Week 624

Cambodia Made It Again into the International Media– Sunday, 9.8.2009

Posted on 10 August 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

Note:

Apologies for the delay – computer crash – still struggling.

Norbert Klein

Cambodia made it again into the international media – together with Norway, it may be said.

Norway is hardly known in Cambodia – a small country of only about 4.5 million people compared to Cambodia’s around 14 million. Few people may know that the Norwegian branch of the international group of Save-the-Children fund organizations – Redd Barna – has been co-operating with the Ministry of Education of Cambodia over the years. And the organization Norwegian People’s Aid made it sometimes into the Cambodian press because of its involvement in landmine clearance and other activities related to dealing with landmines.

Since 1992 people from Norway are involved in Cambodia, providing technical assistance to the Cambodian Mine Action Center [CMAC]. But Norwegian People’s Aid does not work only on direct landmine clearance. In 1997, NPA was requested by the local authorities to assist in the resettlement of 5,000 displaced families on mine-free and de-mined land. In January 2007, requested by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority [CMAA], NPA cooperated in Empowering CMAA, to analyze, plan, and use mine action data.

So far, their program Mines and Explosive Detection Dogs – through the NPA Global Training Center for Mine Detection Dogs co-operating with CMAC – found interest also in the Khmer press.

How is it possible that the people of this small country are involved in such work internationally? What is the background of the Norwegian People’s Aid? Norwegian People’s Aid has developed out of the Norwegian Labor Movement – struggling for their own rights, and extending the same spirit to others: “We support people in their struggle for more power and influence over their own lives and in the development of their societies.” The organization has about 12,000 members all over Norway: organizing work in Norway like First Aid and other emergency services, running receptions centers for refugees, voluntary activities for elderly and disabled people, as well as work against racism.

And the financial basis? A lot comes from individual regular supporters. But the Norwegian Television System is also assisting with fund raising for public concerns by organizing every year a Telethon: one whole Sunday afternoon and evening is dedicated to information about a specific issue, and at the same time, almost every house in the country is visited by volunteers collecting money. In this way, the 4.5 million Norwegians – “financial crisis or not” – collect normally around US$20 million and more millions during a few hours. And in preparation of these events – dedicated to problems of drug addition, physical disabilities, education, de-mining – a lot of further information is in newspapers, on radio, and on TV. In relation to Cambodia, this included recently also information about the conflicts between the residents around the Boeung Kak lake and the business plans of developing high rise buildings and to beautify Phnom Penh.

The Motto of the Kingdom of Norway is “Everything for Norway” – and this pride in their own identity leads to international outreach, support, and cooperation, at present in more than 30 countries, always trying to work with local partners and with local authorities. As for mine action, Norwegian People’s Aid is one of the leading organizations worldwide. But the work in this field of special competence is based on four wider concerns:

  • Work against oppression, poverty and unfair distribution of resources.
  • Fighting racism and discrimination.
  • Working for gender equality, and against violence and abuse.
  • Prevention, promoting voluntarism and building competence.

With these goals, the Norwegian People’s Aid found a natural partner in the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization [CDPO], working – in their own words –

“to develop the networks of people with disabilities so as to support, protect, serve and promote their rights, achievements and interests, in order to bring about their fuller participation and equality in society.

Vision

  • People with Disabilities have a right to participate fully and equally in society.

Value

  • One voice of People with Disabilities.
  • Empowerment of People with Disabilities.


Mission

  • Develop the networks of people with disabilities so as to support, protect, serve and promote their rights, achievements and interests, in order to bring about their fuller participation and equality in society.

Objective

  • To promote and bring about positive changes in attitudes in Cambodian society towards people with disabilities…”

After a Miss Landmine event had been organized with Norwegian cooperation in 2008 in Africa, in Angola, also a country suffering from decades of civil war and the devastation landmines bring, a similar event was planned and prepared in Cambodia in 2009, with the following goals – with which the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization agreed and they prepared an event together, based on the following convictions: [depending on your browser setting, if you wait several seconds, a “slide show” may start]

EVERYBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO BE BEAUTIFUL!

