Week 617

Why Are the Thai-Cambodian Relations Not Kept More Transparent? – Sunday, 21.6.2009

Posted on 22 June 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 617 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

On Saturday, 13.6.2009, we carried the translation of a very positive retrospect: A Meeting between Hun Sen and Abhisit Vejjajiva Leads to Many Good Results and Proceeds in Good Atmosphere, based on statements by an assistant of the Cambodian prime minister. Now, some days later, the climate has definitely deteriorated. What has caused this change of the atmosphere?

Media in Thailand and then in Cambodia reported that the Thai prime minister had said Thailand would request that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee review the listing of the Preah Vihear temple, when this committee meets for its 33rd Session next week. And he added that the inscription of the Preah Vihear Temple so far had led to conflict between the two countries – an undeniale sad reality.

The rection of the Cambodian prime minister was very strong. These are the words as reported in a publication in Thailand:

“I think that as a prime minister of one country, his words infringed on the sovereignty of [Cambodia],” Hun Sen said, adding that during his visit last week to Phnom Penh, Abhisit failed to raise the issue in talks with the government.

I hope that his aim will not be successful, and I hope that UNESCO will not be stupid enough to go along with his gambit.”

We do not know which words were actually used, and what is an extended interpretation by the media or a result of the translations between Thai, English, and Khmer back and forth.

But there are sections in documents from 2008 to which we have repeatedly referred in the Mirror, pointing out that they were – as far as we could find out – never translated into Khmer for publication in the Khmer language press, containing important elements also relating to the present discussions. We quote some sections from them again:

World Herigage Committee Decision: 32 COM 8B.102

The World Heritage Committee,

. . .

4. Expressing gratitude to the governments of Belgium, the United States of America, France, and India for providing support for the work of experts to assist in this effort, and to the governments of China and Japan, as well as ICCROM, for providing valuable expert input to this process,…

6. Noting that the State Party of Cambodia submitted to the World Heritage Center the revised graphic plan of the property (RGPP) included in WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add2 (hereinafter called ” RGPP”) indicating a revised perimeter of the area proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List,

7. Decides, on an exceptional basis, to accept, in view of the multilateral process leading to the elaboration of the supplementary report submitted in May 2008 by the State Party of Cambodia at the request of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, the information submitted by the State Party beyond the deadline established in the paragraph 148 of the Operational Guidelines;…

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;

10. Considers further that archaeological research is underway which could result in new significant discoveries that might enable consideration of a possible new transboundary nomination, that would require the consent of both Cambodia and Thailand;

11. Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear, and agrees that it would be desirable in the future to reflect its full values and landscape setting through a possible additional inscription to the World Heritage List…

12. Inscribes the Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, on the World Heritage List…;

13. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Temple of Preah Vihear, a unique architectural complex of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases on an 800 meter long axis, is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture, in terms of plan, decoration and relationship to the spectacular landscape environment.

Authenticity, in terms of the way the buildings and their materials express well the values of the property, has been established. The attributes of the property comprise the temple complex; the integrity of the property has to a degree been compromised by the absence of part of the promontory from the perimeter of the property. The protective measures for the Temple, in terms of legal protection are adequate; the progress made in defining the parameters of the Management Plan needs to be consolidated into an approved, full Management Plan;

14. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards;

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property;

c) confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan;

16. Further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center by February 2010, for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 a full Management Plan for the inscribed property, including a finalized map.

It has – to our knowledge – not been reported in the Khmer press, that a number of the conditions described in the World Heritage Committee’s decision of July 2008, requiring international cooperation, and specifically cooperation between the governments of Cambodia and the government of Thailand, have been or have not been fulfilled. If we missed to see such reporting in the Khmer language press, we would highly appreciate to be informed about relevant sources.

It is therefore not just an idea of the Thai prime minister, but it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage procedure, to reconsider pending problems, as can be seen in the UNESCO announcement for the next World Heritage Committee to meet in Sevilla, Spain, from 22 to 30 June 2009.

The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List when it meets for its 33rd session in Seville, Spain, from 22 to 30 June 2009.

Thirty new properties in total were submitted for inscription on the World Heritage List this year:

. . .

