Week 565

Week 565 – 2008-06-22: Preah Vihear in the Headlines

Posted on 22 June 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 565 |

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The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

This time I write from Thailand, where I have to spend some time in a hospital. So I read every day two Thai newspapers, both published in English. And every day there is something about Preah Vihear. Thailand is in deep political trouble again. The People’s Alliance for Democracy – one of its leaders is the popular former mayor of Bangkok, retired Major General Chamlong Srimuang – is demonsstrating since weeks. Finally, on Friday 20 June 2008, about 25,000 people surrounded the Government House, demanding the resignation of the prime minister.

There are a number of different issues which motivates the People’s Alliance for Democracy, some of which are the following:

  • The secretary-general of the Office for the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption, Mr. Sunai Manomai-udom, had been called by the police for an investigation, being accused of having defamed the former, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, as he had insisted to continue investigations of alleged corruption, but he refused to present himself to the police: “I have fought this practice of abuse of power, to establish that the use of state power must be within the law, and those who have the power cannot use it against any individual.” I response to his refusal to present himself to the police, an arrest warrant was issued to detain him – but this warrant was thrown out by the Appeals Court.
  • There are difficult discussions in the press about non-transparent purchases of firefighting trucks, and the plan to lease one hundred buses for Bangkok, without public bidding.
  • More than sixty of the 200 senators filed a complaint with the National Counter Corruption Commission against the prime minister, after the government refused to answer their questions, though this group of senators point to Article 275 of the Thai Constitution which obliges the government to respond.
  • The chief of the National Police was was removed from his position, and a brother-in-law of the former ousted prime minister was moved to the position of deputy police chief, so that the would become the next chief of the police.
  • And the foreign minister, a former adviser of the ousted former prime minister, is accused to have negotiated the Preah Vihear issue in a not transparent way with the Cambodian side, not publishing details – while some critics see a connection with the meeting for playing golf between the ousted Thai prime minister with the Cambodian prime minister, after which plans were published that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra would invest millions of dollars to create gambling casinos in Koh Kong – and both governments agreed how to present the Preah Vihear case to the next UNESCO meeting on World Heritage Site listings.

This is one complex of actual problems which should be known when considering the background of present discussions in Thailand.

But reading the Thai newspapers regularly, I became also aware of another complex, some historical and legal information, which I had not been aware of while in Cambodia. Maybe it is only my mistake that I was not aware of these points – or maybe the Khmer press and the Khmer public is not so aware of these points.

First the history – the history before the 1962 ruling or the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

I did not know before how the border between Cambodia and Thailand in that region had been drawn. The French colonial power in Indochina began in 1904 do make a clear map delineating the Cambodian-Thai border, drawing the line along the watershed along the Dangrek Mountain range.

The following map, finally released after public criticism during the week, shows something interesting: the border is drawn according to the blue lines which indicate the elevation of the territory, always following the watershed, as jointly decided in 1902 and later confirmed in 1907 – but only in the region of Preah Vihear the border is drawn differently. When Cambodia claimed Preah Vihear at the International Court of Justice, Cambodia was supported in its claim to the temple, but as it was not clear how the principle of the watershed as the border had been changed, the International Court of Justice declared that the area around the temple has to be negotiated and clarified between the two countries.

The preface of the 69 pages of the ruling by the International Court of Justice of 15 June 1962 shows that the court was aware of the “uncertain character of resulting delimitation in disputed area” – and it stated further:

Treaty clauses establishing frontier along watershed line as delimited by Mixed Commission of Parties.-Uncertain character of resulting delimitation in disputed area.-Eventual production by experts of one Party, at the request of the other, of a map.-Non-binding character of map at moment of its production…

These uncertainties had never been solved. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting from 23 June to 2 July 2007 did not take a final decision because of the lack of clarity about the surrounding area, and asked that Cambodia should present a Progress Report to the World Heritage Center by 1 February 2008. I am not aware that this report was ever referred to in the press – and I offer my apologies if it was and I missed it.

That the temple belongs to Cambodia is not disputed by the Thai authorities. But it is questioned in the Thai press how the present agreement can be practically implemented. According to the explanation by the Thai foreign minister, the map was presented by the Cambodian side and accepted by the Thai side. It claims only an area of 20 to 30 meters around the temple as belonging to the temple, and after a limited transition period, all the Cambodian tourism facilities and the access to the are from Thailand, which are beyond this line, will have to be removed.

Emotions and statements like the following, back in March 2008, and similar ones later, are touching only on one part of reality, when they say:

  • No Reason for Cambodia to Negotiate with Siam over the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Having The Hague Court Verdict, Cambodia Should Not Discuss Anything with Thailand!

The area of about 4.6 square kilometers, within the watershed area on the Thai side, minus the temple and its 20 to 30 meter surroundings, remain contested. They have not been given to Cambodia in 1962.

