Week 641

The United Nations Climate Change Conference – Sunday, 6.12.2009

Posted on 7 December 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

From 7 to 18 December 2009 the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP 15 – will convene in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. It will be the most intensively prepared and biggest of these conferences, and the large number of highest level government leaders who have announced that they will participate is an indication that there is a widely shared awareness that the world is facing a real crisis.

The report from the introductory briefing by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC – its more formal name – Yvo de Boer, says:

“The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will be a turning point in the fight to prevent climate disaster. The science demands it, the economics support it, future generations require it. In early December, negotiators, ministers and world leaders will assemble in the Danish capital to give the people of all nations a strong answer to this common, global threat of climate change.

“In a briefing to the press less than two weeks ahead of the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15), UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer spoke about his expectations for the meeting, which he described as a ‘historic turning point.’

“In particular, a successful outcome in Copenhagen requires ambitious emissions targets from industrialized countries, as well as stable and predictable finance to support mitigation and adaptation actions by developing countries – with USD 10 billion a year up to 2013 needed to kick-start immediate action.

“Success in Copenhagen, he said, can put the world on a low-emissions growth path and ensure that poor and vulnerable nations are in a position to adapt to the effects of climate change.

“Underlining that there is no time to lose, and that the stakes are too high for political self-interest, Mr. de Boer called on countries to work in a spirit of cooperation and compromise to seal the deal in Copenhagen.”

Actually, it is not one conference, but a cluster of different conferences with different, specific tasks:

“COP 15 will be held in conjunction with the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), the 31st sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), the 10th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the 8th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).”

And there will be even ample possibility for virtual participation in COP 15 through the Internet:
http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_15/virtual_participation/items/5092.php

A commentary by the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, under the title THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL, points to the facts that whatever the assembled governments decide will only lead to results if the international framework will be implemented locally, and that means often that this happens only after fighting for its implementation at the local level. “And local and state elected officials understand that voters care about climate change and expect their cities and states to do their part,” so that those who want to be elected have to respond to the legitimate expectations of the people.

That requires especially cities to implement “bold steps to address climate change through transportation policy, energy efficiency, and urban planning,” making sure that “existing buildings are more energy efficient,” including and up “to revitalize parks.”

Such considerations provide a link back to our own situation, when following the events during the next two weeks – and beyond into an uncertain future. What will it mean, to act locally, when one considers even only the few points mentioned by the mayor of New York – for the bold steps Phnom Penh has to take: for future plans for the ever increasing local traffic, for energy efficiency of the many buildings – old and new – which waste a lot of electricity for air-conditioning, as they were not designed with the goal to save energy, and for the preservation of open spaces in and around the city?

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The Government Decided to Provide Ownership Rights in Co-Owned Buildings also to Foreigners – Saturday, 5.12.2009

Posted on 6 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“In the morning of 4 December 2009, the Royal Government of Cambodia approved a draft about the provision of ownership rights in co-owned buildings [‘condominiums’] also to foreigners, based on a draft by the Ministry of Land Management and Urbanization in consultation with the Ministry of Justice.

“According to an announcement from the Council of Ministers, the above draft consists of 8 chapters and 24 articles, and it responds to the Royal Government’s policy to attract investors, as well as to facilitate the growth of the real estate market, and to boost development to reduce poverty.

“At the same time, the cabinet meeting approved also the draft, comprising of 6 chapters and 13 articles, for a royal decree about the creation of a national maritime security committee.

“The national maritime security committee is to be used as an instrument on the national level to regulate, manage, and strengthen maritime security. It will also be the focal point for the coordination and cooperation between other relevant authorities, to strengthen the effective management and integration of different services for the sake of our nation, and for the expansion of cooperation with foreign countries.

“The announcement went on to say that during the cabinet meeting, also the draft for a royal decree about the formation of a secretariat for the National Council for Children, and its operation, was approved.

“Based on 15 years experience, and considering the changed conditions in the country because of developments in all sectors, and also of other problems challenging children, the National Council for Children must make change to its assigned structure in order to uplift the quality of this social sector, and to prove that the Royal Government cares about the living conditions to ensure the four rights [?] of Cambodian children, as well as to protect them.