The Committee will also review the state of conservation of the 30 World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger and may decide to add to that list new properties whose preservation requires special attention. The List in Danger features sites which are threatened by a variety of problems such as pollution, urban development, poorly managed mass tourism, wars, and natural disasters, which have a negative impact on the outstanding values for which the sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List.

When the Club of Cambodian Journalists held the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia under the motto ‘Assessments by Editors of the Situation of Access to Information’ on 27 December 2008, a report on their findings and requests “to play a better role as conveyor of messages from citizens to the Royal Government and from the Royal Government to citizens,” specifically mentioned also as a problem:

Access to information related to the Preah Vihear border disputes

In spite of the questions left open by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and the specific requests for further clarification, including between the governments of Cambodia and Thailand stated in the UNESCO documents, it is surprising that the Khmner press, which carried varios critical articles about the fact that Thai representatives, during some border meetings, used the Thai language version – Pra Viharn referring to the Preah Vihear temple – while the Khmer press did not translate and publish the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decisions in Khnmer. It seems that the Khmer public is not much aware about what the Khmer government representative in this process actually agreed upon.

To do so would not only show what actually – and in detail – was decided. It would also be a contribution to inform the Khmer reading public about that some of the often repeated claims “that there is nothing to be discussed with Thailand anymore – everything is clear” is not true. The hard work to elaborate the details and to work towards mutual agreements has not yet started.

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Who Are the Africans in Cambodia? – Saturday, 20.6.2009

Posted on 21 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

“Phnom Penh: In recent years, a new group of foreigners are found increasingly in Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh: black people from Africa. Khmer people normally call white people formed any country ‘Barang’ [this Khmer word is formed mimicking the French phonetic word ‘France’ → ‘farance’ – ‘farang’ – because the French were the first Westerners which could be seen often in Cambodia]. Cambodians became used to seeing them and their way of life and behavior. Since the establishment of the French colonial protectorate 1863 [until now, there have been mainly white people who come to live and to do business in Cambodia. Now, black foreigners started to appear in Cambodia. Khmer people are more or less interested who these African people are, they attract attention from Khmer people who want to know what their work and function in Cambodia might be.

“Most of them walk in small groups, and they often meet each other at different places of business [like department stores or petrol stations], and some have their own cars like other foreigners [and Cambodians]. Sometimes, their activities along the roads show what their jobs are. For example, some wear sport suits and carry a football, so they are footballers. Some others wear proper normal clothing: they are restaurant owners, businesspeople, or English language teachers.

“How many black people are in Cambodia?

“In general, these African people rent housing in Phnom Penh, and they rarely go to other far away places in the countryside – different from Indians and people from Sri Lanka whose job it is to sell mosquito nets and second hand garments in Cambodia.

“According to the president of the Nigerian Association in Cambodia, Mr. Gabriel Ken Gadaffi, many African people are living in Cambodia, and most of them are Nigerians. Mr. Ken added that so far, there have been about 300 Nigerians who had registered as members of his association. This is only the number of names that had been listed, and this does not include those who have not registered. Besides Nigerians, some other black people came from other countries, such as Ghana, Cameroon, and Congo, but he does not know the number of those other nationals. But personally, he estimated that there are about 1,500 Africans in Cambodia, including the Nigerians.

“Some footballers were cheated by brokers

“There are many reasons that bring Africans to Cambodia. Mr. Ken – he is over 40, a lecturer who teaches at several private universities in Phnom Penh – came to Cambodia six years go. At that time he did not intend to live in Cambodia as he does now. His intention was to visit Cambodia and then to continue to a third country. But in Cambodia, having the academic degrees of a doctorate and a bachelor, and a certificate as a football instructor, he could find jobs at some schools, and then he decided to continue to live with his wife and children in Cambodia.

“While sitting and taking with a friend from Ghana in a supermarket, Mr. Pachuk Wu, a Nigerian, said that he is a businessman and had heard of the potential of the garment production in Cambodia. Therefore – during a journey to establish business contacts in Southeast Asia, he came to contact also some companies in Phnom Penh to investigate the possibility to set up a company in Cambodia, as Mr. Pachuk Wu wants to export garments to Africa.