In view of this situation, the Thai Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is reported to ask the World Heritage Committee to delay a decision further, as any decision by the Thai government, that would affect the territorial integrity of the country, requires, according to Article 190 of the Thai Constitution, an agreement by parliament. The Thai government has not considered this to be necessary, as it considers the agreement between between Thailand and Cambodia on the nomination of the temple as a World Heritage Site not as a “bilateral agreement” and therefore should not need parliamentary approval.

All things considered, an future amicable agreement with Thailand, to whom a good part of the 4.6 square kilometer of the contested land on the Thai side of the watershed should belong, is indispensable for good neighborly relations.

The memory of the attack on the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh in 2003, and the destruction of properties valued at US$56 million – the mutually agreed material price – which happened on the basis of a baseless lies and rumors, and the fact that nobody has been punished in Cambodia for these acts of vandalism, is remembered again, and hope is expressed that a rational considerations of the historical and legal facts will prevent further damage.

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Saturday, 21.6.2008: The World Bank Group: World Bank and Multiple Donors Help Cambodia Achieve its Health Goals

Posted on 21 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

World Bank Project Proposes Health Sector Reform Strategies

“Although donor countries have detailed development plan of the country, but as nowadays a mechanism for the elimination of corruption in Cambodian society is not yet in place, Khmer poor citizens face difficulties in the health sector. Recently, the World Bank has proposed health sector reform strategies to develop the health sector in Cambodia. Though there were hundreds of millions of dollars spent since 1996, there is still no noticeable focus on Khmer poor citizens from state institutions. Although the health sector improved somewhat, Khmer poor citizens are still seriously affected by discrimination, and the requirement to pay money for different services.

“According to the World Bank, strategies are prepared for the health sector from 2008 to 2015, summarized as follows:

“The World Bank has approved to provide a credit of US$30 million to support the implementation of the Cambodian 2005-2015 health sector strategies. These strategies aim to promote preventive health and heath services for Khmer citizens, especially focusing on women, children, and the poor.

“This credit will be used to provide financing for the Second Health Sector Support Program, and in a period of five years, this program will receive a total credit of US$120 million from six development partners. As for the World Bank, the credit will be provided to the International Development Association [IDA] which is an agency of the World Bank that is in charge of providing supports to the world’s poorest countries. A part of the aid will be provided from the Department for International Development [DFID-UK], AusAID [Australia], UNICEF, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA], and the Agence Française de Développement [AFD]. Also, other development partners expect to join this program during the implementation process.

“The Second Health Sector Support Program will use the health plan of the Royal Government of Cambodia and its mechanisms to observe the results and to share the management of the program jointly, and to allocate the resources as a joint package. This program had been organized to help Cambodia to improve its health situation through strengthening the capacity and mechanisms of its institutions that help the government and the development partners, and it can guarantee achievements in the health sector to be more efficient and more effective than before.

“The Second Health Sector Support Program will increase available resources to ensure the promotion of the health of mothers and children, as well as to contribute to deal with new heath problems, such as injuries and chronic diseases. This plan promotes the quality of training of health professionals, including midwives, and strengthens health service delivery at heath centers and referral hospitals. This program also helps the government to become a helper in health systems. Many poor citizens will benefit a lot from this program, because this program aims to expand the supports for Health Equity Funds in order to help poor citizens to have the opportunity to receive major health care and preventive health care. This program also assists civil society organizations in making health plans at the local level, and in observing the provision of services.

“Professor Eng Huot, secretary of state of the Ministry of Health, said, ‘During the last few decades, the heath of Khmer citizens improved noticeably. The average life expectancy has increased from 52 to 58 years for men and from 56 to 64 years for women, the death rates of infants and children from diseases also declined; as for the infection by HIV and AIDS, it can also be prevented. However, we still have to address many major problems. These include the high maternal mortality, the slow progress in fighting malnutrition, and the rising cost for health care; and there is still the poor quality of health care, and the rise of injuries and non-communicable diseases. We hope that with a lot of support through the Second Health Sector Support Program from the World Bank and different development partners, we will have the ability to achieve and to guarantee the continuity to reach the Millennium Development Goals as well as to promote equity in the health sector. The Second Health Sector Support Program will be important to promote harmonization, and to be along the lines of harmonizing of all aid in the heath sector, to be in line with the intentions and commitments as stated in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the International Health Partnership.’

“The World Bank Country Director for Cambodia Ian Porter sated, ‘The World Bank has worked in the health sector since 1996 through two projects – the Disease Control and Health Development Project, and the Health Sector Support Project. We continue to maintain strong relations with the government and other development partners in assisting the health sector. We are satisfied to see the process of the health sector supporting project which is in line with assistance strategies for Cambodia, created in cooperation with DFID, the Asian Development Bank, and the UN system.’