“During the meeting, an agreement about an ASEAN commerce for the preparation of an ASEAN free trade zones, and an ASEAN treaty about combating terrorism were approved to be sent to the legislative body for ratification.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #354, 5.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 5 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #354, 5.12.2009

  • The Government Decided to Provide Ownership Rights in Co-Owned Buildings also to Foreigners
  • Four Robbers That Had Robbed two Gold Sellers [husband and wife, about three years ago, taking a car and jewelry worth about US$30,000] Were Arrested while They Were Buying a Car [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2116, 5.12.2009

  • The World Trade Organization Director Welcomes the Fifth Anniversary since Cambodia Became a Member of the World Trade Organization
  • Samdech Hun Sen Set a Deadline at Five O’Clock on 4 December 2009 for [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva to Reply [whether to send the Thai ambassador back to Cambodia or not, otherwise he will launch the construction of the road from Siem Reap to Oddar Meanchey without using a Thai loan]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #547, 5.12.2009

  • Siamese Spy Siwarak Dropped His Bail Bid at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court [and changed his defense lawyer]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6823, 5-6.12.2009

  • Cambodia and Vietnam Held a Bilateral Meeting to Discuss Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Agreed to Finish the Border Demarcation in 2012 [according to a meeting between the Cambodian and the Vietnamese Ministers of Foreign Affairs]
  • The Number of Visitors to Siem Reap Increases Again [within 11 months of 2009, there were 2.044,577 visitors, compared to the corresponding period last year, there were 2,062,488, but it had been further down in previous recent months]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5065, 5.12.2009

  • [The Thai ousted prime minister, convicted for corruption, who fled the country breaking his bail promise] Thaksin Shinawatra and [former Thai general and prime minister] Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Plan to Help Arrange the Release of the Thai Engineer and Alleged Spy [according to former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Noppadon Patama]
  • Vietnam Helps to Build Five Radio Stations in Cambodia [for the national radio to expand its broadcasts in provinces with no good access to radio: Mondolkiri, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Ratanakiri, and Siem Reap]
  • [Twenty one] Civil Society Organizations [as well as international organizations that work on human rights and legal affairs] Asked to Meet the King to Talk about the Human Rights Situation [on 10 December 2009, the International Human Rights Day]

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The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal – Friday, 4.12.2009

Posted on 5 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“The Prime Minister said, ‘Some do take the opportunity to use the Khmer Rouge court again and again… it is a fatal case. I do not interfere in the court affairs, but the court did not put off the war [with the Khmer Rouge]; and be careful, in case the court creates war and division in the society again…’

“This statement was made by Prime Minister Hun Sen again on 3 December 2009 during the 27th International Day of Disabled Persons in Phnom Penh, in relation to the intention of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more people to testify.

“On 30 November 2009, the lawyer of a Khmer Rouge leader demanded that the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal question Prime Minister Hun Sen and some government officials, for having politically interfered in the affairs of this court. But yesterday, the head of the government, Mr. Hun Sen, stated that he does not interfere in the court affairs, but he just pointed to intentions to destroy the peace, which could hardly be recovered by summoning more former Khmer Rough leaders for questioning. This kind of an expression of concern is considered by a foreign defense lawyer of a former Khmer Rouge leader to be a criminal offense.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer mentioned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s words, saying in September 2009, that the Prime Minister stated that he himself fled from the communist regime in 1977, adding that witnesses do not need to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer, Mr. Michael Pestman, said to the news agency AFP and was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post, for their publication on 30 November 2009, as saying, ‘Mr. Hun Sen really told all summoned witnesses that they do not need to cooperate with the tribunal. That means he committed a criminal offense and it seriously affects the legal investigations of this court.’

“A similar suggestion, which AFP had received, mentioned the words of government officials they had used in October 2009 that the six parliamentarians and high ranking officials of the government, summoned by this court, do not need to testify.

“Mr. Pestman added, ‘Mr. Hun Sen’s statement is affecting the hearings to seek justice for our clients, because those government officials are direct witnesses whom we need for this process.’ He added, ‘At least, these words can weaken the legitimacy of the court.’