  • Female pride and empowerment.
  • Disabled pride and empowerment.
  • Global and local landmine awareness and information.
  • Challenge inferiority and/or guilt complexes that hinder creativity-
    historical, cultural, social, personal, Asian, European.
  • Question established concepts of physical perfection.
  • Challenge old and ingrown concepts of cultural cooperation.
    Celebrate true beauty.
  • Replace the passive term ‘Victim’ with the active term ‘Survivor’
  • And have a good time for all involved while doing so!

Twenty women have been finally selected, and their pictures were to be displayed in the cultural center of the Meta House in Phnom Penh. They come from the provinces and cities of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampot, Kompong Cham,Kompong Chhnang, Kandal, Kep, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom, Mondolkiri, Pailin, Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Pursat, Siem Reap, Stung Treng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo.

They range in age between 18 and 48, they survived a mine explosion between 1979 and 2000, they are farmers, or selling cake at a market, work in a factory, or are students. And their pictures show that they are, in spite of having survived a terrible experience, claiming their “right to participate fully and equally in society” according to the Vision of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization.

This endeavor is sponsored and funded, like many other international activities, by the people of Norway, in this case through the Arts Council Norway (Norsk Kulturråd) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation of Cambodia prohibited the planned event, as The Mirror reported already on Thursday, 6.8.2009, and the Miss Landmine website said: “all further activities on Cambodian territory are canceled as of today 2 August 2009.”

The Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization followed suit: “We totally support the content of the announcement of the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation not to support the Miss Landmine contest, because it can create misunderstandings among the public towards the honor of disabled people, especially of disabled women.”

And the Minister of Women’s Affairs declared in The Cambodia Daily, that her Ministry had never given full support to this plan, as had been claimed.

This event brought Cambodia again into the international media: Soon after the prohibition, there was a report broadcast on BBC World Service, and a quick research showed that by now there are are about 250 reports in the media in Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Many of these reports refer also to the pictures on the Miss Landmine website. To look at them, to read the individual short notes of every one of these 20 women standing form many, many more survivors, may explain why this planned event – and its prohibition – finds such wide international interest. What does it mean that the positions taken by the Cambodian authorities on the one side, and the people of Norway who supported the efforts which were welcome in Angola, and which seem to be welcome in the media reports around the world? Even when the language not of all reports can be understood, the pictures speak clearly.

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Government Officials Rejected a Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations on Mu Sochua’s Case – Saturday, 8.8.2009

Posted on 8 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“After the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a verdict on 4 August 2009, announcing that the Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general and parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, lost the defamation case where the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, had sued her, there was a strong reaction from civil society organizations against this verdict. However, the government totally rejects this joint statement where they had expressed their reaction.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, told Deum Ampil by phone on Friday, ‘I have no reaction, but I regret that these civil society organizations do not accept for themselves a the state of law, because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided already and the civil society’s statement is clearly political.’

“Mr. Phay Siphan added, ‘If Ms. Mu Sochua does not agree with the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, she has the right to appeal. No country has issued statement against this court verdict.

“The Human Rights Action Committee, which is a league of 21 non-government organizations, and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, released a joint statement on 5 August 2009, saying that they regret the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in the morning of 4 August 2009, ordering Ms. Mu Sochua to pay a fine and to compensate Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

“In the statement, they noted, ‘The Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not talk and ask in detail about facts, but just mentioned the complaint of the prime minister as the basis for its hearing, and in reality, the hearing did not pay attention on Ms. Mu Sochua’s case, especially to the reason why Ms. Mu Sochua held a press conference at [the Sam Rainsy Party] headquarters [which was used as the basis for the defamation suit against her].

“Civil society organizations ask the court to be independent, neutral, and non-biased in holding its hearings, and to reform itself soon, so that it does not become a tool of the powerful, and they requested the Cambodian courts to pay more attention to the rights and freedoms, as stated in the Constitution and other human rights treaties.