“Many Africans are footballers, playing at different football clubs in Cambodia. They are Nigerians, Cameroonians, Ghanaeans, and Congolese. But there is a problem. Some Africans, at the time of deciding to come to Cambodia as a footballer – many Nigerians are expert footballers – had been cheated by brokers in their countries who convinced them that the job as a footballer in Cambodia could earn them high salaries. The president of the Nigerian Association, Mr. Gabriel Ken Gadaffi, explained that some companies operate as brokers and announce to recruit any footballer who want to play at football clubs in other countries. Some were told that to play football at clubs in Cambodia could earn high salaries. and they are told that the living condition in Cambodia are favorable. Together with the intention to gain experience to achieve future fame, they had finally decided to come to Cambodia.

“As an athlete and president of the Nigerian Association, Mr. Ken said that in Cambodia, payments for footballers vary depending on each club and on the capacity of each footballer. He added that their salary is between US$300 and US$1,000, but the ones who get such a high salary are not many. But with such a small salary as also mentioned it is difficult for Africans to support their living in Cambodia.

“Discrimination and difficulties in extending visas to stay in Cambodia

“The people who get a low salary, have to seek, finally, part-time jobs. Most are teaching. A small number of those who have just arrived cannot find a job in a football club. Therefore, they have to contact their family at home to ask for monetary support. Some have to borrow a little money from their friends until they can find a job. Most of them find jobs as teachers of English.

“Also, there are problems in seeking jobs. The color of their skin is a source of racial discrimination. Mr. Ken recounted that some schools and restaurants do not want black staff. Worst of all, some guesthouse owners do not want to rent rooms to them. Some leaders of schools think that if they recruit white teachers, they could have more students. Mr. Ken asked, ‘Why do some people discriminate against black people? There are good and bad people in every nation.’ Mr. Ken said that he had visited some Nigerian people at the Prey Sar Prison and there, he saw more white prisoners than blacks. He added that he does not support any dishonest black person or any criminals who have been arrested recently, and he even ticked out the names of those Nigerians to be referred to the Nigerian Embassy in Philippine [for assistance].

“Another question that Nigerian people want to ask is why it is very difficult to extend the period of staying in their visas in Cambodia. The high prices asked are not the only problem. Also, Cambodian authorities seem not to want to extend their visas. Mr. Pachuk Wu, who has just arrived in Cambodia more than one month ago, complained, ‘Why is it so difficult for us to receive an extension of the period of staying for the visa in Cambodia? Is it because we are Nigerians? He said he has to pay US$45 for one-month for staying in Cambodia.

“According to Mr. Ken, at the last day of the period permitted to stay in the visa, they have to go to a neighboring country to ask there for a visa to reenter Cambodia.

“The authorities seem to think that Nigerians are bad people. But don’t forget that because of visa problems and because of discrimination, some African businesspeople have decided to invest rather in neighboring countries and not in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4925, 20.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 June 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #215, 20.6.2009

  • [French] Editor-in-Chief of the French Magazine Eyes in Eyes [phonetic from Khmer] Is Summoned to the Court as He Owes Nearly US$20,000 to a Printing House [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1975, 20.6.2009

  • [1,000] Workers of the Tac Fat Garment Factory Demonstrate and Block National Road 2 at Chak Angrae Leu, Causing a Three Hour Traffic Jam [to demand that the factory owner releases their money: a small part of their salaries : the money demanded is in the range of US$3, US$5, and US$10]
  • Thai Forces Shot Dead Three Suspect Insurgents and Arrested Five Others in Fighting in a Southern Province

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #429, 20.6.2009

  • The National Assembly Postpones the Discussion to Suspend Mu Sochua’s Immunity to Monday [22 June 2009]. as She Has to Go Abroad [and will come back in early July]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6681, 20-21.6.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] Encourages to Draft Regulations to Allow Foreigners to Buy Not-Ground-Floor Houses in Order to Promote Trust for Investment [in Cambodia]
  • Missile Shield Is Set Up at Hawaii to Prevent a North Korean Missile Attack

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3789, 20-21.6.2009

  • [Deputy Prime Minister] Sok An Blames [president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Moeung Son Who Caused Turmoil when He Reported about Drilling [holes to fix electrical lamps] at the Angkor Wat Temple