“Claire Moran, the Country Manager for the UK Department for International Development – DFID – said, ‘I am delighted to hear that the World Bank and the donor countries have created this new project. This project not only speeds up development towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the health sector, but it is also an important measure to guarantee the efficiency of the use of aid in the health sector. In line with this commitment, development partners and the Royal Government of Cambodia signed the International Health Partnership agreement in September 2007, which is a new program, and there is the plan to collect resources and to work in a more coordinated way to streamline how development partners support the Ministry of Health.’” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3339, 21.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 June 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1673, 21.6.2008

  • Vietnam Runs the First Factory to Produce Construction Products in Cambodia
  • Police and Tens of Thousands of Demonstrators Faced Each Other in Bangkok [20 June 2008]
  • Thailand Ranks Among the Worst Countries for Refugees [according to the World Refugee Survey 2008 of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #182, 21.6.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Said a Citizen Should Get US$800 from Corrupt Officials, Not Just a Sarong [sarcastic – sarong: a kind of long skirt]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #30, 21-23.6.2008

  • Opposition Party and Civil Society Organizations Are Concerned about the Printing of Ballots beyond the Numbers Needed, and That They Have No High Quality
  • Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [NICFEC] Vows to Provide Training to Those Who Are Involved in the Election Work at the Basis of the 1,621 Communes
  • Thousands of Hectares of Land in Anlong Veng [District] and at Dangrek Mountain Were Burnt by Merchants and Enclosed to Be Claimed as Their Own Land [Oddar Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6377, 21-22.6.2008

  • New Map of the Preah Vihear Temple Was Shown; Government Consents to the Agreement over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia [20 June 2008]
  • Five Khmer and Two Thai Fishing Laborers Escaped from a [Thai] Fishing Boat Boss by Riskily Swimming across the Sea to Seek Rescuers [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3492, 21-22.6.2008

  • Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association [in the United States] Plans to Hold Demonstration against a Visit by the Yuon [Vietnamese] Prime Minister to the United States [on 24 June 2008]
  • Authority Blocks the Money of Chea Ratha [who is involved in the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt on 8 May 2008] in a Bank Temporarily [according to the head of the national Interpol office Keo Vanthan]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4621, 21.6.2008

  • The chairman of the EU election observers group [Mr. Martin Callanan]: Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity Will Not Be Revoked before the Election [he said so on 20 June 2008, after he received confirmation from Mr. Hor Namhong during a meeting on 18 June 2008, who sued Mr. Sam Rainsy
  • The Cambodian King [Norodom Sihamoni] Will Visit Vietnam Early Next Week
  • [Former Thai Prime Minister] Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Told [the current Prime Minister] Samak to Resign while Thousands Surrounded the Government Building [he put three conditions for Mr. Samak Sundaravej: 1. Resign from his position, 2. Dissolve the Assembly to hold new elections, 3. Create a Government of National Unity; and he warned that if there is no discussion between the government and the leaders of the demonstrators, there may be another coup to finish this confrontation]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3339, 21.6.2008

  • The World Bank Group: World Bank and Multiple Donors Help Cambodia Achieve its Health Goals
  • One Liter of Fuel Costs Riel 2,000 More than in the Bordering Countries

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

Friday, 20.6.2008: The National Assembly Might Not Take Action on the Request to Revoke Sam Rainsy’s Immunity

Posted on 21 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“Phnom Penh: A high-ranking officials of the Nation Assembly said on 19 June 2008 that the National Assembly received the proposal to revoke Mr. Sam Rainsy’s immunity, delivered from the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court through the Ministry of Justice on Thursday morning, but considering legal procedures and timing, the vice-president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nguon Nhel, said that the National Assembly might not work on this issue and might keep it unsolved for some time.

“In an interview via telephone with Rasmei Kampuchea on the afternoon of 19 June 2008, Mr. Nguon Nhel said that around 11:00 a.m. of 19 June 2008, the National Assembly received the proposal to suspend the immunity of the opposition party president Mr. Sam Rainsy, delivered from the Prosecution to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He added that an immunity cannot be suspended unless there is a request to open an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly by Samdech Prime Minister, or the King, or Samdech President of the National Assembly.

“Mr. Nguon Nhel also explained some legal procedures that make it difficult for the National Assembly to summon an Extraordinary Session or a meeting of its Permanent Committee. He said that Samdech Heng Samrin had announced already to close the National Assembly until after the 2008 election. According to the present real situation, the Permanent Committee might not be able to open a meeting. He continued that, based on procedures, the National Assembly needs at least two to three days to summon a meeting of the Permanent Committee, and if the Permanent Committee agrees to call an Extraordinary Session, at least 40 hours are needed before the meeting to inform the members of the National Assembly. Therefore, it will take more than one week, and then it will be already the time of 2008 election campaign. Another point is that the proposal to revoke the immunity of a member of the National Assembly needs at least two thirds of supporting voices, or 83 voices among the 123 members of the National Assembly.

“Article 80 of the Constitution states that indictment, arrest, or detention of a member of the National Assembly cannot be made unless there is agreement from the National Assembly or from the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly during the meeting, except for obvious offenses flagrante delicto.

“According to this article, the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly also has the right to suspend the immunity of a member of the Assembly to open the way for a legal investigation. However, Mr. Nguon Nhel explained that although the Constitution states so, still a meeting of the Permanent Committee to decide to suspend the immunity of a member of the National Assembly cannot be held. He added that a meeting of the Permanent Committee represents all members of the National Assembly which has 123 seats; but two members have left their positions as members of the National Assembly, so there are only 121 members, which do not form a complete National Assembly. ‘Therefore, this issue cannot be worked on.’