“It should be remembered that a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered Ms. Mu Sochua on 4 August 2009 to pay Riel 8.5 million [approx. US$2,100] to the state, and to pay a compensation of Riel 8 million [approx. US$2,000] to the Prime Minister for defamation, a court case which had extended over almost 4 months. After the verdict was issued, Ms. Mu Sochua appealed on 5 August 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #257, 8.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 8 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #257, 8.8.2009

  • Confirmed Cases of A/H1N1 Flu in Cambodia Increased to 24
  • Schools in Hanoi Are Closed because of A/H1N1 Infections [so far, there have been 1,000 confirmed cases of A/H1N1 in Vietnam]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2017, 8.8.2009

  • The Appeals Court Summoned Mu Sochua to Appear on 18 August 2009
  • [President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Money Asks to Call [former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov as Witness related to the Murder of [his older brother] Chea Vichea [when the appeals court meets to deal with the appeals of Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #464, 8.8.2009

  • The Appeals Court Will Hear Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [who were released on bail] on 17 August 2009 [over the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6723, 8-9.8.2009

  • Water at the Upper Mekong River Recedes a Little Bit; Three People Died, Drowning on the Same Day in Kratie
  • The Russey Keo Authorities Intercepted More Than Six Tonnes of Illegal No-Quality Chicken Meat [Phnom Penh]
  • [President of the USA] Obama Announced US$2.4 Billion Support for the Development of Electric Cars, and Plans to Increase the Tax on the Rich [in America]
  • The Strike [of garment workers] at the Suit Way Factory Ended after There Was Agreement on Three Points [first, the factory owner released the-last-month salaries of the workers; second, the factory will have to suspend its work for two months, during which the factory agreed to offer US$12 to each worker per month; and third, the owner promised to reopen the factory in October]

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Electricity Use in Cambodia Does Not Yet Meet Proper Standards – Friday, 7.8.2009

Posted on 8 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“Phnom Penh: Nowadays, electricity use and management in Cambodia, by both the state and the private sector, is not yet up to international standards.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the closing of a workshop at the Phnom Penh Hotel on 6 August 2009, ‘The ministry and the Royal Government of Cambodia intend to manage electricity use both in the state and in the private sector to meet standards like in modern countries such as America, Canada, China, Japan, and Russia. Therefore, from now on, we have to strengthen and study also hydro-electricity standards at the present time, so that they comply with international standards.’

“Mr. Ith Prang added that now, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is drafting detailed electrical technical standard recommendations for the field of civil construction, and also for electrical technology and for hydro-electric establishments in Cambodia.’

“According to the Deputy Director of the Department of Energy of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Bun Narith, at present, the management and the usage of electricity in Cambodia do not follow proper standards, including the general use of energy, the connection of electricity from place to place, the building of different construction elements along the roads where electric posts are planted etc… ‘These are problems that we need to improve in the future.’

“The head of the Department of Hydro-Electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Much Chhun Hon, said that care has to be taken so that the production, dispatch, distribution, and use of electricity are effective and safe, and the means for these activities, including all tools and materials, must be handled under real, proper standards, both in state and in private services.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #256, 7.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 7 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #256, 7.8.2009

  • The Ministry of Information Asked [foreign-language and Khmer newspapers and magazines] to Use the Wording “Khmer temple Preah Vihear”
  • Confirmed A/H1N1 Flu Cases Increase to 22 in Cambodia
  • Electricity Use in Cambodia Does Not Yet Meet Proper Standards

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2016, 7.8.2009

  • [Two] Siamese [Thai] Parliament Members Sue [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva over the Sea Border with Cambodia [for not reacting when Cambodia agreed with the Total petroleum company about investments of the Total petroleum company to explore oil] – [Like in July 2008, the Thai parliament monitored the activities of the administration, so the minister of foreign affairs had to resign, as it was proven that he had acted without getting the agreement of the parliament]
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association] Supports the Prime Minister over Criticism that the Government Is a Dictatorship [a senior ADHOC staff said: No, it is a constitutional monarchy]
  • Investment Projects of the GMG Company of South Korea [to invest in the media, to create an art university, and to develop Special Economic Zones] Is Welcome [by the government]
  • [More than 800] Workers of the Suit Way Garment Factory Strike to Demand Their Salaries, after Knowing that the Owner of the factory Had Ran Away [Phnom Penh]
  • Police Raided the Iris Bar and Arrested the Korean Owner and 29 Sex Workers [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #463, 7.8.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian and spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann Said that Mr. Hun Sen Creates a New Obstacle for the Freedom of Expression [Prime Minister Hun Sen recently warned to take legal action against those calling the government a dictatorial regime]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6722, 7.8.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Sent Again a Letter Protesting that Cambodia Should not Reconstruct a Market at the Preah Vihear Temple [without mutual agreement]
  • ASEAN Recognizes only 180 Cambodian Engineers [as properly qualified] among the 10,000 Engineers in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4966, 7.8.2009

