Week 598

Not to Discuss Means Not to Clarify – Sunday, 8.2.2009

Posted on 10 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

The week brought further challenges to publicly clarify how the whole of society can deal with difficult problems.

The human rights organization ADHOC had published a report, describing quite specifically cases from the year 2008, and saying that human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures or seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives,” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. – Probably not many people might have expected a full agreement with this statement from the side of the authorities. Still, the response from the head of the Human Rights Committee of the government is disappointing because of its very general nature: “I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.”

The failure to communicate mutually – the rejection to communicate – is even more painful to observe in relation to the recent report of the UK base organization Global Witness, ‘Country for Sale – How Cambodia’s elite has captured the country’s extractive industries,” about which we had mirrored sections from the Khmer press on Friday. This organization has accumulated information and experience in many countries, and is supported by private and public funds. They share their work with the international public on their website; they describe themselves with these words: “Global Witness works to increase transparency in the granting of mineral concessions, in the flow of revenues from oil and gas companies to governments, and in the trading of resources.”

Global Witness produced a 72 pages report with hundreds of details of information, most of it on the basis of describing legal provisions of the Kingdom of Cambodia, combined with facts which are available in published reports of the international companies involved, or are on the Internet. And in addition, Global Witness describes also in much detail which questions they raised – and to which of them they did, or they did not get responses. A careful reading of the study takes some hours, because of the many details documented. The document is full of surprises.

It is equally surprising, how quickly the study was rejected in a press release from Cambodian Embassy in London, accusing Global Witness “of pursuing a malicious campaign to try and discredit the country and its leaders. The Government is working hard to establish a sound and comprehensive framework governing the extractive industries. These will reflect best practice and be based on the principles of transparency and accountability.”

It is again surprising and indicative of the level of public information sharing, that a Secretary of State at the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, contradicts the Ambassador, when he is quoted to have said, “So far, no oil has yet been produced, we just known that there is oil. Therefore, we have not planned how to use it, because no oil has been extracted yet.”

The Cambodian Embassy in London – without addressing a single detail in the report, refutes it by a cynical graphic, calling it A collection of rubbish – with a picture showing the study already in a rubbish bin.

This spectacular picture does not only condemn the results of the studies of Global Witness to the rubbish bin, but throws away – unintentionally? – also the impressive list of laws and decrees of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which are all quoted and referenced in the study. Global Witness explains: “In the course of its investigation into Cambodia’s oil, gas and mining sectors, Global Witness obtained a number of key documents. Global Witness believes that it is important that these documents, which include key regulations for the extractive industries are easily available in the public domain.”

Legislation governing Cambodia’s oil sector

Primary legislation

  • Petroleum Regulations 1991
  • Royal Decree on the Formation of Cambodian National Petroleum Aithority

Secondary legislation

  • First amendment to the Regulations
  • Second amendment to the Regulations
  • Draft Model Petroleum Agreement

PSC [Production Sharing Contracts]

Global Witness understands that fees charged by the Cambodian Government in the PSCs vary depending on the contracting company. Global Witness has not been able to confirm whether any of the PSC holders entered into the form of contract laid out here in the draft model petroleum agreement, but understands that the draft is likely to have been used as a model for the final contracts.

 
Legislation governing Cambodia’s mining sector

RGC – Royal Government of Cambodia; MIME – Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy; MEF – Ministry of Economy and Finance;
Prakas – Decree

Mineral Resources Management and Exploration

  • 1996 Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management
  • Law on Protected Areas

Secondary legislation

  • MIME Circular 001
  • MIME Instruction Circular 002
  • MIME Prakas 340
  • Sub-decree 008
  • Sub-decree 113
    1994 Prakas on Protected Areas

The following are in Khmer:

  • MEF & MIME Prakas 006
  • MEF MIME Prakas Cost for Registration
  • MEF & MIME Prakas on Annual Land Lease
  • MEF & MIME Prakas on Mineral Royalty
  • MIME Prakas 011
  • MIME Prakas 340
  • MIME Prakas 1133 
  • MIME Prakas 942
  • MIME Prakas 1133
  • MIME Prakas 1192
  • RGC Decision 10
  • RGC Decision 20 
  • RGC Decision 43
  • RGC Draft Sub-decree on Defining Mining zone 
  • RGC Order 01
  • RGC Sub-decree 08
  • RGC Sub-decree 113
  • RGC Sub-decree on Conditions to Grant, extent & right transfer of Industry Mining License
  • RGC Sub-decree on Defining Authority and Role of mining officer
  • RGC Sub-decree on Suspension & revocation of mineral license

In spite of all the initial refusal to discuss details, it can only be hoped that a public dialogue, on the basis of existing laws and regulations – wherever including revisions by the legislative bodies of the country – can lead to a equitable and careful use of the riches of the nature.

As Monday, 9 February 2009, is a National Holiday, the Mirror will not publish translations from the press on this day.

There is a variety of interpretations of this important commemoration of Meakh Bochea: that Buddha, the Enlightened One, pronounced the principles of his teachings, summarized threefold: to do good, to abstain from doing bad, to keep a pure mind.

Without stepping back from time to time, from the daily conflicts, it may be impossible to come close to the three teachings.

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Prime Minister Hun Sen Explains the Change in the Position of the Commander-in-Chief – Saturday, 7.2.2009

Posted on 9 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Rumors about the reasons for the removal, two weeks ago, of General Ke Kim Yan moved Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on Friday 6 February 2009 to clearly explain that the removal of the commander-in-chief was part of the ongoing military reform, but it was not the result of internal disputes in the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], the party ruling the country.

“Speaking to journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samdech Hun Sen said that he is aware that some people say that the removal of the commander-in-chief is to strengthen the forces of Hun Sen and to diminish the forces of Samdech Chea Sim. But Samdech [Hun Sen] added that even if Mr. Ke Kim Yan were still the commander-in-chief, there would be no problem in the CPP.

“Together with this claim, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that General Ke Kim Yan is still a general, having protection forces for which the government has to be responsible. As for the party’s affairs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan is still a permanent member of the Central Committee of the CPP, and head of a certain working group in Banteay Meanchey.

“With reference to the motions in the CPP, raised in public opinions recently, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stressed that military adjustments are normal in military reforms, when the government wants to improve efficiency, just as in reforms in other sectors. But this time, this is not happening in the form of a slow method, but Samdech Hun Sen wants that it happens faster in order to be in line with the present situation.

“As for the rights of a prime minister, since the time when Samdech took over the office as prime minister for the first time in 1985, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that for all decisions about any reforms or changes in appointments, the prime minister did not need to ask for ideas from the party.

“As mentioned above, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen warned opposition groups and accused them of provoking fractional splits among the CPP, using the information about the removal of General Ke Kim Yan as the commander-in-chief.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen warned, ‘Anyone and any party which dares to interfere in CPP affairs, that person and that party will not have peace. I will fight until your last shelter is no more, like with the Funcinpec in 1997. And now, all commentators, please stop making comments to split the CPP into factions and opposition,’ where Samdech seemed to refer to the Sam Rainsy Party, which nowadays should be able to control their own party members.