‘Yesterday morning, Mr. Hun Sen did not exactly refer to any Khmer or foreign lawyers, prosecutors, or judges, but stressed that this measure intends just to provoke turmoil in Cambodia.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘They try to create turmoil in order to exploit the benefits for themselves.’

“After the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘From 1993 till now, when Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge cabinet arrived back, we considered this as the stage where the political and military organizations of the Khmer Rouge had been dissolved.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that he would rather let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal fail, than would he let it to create a new war in Cambodia. He stated, ‘A hearing is just a hearing, but the peace must be kept also, and national unity must be maintained. You must balance these. Do not play with them, it can be fatal; and 100,000 to 200,000 people would die if there would be war again; who will then call the Khmer Rouge, or go to call them back from the forest again? I am old now. When I went to call the brothers and sisters [the former Khmer Rouge people] back from the forest, I was not yet 50 years old… I would rather let the court fail, but I will not let war break out. I want to say this clearly to the people. If the court fails, let it be.’

“Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person who was to be summoned to testify.

“Even though Mr. Hun Sen is worried about the breaking out of war again because of the summons for more former Khmer Rouge leaders, the former prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the 1980s, Mr. Pen Sovann, supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders to testify, who are now high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party.

“On 8 October 2009, Mr. Pen Sovann told Khmer Machas Srok related to this case that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is an independent and professional court which can provide justice to Khmer citizens who are victims of the Khmer Rouge. He said, ‘Nobody who was involved in the past Khmer Rouge history, no politician, should interfere in this court, because this court is independent… I support this court as it has its rights, its independence, and its role.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen frequently warned that there will be instability if this court continues to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders for questioning. But Mr. Pen Sovann claimed that there will not be any instability. He went on to say, ‘I think that this could not happen. It is only the personal opinion of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen; he wants to protect persons of the former the Khmer Rouge Regime.’

“The four top former Khmer Rouge leaders, who are at present already being detained, are the former head of state, Mr. Khieu Samphan; the former president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nuon Chea; the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ieng Sary; and the former Minister of Social Affairs, Ms. Ieng Thirith; in addition, there is also the former S-21 (Tuol Sleng) prison chief Duch, who was a middle level leader, who was brought first to the hearings.

“On 7 October 2009, the French investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, and also a co-judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, summoned six high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party to give testimony. Those six officials are the president of the Senate and of the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Chea Sim; the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong; and two other senators, Mr. Sim Ka and Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun. Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person of the Cambodian People’s Party who was summoned for questioning and to testify.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 4 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #353, 4.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: I Would rather Let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Fail Than Let the Country Fall into War Again
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Provision of Job Opportunities to Disabled People [he said this during the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons; at present there are 19,232 disabled people in Cambodia; their rate declined from 2% in 1998 to 1.4% in 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2115, 4.12.2009

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 Increased to 480 [and there were five deaths]
  • An American Official [Ms. Diane Whitten from the US embassy in Phnom Penh] Wants That More Khmer Students Study in the United States [and return to develop the country]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #689, 4.12.2009

  • The United States Helps to Prepare the Angkor Guard Military Exercises in 2010 in Cambodia, with 23 Countries Participating [US$1,800,000 was granted to prepare an area for the exercises]
  • The Ministry of Health Closed Three Clinics within One Week [the Beijing Clinic in Ratanakiri, and the Russey Keo, and the Bopha Meas Clinics in Phnom Penh, where recently patients died because of neglect, and for not following some principles of the Ministry of Health] while Some Big State Hospitals Are Privatized

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6822, 4.12.2009

  • The Former Malaysian Prime Minister Brings Donations for Cambodian Muslim People Who Suffered from a Big Fire [in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #60, 4.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: I Do Not Interfere in the Court [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Foreign Investment Dropped by Almost 100% in October this Year [the investment was only US$15.5 million while last year during the same month, it amounted to US$869.8 million; according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), it declined due to the collapse of banks where many investors had asked for loans for investment]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5064, 4.12.2009