    The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) Decided to Reassign an Activist Human Rights Staff [Mr. Pen Bunna] from Ratanakiri [to another province, to end his conflicts with the provincial court, after local officials accused him of provoking citizens to protest against land grabbing]

  • Cambodia Will Establish an Electricity Plant Powered by Coal Soon [in Sihanoukville with an investment of approx. US$160 million, by the Malaysian company Leader Universal Holdings Berhad]
  • Cambodia and Thailand Agreed to Lift Visas by 2010
  • About Ten Monks Changed Their Monk’s Robes and Had a Party, Assaulted People, and Extorted Money from Passers-By; Police Have Arrested Seven of Them [Battambang]
  • Understanding and Studying Khmer Culture and History through a website: http://www.smartcambodia.com [this website is created by Mekong.Ads, a business unit of Smart International Consulting, and Dr. Michel Tranet]

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A Miss Landmine Contest Organizer Reversed Their Position, Now to Support the Stance of the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation against It – Thursday, 6.8.2009

Posted on 6 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“Phnom Penh: The director of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization issued an announcement dated 4 August 2009 to support the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation which opposes the Miss Landmine contest.

Note:

From the website of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization

Vision

  • People with Disabilities have a right to participate fully and equally in society.

Value

  • One voice of People with Disabilities.
  • Empowerment of People with Disabilities.

Mission

  • Develop the networks of people with disabilities so as to support, protect, serve and promote their rights, achievements and interests, in order to bring about their fuller participation and equality in society.

“Following an announcement of the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation dated 31 July 2009, the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization would like to make the following announcement:

  1. We totally support the content of the announcement of the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation not to support the Miss Landmine contest, because it can create misunderstandings among the public towards the honor of disabled people, especially of disabled women.
  2. We would like to call on all disabled people who are either members or not members of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization at the 24 provinces and cities to join to implement this statement effectively.
  3. We would like to express our great gratitude towards the Minister of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Sam Heng, who advised the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization on time.

“It should be noted that recently, there had been a strong reaction from the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation after there had been information that this ministry supported the Miss Landmine contest.

“The announcement of the Ministry, dated 31 July 2009, stated that regarding the Miss Landmine contest planed to be organized by some non-government organizations on 7 August 2009, the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation would like to explain to the public and to disabled people two points:

  1. The Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation does not support the Miss Landmine contest, because it can create misunderstandings among the public towards the honor of disabled people, especially of disabled women.
  2. The Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation asked those responsible for organizing this program to halt it immediately in order to maintain the honor of disabled people, especially of disabled women.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #255, 6.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 6 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #255, 6.8.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned He Would Take Legal Action against Those Who Call the Government a “Dictatorial Regime,” after He Won the Court Case against Ms. Mu Sochua
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong Will Meet Ms. Hilary Clinton in the United States of America in October [he has been invited for an official visit]
  • The Head of the Government Is Optimistic towards the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [saying that it has achieved significant success, he praised that national judges, prosecutors, and lawyers as they are comparable to the internationals]
  • Malaria Death Toll Rises by 58% in 2009 [in the first six months; 103 people died, compared to the same period last year, when only 65 people died]
  • A Miss Landmine Contest Organizer Reversed Their Position, Now to Support the Stance of the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation against It

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2015, 6.8.2009

  • Mu Sochua Appealed [against the defamation verdict in the court case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Asks for Vigilance about the Mekong River Flood in the Provinces along the Rivers
  • In Cambodia, the Majority of Illiterates Are Women [there are 26.4% illiterate people, 60% of them are women – according to a 2006 report, related to a Life Long Learning program targeted at adult illiterates]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #462, 6.8.2009

  • The Head of the Government Criticized Students Studying Abroad [that their knowledge is not much different from that of students in the country], while His Children also Study Abroad

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6721, 6.8.2009

  • Fishermen Protesting against Seashore Filling Accepted a Solution [a developer company agreed to build a new dock for fishermen – Kampot]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4965, 6.8.2009