“Mr. Yim Sovann added that real military reform has not only to do with the change of persons among the top leadership, but it is also necessary to check the salaries of the military, to check weapons, medicines, and the livelihood of military families. Another point is that all military commanders must be neutral in their attitudes and thinking, and they must not be involved with any political party, in order to avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling their roles.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4815, 7.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 February 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1867, 7.2.2009

  • Cambodia Brewery Limited Issues Alert because some Pressure Containers for Beer [stolen from the factory] Are Pressure-Filled with Oxygen for Hospitals to Treat Patients [and not with carbon dioxyde which goes with beer]
  • [Singaporean and Taiwanese agricultural] Researchers Said Soil in Cambodia Is Pristine Like Offered by God
  • Sri Lanka Offers Amnesty for Tamil Tiger Insurgents If They Surrender
  • Ms. Hilary Clinton Chooses Indonesia for Her First Visit Abroad

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #199, 7.2.2009

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL: Parties with Few Seats Have No Opportunity to Express Their Opinion
  • [Around 1,700] Workers of the Sang Yong Garment Factory Strike by Closing the Factory [because the factory has suspended work for two months – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6572, 7-8.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Explains the Change in the Position of the Commander-in-Chief
  • A British Television Station [Quick Silver or Channel 4] Interviews the Municipal Authorities [about the economic situation and the evictions]
    A Pregnant Woman Is Choked to Death and Her Face Is Cut with Razor Blades in a Room of a Guesthouse [murderer is not yet identified – Siem Reap]
  • Murderers Who Killed Three People by Cutting Their Throats at the Victims’ Home [in Prek Pra commune, Meanchey] Was Arrested [the murderers are husband and wife, they killed to rob the victims who were their close friends]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3681, 7-8.2.2009

  • The German Ambassador Condemns Hun Sun for Prohibiting Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Ms. Mu Sochua] to Attend the Third Annual Economic Forum [sponsored by the Supreme National Economic Council of the government, supported by the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, and UNDP]
  • Dey Krahom Residents Protest in Front of the Municipality to Demand US$20,000 Compensation

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4815, 7.2.2009

  • The Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister Never Said that the Territory under the Preah Vihear Temple Belongs to Siam [Thailand – Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva said so in a press conference about negotiations related to the contested area around the temple]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Told the Thai Minister [of Defense]: ‘It Is a Historic Time to Solve Problems so that the Next Generations No Longer Have Problems’
  • The German Agency GTZ Signed an Agreement Supporting the National Audit Authority’s Development [for the second stage from 2009 to 2011, with assistance of Euro 2 million – approx. US$2.6 million]
  • Note about details of the GTZ engagement from the GTZ web site:

    The “Support to the National Audit Authority” provides technical assistance in Cambodia with the objective to enhance accountability and transparency in the system of Public Finances in Cambodia.

    We are fully aware that the major preconditions for the success of our company are not only the price and quality of the services we provide, but also our good reputation and our integrity. Integrity is rooted in the company’s philosophy and is of personal significance to all staff. Our Code of Conduct comprises rules on how to deal with conflicts of interest and to avoid corruption.

    The message we send out is that rather than seeing corruption as a necessary evil or a by-product of work processes, we are strongly committed to fighting it. The best way to combat corruption has always been to bring it out into the public.

    Everyone engaged in the fight against corruption must help to uncover corruption in every shape and form.

    GTZ has appointed the lawyer Dr Joussen as its Ombudsman.

    Dr. Edgar Joussen
    Bleibtreustrasse 1
    10623 Berlin, Germany
    Tel.: +49 700 66283762, Fax: +49 30 31518744
    E-mail: ra-js@ra-js.de

    Dr. Edgar Joussen runs his own legal office in Berlin and is a bank clerk by training. He has specialised in anti-corruption consulting for many years. In 2000 he also began advising Deutsche Bahn AG.
    The Ombudsman is a point of contact and an advisor on corruption-related matters for GTZ’s staff and business partners.

    Dr. Joussen may be contacted by phone, mail, fax or e-mail. A personal meeting will be arranged where appropriate.

  • India Promises to Continue to Support Cooperation in the National Defense Sector with Cambodia
  • High Ranking Military Officer [unnamed three-star general] Is Sued for Adultery
  • [The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun Sends two Letters to International Organizations [International Education Organization and International Labor Organization] about the Transfer of the President Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom [Mr. Sun Thun was transfered for political reasons from Triel High School to teach at a lower secondary school]
  • Cambodia Will Ask UNESCO to List the Chapei [a Cambodian long-necked lute – not clear if the instrument, or if Mr. Kong Nai as one of the last living masters, under the category of Living Human Treasure] and Lakhon Khol [all-male. Cambodian masked dance theater], after Angkor and the Temple of Preah Vihear [by UNESCO as World Heritage], and Sbek Thom – Khmer Shadow Theater] and the Royal Ballet of Cambodia Were Listed [by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity]

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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Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given – Friday, 6.2.2009

Posted on 8 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

Global Witness released a report for 2008 with big titles on the book cover ‘Country for Sale – How Cambodia’s elite has captured the country’s extractive industries.’ This book describes mysteries, corruption, and irregularities related to the provision of concessions to foreign oil, gas, and minerals exploring companies in Cambodia – but some high-ranking officials of the Cambodian government denied all Global Witness allegations.

“Global Witness, based in London/England, an organization monitoring the exploitation of global natural resources [‘Global Witness works to increase transparency in the granting of mineral concessions, in the flow of revenues from oil and gas companies to governments and in the trading of resources’], released a [72 pages] report on 5 February 2009 with the title, Country for Sale, in which it revealed many things about top officials of the government of Cambodia, allegedly involved in and colluding with corruption, jeopardizing forests and other natural resources.

“The report of Global Witness said that during the last 15 years, 45% of the land in Cambodia has been contracted out by concessions to foreign entities, and millions of dollars were received by the government from private companies to secure their concessions – but it is known that this money was lost and did not go to the books of the Ministry of Economics and Finance. Global Witness reports that its investigations discovered that oil, gas, and mineral exploring licenses were provided secretly to ruling officials and their relatives, and especially, that they are controlled by the military of Cambodia. Those top military officials are General Ouk Koasa, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – commander in charge of military development regions; Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh’s brother, Mr. Cham Borei; Prime Minister Hun Sen’s younger cousin, Okhna Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch; army commander, General Meas Sophea; a senator, Oknha Ly Yong Phat; a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government, Mr. Om Yentieng; a senator and director of the Pheapimex Company, Mr. Lao Meng Khin; the RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, and Oknha Try Heng.

