It becomes worse, now that the government as well as the National Assembly members of the Cambodian People’s Party encourage the limitation of the freedom of expression by setting specific places for public expression, and to limit the number of non-violent demonstrators to be not more than 200. This was criticized by the opposition parties and by civil society. Even though Cambodia accepted democratic policies to be implemented since 1991, still it is seen that the freedom of Khmer citizens in general means only the freedom of baby chicken in a fox’s cage. That means the government does not implement democratic procedures as it promised to do; on the contrary, the freedom of Khmer citizens is crushed as if a foot stepped on it.

“A parliamentarian and the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, directly criticized the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying that the human rights situation and freedom as basis for the people, dropped gradually, which is a most hazardous signal.

“Mr. Yim Sovann told Sereypheap Thmey on Saturday, regarding the setting up of places for demonstrations and strikes, and the limitation of the number of demonstrators. ‘Victimized citizens who ask the government for help have to encounter many obstacles and therefore, they should be allowed to expressed their real intentions.’

“This Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian demands the government to stop such limitations to be imposed on citizens immediately, saying, ‘The government should offer them the possibility to express their freedom freely, and let them hold meetings for example at the relevant ministries from where they need solutions.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann thinks that the requirement for people to express their opinion only at set places is a restriction of their freedom of expression.

“It should be noted that recently, the Khmer National Assembly, where the majority of members belong to the Cambodian People’s Party, made a daft known about the limitation of the freedom for people who want to demonstrate to express their opinions, to express their freedom only in set places, and about a limitation of the number of demonstrators, not to be more than 200. An explanation was presented, saying that this aims to avoid public property problems.

“But Mr. Yim Sovann said that we have already related laws – let the law deal with persons who damage private or public property. Furthermore, the authorities have a role to ensure security, so that citizens can express their opinion broadly.

“Likewise, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘To impose such limitations is not right, because the The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which entered into force on 23 March 1976. Cambodia is a signatory country, and the Covenant was ratified in 1992, so that international laws and freedom were given to all Khmer citizens, and Khmer citizens have the right to demonstrate and to strike freely. Therefore a limitation of the number of demonstrators, to be not more than 200, is not in line with international law.”

“Regarding laws which lead to restrictions on the freedom of expression, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said that this is applied in communist countries only.

“However, it is noticed that very often, during activities using the freedom of expression, through strikes and demonstrations, the police, being part of the government, frequently opposed such activities by hitting strikers and demonstrators cruelly. This shows that intimidation and restrictions on the freedom of expression were done by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen since before a law, considered to be a limitation of freedoms, was created.

“In contrast, some analysts saw that the Cambodian government showed publicly to propose a law which means to create a human cage, the real characteristics of the government that wants to promote that Cambodian citizens have no freedom, or their freedom is limited and this limitation is not freedom.

“This indicates that there is a clear tendency of the current Cambodian government, which is heading towards a situation like in Burma or communist China’s track record, where freedom of opinion and expression were destroyed.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1712-1713, 10-11.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 11 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #181, 11.5.2009

  • France Provides Euro 16 Million Financing for the Construction of a Clean Water Plant in Nirouth District [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1940, 10-11.5.2009

  • Police Crack Down On a Big Gang of [eleven] Robbers and Shot One to Death [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #399-400, 10-12.5.2009

  • [The president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association] Thach Setha Said that a 60th Anniversary Ceremony Commemorating the Loss of Kampuchea Krom, Will Still Be Held despite the Fact that there Is No Permission from the Municipality [Phnom Penh]
  • Mu Sochua Will Retract Her Complaint if [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Stops His Complaint at the Court
  • Sam Rainsy Warns He Will Recall some Newly Elected [district/province/city] Council Members if They Collude with the Cambodian People’s Party to Grab Citizens’ Land
  • An Order from Superiors Was Issued to Release Four Vietnamese Who Came with a Truck to Chop Trees on Khmer Territory, in Ratanakiri’s Ou Ya Dav District

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6646, 11.5.2009

  • 217 Families Lack Food and They Have Asked for Help from the District Authorities for Three Months Already, but Still There Is No Response due to Bad Governance [Bavel district, Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3754, 11.5.2009

  • Many Former Khmer Krom Monks [who escaped from Vietnam] Wait for Interviews with UN High Commission for Refugees Officials on 19 May 2009 [in Thailand, claiming asylum]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4890, 10-11.5.2009

  • 7,595 Hectares of Land in Kandal Will Be Developed to Become a Natural Tourism Site
  • A Motorbike Collided with Another Motorbike, Resulting in Two Deaths and Two Seriously Injured People [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1712-1713, 10-11.5.2009

  • Opposition Party and Civil Society Call the Present Freedom of Khmer Citizens to Be Like the Freedom of Baby Chicken in a Fox’s Cage

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

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[…] The editorial was written when I did not yet know that we would have a text translation on Monday, 11.5.2009, dealing with similar concerns in Cambodia: Opposition Party and Civil Society Call the Present Freedom of Khmer Citizens to Be Like the Freedom…. […]


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