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4925, 20.6.2009

  • Who Are the Africans in Cambodia?
  • Four Murderers Who Shot Dead a Meul Phlov Journalist and a Girl Are Arrested [the murderers are soldiers. they aimed at robbing the victim’s car – Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey]

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    Cambodia Is Ranked in the Second Tier for Human Trafficking in the 2009 US Report – Friday, 19.6.2009

    Posted on 20 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

    “Phnom Penh: The 2009 report of the US Department of State shows that this year Cambodia stays in the Second Tier [of three] in the assessment on human trafficking. Though, in general the Cambodian government has improved in responding to trafficking, last year the efforts to fight human trafficking declined, especially in the prosecution of human trafficking crimes.

    “The report of US Department of State gives some details that Cambodia is a transit country and is targeted for the trafficking of men, women, and children who are victimized by trafficking for sexual exploitation and for forced labor. Children and women are trafficked to Thailand and Malaysia to exploit their labor and for forced prostitution. Some Cambodian men who migrate to Thailand by themselves and to Malaysia to seek jobs are forced to do hard work as fishermen on fishing boats, as construction workers, and as agro-industrial workers. Cambodian women and men sent back to Cambodia recount that they were forced to work hard there, after they had left Cambodia to work there through Cambodian worker recruiting companies. Cambodian children were trafficked to Thailand and Vietnam to do begging and to sell candy or flowers, or to shine shoes. Sometimes, parents sell their children to work as servants or to beg, or they sold them to brothels for sexual exploitation, or to force them to work as house servants. In Cambodia children are trafficked to become beggars. They become scavengers or work at salt fields, at brick and tiles kilns, and at quarries.

    The Cambodian government has not fully met the minimum standards of trafficking elimination. Although the government is making remarkable efforts to fight trafficking, the government has not really proven that there are improvements in the prosecution and punishment of human trafficking perpetrators as well as officials who had colluded with those perpetrators, and it has not shown how it is protecting human trafficking victims. Therefore, Cambodia is ranked second in the observation list. To improve this rank, Cambodia should do more to bring human traffickers and colluding officials to be prosecuted and punished.

    “Based on the adoption of a law to protect victims of human trafficking in 2000, which was later amended, the US parliament requires the US Department of Sate to send annual reports to the US parliament. These reports on 164 countries are the most comprehensive reports worldwide about the efforts of various governments to fight human trafficking. The reports aim at encouraging activities and stepping up partnership arrangements worldwide to fight this new form of slavery. Countries defined as having many human trafficking victims will be included in any of the three following ranks. Countries evaluated as meeting “the minimum standard to eliminate serous human trafficking” as stated in the law will be put in the first tier. Countries assessed of not meeting the minimum standard but making significant efforts will be included in the second tier. Countries assessed as not meeting the standard and not making any significant efforts will be placed in the third tier.

    “This report continues that the law even requires the US Department of State to deliver a special watch list for countries that have been assessed again temporarily for the report by 1 February every year. In addition to the assessments of various countries with improving ranks from third to second to fist, this special watch list even creates a fourth rank. This ranks includes countries in the third tier defined as (1) not making any efforts a year ago and (2) being able to avoid the third rank because of commitments to conduct reforms against human trafficking in the future or (3) having fairly many victims of human trafficking or having fairly increasing rates of human trafficking victims.

    “The US Embassy waits to cooperate more with the Royal Government of Cambodia next years in order to achieve success to bring Cambodia to the first tier at last. It should be noted that in 2008, Cambodia was in the second tier also.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6679-6680, 18-19.6.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 19 June 2009

    Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #214, 19.6.2009

    • There Is No Case of A/H1N1 in Cambodia while in Thailand There Have Been 518 Cases

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1973-1974, 18-19.6.2009

    • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit’s Ambition Will Fail [Mr. Abhisit wants to revise the inclusion of the Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site so that this temple can be jointly listed by both Cambodia and Thailand]
    • The Final Hearing of [former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, Is Delayed Three Months More [until October]
    • The Prime Minister Announces that the Anti-Corruption Law Will Be Adopted Soon
    • The Cambodian Mine Action Center Will Train Deminers from Colombia [for three years]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #428, 19.6.2009