“The report of Global Witness found that RCAF forces were deployed to guard areas rich in mineral resources such as in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Pursat, and citizens’ land in those areas was grabbed through threats and violence. The report spoke also about the institution in charge of the oil and gas industry, called the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, an institution under direct control of the government – administered by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An

“Global Witness added that all ministries, departments, institutions, or authorities do not have any power over that institution, adding that the same politicians and powerful people involved in illegal logging now take control over the oil, gas, and mineral resources, and a handful of powerful people ruling the country have awarded expensive land concessions to private companies without transparency. Global Witness stated that mineral resources and the forest in Cambodia exist only once, and when those valuable natural resources are exhausted, they will disappear forever. All persons mentioned in the allegations by Global Witness regarding corruption, like some generals, oknhas, high-ranking officials of the government, such as General Ouk Koasa, Mr. Cham Borei, Mr. Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch, General Meas Sophea, Senator Ly Yong Phat, Senator Lao Meng Khin, and Oknha Try Heng could not be reached for comment. However, some government officials who provided interviews to Global Witness, claimed that the Global Witness report exaggerates the facts and is not true.

“Global Witness found that a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Royal Government of Om Yentieng, has received a mineral exploration license quietly; he said that Global Witness has distorted information about the Cambodian government for many years, adding, ‘I think that if that organization Global Witness knows what is right and wrong, and has trust towards the respect of the truth, one could call it to swear an oath with me. If I am wrong, I would die, and if I am not wrong, it [Global Witness] would die. This would be a quick and trustworthy method for the listeners to judge. But I believe that if they [Global Witness] want to lie, they do not lack continuing lying stories. Therefore I think that this is not strange and surprising, because they have lied for many years already. They have distorted information about Cambodia for many years.’

“A Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr. Tea Banh, reacted strongly to the Global Witness report, saying that he cannot accept allegations by this organization without any evidence. Mr. Tea Banh added that those having mineral exploration licenses have them all legally.

“The RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, about whom Global Witness has written in the report, accusing him of having received a mineral exploration license quietly, denied that he is involved as a businessman, he said that he is just a military person. Mr. Pol Saroeun added, ‘No, I never had a company. I never do business. I am a soldier. Why is Global Witness accusing people like silly? They seem to look down on people too much.’

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said that the oil resources ow being explored to be exploited in future, have not yet produced even one percent of what is expected. The Cambodian government is not stupid in managing all natural resources.

“He continued to say, ‘So far, no oil has yet been produced, we just known that there is oil. Therefore, we have not planned how to use it, because no oil has been extracted yet. But the government is not stupid in distributing revenues of its resources.’ A secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Prach Son, said that many oil and mineral exploration companies in Cambodia are from foreign countries, from China or from Australia. All those companies get exploration licenses in Cambodia, but they are not allowed to take raw materials to their countries.

“Global Witness has tried to ask for explanations from government officials, oknhas, generals, companies mentioned in its report, but has, so far, not received sufficient explanations. It has not even obtained a response from Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen reacting to the report since it was released officially. There is only the Li Phoeung [?] company of China that provided an explanation, but Global Witness does not show the details [original unclear – actually, only the Swedish company Lundin Petroleum responded to the inquiries of Global witness – but for information referring to their website].

“The Global Witness director, Mr. Gavin Hayman, said that what the Cambodian government should do is not to provide new concessions too quickly to private companies. The Cambodian government should rather verify and conduct audits on the concessions already provided to those private companies. He went on to say that all donor countries should put pressure on the Cambodian government not to provide new concessions too quickly to private oil, gas, or mineral exploration companies, and to verify them again. The report has found that 70 companies have already received concession contracts and are exploring minerals. Those concessions have been provided without transparency, because there is no clear system in place for providing concessions, besides delivering them to high-ranking officials of the government. Also, he voiced concern about the loss of mineral resources for which concessions have been provided to foreign companies involved in serious human rights abuses in Cambodia, and the government should work effectively to control them.

“Global Witness showed in its report that some oil exploration companies in Cambodia had paid money to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and that money was probably not put into the National Treasury. The report added that oil, gas, and mineral exploration companies are required to pay kickbacks for signing up to bids for concessions with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Like a company from Indonesia, PT Medco Energi Internasional, which has spent US$7.5 million to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Moreover, each company having stakes in mineral exploration according to contracts, is also required to pay taxes annually. In the first year, a tax with the amount of US$800,000 was required to be paid for each concession.

“Global Witness added that in 2006 and 2007, money was not seen to have been put into the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The report said also that an oil exploration company has been exploring oil along the Tonle Sap Lake, the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, which produces between 40% and 70% of fish for the Cambodian people. The Tonle Sap basin is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Global Witness criticized donor countries for not using their influences through development funds to improve good governance, while the annual international aid for Cambodia is equal to half of the national budget.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #13, 6-8.2.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Appointed Ms. Ke Sovannarath Secretary-General [before she was acting secretary-general]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

  • Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given
  • [One faction of] The Norodom Ranariddh Party Asks the Presidents of the National Assembly and of the National Election Committee to Remove [NRP secretary general] Mr. You Hockry and Mr. Sao Rany [from the other faction of the NRP] as Members of Parliament

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1866, 6.2.2009

  • Cambodia Holds the Third Economic Forum [United Nations Development Program, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and other development partners joined the event [Note: the member of the National Assembly Ms. Mu Sochua, was denied access by bodyguards; this surprised the German ambassador so much that he skipped to participate in this event]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #198, 6.2.2009

  • Military Police Surround the Mobitel Company and the Station of the Cambodian Television Network – CTN [of Oknha Kith Meng, for several hours] – Reason not Known
  • A Meeting of the Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Defense Will Be Held Today in Phnom Penh [to discuss border problems]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6571, 6.2.2009

  • Tragedy of a Farmer Family Who Rode a Cart Loaded with Firewood and Hit an Anti-Tank Mine, Triggering an Explosion, Killing Three People and Injuring Two More [a man and his two small sons died, his 6-year old daughter suffered serious wound, and his wife was lightly injured – Battambang]
  • A Car Coming Out from a House Pushed a [female] Student against a Wall, Killing Her [police are investigating, to ask for an arrest warrant for the car driver, also a woman]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3680, 6.2.2009

  • Real Estate Property of Ke Kim Yan Is Expropriated as Property of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to a high ranking official close to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • [Around 20] Military Personnel of the First Region Used Violence to Evict Citizens from Their Land [and threatened to shoot those who dared to protest – Recheanukoul village, Stung Treng commune and district, Stung Treng]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4814, 6.2.2009

  • The Philippines Reduce Taxes for Goods from Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Promises to Update Information on Its Website [after there was criticism from the public; however, confidential documents will not be published]
  • Japanese Investors Are Satisfied with Plan to Invest along Cambodian Beaches [in Koh Kong]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Signs an Agreement with Citi Bank for Training about the Bond Market [officials of the National Bank of Cambodia will be sent to receive training in New York]
  • An Official of National Television [TVK] in Pursat Was Murdered in a Guesthouse [a woman rented a room to sleep with the murdered man, and two other men who had rented a room next door are also suspected in this robbery and murder]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3481, 6.2.2009

  • The Tokyo Government Blocks the Entry of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin into Japan

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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Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors – Thursday, 5.2.2009

Posted on 6 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Disobeying medical ethics, the lack of human resources, the shortages of modern tools for analysis and treatment, result in a situation where many Khmer doctors no longer are considered as serious providers of care for Khmer citizens. The number of Cambodian citizens going to receive medical checkups and treatments in neighboring countries is greatly increasing.

