The Blood Vessels and the Spine to Sustain Democratic Development in Cambodia Are Almost Totally Cut Off – Monday, 10.8.2009

Posted on 11 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“In 2009, major donor countries seem to be disappointed with their efforts in which they have donated almost US$4 billion since 1993 to support the development of the economic and social infrastructure, of democracy, and of the rule of law in Cambodia – but there is little progress.

“Major donor countries such as the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Australia, and the European Union, have cut down their financial aid to non-government organizations that act to strengthen and to expand democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia. Due to financial problems, some international organizations had announced to reduce their activities and their personnel in Cambodia. Some non-government organizations were forced to reduce staff and to close down some of their branches at some provinces.

“These donor countries have changed their attitude, keeping quiet about democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, in contrast to their previous attitude more than 10 years ago, when they frequently openly criticized. Moreover, aid for the Royal Government was no longer linked with conditions about human rights and democracy.

“Observers in Cambodia said that democracy in Cambodia did significantly progress between 1993 and 1997, when Cambodia was ruled by a government with two prime ministers: the first prime minister, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, and the second prime minister, Mr. Hun Sen. After the bloodshed of the coup in July 1997, the progress of democracy slowed down.

“Since 2004, Cambodia has been entirely controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party government, where the democratic space was becoming narrower. The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) said in its report on human rights for 2008, ‘The space for democracy and politics is becoming narrower.’

“Civil society officials said that the blood vessels and the spine supporting democratic developments are almost entirely cut off, because the court system is corrupt and not independent, the role of the opposition party in the National Assembly is restricted by muzzling their freedom of expression, and by not including opposition parliamentarians into the commissions of the National Assembly; press freedom and the freedom of expression are limited and under threat, and the roles of non-government organizations are limited etc…

“The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Cambodia released a report on 15 June 2009 with the title ‘A briefing note on freedom of expression, defamation and disinformation,’ expressing their concern, ‘The use and abuse of defamation and disinformation lawsuits dangerously undermine constitutional freedoms of opinion and expression and democratic development.’ The United Nations warned that these restrictions can cause the fragile development of democracy in Cambodia to derail.

“[The US based NGO] Human Rights Watch condemned the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict released on 4 July 2009 finding Ms. Mu Sochua guilty and ordering her to pay Riel 16.5 million [approx. US$4,100] for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen. This organization considers this verdict as a serious threat against the freedom of expression and democracy in Cambodia.

“On 6 July 2009, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that he will file an accusation with the court against anybody who calls the present regime, which is a ‘constitutional monarchy’ a ‘dictatorial regime.’ Mr. Hun Sen said that if ones call an individual or the Royal Government a dictator or a dictatorship, that is alright. The Prime Minister had previously said publicly that there had been accusation that he gathers power for himself alone, and he had agreed with it, because many fellow officials do not act according to their roles and just wait, until there is an order from the Prime Minister.

“Civil Society organizations had voiced their concern about the change of the attitude and of the politics of donor countries, and this can lead to serious impacts and threats against the progress of democracy in Cambodia, and can make billions of dollars of aid provided to build democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia since 1993 a failed investment.

“Civil society organizations reminded the 18 signatory countries of the Paris Peace Agreement of 23 October 1991 that they have the international legal obligation to guarantee the progress of democracy and the respect of human rights, specifically to help to guarantee and to protect the integrity of the territory of Cambodia. Democracy, human rights, integrity, and territorial integrity are still major delicate issues.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #635, 10.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 10 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #258, 10.8.2009

  • The Ministry of Interior Said that [former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Does Not Have the Right to Be Witness [saying that after he was imprisoned, all of his rights had been withdrawn, and he only has the right to live, to eat, to do exercise, and to do physical labor]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2018, 9-10.8.2009

  • One Hundred and Seventy Disabled People [including veterans] Ask Samdech Hun Sen and the Provincial Governor to Remove the Head of the Department of Social Affairs [Mr. Heng Chamroen, for fraud, and for corruption because he takes the pension of disabled and retired veterans – Banteay Meanchey]
  • It is Planned to Request that the Banteay Meanchey Chhmar Temple Will Be Listed as a World Heritage Site
  • The Police Raided a House and Detained People for Sexual Exploitation and Liberated 24 [Vietnamese] Women Victims [the house owner escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • Children Scavengers: We Want to Go to School Too, but Our Parents Do Not Have Money [to afford it – Siem Reap]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #635, 10.8.2009

  • The Blood Vessels and the Spine to Sustain Democratic Development in Cambodia Are Almost Totally Cut Off

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #465, 9-11.8.2009

  • The European Union Reacts against Cambodian Leaders for Using Their Power to Suppress Democratic Forces

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6724, 10.8.2009

  • The Russian Embassy Held a Press Conference to Mark the First Anniversary of the War in South Ossetia [the event was announced as ‘One Year Anniversary of the Invasion by Georgia in South Ossetia’ – Phnom Penh]
  • Weather Forecast Says There Will Be Heavy Rain at Upper Regions and One Meter Heigh Waves at the Sea

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4968, 9-10.8.2009

  • The Thai Air Force Violated Cambodian Airspace after They Agreed to Remove the Razor Wire and Concrete Posts [from disputed areas]
  • The Taxation Department Collected US$51 Million in July [a decline by 13.6% compared to last year]
  • Sen Sok District Authorities Have Not Taken Action against the Owner Who Stores and Distributes Illegal No-Quality Chicken Meat [Phnom Penh]
  • A Cambodia-ASEAN Civil Society Organization Was Inaugurated [Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3493, 9.8.2009

  • The National Airline Cambodia Air Angkor Uses an Airbus to Start International Flights on 3 September 2009

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1768, 10.8.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy: Those Taking a Position against the Government Are in a Tense Situation

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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