    • A Civil Society Organizatio [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association]: If the Government Just Had the Real Intention, even without an Anti-Corruption Law, Corruption Could Be Eliminated

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6680, 19.6.2009

    • Cambodia Is Ranked in the Second Tier for Human Trafficking in the 2009 US Report
    • Police Arrested [23] Nigerian People and Confiscated 684 kg of Heroin [Phnom Penh]
    • Duch: Women Prisoners Were Raped during Interrogations; I Once Created Female Interrogator Groups [to avoid rapes by male interrogators]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3787, 18.6.2009

    • Duch Claims [former president of the National Assembly] Nuon Chea and [Khmer Rouge top leader] Pol Pot Ordered the Cremation of Western Prisoners
    • The Prime Minister Tells Funcinpec to Stop Asking for Public Affairs Positions for Their Officials

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4924, 19.6.2009

    • Samdech Hun Sen Asks the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Study the Reason for an Effort [of the UN Office of Human Rights] to Take Duch Abroad [10 years ago]
    • A Man, a Reporter of Meul Phlov, and His Niece Were Shot Dead [in Preah Vihear, and three or four prsons escaped with the victim’s car and disappeared in Odor Meanchey, leaving that car on the road]
    • Cambodian Gems and Jewelry Are Exhibited [for the first time at the Intercontinental Hotel from 18 to 21 June 2009]
    • Fishermen at the Tonle Sap Lake Can Earn US$215 Million from Fish [according to the Fishery Administration]

    Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1732, 18.6.2009

    • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warns He Might Use a Counter-Demonstration to Stand against [the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun’s Demonstration

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    National Holiday: King Mother’s Birthday – Thursday, 17.6.2009

    Posted on 20 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

    National Holiday: King Mother’s Birthday.

    Our next publication is planned for Friday, 19.6.2009.

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    Representatives of Government, Citizens, and Civil Society Voice Concern over the Impact of the Don Sahong Hydro-Electric Dam in Laos – Wednesday, 17.6.2009

    Posted on 20 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

    “Phnom Penh: A workshop was held by the Cambodian Mekong Committee cooperating with the Fishery Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in the morning of 6 June 2009 at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh, and representatives of the government, of civil society organizations, and of citizens from communities in Stung Treng, Kratie, the Tonle Sap basin, and Mondolkiri, as well as many higher education students, younger students, and monks participated in this event.

    “Also, representatives of the National Mekong Committee, government representatives of the six countries [through which the Mekong River flows], representatives from the Fishery Administration, and many other experts on the development of rivers attended this workshop in order to seek strategies to protect fish yields and bio-diversity of the river.

    “The executive director of the NGO Forum, Mr. Chhit Sam Ath, said that nowadays, there are 11 hydro-electric dams among which there is the construction of a big hydro-electric dam, the Don Sahong Dam, near the Cambodia-Laotian border, upstream in the Mekong River. It is known that many Cambodian people, about 80%, depend on the Mekong River, which provides for fishery, has water, serves tourism, and is a water way. Therefore, if this dam is created, there is concern that it might affect the water current and the fish, especially it can have a negatice impact on the movement of fish to lay their eggs in the Tonle Sap basin. Thus, this workshop aims to share information and to study more what the impact will be if this hydro-electric dam is built, and it will be necessary seek whatever strategies by which hydro-electric energy can be extracted and at the same time, people can continue to live there, and the stable management of the eco-system in the Mekong basin can also be guaranteed.

    “A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, Mr. Por Try, said that the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake are a well-known freshwater fishery resource among different major rivers of the world, and it is almost priceless economically. Fishery resources in the Tonle Sap Lake as well as in the whole system of the Mekong River play an important role for food security and for the living standard of many people in the region, especially Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Fishery resources of these three countries are interrelated by geography, water current, biological factors of fish species, and many other factors, particularly the movement of abundant fish every year. During the dry season, some species of fish move from the Tonle Sap low-lying areas to the upper currents of the Mekong River in Laos and Thailand, and then the fish move to the lower current areas in Vietnam. During the rainy season, fish move from the Mekong River into to the Tonle Sap Lake and to other lower low-lying areas for breeding and growing, since the low-lying areas of the Tonle Sap Lake has a favorable eco-system which serves as a good fish refuge and is rich in natural food for all kinds of fish. Therefore, if there is a plan to change the flow of water or to build hydro-electric dams in the Mekong River system, it can lead to the change of currents and affect fishery resources, increasingly worrying officials of the Royal Government as well as citizens and representatives of civil society organizations.