  • Cambodia Denied that Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Went to Welcome the Mother of the Thai [alleged] Spy at the Airport [when she came to visit her son]
  • Cambodia Asked the Former Malaysian Prime Minister to Look at Cambodian Rice [for possible export to Malaysia]
  • A Man Rides a Bicycle across 12 Countries to Collect Donations for Cambodian Disabled Persons [Mr. Ben King, New Zealander; look at http://bikeben.com]
  • Cambodia Asked China [through a Chinese parliamentarian delegation] to Help Train Human Resources to Repair and Preserve Temples and to Find a Ship That Sank in Koh Kong [during the 14th or 15th century]
  • The First European Union – Asian Cultural Event Will Be Organized [on 4 December 2009 at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1826, 4-6.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute between Siam [Thailand] and Cambodia Is Destroying the Plan to Construct the ASEAN Railroad [to connect the ASEAN states to the South of China]

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A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue – Thursday, 3.12.2009

Posted on 4 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“An activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was shot dead by a village chief who lives in a different village, while the victim and his nephew were fishing at a canal; and police gave the victim’s wife US$900 so that she would not inform civil society and sue him at the court. This is according to the deputy director of the Sam Rainsy Party in Prey Veng, Mr. Pim Samnang, who received the information from the victim’s family.

“But the police chief of Sithor Kandal denied that he negotiated anything with the victim’s wife to stop suing him.

“Mr. Pim Samnang told Khmer Machas Srok in the morning of 2 December 2009 at the Sam Rainsy Headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the victim is Buo Boun, 28. He lived in Prasat village, Chrey Khmum commune, Sithor Kandal, Prey Veng. He added that at 7:00 p.m. on 28 November 2009, Buo Boun together with an 11-year-old boy was shot by Voeun, the chief of the Ta Nal village which is in the same commune, killing him immediately at the site while he and his nephew were fishing at the Anhchanh canal in his village.

“The perpetrator shot the victim three times, and once hit him in the back in the shoulder-blade.

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Prey Veng, Mr. Chea Pouch said, ‘I cannot assume that it is political, but we let police investigate it first with participation from civil society.’

“He added, ‘I condemn the murderer who was already known as a village chief from the Cambodian People’s Party.” Therefore, police must capture the murderer as the target is clearly identified already.’

“According to this report, at about 2:00 p.m. on 29 November 2009, his wife Din Then knew her husband died. The victim is a farmer and has a six-year-old daughter. His wife is now eight months pregnant.

“The report went on to say that on 1 December 2009, police officials of Sithor Kandal went to negotiate with the victim’s wife and family by offering US$900 to Buo Boun’s wife so there would be no complaint to the court and to civil society.

“The Sithor Kandal district police chief, Mr. Net, told Khmer Machas Srok via telephone yesterday evening [2 December 2009] that indeed there was a killing which resulted from an electric fishing shock. When asked whether police helped to negotiate to pay US$900 to stop any complaint, Mr. Net denied it and claimed that his role is to make a report and to send it to higher levels, and to try to arrest the perpetrator for prosecution.

“He added that the police has not yet arrested the perpetrator, but they know who he is.

“Though Mr. Net denied negotiating with the victim’s family, Ms. Din Then, villagers and the victim’s relatives claimed that the district police did negotiate to pay US$900 to the victims’ wife in order to stop her going to sue at the court.

“Buo Boun was an orphan and an outstanding activist of the Sam Rainsy Party. He used to be an agent of the Sam Rainsy Party at his village and also the one who was able to find most support for the Sam Rainsy Party for the national elections in 2008. His murder is considered as political, as he never had disputes with anyone.

“Mr. Pim Samnang called police to arrest the perpetrator, Voeun, the village chief, to be convicted according to the law.

“Yesterday evening, it was reported that the secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, Ms. Ke Sovannarath, wrote a letter to the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, requesting him to arrest the perpetrator to be prosecuted according to the law.

