The Highlight of the Past Week – Sunday, 27.9.2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631
In some weeks, there is some important event attracting the attention of many people – a kind of theme of the week. In other weeks, there are even several items which compete for top attention – though different people are interested, or even affected differently, and it may not be easy to agree what can be considered for special attention.
During the past week there were no such spectacular events – but there way a holiday: Constitution’s Day. Though it is a National Holiday, it is obvious that it is not placed highly on the agenda of the citizens enjoying a free day. Before Pchum Ben, many families discussed what to do together – and not only government institutions and different organization’s offices were closed – also big and small businesses were not operating. But it was quite different for Constitution’s Day: while government and many organizations gave their staff a free day, many shops were operating, even more intensely compared to normal days, as it turned into a convenient day for many people in town to go shopping, or to meet with friends. It is quite natural to enjoy such opportunities, away from the regular daily obligations which determine our lives. It seems that not much time was spent by many people to consider the reasons why this was a free day.
But the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia is the basic and most important law of the country. We took already the opportunity to share some sections of its text on The Mirror on Thursday, 24 September 2009.
It is under the framework of this law that guidance has to be sought for everybody’s life in society, as this law was created with some basic assumptions and convictions to be considered and observed, monitored, and where necessary enforced, to constantly work towards the achievement of the goals set in the Preamble of the Constitution, which says, that after a glorious past, and after having endured sufferings and destructions,
“We, the people of Cambodia… stood up with a resolute determination… to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime with guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory”
That is the spirit of the Constitution. We highlight here, for easy reading, again some sections about how this spirit is to be lived and put into practice.
- Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism.
- The Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country.
- The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.
- The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights.
- Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status. The exercise of personal rights and freedom by any individual shall not adversely affect the rights and freedom of others.
- The exercise of such rights and freedom shall be in accordance with the law.
- Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State.
- The law guarantees there shall be no physical abuse against any individual.
- The law shall protect life, honor, and dignity of the citizens.
- Confessions obtained by physical or mental force shall not be admissible as evidence of guilt.
- Any case of doubt, it shall be resolved in favor of the accused.
- Khmer citizens shall have the right to denounce, make complaints or file claims against any breach of the law by state and social organs or by members of such organs committed during the course of their duties. The settlement of complaints and claims shall be the competence of the courts.
- Khmer citizens shall have freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly. No one shall exercise this right to infringe upon the rights of others, to effect the good traditions of the society, to violate public law and order and national security.
- The right to confiscate properties from any person shall be exercised only in the public interest as provided for under the law and shall require fair and just compensation in advance.
- All forms of discrimination against women shall be abolished.
- The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
- The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
- All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
- The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.
- The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.
- The State shall establish a social security system for workers and employees.
- The deputies in the National Assembly shall represent the entire Khmer people, not only Khmers from their constituencies.
- Any imperative mandate shall be nullified.
- The Judicial power shall be an independent power.
- Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.
- The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.
- Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.
- The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
- It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.
- This Constitution shall be the Supreme law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
There is ample reason to remember these words, and to reflect on the Constitution, not only on Constitution’s Day.
Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.