“He went on to say, ‘We received this proposal, but we keep it unsolved for a while.’

“Although Mr. Sam Rainsy’s immunity might not be revoked, Mr. Nguon Nhel explained that every draft law or big lawsuit will be sent from the outgoing National Assembly to the Council of Ministers when a new National Assembly is announced to be opened again after the election. Therefore, at that time, the Council of Ministers might send them back to the new National Assembly.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4620, 20.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 June 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1672, 20.6.2008

  • Cambodia and Thailand Signed a Joint Statement about the Preah Vihear Temple [18 June 2008, so that the Phnom Penh government can apply for the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO]
  • Cambodia SDA and Twenty Trade Union Associations Showed that Employers Still Hold Discrimination [against trade unions
  • UN-HABITAT and ADB Help Develop the Clean Water Sector in Cambodia [now 60 percent of people in populated areas have access to clean water]
  • Cambodia Movement for Health Received Award in ‘World No Tobacco Day 2008’ [19 June 2008 – in the LINK see “In Cambodia, which has one of the highest rates of smoking in the world,…]
  • Vietnam Sells 60 Million Tonnes of Rice to the Philippines [for US$564 million]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #593, 20.6.2008

  • Many Local Human Rights Organizations Said that Recalling the Cambodian Freedom Fighters Case by Mr. Hun Sen Might Be a Political Threat

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6376, 20.6.2008

  • 1,261 Containers of Mraes Prov Phnom Oil [large softwood tree, its oil is an important substance to produce the drug Ecstasy] Will Be Burnt [by Pursat authorities]
  • European Election Observers Arrived Cambodia Gradually

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3491, 20.6.2008

  • US Embassy Strongly Reacted to the Attempt to Suspend the Immunity of the Opposition Party President Mr. Sam Rainsy
  • Mr. Sok Yoeun [a Sam Rainsy Party activist, who fled Cambodia in 1998 related to a rocket attack on Prime Minister Hun Sen and was jailed in Thailand more than four years and then received asylum through the UNHCR to Finland] Called the Investigation of the Rocket Attack in Siem Reap a Dead-End Road Game of Hun Sen [who used a former Sam Rainsy Party activist, Mr. Lek Bunnhean’s information, who had left to join the Cambodian People’s Party, to link Mr. Sam Rainsy to the Cambodian Freedom Fighters]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4620, 20.6.2008

  • The National Assembly Will Not Take Action on the Request to Revoke Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • The Garment Sector in Cambodia Is Facing a Shortage of Workers [because of the needs by newly created factories; around 200,000 additional workers are needed, the current number is approximately 400,000]
  • Some Areas in Cambodia Might Become Desertification Areas [because of inappropriate implementation of agricultural techniques, population growth, and deforestation – according to UNDP officials in Cambodia]
  • Tourism Development Absolutely Opposes Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children [said Mr. Klaeng Rim, coordinating official of ILO]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3338, 20.6.2008

  • All Political Parties Support the Face-to-Face Discussion Forum Created by the National Democratic Institute [NDI] for the 2008 Election

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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Thursday, 19.6.2008: Situation of Women Promoting Beer Does Not Improve

Posted on 20 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“In May, Sophea and seven other women promoting the sale of beer [to customers in restaurants – commonly called “Beer Girls”] presented a letter to the management of Cambodia Brewery, located in Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh. The eight women represented other 300 women promoting Tiger Beer. These representatives asked for the increase of their salaries from US$70 to US$100 for women who have worked more than ten years. However, so far, there is no response to their request.

“Sophea decided to protest, because she has worked as a beer promoting woman for thirteen years, but the salary she gets cannot support her son’s study. These women explained that staff who has worked less than six years get US$50 per month, and if they have worked beyond six years, they get US$70. She continued, ‘Because the salary is not enough, some even sell sexual services. Some restaurants have rooms for having sex. I have seen many of my colleges who agreed to do this because of the money.’

“Mr. Ian Lubek, a professor from the University of Guelph in Canada who is an advisor to the Siem Reap Citizens for Health, Educational and Social Issues [SiRCHESI International] has conducted studies about the hazard to beer promoting women since 2000. His latest study had been conducted since April 2008 in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh with 400 women. He explained, ‘Our latest numbers show that the situation of beer promoting women has not improved.’

“Mr. Ian Lubek thinks that the claims by Sophea and her colleagues are right. He stated, ‘The beer producing companies which are members of the Beer Selling Industry Cambodia [BSIC] – including Cambodia Brewery, Cambrew/Carlsberg, Heineken, and Guinness – have increased their sale by 50% between 2006 and 2008.’ He said that each night, women promoting beer can sell an average of 24 liters, equal to three boxes of beer. He concluded that if these women would get US$6 commission per box like at some other companies, which are not members of BSIC, they could be able to earn up to US$400 per month, in addition to their salary. Mr. Lubek calculated that women promoting beer need an average salary of US$132 so that they can live under the present circumstance where the price of goods increase like these days. He added that some companies that are members of BSIC had announced a new system to make more money available, based on work performance, but only a small numbers of women say that they get such money.