“It should be noted that last month, an activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was attacked and killed while the victim and his wife were sleeping in their cottage to guard their paddy rice in Basedth district, Kompong Speu.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1421, 3.12.2009

  • [The President of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin: Khmers Are Happy with the Nomination of Thaksin Shinawatra [Thai ousted prime minister — but also convicted to two years in prison for economic corruption, who fled the country breaking his bail promise — as an economic advisor]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #352, 3.12.2009

  • Lecturers and Students of the Royal University of Agriculture Stopped Striking after They Were Promised a Solution [related to corruption suspicions among the leadership of the university]
  • Nearly Two Tonnes of Snakes and Turtles Were Intercepted before They Were Trafficked Illegally to Vietnam through the Chrey Thom Border Crossing

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2114, 3.12.2009

  • The Minister of Commerce [Mr. Cham Prasidh], Said that Cambodia, like Other Countries in the World, Suffers from the Economic Crisis
  • Police Arrested More Than 100 Troublemaking Teens Who Stay at Guesthouses Together and Use Drugs [Phnom Penh]
  • A Perpetrator Who Raped and Killed a Woman Was Arrested [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

  • A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6821, 3.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute Does Not Cut Off Military Ties, and Cambodian and Thai Troops Play Friendship Sports on the Dangrek Mountains
  • A Grandson Is a Cruel Murderer Who Killed His Grandmother [and injured a servant seriously; it is assumed the murder is related to a conflict over family property – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #59, 3.12.2009

  • Hundreds of Vietnamese Women Were Trafficked to Cambodia [within 11 months of 2009, as many as 773 Vietnamese women were arrested by the government [and sent back to Vietnam], and also Cambodian citizens, including children, women, and men were trafficked; according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation]
  • The Cambodian-South Korean Commerce Declined by More Than 11% within 10 Months of 2009 [to only US$232.8 million], but It Might Recover Next Year
  • Obama Will Send 30,000 Soldiers More to Afghanistan

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5063, 3.12.2009

  • The European Union Grants More Than US$2 Million [Euro 2 million] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Thai Mother Came to Visit Her Son at the Prey Sar Prison for the Second Time Quietly [he was accused as a spy for coping the flight plan — flight plans in many countries are public information to strengthen air traffic safety by sharing information — of the Thai ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. – According to other sources, she was greeted at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who accompanied her to the prison]
  • Two New International Co-Prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [Mr. Andrew T. Cayley and Mr. Paul Coffey] Were Appointed [after having been nominated four month ago]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1825, 3.12.2009

  • Five Thousands People [from different organizations, associations, communities, trade unions, and ethnic minorities] Plan to March on 10th December – Human Rights Day – in Phnom Penh

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Cambodia Was Criticized from Different Sides over Human Rights Issues – Wednesday, 2.12.2009

Posted on 3 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“At the beginning of the UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday, 1 December 2009, Cambodia was criticized from different sides over human rights issues, including housing rights, attacks on its citizens, and injustice at the courts.

“Created in 2006, the Universal Periodic Reviews by this council checks the human rights practices of the 192 members states of the United Nations every four years in order to solve problems of human rights violations and to promote the respect of international human rights.

“A researcher of Amnesty International, Ms. Brittis Edman, said on Monday that she hopes that land ownership rights and housing issues will be the most important agenda items of the meeting in Switzerland.

“Ms. Edman wrote in her email, ‘It is the very important that forced evictions and housing rights are brought to be discussed and reflected in the report on the findings. It is also important that all the monitoring states call on their governments to approve and to strengthen laws that clearly ban forced evictions.’

“Most non-government organizations working on human rights, that were invited to express suggestions regarding human rights problems on the record of the government, presented notes to the UN Human Rights Council, using serious words against Cambodia.

“A submission by Human Rights Watch, an international organization, says, ‘While Cambodia had experienced strong economic growth since the UN-brokered elections in 1993, the government has treated respect for human rights as an obstacle, rather than an aid, to development.’

“This submission specifically addressed concerns about the lack of independence at the courts, intimidation against freedom of expression, forced evictions, and violence against women, among other problems.

“In contrast, the document submitted by the government to the council says, ‘The Royal Government guarantees rights and freedoms, and continues with its commitment to achieve the best human rights for Cambodian citizens.’ But it has provided little documented evidence about the achievements of those rights.

“Responding to criticism from international human rights organizations, the government frequently called to review any problems in the context of the history of the country that has just recovered from the Khmer Rouge regime and from civil war.