“As the reasons behind, we found that the prices of treatments in foreign countries, especially in Vietnam, are similar to the prices in our own country, but the friendliness of foreign doctors towards patients is probably another factor that provides the warm feeling towards patients receiving health checkups and treatments in foreign countries, even though they know that it requires higher expenses contributing to the economy of other countries.

“Mr. Kosal (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to Vietnam to receive health checkups said that in Vietnam, before a doctor treats an illness, they thoroughly check, they do not just say something and then inject drugs, or to set up a bag of fluid for an intravenous drip, as doctors in Cambodia almost every time do, to get money.

“He added that doctors in other countries speak friendly and from a position of medical ethics, hospitals show to have sanitation standards, and they have modern tools which make patients feel confident when going to have health checkups and treatments in other countries.

“He emphasized, ‘When I say so it is not to advertise their country, or to humiliate our own nation, but the lack of a medical ethos of Khmer doctors, besides their unprincipled words, uncertain checking methods and treating people just for money, demanding money before the treatment, extending the illness [so that patients have to stay longer and spend much money for the treatment], and unqualified skills, make patients no longer feel warmly toward such doctors.’

“He continued to say, ‘I don’t believe that there are no outstanding doctors in Cambodia, and these do not adhere to immoral values,’ adding, ‘but white doctor’s clothes represent pureness, but not all who wear such clothes do respect what the value of their white clothes indicates.’

“Whether those who go to foreign countries are mostly the rich was explained by Mr. Kosal like this. The fees for treatment in the country mentioned are comparable to Cambodia, but there are additional expenses: for the service of interpreters, for accommodation, food, and for travel. Mr. Kosal added that middle class people also go for treatment, not only the rich. In addition to the mutual trust between those providing health checkups and patients in Vietnam or in other countries, pharmacies in these countries sell medicine to customers on the basis of prescriptions from expert doctors, and especially, in these countries, if a doctors do not have the specialization to treat a certain illness, they will not try to provide treatment, but they will help to refer such patients to another hospital with experts for the illness which a patient has.

“Mr. Kosal went on to say that in general in Cambodia – besides treating any kind of illnesses whether or not they are specialized, and injecting bags of fluid through intravenous drips, which is a method they prefer to use to get much money – some of the doctors scare patients, recommending to receive [unnecessary] operations, so that they can earn more money without really caring about people’s health and lives.

“Mr. Bunthoeun (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to receive regular checkups for his liver disease, said, ‘Doctors in Vietnam carefully check illnesses. We learn from them and in their country, they work around-the-clock, making regular visits to take turn caring for patients, unlike in Cambodia, where doctors demand free time on Saturdays and Sundays.

“He added that in that country, people prefer to go to state hospitals rather than to private hospitals, because doctors at state hospitals earn bigger salaries than doctors at private hospitals, which are required to pay high taxes to the state.

“The basis for such trust is explained by Mr. Bunthoeun by saying that in that country, the government often sends doctors to be upgraded by training in foreign countries according to their skills, but not based on nepotism. On the contrary, in Cambodia doctors pay bribes to receive training, and if they fail exams they demand to continue their studies. As a result, when they become doctors, some do not have qualified skills for their career, and then they treat patients without certainty what to do, by just injecting drugs based on vague assumptions.

“Mr. Bunthoeun criticized also that some doctors in Cambodia, who have little knowledge, become proud of themselves, and even when they have almost created more problems for patients, they do not call them, and if they write prescriptions, they write them in French, in order to show off that they are knowledgeable, and their handwriting is difficult to read.

“He asked, ‘Why don’t they write in Khmer? If it is “vitamin,” why not write “វីតាមីន​” in Khmer, so that it is understandable? Why is it written in French?’ Creating trust will help reduce that patients leave to foreign countries, which wastes resources of the national economy, because if ‘doctors can create trust in the country, people will not go abroad.’

“The director of the Mekong Phnom Penh Clinic, which always sends patients to foreign countries according to their requests, Mr. Kong Kimchan, said that to send a patient to Vietnam costs between US$300 and US$400, adding that not only the rich, but also middle class people can go, and the fees for treatments are lower than in Cambodia, but a lot of expenses are needed for accommodation, food, and travel.

“As for the fact that many Khmer patients leave to go abroad, he said, ‘I do not know what to say about human resources in Cambodia, so that many people no longer have trust.’

“Mr. Kong Kimchan added that many factors influence people to no longer have trust; talking about human resources, we also have many, but the private services at some places, and the uncertainty people in general feel, and insufficient knowledge, are reasons affecting other human resources. He went on to say that also belated transportation facilities in emergencies at some localities affect the trust of the people. Although patients are transported to state hospitals, they no longer have trust.

“He continued to say, ‘Reorganizing the system for all people at the basis is good, because patients are not only in the cities, and I do not believe that Khmer doctors exaggerate the general situation of illnesses, because they also want a good reputation.’

“Regarding the lack of tools as a problem, he said, ‘We have received assistance to have many tools, and human resources are also many, but we do not share information well. Therefore, people do not know what we did and how many people we saved. After we would have published such information, what can we do? Are there enough arguments to be presented? In other countries, they have arguments and they have tools.’ He added, ‘We still have shortages; we need additional tools and additional training of human resources.’

“Do hospitals in Cambodia really have the problems as mentioned above? The director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Mr. Say Sengly, recognized, ‘The quality of our services is really limited if compared to neighboring countries, but at present, we are reforming everything, the medical ethos, the techniques, and the procedures for the care of patients.’

“He added, ‘If we talk about the rights of customers and of service providers, the service providers have to take care of patients, but we do not restrain patients, if they want to go to neighboring countries to find better qualified treatment. He continued to say that as for making patients afraid, and the excessive use of too many intravenous drips, it seldom happens at state hospitals, but frequently it happens in private clinics so as to receive much income.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #12, 5.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Appear to Explain His Position to the [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court on 11 February 2009 [on a complaint lodged against him by the National Election Committee, as he has not paid Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, for defamation – related to a speech during the election campaign in 2008]
  • [Around 3,000] Workers of a Shoe Factory Strike to Demand that the Factory Owner Obeys the Labor Law

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #112, 5-6.2.2009

  • [Adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee] Mr. Om Yentieng Reacts to a Report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association ADHOC [voicing concerns over serious land disputes, poor law enforcement, and impunity in 2008 – Mr. Om Yentieng said, ‘I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC’s report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.’]
  • [Former director of the Phnom Penh Department of Education] Mr. Chea Cheat Is Appointed to Replace Mr. Oum Hoeung, Who Is Sent into Retirement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1865, 5.2.2009