“Sophea stressed, ‘Our claim is absolutely justified. The quantity of our sales increased, and the price of beer increased too. In the restaurant where I promote beer, previously Tiger Beer was sold for US$1.50 per bottle, but now it is sold for US$2.90. Therefore, the company has the possibility to increase our salaries.’

“According to Mr. Lubek, only 19% of women promoting beer from the companies that are members of BSIC are currently satisfied with their jobs. As for another group of 34%, they said that they had to force themselves to be prostitutes, and 18% of them sell sexual services at their places of work. He continued that to prevent the sale of sexual services, the companies that are members of BSIC created in 2006 a code of ethics [for the companies], but this code has not been implemented well.

“Ms. Bunny, deputy director of the Men’s and Women’s Network for Development in Cambodia that supports 300 beer promoting women in Koh Kong, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Phnom Penh, criticized the working conditions related to companies that are members of BSIC, and she proposed that those companies should provide a minimum salary of US$80 to the beer promoting women. She explained, ‘I do not want to work for those companies, because I want to get a salary of over US$50 per month.’ She, like more than 200 women of her association, gets commissions from the restaurants where she works. The commission she gets is US$8 per box. She said, ‘So I earn more than US$100 per month.’

“Ms. Bunny explained, ‘Doing this job, we have to face a situation of getting tired, of gang-rapes [where a group of men rape one woman], and just simple sexual rape.’ She added that the agreements between some non-government organizations and those companies are not efficient. Four among ten members of her organization had been gang-raped, especially those in Phnom Penh. She went on to say, ‘When a woman negotiates with a guest and agrees to go with that that guest, she often faces two to three more men, and the woman can do nothing against it.’ Each of the beer promoting woman has at least once sold sexual services for US$10 or US$20. She admitted, ‘For me, I have sold sex three times, because I needed money.’ Those who seek more income by selling sexual services are mostly women abandoned by their husbands, who have children as their special burden; but other women agreed to have sex with guests because they had been threatened with weapons.

“Mr. Ian Lubek said that so far, an increase of salaries has not been confirmed, although it is a very important condition to stop the sale of sexual services. He mentioned SiRCHESI International’s work as an example. In 2006, this organization freed 27 women promoting beer from their dangerous work places. This organization has organized training courses for hotel workers and arranged their employment in its eight cooperating hotels, where they can earn US$120 per month. ‘That was the time when they could stop to sell sexual services.’” Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #37, 18-25.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 June 2008

Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #37, 18-25.6.2008

  • Situation of Women Promoting Beer Does Not Improve
  • In Poipet, the Cambodian People’s Party Raises the Construction of Roads as Election Propaganda
  • Mr. Kem Sokha: ‘If the Human Rights Party Wins No Seat, I Will Resign from the Position of Party President Immediately’

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1671, 19.6.2008

  • Samdech Prime Minister Granted an Audience to the New Head of UNDP in Cambodia [Mr. Douglas Broderick]
  • Cambodia Celebrated the World Day against the Desertification [on 17 June 2008 with the topic ‘Fight against the deterioration of soil nutrients for the future of agriculture’]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #180, 19.6.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Corruption in Cambodia Is Difficult to Prevent, because It Relates to Politicians

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6375, 19.6.2008

  • Japan Decided to Provide More than US$2 Million [actually more than US$2,950,000] for the Process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Responding to a Request by the Government
  • 52 Story Building Construction Began in Grand Style; GS Engineering and Construction Company Makes a Huge Investment in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3490, 19.6.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Parliamentarians Ask the Government to Show the New Map of the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Khmer Citizens Face Eviction from Their Houses while Yuon [Vietnamese] Immigrants Live Peacefully

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4619, 19.6.2008

  • The Head of the Government Decided to Join a UN Preparedness Program [identity of the program not clear – by sending around 500 troups from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to join]; He Also Decided to Sell 120,000 Tonnes of Rice and Send Agricultural Experts to Guinea [responding to a request by the Prime Minister of Guinea – 18 June 2008]
  • While the Election Day Is Getting Nearer, Illegal Transportation of Wood in Siem Reap Is Increasing
  • Thai Anti-Government Group Raise Its Country’s Issue to the Preah Vihear Temple [by accusing the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Noppadon Pattama of delivering land around the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia, in exchange for investment concessions for the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to run gambling casinos in Koh Kong]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3337, 19.6.2008

  • Phsar Daeum Kor Market Chief [Mr. Hong Heng] Collects Money Everywhere Causing Vendors in the Market to be Angry

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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Wednesday, 18.6.2008: Prosecutors Asked for Suspension of Sam Rainsy’s Immunity

Posted on 18 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“The Phnom Penh Court sent a letter to the National Assembly president Samdech Heng Samrin through the Minister of Justice asking to suspend the immunity of the opposition party president Mr. Sam Rainsy over a case, numbered 693, dated 22 April 2008, from the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“A letter numbered 110 from the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was sent, asking the National Assembly president Samdech Heng Samrin to suspend the immunity of the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy, a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, over the lawsuit of Mr. Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on 22 April 2008, regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy, on the accusation of defamation and disinformation, which is a crime stated in the new Article 63 of the amendment of Article 63, and of Article 62 of the criminal law.