  • More Than 1,000 Hectares of Agricultural Land in Ratanakiri and Stung Treng Have Been Submerged by Flood
  • The Khmer Minister of Foreign Affairs Said that Cambodia Does Not Touch the Overlapping Zone in the Sea [in the oil exploration contract signed recently with the French company Total, with Thailand not agreeing with any investment in that zone, claiming it is in the overlapping zone]
  • Samdech Euv Norodom Sihanouk [the former King] Informed the Public that He No Longer Accepts Requests to Meet Him
  • [The former US president] Clinton Leaves North Korea with Two Journalists [after North Korea agreed to release them]

Vat Phnom, Vol.16, #8011, 10-16.8.2009

  • Private Higher Education Schools That the Government Had Stopped to Recognize Change Their Names [and continue to teach students]

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Ms. Mu Sochua Rejected to Pay Money to Mr. Hun Sen and Will Not Apologize – Wednesday, 5.8.2009

Posted on 5 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced a verdict on 4 August 2009, ordering Ms. Mu Sochua to pay Riel 8 million in compensation to Mr. Hun Sen, and Riel 8.5 million in fees to to the government, corresponding to Riel 16.5 million in total [approx. US$4,100]. But Ms. Mu Sochua said that she will neither pay the compensation according to the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, nor apologize to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, announced recently that the Sam Rainsy Party had prepared money to pay to Mr. Hun Sen to end this case, but he then changed his position and agreed to leave the decision to Ms. Mu Sochua, because the Sam Rainsy Party is a democratic party and does not use pressure.

“Speaking to journalists in the presence of many diplomats and national and international observers after hearing the verdict, Ms. Mu Sochua said that in spite of the Khmer judicial system which has never been just, her struggle will contribute to change it.

“She said, ‘As for the court verdict of today, the judge did not use consciousness and the law to hear me. It is a decision showing plainly that it is a decision following orders of politicians, and it makes us, innocent people like me, to become victims…’ She added, ‘This is absolutely political, and I regret it that the judge ruled that I am the loser and I must pay to the state Riel 8.5 million and to Prime Minister Hun Sen Riel 8 million. I do not receive justice, because the judicial system in Cambodia is not independent and neutral, and it suffers from strong interference by the power of politicians; I have to say that the whole policy of this hearing was not just.’

“She went on to say that the verdict was not based on the hearing, but on a politician’s order. Thus, the sentence which made her lose is not acceptable.

“During yesterday’s verdict, court officials disclosed that if she wants to be free, she has to apologize to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In response, Ms. Mu Sochua stated in a press conference at the [Sam Rainsy Party] headquarters yesterday that she will not apologize or negotiate for power, and she called for an end to this policy of apologies requested by political leaders. She said there can be justice only if the government leaders are changed.

“The president of the Sam Rainsy, Mr. Sam Rainsy, said that he supports Ms. Mu Sochua’s decision. Mr. Sam Rainsy added that the Sam Rainsy Party is a democratic party; therefore, no members and no leaders are pressed.

“On the day when the verdict was announced, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party released a statement calling ‘For Justice and Democracy.’

“The statement says that parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy Party and of the Human Rights Party totally reject the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict of 4 August 2009, making Ms. Mu Sochua a victim.

“The parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua should not have been made to face such an incompetent, dependent, and biased court, while Ms. Mu Sochua’s court case against the Prime Minister for defamation, with evidence, had been rejected by this court, and Ms. Mu Sochua was made the victim; her immunity had been withdrawn by the National Assembly, and she was not given the right to be defended.

“Ms. Mu Sochua was heard by this court without a defense lawyer, because her first lawyer had been sued by the government and then resigned from defending her case, and her second lawyer was rejected. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not use the facts from the videos of Ms. Mu Sochua’s press conference as the basis for the complaint against Prime Minister Hun Sen, as those videos do not show any evidence that she intended to defame the prime minister. As a parliamentarian elected by the citizens, the parliamentarian Mu Sochua has the full right to demand justice when threatened and defamation is used to restrict the right of a parliamentarian and also of a woman.

“The use of the judicial system by the government as a tool to muzzle opposition parliamentarians is a significant blow to our right and role, as stated in the Constitution and in international law, allowing us to play our role and do our activities without fear of political threats and intimidations.