  • Serbia Deploys Ambassador [accredited in Indonesia also] to Cambodia for the First Time
  • A US Ten-Stories Tourist Cruise Ship [with around 1,393 tourists from more than 100 countries] Docks in Sihanoukville
  • Agricultural Researchers of Singapore and Taiwan Come to Study Land Availability and Quality in Cambodia for Investment
  • The United States of America Warns North Korea about Missile Testing as Creating Trouble

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #335, 5.2.2009

  • 19 Generals Are Appointed Advisors to Samdech Hun Sen after the Shift of H. E. Ke Kim Yan [as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #337, 5.2.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Demands Euro 100,000 [approx. US$130,000] Reparation from [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy, but the French Court Reduces It to One Euro [regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s book, defaming him, that he was, as Boeng Trabaek prison chief, also victimizing innocent Khmer citizens; but the court allows the publishing of the book after deleting one sentence defaming Mr. Hor Namhong]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #197, 5.2.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Protests in Front of the Headquarters of the 7NG Company to Demand US$20,000 as Compensation [among the 1,465 Dey Krahom families, 45 try to demand US$20,000 compensation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6570, 5.2.2009

  • Appeals to the Tamil Tiger Insurgents [by the USA, the European Union, Japan, and Norway] to Surrender [because their fate comes almost to and end through the Sri Lankan government military forces]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3679, 5.2.2009

  • A Person Who Was Close to [top Khmer Rouge leader] Pol Pot [Van Sith, an important former Khmer Rouge official in charge of commerce] Died. It is a Significant Loss for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia, he died in late 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

  • Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors
  • Negotiation in Bangkok: Thailand Continues to Demand to Use the Word Pra Vihan [พระวิหาร in Thai – Preah Vihear ព្រះវិហារ in Khmer] Which Blocks Border Marker Settings
  • A personal note:

    In Europe, at the French-German border, we use, of course, both languages on the border signs: “France” and “Frankreich,” and “Allemagne” and “Deutschland” – no problem.

    As for a big city which, during the centuries, was sometimes German and sometimes French – the French call it “Strasbourg” and the Germans call it “Straßburg.”

    It is surprising that this common sense question of the two languages is mentioned as posing the difficulties, while there has no mutual agreement ever been announced where to put the markers in the widely contested area – always considering the very restricted Cambodian claim – “for the time being” – expressed by the Cambodian side in the Joint Communique of 18 June 2008.

  • Five Children Found to Have Survived the Tuol Sleng Prison [in videos about the Tuol Sleng prison recently provided by Vietnam, taken at the time of the liberation of the prison by Vietnamese soldiers in 1979, who documented it on film] the Documentation Is Now Being Sought to Be Used as Witness Material
  • The Government Creates a New Committee to Solve Investors’ Problems
  • France Asks to Permit again International Adoptions of Children from Cambodia, but Cambodia Suggests to Consider Some Conditions [1. Should single persons be allowed to adopt children or not?, 2. Should families that already have two children be allowed to adopt another child?, and 3. Should gay families be allowed to adopt a child?]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3480, 5.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has Received 94 Civil Party Victim’s Complaints for the Case of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [Kaing Gek Eav]

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The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Wednesday, 4.2.2009

Posted on 5 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“A delegation from Germany announced on Monday, 2 February 2009, that the government of Germany suspends all its aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal until corruption allegations at the international tribunal are solved, and the Berlin government encourages the fourth-term government of power holder Prime Minister Hun Sen, established by a combined vote, to provide a role also to oppositions parties in Cambodia, following democratic principles.

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse, the vice-president of the German parliament, visiting Cambodia, said on Monday that the government of Germany halts funding for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as long as the corruption allegations at this tribunal are not solved. Wolfgang Thierse said, ‘We will continue supporting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, provided corruption allegations are cleared up, but all funding to be provided is now suspended.’

“On Monday morning, the delegation from Germany met with parliamentarians of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], its partner Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party which is facing an internal fractional split. As for the alliance of the Democratic Movement for Change, comprising the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, they refused to join the meeting with the three parties mentioned above at the National Assembly, claiming that the oppositions parties do not hold positions in the nine commissions of the fourth-term National Assembly. However, on Monday evening, the opposition parties met with the delegation from Germany at a place outside of the National Assembly; to meet outside like this was regarded by the vice-president of the parliament of Germany as ‘correct,’ because the ruling party controls all positions of chairing all commissions of the National Assembly.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that the National Assembly is not a proper meeting place for the Sam Rainsy Party with Mr. Wolfgang Thierse. She went on to say, ‘We are not part of the commissions of the National Assembly. Therefore, we will not attend this meeting.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, which form an alliance, announced that the CPP had invited also the opposition parties to attend the meeting at the National Assembly, but the opposition parties held a meeting with the delegation from Germany separately from the ruling party, which controls both the government and the National Assembly, which is in contrast to democratic principles, and the CPP wants to eliminate the voice of the opposition parties, both in the government and in the National Assembly. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘There is nothing to discuss. The government and the opposition parties should have separate meetings.’

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse raised, during his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, the importance of opposition parties in democracy, especially the role of opposition parties in the National Assembly, referring to an example in the parliament of Germany, where opposition parties control important commissions of the parliament, and all political parties having seats in the parliament have to cooperate in this legislative institution.

“The delegation from Germany will stay in Cambodia five days, and yesterday, Tuesday, the delegation from Germany boarded an airplane to Siem Reap, to meet members of the German Angkor Conservation Project, who are doing restoration work at the Angkor Wat temples.

“According to information from a group joining the visit of the delegation from Germany to Cambodia, this visit is also a response to concerns raised by the opposition parties, demanding that the European Parliament of the European Union intervenes, related to the control of all commissions of the National Assembly by the ruling CPP of Prime Minister Hun Sen, without involving the main opposition party which has 26 seats in the National Assembly.

“During a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse encouraged strongman Hun Sen to clearly accept the opposition party’s role, both in the National Assembly and in the government, following democratic policies, if Hun Sen really accepts the free multi-party politics according to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. He emphasized that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controls the government and the National Assembly, which makes democracy in Cambodia moving backwards, as it shuts up the voice of opposition parties [in parliamentary activities] in Cambodia.

“Regarding corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse clearly specified that the government of Germany has to stop all aid to this hybrid tribunal, suffering allegations of serious corruption. Because officials and judges of this tribunal are said to have paid kickbacks every month to three officials of the administration: to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, to the director of the Office of Administration of the tribunal Sean Visoth, and to the tribunal’s personnel section director Keo Thyvuth, for letting them work at this international tribunal.

“Mr. Wolfgang encouraged also to conduct a clear investigation about the complaint of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, requesting this civil court to take action by investigating allegations of a corruption scandal, rumored since a long time at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If an investigation is not conducted properly, and the corruption allegation at this tribunal is not solved, the government of Germany will stop providing aid to this tribunal forever.