    “The secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries hopes that the workshop on that day was a good opportunity to discuss and exchange opinions, experiences, and information and to promote knowledge about the construction of dams and their impact on fisheries and on the living standard of millions of people. But he stressed that the workshop is just a study for all to see different impacts when hydro-electric dams are established, but it does not means than the workshop had any achievements that can be carried out immediately. Wether constructions will be made or not depends on monitoring and on decisions from the Royal Government.

    “According to documents distributed at the workshop, the Don Sahong hydro-electric dam is to be established at a major current of the Mekong River in the Siphandon area at the southern part of Laos, 2 km from the Cambodian-Laotian border. The Don Sahong dam is to be constructed at the lower end of the current of the Hou Sahong channel, with a length of 7 km between Dan Sahong and Dan Saodam islands. The dam will produce 240 to 360 megawatt – mostly to be sold in Thailand, but also in Cambodia. The company responsible for the development of this dam is a construction and engineering company of Malaysia, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Laotian government to study the possibility of this plan in March 2006, and then again in February 2008 a development deal was signed allowing to negotiate and finish detailed information of the plan with the Laotian government, and about electricity trading to be concluded before the end of 2009.

    “According to a document of the Cambodian Mekong Committee, the Don Sahong Dam threatens the life of people and the rich fishery resources in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Also, it will affect food security and the economies of this region, and moreover, it will destroy the last group of porpoises, and the change of the Phapheng waterfall by the Don Sahong Dam can affect the increasing popularity of the region which is a target area for tourism.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1972, 17.6.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 17 June 2009

    Areyathor, Vol.16, #1399, 17-18.6.2009

    • Official of the Cambodian Government Asks the Successor of Mr. Yash Ghai [Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, the new UN high rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia] Not to Be Biased

    Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #212, 17.6.2009

    • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Welcomes [President] Obama’s decision] to Remove Cambodia from the Blacklist on Commerce [counbtries with which the USA does not have trade relations]
    • The Asian Development Bank Agrees to Provide More Than US$59 Million to Cambodia [to improve public infrastructure, international trade, and solutions for the economic and financial crisis which affects Cambodia]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1972, 17.6.2009

    • Representatives of the Government, Citizens, and Civil Society Voice Concern over the Impacts of the Don Sahong Hydro Electric Dam in Laos
    • Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Will Clarify the Setting Up of Lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple at the National Assembly on 19 June 2009

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #426, 17.6.2009

    • There Are 3,000 Staff Listed in the Staff List of the National Assembly, but Those Who Come to Work Are Only About 500

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3786, 17.6.2009

    • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Recognizes that the Detention of [former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Dutch by the Military Court [for eight years] Was Illegal

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4922, 17.6.2009

    • Dutch Wept while He Was Remembering Torture at the Tuol Sleng Prison
    • A 73-Year-Old Staff of a Crematorium [at a pagoda] Raped an 11-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Battambang]
    • Three Died and Three Others Were Injured by Lightnings on the Same Day, but at Different Places [Prey Veng]

    Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1731, 17.6.2009

    • A Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Warns It Will Hold a Big Demonstration, If [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Is Arrested [over a defamation complaint by Prime Minister Hun Sen]

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    Civil Society Agrees with the Declaration of Their Property in Order to Encourage an Anti-Corruption Law to Be Adopted Soon – Tuesday, 16.6.2009

    Posted on 19 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

    “Most civil society organizations agree to declare their property so that an anti-corruption law can be adopted soon by the National Assembly. But according to the law, such encouragement of the government is not appropriate, because civil society organizations do not earn their salaries from the government, but donors directly monitor them and if they found any irregularities or corruption among the leaders of civil society organizations operating in Cambodia, they will no longer assist them.