“Critics must condemn the absence of judicial reform in Cambodia, and the use of the court system for intimidation by the Royal Government, and there must be immediate measures taken so that judges and lawyers can fulfill their roles independently and the policy of judges and lawyers must also be independent.

“Threats and intimidations, or the withdrawing of parliamentary immunity with no other reason besides political interests totally ruins democracy, which includes the public freedom of expression and the understanding that there can be opposing ideas.

“We, parliamentarians, notice and respect the presence of the German and American ambassadors, of high ranking officials from the British and Danish Embassy, and of many local and international human rights organizations during the court hearing of Ms. Mu Sochua’s case on 24 July 2009.

“Finally, the statement stressed that the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party parliamentarians call on the international community to keep on observing the situation and preventing the use of defamation and the court system against opposition politicians, and to encourage the Royal Government to achieve results from judicial reform, and to vow to implement all policies which exist in democracy.

“It should be noted that yesterday morning, also Human Rights Party parliamentarians went to listen to the verdict, and then released the statement immediately together with Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, as an alliance against this unjust verdict.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #461, 5.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #254, 5.8.2009

  • Two Cambodian Soldiers Died and One Survived and Was Sent Back to the Front Line, after They Ate Mushrooms and Were Poisoned [Preah Vihear]
  • Trees of 2,000 Hectares Forest in Srae Noy Region Are Being Cut by a Forestry Chief’s Father-in-Law [name not given – Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap]
  • World Bank and World Food Program Provide US$13 Million for Small-Scale Agriculture and Social Protection Programs
  • The Authorities Cracked Down on Seven Places Raising Fresh Pike Fish in Ponhea Leu District [Kandal]
  • [The former US president] Mr. Bill Clinton Goes to North Korea to Negotiate the Release of Two American Journalists

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2014, 5.8.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Will Sign an Agreement for the Exchange of Cambodian and Thai Prisoners
  • [Minister of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training, and Youth Rehabilitation] Mr. Ith Sam Heng Calls on Children to Stay Away from Drugs [he made this general appeal during the inauguration of a new social center for children]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #633, 5.8.2009

  • Officials Are Troubled by a Complaint from the Russian Embassy Related to the Construction of a 52 Story Building [there is concern that the IFC Building, an investment by a company from South Korea together with local high ranking officials, might pose security risks: terrorists might use it for attacks, as it is close to the embassy – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #461, 5.8.2009

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Rejected to Pay Money to Mr. Hun Sen and Will Not Apologize

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6720, 5.8.2009

  • The Stung Treng Authorities Issue a Flood Alert after Receiving Information from Laos that Some Flood Gates Had Been Opened because of Heavy Rain
  • The Verdict Requires Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Riel 16.5 Million
  • There Are More Than 100,000 Disabled People in Cambodia, 44% of Them Are Women
  • An Agreement between the Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commission of America Is Made [both sides will cooperate to promote the sustainability of hydro-electric programs, to solve water issues and food security, to control and deal with flood and drought, to collaborate in water way travel and trade through the rivers]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4964, 5.8.2009

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Is Fined Riel 8.5 Million for Defamation and Has to Pay Riel 8 Million to the Plaintiff
  • A Woman, Weak after Childbirth, Was Hit to Death by Her Drunk Husband [he was arrested – Prey Veng]
  • Three People Died Immediately after Crashing a Motorbike into a Parked Car on a Road; One Person Was a Khmer-Norwegian [Banteay Meanchey]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #17, 5.8.2009

  • After Four Hours of Battle for Justice [between Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians and their bodyguards, and government forces, during a march by Sam Rainsy Party members after hearing the court verdict on Ms. Mu Sochua], Four Opposition Party Bodyguards Were Hit and Arrested [Phnom Penh]

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There Are More Than 220,000 Clients of Sex Services in Cambodia – Tuesday, 4.08.2009

Posted on 4 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“Phnom Penh: Expert AIDS officials in Cambodia said that there are about 220,000 people who buy sex services in Cambodia, corresponding to 6% of the male population between the ages of 15 and 49.

“The deputy director of the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia, Mr. Tea Phalla, said during a training course to educate ‘Friends Educate Friends’ teachers on 3 August 2009 at the Ministry of Interior, ‘According to the observation of sex services in Cambodia, there are 220,000 clients of these services, corresponding to 6% of the male population between the ages of 15 and 49.