“It should be remembered that on 17 April 2008, at the Choeung Ek genocidal memorial site at Meanchey District, Phnom Penh, Mr. Sam Rainsy said publicly that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong, was the chief of the Boeng Trabaek Prison during the Khmer Rouge Regime. He said that being the chief of the Boeng Trabaek Prison was not by chance; unless Khmer Rouge leaders ordered that he could be the prison chief, and that the prison chief was very powerful, that is why they do not want to try all of those [former] Khmer Rouge leaders.

“The same letter shows that after the opposition party leader Mr. Sam Rainsy said these words, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong, submitted the lawsuit through Mr. Kar Savuth as his lawyer on 22 April 2008, accusing Mr. Sam Rainsy of defamation and disinformation. After an initial investigation, the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court checked and has collected evidence that Sam Rainsy is suspected of defamation and disinformation, and a proposal to suspend his immunity as parliamentarian from Phnom Penh was sent to the National Assembly. This letter was issued by the prosecutor Uk Savuth, but so far, the the National Assembly has not yet decided to suspend his immunity. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, has won a court case in France against the Great Heroic King Norodom Sihanouk over the same issue; therefore he will continue to sue anyone who accuses him that he was related to the Khmer Rouge killing field regime.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #29, 18-20.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #73, 18.6.2008

  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: If Thailand Would Still Prevent Cambodia to List the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, Cambodia Will Block the Entry of Tourists Coming from Thailand

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1670, 18.6.2008

  • There Is Disagreement after the Press Council of Cambodia Announced to Hold a Demonstration [in front of the court and the Ministry of Justice on 22 June 2008, in order to find justice for journalists and innocent people who have been unjustly arrested, but some newspaper editors-in-chief disagree with this plan]
  • A Cambodian Delegation Will Attend a Meeting about Drug Control Cooperation in Laos [with the attendance of Laos, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the UN Office for Drug Control]
  • A Korean Delegation Came to Study the Customs Situation in Cambodia [16 June 2008 – there was an exchange of methods on the modality to release goods from customs by using an electronic system, an Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), and methods for the selection of goods to be imported, based on hazard management and taxation systems]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #592, 18.6.2008

  • The Government Should Take Action to Prevent Political Murders during the Election Period [especially during the campaign days and the election day]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #179, 18.6.2008

  • [Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president] Rong Chhun Accused the Kandal Authorities of Threatening the Owner of Punleu Chob Chet Restaurant [not to rent his restaurant to the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, to hold a workshop about “Rights and duties of teachers” on 16 June 2008]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #29, 18-20.6.2008

  • Prosecutors Asked for Suspension of Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • 93% of Cambodian Children Receive Education [according to a UNESCO report, but the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Mr. Rong Chhun said that the rate of children receiving education in Cambodia is not high because of child labor]
  • Mukh Kampul Military Sub-Operational Region Commanding Post Is Turned into a Place for Gambling [Kandal]
  • All Kinds of Animals in Chi Kraeng District [Siem Reap] Are Close to Extinction [because there are two places backed by the district governor to store animals for trafficking]
  • Garbage Dump in Phnom Penh Is Threatening Citizens’ Health [who live near it, because of its odious smell and of many flies]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3489, 18.6.2008

  • The Presence of Foreign Lawyers to Defend Civil Parties Might Provide Justice to Victims [of the Pol Pot regime] to Some Extent [this lawyers group of ten French and eight Cambodian lawyers created by Avocats Sans Frontières of France will assist in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal without charging money]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1324, 18.6.2008

  • Kem Sokha Prepared US$600,000 for the One-Month Election Campaign [according to a broadcast in Khmer by Radio France International on 16 June 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4618, 18.6.2008

  • Crude Oil Slightly Declines [to US$134.60] after Rising to Nearly US$140 per Barrel

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3336, 18.6.2008

  • The United Sates of America Will Sends 80 Election Observers to Cambodia

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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Tuesday, 17.6.2008: Minister Ith Sam Heng and the Head of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Chea Son, Are Criticized to Be Partisan Officials

Posted on 17 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“Some civil service officials who are suffering and asked not to be mentioned by name reported that the head of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Chea Son, is a partisan official who appointed his partisans, children, and relatives to hold important positions, so that it is easy for them to commit corruption.

“They said that Mr. Chea Son had appointed his children to work in the Department of Social Affairs, who now use Chea Son’s influence to look down on others and to oppress staff, so that they can commit corruption, for example cutting salaries of officials marked to retire soon and of former veterans, and they are late to provide salaries, and they take other designated moneys.