    “The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that his organization is thoroughly monitored by donors relating to different expenses by careful inspection. However, he welcomes the encouragement by civil society officials to declare their property, if it is an opportunity to accelerte the adoption of an anti-corruption law soon. He added that actually, civil society is not in control of power, so if there are any cases of corruption, it does not affect the political stability and the economy of the society. In contrast, the government is in control of power and the ruler of the nation, both in politics and for the economy. And if there is corruption, it is really a hazard for the citizens living in that society.

    “Corruption is a major topic, that is why the government of Hun Sen and of the Cambodian People’s Party was very uneasy when the US ambassador, Mr. Carol Rodley, stated at the end of May that there is widespread corruption in Cambodia. After the statement of the ambassador, high ranking officials of the Cambodian government and a senior advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the chairperson of the government anti-corruption unit, Om Yentieng, released clarifying statements on TV, and there are as well continuing attacks against civil society criticizing ongoing corruption. Even a series of comedies performed on TV is attacking civil society unreasonably, in order to protect the actual corruption of some government officials. This is a example of really protecting corruption.

    “The president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Vireak, expressed it position as a civil society organization by agreeing to declare his property, so that an anti-corruption law, which is crucial, can be adopted and put into practice soon to prevent corruption, which is alarmingly widespread in Cambodia at present. Though the intention of civil society organizations to declare their property is not so important, nevertheless, civil society organizations are not afraid to make their property known.

    “Cambodia is among the countries with serious corruption in a report published by USAID, where each year Cambodia is alleged to lose US$350 million to US$500 million through corruption. This makes the living standard of citizens more difficult, even though over the years, Cambodia received billions of dollars of foreign aid from the international community. At present, high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party are asking those who provided loans to Cambodia to cancel the debts of Cambodia.

    “Regarding the suggestion to see that civil society officials make their property known, some legal experts said that this is not a right method, as civil society officials are not in control of state power, through which corruption can be committed to take advantage of state property, both in real estate and in natural resources. Civil society organizations operate based on aid from the international community. If the heads of any organization commits corruption which leads to the loss of trust from donors, donors will stop granting aid to them. Thus, this problem is related to donors and programs only, between international donors and civil society, while the government does not need to worry about it, and donors do not just spend money to hire people to curse the government [as has been alleged].

    “Many civil society organizations want to see an anti-corruption law adopted soon, which can guarantee the continuation of national development as well as to ensure that there is no corruption using the aid provided to Cambodia. Moreover, in the next few years, the revenue from natural oil, which is an important financial source for Cambodia, will need to be focused also, and this needs a clear law to control such income.

    “The intention for civil society organizations to declare their property is not their own idea, aiming at development or at eliminating corruption. But it is a kind of idea introduced to silence them, without having at the same time the real intention to see the adoption of an anti-corruption law. Observers said that the Cambodian People’s Party government seems to have no intention to adopt an anti-corruption law to help reduce the spreading corruption in Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3785, 16.6.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 16 June 2009

    Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #211, 16.6.2009

    • The Bangkok Government Plans to Finish the Insurgency in the South in Three Years

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1971, 16.6.2009

    • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong Denies Thailand Dismissed the Demand for Compensation to Cambodia [for the burning down of the vendor’s market at the Preah Vihear temple]
    • Cambodia [through the World Wildlife Fund] Installs 200 Fixed Cameras and Adds Two Sniffing Dogs to Observe the Presence of Tigers
    • North Korea Warns There Might Be Nuclear War if the Tension Increases Further

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6677, 16.6.2009

    • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Decides to Discuss the Suspension of Ms. Mu Sochua’s Immunity on the Agenda at a Meeting on 22 June 2009

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3785, 16.6.2009

    • Civil Society Agrees with the Declaration of Their Property in Order to Encourage an Anti-Corruption Law to Be Adopted Soon
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asks the Government to Show Oil Exploitation Contracts and the Income from Natural Resources Publicly
    • Citizens Encourage the Ministry of Interior and the National Police to Strengthen Social Security More [after there have been many robberies]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4921, 16.6.2009