“According to information from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the director of administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Sean Visoth, accused of having received kickbacks from tribunal officials, has not shown up for work for nearly one month, since international lawyers defending Nuon Chea lodged a complaint against him and against two other persons at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2009. The Municipal Court is investigating this lawsuit, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, notorious for corruption, probably cannot discover corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Legal observers in Cambodia said that they have little trust in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to probe and bring officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, involved in corruption, for prosecution according to the law, because some officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are also working at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, such as Yet Chakriya, who is the deputy co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and he is also the newly nominated chief prosecutor of the Municipal Court. Therefore, Yet Chakriya cannot do anything against orders of higher officials, because he is afraid of being removed from his positions either at the Municipal Court or at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Moneaksekar or Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.3, #398, 4-12.2.2009

  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Becomes a Place to Create Spokespersons [a first five-weeks training is provided to 18 officials from state institutions and non-government organizations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1864, 4.2.2009

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time [over a complaint lodged against him by the National Assembly, as he has not paid Riel 10 million [approx. US$2,500] for a defamation charge about a speech during his election campaign in 2008]
  • Lawyers and [PJ] Prison Officials Deny that Two [Thai] Jemaah Islamiya Convicts Are Released and Sent to Thailand [Phnom Penh]
  • The Philippines Government Has the Intention to Accept Cambodian Rice to Be Sold in the Philippines
  • 26 Million Migrant Workers [among 130 million] in China’s Countryside Are Unemployed [according to an announcement of the Chinese government]
  • [Democratically elected political leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Told the UN Envoy that She Was Disappointed [that the United Nations that cannot persuade the junta leaders of Myanmar holding strict position to end their dictatorship]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #334, 4.2.2009

  • The King Goes to Beijing [to meet his parents and to have a medical checkup]
  • There Is No Ministry Responsible for the Stagnation of Agricultural Products of Khmer Farmers

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #196, 4.2.2009

  • The National Election Committee Announces to Political Parties to Prepare to Participate in the New [district and provincial-city] Councils Elections [which will be held on 17 May 2009 – the registration of political parties will be held from 26 February to 2 March 2009]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6569, 4.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sent a Diplomatic Note to the Embassies, related to Foreigners Marrying Cambodians
    [informing them that foreigners applying for marriage registrations are not obliged to become member of any organization in order to get marriage rights with Cambodian citizens, and they should also be instructed not to use any marriage broker agencies, as this is against the laws of Cambodia]
  • A Man Raped His Step Daughter since She Was Eleven Years Old Until She Is Now Sixteen – When His Wife Found It out [he was arrested, Kompong Cham]
  • Iran Launches Its First [self-made] Satellite

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

  • The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Ministers of Defense Will Meet to Discuss the Border Disputes on 6 February 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4812, 4.2.2009

  • Human Rights Report: Land Disputes Are some of the Most Serious Human Rights Violations in 2008
  • Note:

    Some more details are here on the Internet in Ka-set:

    Concern is the order of the day, ADHOC president Thun Saray indicates. In 2008, Human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures on seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. “Such accusations from government officials were designed to intimidate workers and activists”, from providing legal advice and assistance to victims in land disputes with private companies and powerful people, ADHOC denounces in its report. In 2008, according to the Human rights NGO, at least 164 Human rights defenders were subjected to such threats in 63 separate cases.

    And:

    Similar tone of speech at the headquarters of the LICADHO, another Cambodian organization for the defense of Human rights. Its president, Kek Galabru, observes with the same concern the increase in the number of threats towards activists, whether they be attached to NGOs or not. “We have already pointed this out in several reports. I will give you a recent example: one of our employees was hit at Dey Krahom as he was only explaining their rights to residents! Our staff also received unsigned mail containing the drawing of a skull and crossbones… Saying that we are the ones behind the demonstrations is only an excuse used by the government to avoid solving problems. We never acted like that!”, LICADHO president says.

  • Siam [Thailand] Changes Its Intention, to Send Only Seven of Eighteen Smuggled Artifacts Back to Cambodia
  • Fifteen Cambodian Officials [independent experts and civil society officials] Will Have a [one-week] Study Tour to Europe [provided by the Delegation of the European Commission in Cambodia, to share and to encourage knowledge among trainees about measures of the European Union for solving some key problems, such as legal and court reforms, good governance, human rights, and promotion of democracy]
  • [Ousted former prime minister] Thaksin Told Puea Thai Party that He Will Return to Be Prime Minister One Day

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Charge d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial – Tuesday, 3.2.2009

Posted on 4 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: The cooperation between the Cambodian government and the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia was broadened towards civil society, and the European Commission is an important development partner of the government. A reporter of Rasmei Kampuchea, Mr. Yin Leangkong, had an interview with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, to analyze these relations.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What improvements regarding relations of cooperation between the European Union [a political and economic union of 27 member states] and the Cambodian government do you see in recent years?

The Chargé d’Affaires: The relations between the European Union and the Cambodian government grew very well during these recent years, while we had significant economic and technical cooperation with the Cambodian government. Last year, we sent an observer mission to Cambodia in order to participate in observing the elections. Through the election observer mission of the European Union, we created some recommendations from the observations, and those recommendations were supported not only by civil society, but also by the Cambodian government and different opposition parties. Therefore, both groups – civil society and the Cambodian government – supported the position of the European Union regarding the elections.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What problems do you consider to be challenges between the European Commission and the Cambodian government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Being partners, we always worked together and discussed with one another, and also we provided aid to the Cambodian government. Actually, we are not always satisfied with all what the Cambodian government has done, but also, we do not think that all what the government has done is mostly wrong. Our position is to offer support to reform programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia. We also follow with interest the slow reform progress, which has not accomplished what we had hoped for, for example, the adoption of an anti-corruption law is very slow. But we know also that the Royal Government of Cambodia is making efforts to encourage this work to move ahead.

“The European Union is also concerned about the forced evictions by using such force. Like the recent Dey Krahom case, we discussed it also with the Royal Government of Cambodia to find solutions for this problem, and we will continue to meet and discuss eviction problems, and the guarantee of the rule of law in Cambodia.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Do you consider such evictions to be part of corruption in the government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: It is a difficult problem, and I cannot answer this question, but I would like to emphasize that what we want to see is the rule of law. It is known that the European Commission has assisted Cambodia in many different sectors. For instance, we help the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s proceedings, seeing that international standards of law have been established. We support also good governance in different sectors in Cambodia.

“Regarding the evictions, I am really concerned about the use of force in evictions, and we are concerned that there has to be support for the rule of law, leading to justice and fairness in compensations for the various families living there.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Together with the progress of this cooperation, the relations have also faced problems. What do you think can be done to make the cooperation between both sides smooth?

The Chargé d’Affaires: What is important is that we focus on bilateral discussions between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia. I would like to mention three significant events: First, last November, we had regular and official discussions about human rights, good governance, and democracy. Second, we will discuss cooperation between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia, to know what factors need to be improved. Third, we will provide support for different sectors through this cooperation, such as human rights, rural development, health, and education. In March, there will be a joint meeting between Cambodia and the European Commission, in order to further strengthen partnership, and make it smoother – which are the points for our eventual discussions.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Regarding the progress of democracy in Cambodia, do you think that Cambodia is on the right track?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Cambodia is on a track of reforms, and theses reforms are crucial. I would like to refer to the experience of Spain [the home country of Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]. From 1939 to 1975, this country was under the control of the Dictator Franco, and during that period, the court system was very corrupt. However, after he died, Spain undertook reforms towards a just court system and a new administration system, but it took many years to improve the situation. Likewise, Cambodia needs much time to achieve these high goals, and it might take a generation.