“They added that the Minister of Social Affairs and Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Mr. Ith Sam Heng can not take any action towards Mr. Chea Son, because Mr. Chea Son follows the model of other officials appointed by Royal Decree and officials appointed by Sub-Decree by the Royal Government.

“They went on to say that Mr. Khuon Ranin, who is a nephew of Her Excellency Nhep Rany Ith Sam Heng [Minister Ith Sam Heng’s wife], was appointed director-general of the Department of Administration and Finance by Royal Decree # NS/RKT/0205/106, dated on 26 February 2005. Mr. Bun Chandarvuth, H.E. Nhep Rany Ith Sam Heng’s nephew, had been appointed to be advisor to the Ministry of Social Affairs. Mr. Samheng Boros, Minister Ith Sam Heng’s nephew, had been appointed head of the Internal Audit Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs, and he was also appointed to be chief of cabinet. Mr. Sieng Sok Khundy, who is a nephew of H.E. Nhep Rany, and who is an older brother of Mr. Khuon Ranin, was appointed head of the Finance and Supply Section. Mr. Nhep Chana, a nephew of H.E. Nhep Rany and Khuon Ranin’s younger bother, was appointed head of the Department of International Relations of the Ministry of Social Affairs by Sub-Decree # 358 ANKr.TT, dated 6 April 2005. Ms. Nhep Sopheap, Her Excellency’s niece, had been appointed deputy-director of the Department of Finance and Supply. Mr. Hem Bora, Her Excellency’s nephew, had been appointed deputy-director of the Department of Finance and Supplies. Mr. Khun Ranich, Her Excellency’s nephew and Mr. Hem Bora’s younger brother, had been appointed head of the Staff of Administration Department [who is the holder of the seal of the Ministry of Social Affairs].

“Those officials said that if Mr. Ith Sam Heng would hold his position one more term, his relatives and partisans will be appointed to work all over in the Ministry of Social Affairs and will spread to other Social Affairs Departments in other cities and provinces.

Chakraval phoned Mr. Chea Son on 13 June 2008, but he answered that he was in a meeting; as for the Minister Ith Sam Heng, his phone could be reached and was ringing, but he did not pick it up.” Chakraval, Vol.16, #2786, 17.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2786, 17.6.2008

  • Minister Ith Sam Heng and the Head of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Chea Son, Are Criticized to Be Partisan Officials
  • Again Diggings Up of Valuable Things from Ancient Graves [Banteay Meanchey]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #121, 17.6.2008

  • Chief of Mondolkiri Prison Ngin Nael Runs Wood Processing Shop in the Prison [and prisoners work as laborers, while the money goes into his pockets]
  • [Three] Trucks Donated by the United States Were Used by Military Officials to Load High Quality Wood to Yuon [Vietnam – but an official who asked not to be named said that the trucks were used to load car spare parts from Vietnam]
  • [Battambang governor] Prach Chan, Kang Sakhan [Battambang police chief], and Poa Vannak [Battambang military police commander] Are Incompetent and Do Not Dare to Curb Down on Rain Bettings at Yu Chanty Guesthouse

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1669, 17.6.2008

  • Kompong Thom Police Chief [Chea San] Is Accused of Benefiting from His Low Level Officials’ Salaries and of Extorting Money from Applicants Who Take Tests to Join the Police
  • Goods from Thailand Are Rushed Entering through Cham Sragam Border Crossing [Oddar Meanchey]
  • Step-Father Raped Two Step-Daughters in Just One Night [Kompong Speu]
  • Saudi Arabia Agreed to Step Up Oil Production by 200,000 Barrels of Oil per Day

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6373, 17.6.2008

  • According to the Civil Code, Lawyers without Borders from France Prepare to Help at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, without Getting Money
  • The Cambodian People’s Party Gets 20% of TV Time of the Equity Publication Program [created by the National Election Committee], and Other Competitive Parties Get from 3% to 13% [according to a joint announcement of the Ministry of Information and UNDP on 16 June 2008]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3488, 17.6.2008

  • Trees in the Phnom Kuleaen National Park Continue to Be Severely Destroyed

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4617, 17.6.2008

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Might Face Accusation of Threatening National Security and of Terrorism [after Mr. Hun Sen ordered an inquiry about relations of the opposition party to an assassination attempt against him in Siem Reap in 1998, relating to the Cambodian Freedom Fighters [CFF] case – after a member of the Sam Rainsy Party, who left to join the Cambodian People’s Party, showed a picture of Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang with members of the CFF]
  • [More than 100] Professors and Teachers from Four High Schools Approached the [Banteay Meanchey] Provincial Governor to Arrest an Unruly Student [who had injured a teacher seriously]
  • Two Bombs Exploded near the Office of Anti-Government Groups [16 June 2008 – Manager Newspaper of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul]; Opposition Group [Thailand’s People’s Alliance for Democracy] Announced to Hold Demonstrations until the Numbers of Demonstrators Reach One Million

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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Monday, 16.6.2008: Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law

Posted on 17 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Apologies for the delayed posting – I am in a hospital, and therefore some delays in editing may happen also during the next days.