    • Japan Grants Yen 2,143 Million [approximately US$21 million] to Cambodia [for the repair of the Roleang Chrey major water gates, for the construction of schools in Phnom Penh, and to support the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia to improve the structural reforms of the economy]
    • The Salt Producers Association: This Year Cambodia Has to Import 50,000 to 60,000 Tonnes of Salt [because the production of salt this year is affected by unfavorable weather, and this is the first time that Cambodia has to import salt, as the local production cannot meet the demand]
    • Two Died and Four Were Wounded when a Car Collided with a Rubber Truck [Kompong Chhnang]
    • The Head of the Sovann Thomareach Pagoda Committee and His Assistant Are Arrested for Raping and for Acts of Debauchery with Hundreds of Women [Kandal]

    Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1730, 16.6.2009

    • Illegal Logging Still Occurs after [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Declared to Maintain 60% of the Green Forest

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

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    President Obama Makes Loans Available for Investment in Cambodia – Monday, 15.6.2009

    Posted on 19 June 2009. Filed under: Week 617 |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 617

    “Phnom Penh: There is not always bad news about the relations between Cambodia and the USA. Now, the good news is that America decided to make loans available for American investment in Cambodia. It is expected that this decision by President Obama will encourage investments of both countries – Cambodia and America.

    “Barack Obama’s decision will open the way for American companies to ask for loans to invest in Cambodia. According to a news report from Washington D.C. on 13 June 2009, President Obama made such a decision, because Cambodia is no longer a communist country.

    “The Minister of Information and spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, welcomed this decision and considers it as encouraging more commercial investment from America to Cambodia, since America is a major partner of Cambodia.

    “Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that even though aid from America to Cambodia is small, the United States of America has assisted Cambodia a lot in different international institutions. Moreover, the decision of the American president is another step which will increase investments from America in Cambodia, though the American economy is facing the global crisis.

    “A parliamentarian, the chairperson of the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly, Mr. Chheang Von, said that the decision of America is a big encouragement for the Royal Government of Cambodia and a facilitation for trade and investment related to international cooperation between Cambodia and other countries, especially the United States of America, which is, in economic terms, the most powerful country of the world.

    “Mr. Chheang Von, a former Cambodian ambassador at the World Trade Organization, explained that American investors can come to make a lot of investment in Cambodia through this decision. It is a new encouraging force to bring investors to Cambodia and brings pride to Cambodia under the reign of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, which ensures trust to attract major countries and last but not least the United States of America to invest in Cambodia.

    “The United Sates of America exported goods to Cambodia last year worth US$154 million while the export of garments and industrial products by Cambodia to the United States of America was more than US$2.4 billion.

    “So far, the United States of America still does not offer commercial loans for investment in six communist [?] countries, such as Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4920, 14-15.6.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 15 June 2009

    Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #210, 14-15.6.2009

    • Cambodia Agrees to Send Two [Muslim] JI Members Back to Siam [Thailand]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1970, 14-15.6.2009

    • America Removes Cambodia and Laos from the Blacklist Banning Commerce
    • Siamese [Thai] Government Sends 56 Khmer Krom People Back to Cambodia
    • The United Nations Decides to Put Sanction on North Korea

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #425, 14-16.6.2009

    • The Immunity of Parliamentarians during the Power of Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Most Important
    • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy and [the president of the Human Rights Party] Mr. Kem Sokha Condemn the Use of the Courts as a Tool to Oppress Parliamentarians

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6676, 15.6.2009

    • Mr. Ahmadinejad Wins the Presidential Elections Again and This Causes Turmoil in Tehran

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3784, 15.6.2009

    • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Revoke Ms. Mu Sochua’s Immunity on Monday [in order to open the way to handle the defamation complaint of Prime Minister Hun Sen against her – though her original defamation suit against the Prime Minister was not accepted to be handled by the court]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4920, 14-15.6.2009

    • President Obama Makes Loans Available for Investment in Cambodia
    • Technical Problems of the Airplane Made the Thai Prime Minister to Be Delayed at the Phnom Penh International Airport for Half of the Night
    • A Reporter of The Cambodia Daily Is Summoned to Be Questioned about [wrongly] Quoting [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Ho Vann’s Speech Which Led to a Complaint against Him [filed by 20 senior military officials]

    Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1729, 15.6.2009

    • The Bayon Television Station [under the management by a daughter of Prime Minister Hun Sen] Criticizes the Authorities of the Phnom Penh Municipality Administered by Kep Chuktema over Gambling

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

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