“Mr. Tea Phalla added, ‘In the last ten years, AIDS prevention has been a success, because police helped with this task.’ He went on to say that people selling sex services are afraid of the police, promoting the policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia to practice 100% condom use.

“He added that 14% of 400,000 men have girlfriends and sex partners besides their wives. ‘According to another observation, there are about 20,000 men seeking sex services each night in Cambodia at present.’

“Mr. Tea Phalla continued to say, ‘20% of the prostitutes use drugs, and it is hard to educate women who sell sex services not to use drugs.’

“The director of the AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Pen Vibol, said during the training, ‘Condom use increased after the ‘Friends Educate Friends’ program had been created. We are proud of our efforts.’

“Mr. Pen Vibol added, ‘AIDS is still a hot and worrying problem in Cambodia; as for AIDS prevalence in Cambodia, compared with neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has a higher rate.’

“The deputy director of Family Health International in Cambodia (FHI), Mr. Song Ngak, said, ‘FHI wants to see also that educational activities to prevent AIDS are included into the training school of national police of Cambodia.’

“He added that AIDS reached Cambodia in 1990s, in 1991 there were people confirmed to have HIV, more people which had been infected with AIDS were found in 1993, and the highest rate of AIDS infection occurred in 1996 and 1997.

“He added that people who died of AIDS from 1998 to 2002 did not receive treatment services as Cambodia did not have such possibilities at that time.

“Mr. Song Ngak continued to say that, ‘In 2007, approx. 3.1% of national police were infected with AIDS.’ [[Correction: 2003, not 2007!]]

“The head of the Medicine Management Office and director of the AIDS Program of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Hy Samet, said, ‘The AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Interior trains ‘Friends Educate Friends’ teachers to have skills in educating about AIDS and about sexually transmitted diseases, and to promote the health of the national police forces, in order to contribute to reduce HIV and AIDS infections in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Hy Samet stated that the ‘Friends Educate Friends’ training course will take five days, with 26 trainees, from seven provinces and cities.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #253, 4.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #253, 4.8.2009

  • The Director of the Phanimex Company [Ms. Suy Sophan] Ordered Machinery to Clear Citizens’ Housing [Kandal]
  • There Are More Than 220,000 Clients of Sex Services in Cambodia
  • The 319 War Refugee Families at Preah Vihear Have New Housing

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2013, 4.8.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Prepares to Establish a Foundation for Parliamentarians Who Lose Their Court Cases [and also for journalists supporting the party]
  • A Military Official Uses His Commander’s Name [name not given] to Intervene to Prevent 10 Cubic Meter of Luxury Wood from Aural District from Being Seized [Kompong Speu]
  • In the First Six Months of 2009, the Number of Deaths from Traffic Accidents Declined [there were 333 traffic accidents, 105 deaths, 318 seriously injured people, and 206 lightly injured people; compared to 2008, there had been 139 deaths – Phnom Penh]

Karpear Cheat, Vol.2, #13, 2-3.8.2009

  • MetFone [a telecommunication company from Vietnam] Signed a Contract to Sponsor the Cambodian Football League [with US$1.5 Million]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6719, 4.8.2009

  • Forest in the Boeng Melea and the Our Thma Dab National Parks Are Being Cleared to Claim Land [for private ownership – Siem Reap]
  • Fishermen Warn that They Will Protest against Land Filling [at the seashore in Kampot – as their lives depend on the sea and the filling destroy the habitat of sea fish. This land filling is also against PM Hun Sen’s order who had said that any development plans, that affect people’s benefits, must not be allowed]
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: Not All Information Can Be Provided, Especially Security Information

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4963, 4.8.2009

  • The Number of People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Flu Increases to 21 in Cambodia
  • Vietnamese People’s Army Grants Materials to Cambodian Army to Produce Maps
  • The Authorities Have Not Taken Action against Nearly 100 Unlicensed Sand Dredging Sites in Kandal Stung District [Kandal]
  • Land Cruiser Hit a Motorbike, Killing Two Persons and Injuring Three [Siem Reap]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1764, 4.8.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Duch Rejected a Witness [Mr. Kek Dan] Who Claimed He Worked as Medic of the S21 Center