“It is important that these reforms are started from the schools. Teachers need better salaries, and judges have to earn higher salaries in order to crack down on corruption, and all of us have to start working together to weed out corruption.

Rasmei Kampuchea: According to your point of view, is Cambodia already on the right track towards those positive goals?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have sponsored and supported by funding programs for education through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. We do not grant monetary resources to build schools, but we support, both with funds and training, to expand the capability of education officials, like through accounting skill, financial management, and audits. As for the education sector in Cambodia, I can say that it is on the right track, and that is why we continue supporting this sector.

Rasmei Kampuchea: In May, Cambodia will hold provincial and city council elections. Has the Cambodian government requested funds or experts from the European Union?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have not received any request from the government, asking for funds for the elections. But after the general elections in July 2008, we provided two experts to help the National Election Committee technically – one person helps with the legal section, and the other one helps with the publishing system. This support is provided for six to eight months. As we knew, there is much work that we have to do as stated in reports of the election observer missions, in order to assure independence and trustworthiness of the National Election Committee.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Some people think that the provincial and city elections are useless. What do you think? Are they useful for the progress of democracy or not?

The Chargé d’Affaires: I cannot say whether they are useful or not, but what I think is that the European Union provides support for decentralization and deconcentration. Therefore, any work contributing to encourage decentralization and deconcentration is good.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Relating to Siem Reap Airlines which has been black-listed in the European Union since late 2008, what is its process?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We got a report in late 2008 from a direct assessment by a group of the International Civil Aviation Organization that came to assess different safety systems, and they released a report saying that the safety systems in Cambodia need improvements. The report was sent also to the Royal Government of Cambodia for consideration. In November 2008, the European Union held a meeting with the Cambodian government to hear responses to the problems found. According to reports from member countries, the European Union decided to put Siem Reap Airlines on a blacklist, so that flights are not allowed to Europe, and this company had to halt their activities until now. What we want to see is that there should be assurances from the Royal Government of Cambodia and from Siem Reap Airlines about their safety and security procedures, before we remove it from the blacklist.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #111, 3-4.2.2009

  • An Economist [the director of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Mr. Chan Sophal]: The Government Has to Prepare More Money to Encourage Local Products and to Export Goods
  • A Clay Grinding Machine Seizes [left] Hand of a Woman [a kiln worker – Siem Reap]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #333, 3.2.2009

  • Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party Form Alliance to Compete Together for Seats in the Future
  • 25 Houses Behind the Tuol Sangkae Electricity Power Station Were Destroyed [by fire – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1863, 3.2.2009

  • Construction of the Kbal Thnol Elevated Road Will Begin in April, at a Cost of US$6 Million [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Trainees Go to Japan to Study Human Resources Development in the Health Sector and in Medical Treatment Services
  • Mr. Obama Will Start Direct Negotiations with Iran and Syria

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #195, 3.2.2009

  • The National Bank Decreases the Bank Reserve Rate [from 16% to 12%] for Private Banks so that They Can Provide Loans to Reinvest in Real Estate

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #668, 3.2.2009

  • German [parliament] Delegation Wants to See Opposition Parties in Commissions of the National Assembly; [the chairperson of the parliamentary Commission on Economy, Finance, and Audits] Mr. Cheam Yeap: He Had Let Them to Join, but They Disagreed [as they have no responsibility for any commission – while the German delegation shared their experience that opposition parties also lead commissions so that all parties have to work together]
  • The 7NG Company Distributes Donations to Former Dey Krahom Residents [of 79 families who had recently agreed to receive a small house far away as compensation in Dangkao district after the eviction, and calls on the rest of 12 families to accept this also]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3677, 3.2.2009

  • 42 Court Officials [including the president of the Supreme Court, Mr. Dith Munty, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ouk Vithun] and 27 Generals Are Sent into Retirement
  • An English Television [Channel 4] Reported that Many Foreign Companies Are Seeking to Acquire Land in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

  • Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial
  • Cambodians Become Fisher Slaves in the Sea of Thailand [theguardianweekly global network published an article with the title Forced to Fish: Cambodia’s Sea Slaves]
  • Cambodia Will Demand Thailand in a Bangkok Meeting to Define a Specific Date to Put Preah Vihear Border Markers [though there is no mutual agreement where to put them]

  • Hungary Will Forgive 50% of the Loans given to Cambodia and Change the Remaining 50% into Grant Aid [no amounts mentioned]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks the Federal Republic of Germany to Assist in Legal and Court Reforms
  • The Government Closes the Sexy Apsara Paintings Website

    Note: It is an unclear situation, because the government has not issued a widely and publicly known banning order, and not all Internet service providers in Cambodia are blocking the site. – See the Mirror editorial from last Sunday here.]

  • 352 Species of Animals Are Found Living in the Region where the Kirirom 3 Hydro-Electric Dam Is to Be Built [there is concern that this plan will affect the shelter of the animals living in that 1,118 hectares of forest land]
  • Pictures of Carnivore and Herbivore Dinosaurs Found on Angkor and Bayon Walls

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3479, 3.2.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Government Rejects 15-Day Ultimatum [for the premier to resign] by Pro-[ousted former Thai Prime Minister]-Thaksin Red-Shirt Demonstrators

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Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia – Monday, 2.2.2009

Posted on 3 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Recently, human rights officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a report denouncing that there were serious human rights abuses in the forced eviction of thousands of Khmer poor citizens from their houses in order to grab land. The report of the UN Human Rights Council noted that the number of evictions of citizens has increased throughout Cambodia.

Note:

Reference is made available to several UN resources here, including steps to access them.

UN Office for Human Rights

Select: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands homeless: UN expert

Press Release: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands of people homeless. 30 January 2009.

The following statement on the latest in a series of forced evictions in Cambodia was issued today by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik.

“More than 130 families were forcibly evicted during the night of 23 and 24 January 2009 from Dey Krahom, in central Phnom Penh to make way for a private company to redevelop the site.

“The forced eviction was carried out in the middle of the night, without prior notice and the shelters belonging to this poor community were torn down and destroyed. This situation has grave consequences for all the victims, but particularly the women and children. Reports also state that prior to the eviction, the community suffered intimidation and community representatives and members were also subjected to criminal charges.

“It is regrettable that the ongoing negotiations with the residents were abandoned, casting aside a valuable opportunity to reach a just and lawful solution to this longstanding dispute. It is now of utmost importance that the rights of the residents to fair compensation for their lost homes and property and the provision of adequate alternative housing are fully respected.