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This law aims to punish criminals who traffic humans and commit sexual exploitation, in order to protect human dignity and human rights, to promote the values of proper customs and traditions of the country, and in order to comply with the protocol of the United Nations on these problems. Article 23 of this law defines Prostitution a having sexual intercourse with an unspecified person or other sexual conduct of any kind in exchange for any value.’

“However, entertainment workers, sex workers, and AIDS activists voice concerns about this law. A 36-year-old female sex worker of a brothel in Sihanoukville, the resort and international seaport, said, ‘I had never heard of the law talking about sexual exploitation, and if it is true, I think that it is a severe problem for us. I agree that sex work undermines Khmer culture and Khmer women’s reputation, but we have no choice.’ Sreyrath, who is a widow with four children, and who has been working as a sex worker nearly 10 years, said that she and her friends do not want to do such work, but it is because they are poor and illiterate. And Rath was trafficked to work as a prostitute in Thailand in the late 1990s; she used to use drugs as well. She said, ‘We are sex workers because of poverty and of the social situation which forces us to do this job. The leaders should understand our situation.’

“Poverty and the lack of skills seem to be significant factors hindering the social progress for women. Most of the interviewed women said their husbands died, and the big burden fell on them, especially it is really difficult for those who have children. For instance, as 27-year-old widow with three children, working in a restaurant said, ‘I do not want to go out to sleep with men, but since my husband died, I have no one else to depend on. I have no skill to find another job. Sleeping with one guest one night, I can get US$30, sometimes, US$100. If the law is adopted and it is the implemented seriously, I think it will be very difficult for us. We do not know what other job else could do.’

“According to Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the number of women who do sex work regularly is approximately 3,430, and 13,723 do it occasionally. The organization KHANA with cooperating partner organizations provides knowledge and information on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ prevention to 1,568 regular sex workers and to 4,715 occasional sex workers.

“Anter Nita, Director of the Sihanoukville-based. Community United for Development [CUD], said if the new law will be enforced strongly; sex workers, especially those at present at brothels, will do clandestine work .

“Nita added, ‘My organization has regularly educated sex workers to help them to protect themselves from infection from AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, teaching them methods to persuade guests who want to force them to have sex without condoms, and teaches them methods to find good services for their health care. Our present program ‘One hundred percent condom use’ and the education programs for preventing diseases among sex workers will be affected, if they work clandestinely.’ According to reports from some local non-government organizations, police of some provinces warn owners of Karaoke parlors and of bars that they will be fined, if condoms are found in their places. These reports shows that since the implementation of this law started, some brothels have been closed, and people dare not to talk or to put condoms openly.

“Sreyrath said, ‘I would like to suggest that the law should not penalize women who are sex workers, otherwise we will have no means to feed ourselves. We really do not want work as sex workers, but we have no other jobs. Moreover, with this law sex workers will move around and continue to do sex work with no definite places to stay, and they cannot receive education about AIDS.’” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 June 2008

Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #120, 16.6.2008

  • Co-prosecutor of the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Plans to Detain Three More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [whose name have not been mentioned, but they are known holding positions of Generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, now living in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Siem [Thai] Police Posted Chea Ratha’s Portraits Everywhere to Trace Hewr Down and Hand Her Over to Khmer Authorities to Be Prosecuted [over the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
  • President of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association Thach Ngoc Thach Continues Plan to March to Kampuchea Krom [to urge Vietnam to respect human rights]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

  • Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law
  • While Prices of Fuel Increase, the Measure of the Liter [seems] Declining [this is a suspicion expressed by moto-taxi drivers]
  • Thailand Prohibits the Import of Rice from Cambodia through Border Crossing [Battambang]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #591, 16.6.2008

  • The Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Dam Sith] Was Released on Bail by the Court in Response to a Letter of Guarantee by Prime Minister Hun Sen [15 June 2008]
  • Yuons [Vietnamese] Say Although They Do Not Vote, the Cambodian People’ Party Still Wins

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6372, 16.6.2008

  • Tuberculosis Program Is Strengthened by following the Anti-AIDS Programs

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3487, 16.6.2008

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Members of the Cambodian People’s Party Who Care for the Nation and for Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4616, 15-16.6.2008

  • World Bank Provided Loans and Grant Aid Worth US$41.5 to Cambodia [for road construction and for the distribution of land to the poor – 13 June 2008]
  • Biological Diversity Treaty [to conserve and reduce the destruction of biological diversity and natural resources] held in June 2008, Focusing on the Financial Mechanism [at the city of Bonn/Germany [191 countries participating, Germany providing US$500 to the biological preservation fund]
  • Construction Site of a Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap River at Prek Pnov [worth US$42,550,520 to be implemented by L.Y.P Group Company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] Will Be Opened Today
  • Woman Was Robbed, Hit with a Gun, while Leaving the Olympic Market, and a Box Containing More than US$30,000 Was Taken

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3334, 15-16.6.2008

  • The National Election Committee Prints Twenty Four Different Ballots for the National Fourth Term Election

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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