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Fishery Crimes in Russey Keo: Fishery Officials Go to Collect Money from Boats Every Day without Caring whether It Is Spawning Season for the Fish or Not – Monday, 3.8.2009

Posted on 4 August 2009. Filed under: Week 624 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624

“Phnom Penh: Anarchic irregularities in the realm of fishery happen every day, both during the season while the water is rising, and in the spawning season when all fishing is banned by law in all regions. Practically, in Russey Keo, Phnom Penh, many crimes against the fishery legislation are occurring along the Tonle Sap River without any intervention, like against many places that raise pike fish [a predatory fish that is forbidden to be raised in rivers, as it attacks and eats smaller fish], and it is reported that fishery officials are corrupt.

“Police and a group of fishery officials come to collect money from most of the Cham [Khmer Muslim] fishermen in Chrang Chamreh commune [Phnom Penh] every day, taking Riel 10,000 [US$2.50] from each boat without caring whether it is the season of receding water or the season of rising flood water for the fish to spawn. They just come to collect money from the boats owned by Khmer, Cham, Chinese, and Yuon [Vietnamese] fishermen.

“According to the same source, there are about 400 fishing boats in Russey Keo, and if one includes those in Prek Phnov, there might be as much as 1,000 boats.

“Thus, every day fishery officials can earn millions of Riels, and this does not yet include the bribes they get from the Vietnamese people who raise fresh pike fish at many places.

“Regarding the crime of raising fresh pike fish, it is reported that there are many places where fish creels are used, mostly owned by Vietnamese people, they are put into the river and covered with bamboo rafts, and their houses are built on top of the rafts.

“The same source added that most houses on the Tonle Sap Lake have fish creels stored on their roofs which belong to Vietnamese people or, as they are called, Yuons.

“And the water of the rivers in Cambodia become muddy because forestry officials ignore their tasks and let Vietnamese people do things as they want, after receiving bribes.

“There are many other big affairs about which Kampuchea Thmey had received information, and then informed officials of the Chaktomuk Fishery Office, so that they take action on them, but they got very angry with the Kampuchea Thmey agents and told them that next time, if they want to inform them about any fishery crimes, they have to first submit forms, so that they can prepare plans and personnel. If they are told to do anything immediately, they have no personnel.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2012, 2-3.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 3 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #252, 3.8.2009

  • Cambodia Will Send a Letter of Condolence Today at the Occasion of the Death of the Former First Woman President of the Philippine [Phnom Penh]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Prepares to Collect Donated Money from Supporters to Pay Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen], if Mu Sochua Loses Her Court Case [according to the Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann]
  • The President of the Philippines [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] Calls for the Release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [the Burmese elected democracy leader]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2012, 2-3.8.2009

  • Fishery Crimes in Russey Keo: Fishery Officials Go to Collect Money from Boats Every Day without Caring whether It Is Spawning Season for the Fish or Not

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6718, 3.8.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Opposes the Construction of a Market [at the Preah Vihear Temple to replace the previous one destroyed by fire]; Siam [Thailand] Complained that Cambodia Violates the Memorandum of Understanding [of 2000], but Cambodia Responded that the Market in the Prasat Village Had Been Created before that Memorandum of Understanding
  • During the First Day Campaign Enforcing the Traffic Law, 3,438 Drivers Were Fined and Instructed [for not wearing helmets, not having fixed rear-view mirrors, and not having number plates – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4962, 2-3.8.2009

  • The People&apss Power Heroine Corazon Aquino Died [she was the former president of the Philippines who had overthrown the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines]
  • Robbers Robbed Jewelry Sellers in Siem Reap Taking Away 600 Chi Gold [approx. US$69,000], Riel 44 Million [approx. US$11,000], and US$9,000
  • Australia Sends Stock Exchange Experts [to assist Cambodia]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1763, 3.8.2009

  • Samlot People Warn that if the Government Seizes their Land, They Will Struggle to Death

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3491, 2.8.2009

  • [About 100] Tunlob Market Vendors in Takeo Gathered at the Residence of the Prime Minister in Takhmao [to protest against the owner of the market who requires them to buy stalls which are expensive, after the market had been rebuilt]

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