“Unfortunately this is by no means an isolated case, and the increase in forced evictions throughout Cambodia is very alarming. Reports indicate that tens of thousands of poor people have been forcibly evicted and displaced, pushing them into homelessness and further destitution.

“In Cambodia, a consistent pattern of violation of rights has been observed in connection with forced evictions: systematic lack of due process and procedural protections; inadequate compensation; lack of effective remedies for communities facing eviction; excessive use of force; and harassment, intimidation and criminalization of NGOs and lawyers working on this issue.

“Forced evictions constitute a grave breach of human rights. They can be carried out only in exceptional circumstances and with the full respect of international standards. Given the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by the victims of forced evictions, I urge the Cambodian authorities to establish a national moratorium on evictions until their policies and actions in this regard have been brought into full conformity with international human rights obligations.”

The former Special Rapporteur on adequate housing conducted a mission to Cambodia in 2005 and presented a mission report on his findings and recommendations (E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.3). Concerns on forced evictions in Cambodia have been shared through a large number of communications by the Special Rapporteur with the authorities. These communications remain unanswered to date.

More information on the work and reports of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, including a series of pictures, is here; to see them, select
Photographs of the evictions (PDF) at the end of the text.

“The report of the UN Human Rights Council condemning the Cambodian government for human rights abuses was made after the eviction of the Dey Krahom residents in the Tonle Bassac commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, on 24 January 2009. In that event, citizens of more than 100 families were beaten wildly and machinery was used to demolish their houses brutally. These activities seriously violated the citizens’ living rights, and violated also human rights conventions of the United Nations.

“Through a statement on Friday, 30 January 2009, an expert officials of the United Nations [the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik] asked the Khmer authorities to suspend evicting residents from their houses, because it is against international human rights obligations. But the Phnom Penh authorities and the Hun Sen government do not care about the report of the UN Human Rights Council, and the corrupt Phnom Penh authorities still collude with the 7NG company of Oknha Srey Sothea to grab citizens’ land impudently. At present, the Dey Krahom residents victimized by the eviction require shelters and need urgent aid from national and international organizations, as well as from generous individuals.

“Local human rights officials observing the collusion between the municipal authorities and the 7NG company evicting the citizens from the Dey Krahom region, said that most citizens have not yet received proper compensation. In contrast, the 7NG company of iniquitous businessman Srey Sothea had set an ultimatum for getting compensation from the company.

“Local human rights organization officials said that the criticism by human rights expert officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, is in line with the real situation in Cambodia. In fact, that the municipal authorities collude with the 7NG company and ordered armed forces to evict the more than 100 families from their houses in the Dey Krahom region is a problem that cannot be glossed over. Therefore, the government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, must consider how to respect human rights, in order to avoid criticism from all directions.

“Land dispute observers in Cambodia criticized the fact that during these last six months, abuses of citizens’ land, and evictions of citizens, happened more than before the fourth-term national elections on 27 July 2008. Even though the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes was changed, the number of land disputes could not be reduced. On the contrary, after Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, appointed Bin Chhin as the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes to replace [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, land disputes grew more severe.

“Many said that after the Phnom Penh authorities colluded with the 7NG company to evict the Dey Krahom residents, citizens of the Group 78 in Tonle Bassac and citizens in the Boeung Kak region are very frightened, because they may soon face the same injustice like the Dey Krahom residents. Residents of the Group 78 in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac and of the Boeung Kak region, appeal to local and international human rights organizations to help find solutions for them, so that they will not suffer human rights abuses like the Dey Krahom residents.

“Previously, important international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, frequently released reports criticizing human rights abuses in Cambodia, especially evictions of citizens. Reacting against such criticisms, the not trustworthy man Om Yentieng, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government and senior advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, frequently denies the facts, claiming that the respect for human rights in Cambodia has improved. However, after the events on 14 January 2008, Om Yentieng could no longer conceal the fact, because victimized Dey Krahom residents gathered to protest at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Tiger Cave Tuol Krasaing headquarters.

“Human rights organization officials observing land violations in Cambodia assume that during the fourth-term government, set up through a unified and comprehensive vote, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, land disputes will not decrease, and what Hun Sen said about the possibility of a land revolution, is said as a kind of an empty predictiion. If Hun Sen were really willing to settle land disputes, this strong man of Cambodia will not allow senior officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked businessmen, and the armed forces to use execute power to grab citizens’ land as they liked and do at present.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #39, 2-8.2.2009

  • 796 Education Officials Get Work Medals [for doing good work in 2008 – in Phnom Penh there are 9,905 teachers and education officials]

Bakong, Vol.10, #252, 1-2.2.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Headquarters Was Put in Disarray by a Student Group and by Party Members [reflecting an internal factional split – Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1862, 1-2.2.2009

  • A Cambodian Private Hospital Association Will Be Created to Help Poor People
  • Siamese [Thai] Demonstrators Announced Having Controlled the Government House on Saturday Night

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #335, 1-3.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Is Angry with [the former RCAF commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan for Hosting a Party with Commanders with Funcinpec and Khmer People’s National Liberation Front [of Mr. Son Sann] Backgrounds on 5 January 2009
  • Three More Generals Are Removed from Their Positions [they are Lieutenant General Dam Vuthy, Lieutenant General Dam Dararith – they are brothers, and Lieutenant General Tan Phanna, who is a younger brother of General Chhin Chanpor who was recently removed as the deputy military police commander]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #720, 2-7.2.2009

  • Immigrant Police in Dar Commune Allow Yuons [Vietnamese] to Enter to Do Their Businesses Freely [by just paying some money – according to local citizens and merchants, Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6567, 2.2.2009

  • A Truck [loaded with pigs] Collided with a Bus: A Tragedy on National Road 5 Killed Three People and Seriously Injured 15 Others [Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

  • Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls on Those Loving Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party in Order to Protect the National Interest [he said so during an extraordinary congress of the party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4810, 1-2.2.2009

  • An [unnamed] Owner of a Rubber Plantation Pays Compensation for a Woman Killed by the Daughter of Mr. Lar Sarith, a Well-Known Singer [she was released after about 20 hours detention – Phnom Penh. She had fled after the accident, but finally police managed to arrest her by shooting a car tire flat. The accident injured a moto-taxi driver and destroyed his vehicle – compensated with US$1,200 – but killed a woman – compensated with US$1,800]
  • The Fifth Person of a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [involved in planting explosive devices in Phnom Penh] Is Arrested and Brought to Court
  • Mr. Yet Chakriya Takes the Position of Prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court [replacing Mr. Ouk Savuth]
  • Cambodia Asks Israel to Consider Importing Rice from Cambodia
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Admires Cambodia for Fighting AIDS Successfully
  • US$40 Is Released to Each Worker of the LA Factory for the First Step [to settle outstanding payments]
  • The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea Cooperates with the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3478, 1-2.2.2009

  • New Evidence to Accuse Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch – some videos provided by Vietnam about the Tuol Sleng prison showing detention rooms, tools for detaining prisoners, and many dead bodies, when Vietnam forces found this prison in January 1979]

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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