“The government documentation continues to say, ‘Any human rights assessment in Cambodia should be based on considerations about the previous situation, on the efforts made during the first stage following the Paris Peace Agreements [of 1991].’

“The deputy head of the Human Rights Committee of the Cambodia government, Mr. Mak Sambath, said on Monday that Cambodia will be presented during the Universal Periodic Review by members of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee Mr. Touch Khemarin and Mr. Ith Rady, who is an undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Justice.

“Mr. Mak Sambath said, ‘They have the ability to work on the task because they have worked a lot with the government and with civil society.

“He added that the independence of the courts, the freedom of expression, and violence against women, are issues expected to be presented during the review.

“Both the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Amnesty International said on Monday that they have representatives to present their cases.

“Not only the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Subedi, who had reported to see serious human rights violations in Cambodia, but also several other countries consider that Cambodia is under oppressive rule, though this country has international agreements about the respect of democracy, which includes the respect for human rights as a major point of policy.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1824, 2.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #351, 2.12.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Expressed the Accusation That There Is a [not named] Third Person Who Creates Trouble between the Leaders in Phnom Penh and in Bangkok [according to the Bangkok Post]
  • Cambodia Sends Representatives to Present the [Cambodian] Human Rights Situation to the United Nations
  • Two Cars Collided with One Another, Hitting Two Motor-taxi Drivers to Death, while They Were Sitting and Waiting for Clients [Phnom Penh]
  • Lecturers of the Royal University of Agriculture Strike [by not teaching the students who have paid tuition fees] because of not Transparent Actions of the Leadership [under corruption allegations; about 500 students protested]
  • Over 600 People [including government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and non-government organizations] Gathered to Mark the World AIDS Day [in Cambodia, there are 44,371 people infected with AIDS, and 92% of them receive medical treatment; 70% are orphaned children]
  • Cambodia and South Korea Signed an Agreement to Build a Building for the Cambodian Stock Market Worth US$6 Million

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2113, 2.12.2009

  • Four Khmer Citizens Carrying Drugs into Thai Territory Were Arrested by Thai Police and Sent to Court
  • Officials of the Ministry of Health Said Pregnant Women and Children Receive the A/H1N1 Vaccines First [Cambodia has received 300,000 doses of A/H1N1 vaccines from the World Health Organization]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6820, 2.12.2009

  • In One Year [from early 2009 to November] Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the special border protection unit], Shot and Killed 4 Khmer Citizens, Injured 3, and Jailed 96 at Oddar Meanchey Border Area
  • Two American Men Had Different Problems: One Was Arrested in Siem Reap for Shooting, and the Other Fainted and Died during the Night in Phnom Penh
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Encouraged the Asian Development Bank to Look at Cambodia’s Railway Problems
  • In 2008, Two Million People Died of AIDS [70% in the sub-Sahara region], and 2.7 Million Were Infected with HIV [according to UNAIDS and WHO]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #58, 2.12.2009

  • [The Australian company] OZ Minerals Hopes to Extract 2 Million Ounces of Gold by 2010 [in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5062, 2.12.2009

  • A Thai General: Phanlub Pinmani – phonetic -, a member of the Puea Thai Party, said the diplomatic] Dispute Might Lead to War
  • More Than 80 Pieces of Luxury Wood Had Been Hidden by Merchants in Kounmom District, but Were Intercepted [Ratanakiri]
  • Two Sand Dredging Workers Died because of Inhaling Chemicals and Lacking Oxygen [Koh Kong]
  • America Announces to Continue to Help Cambodia to Combat AIDS

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1824, 2.12.2009

  • Cambodia Was Criticized from Different Sides over Human Rights Issues

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The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ Increase – Tuesday, 1.12.2009

Posted on 2 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol.13, No.641

“Phnom Penh: Government officials and parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party explained in detail the regulations for setting of taxes on land and houses, and the increase of road taxes in 2010. This decision is part of the decisions for the national budget for 2010 which the National Assembly discussed and approved on Monday 30 November 2009.

“Defending the national budget draft for 2010, officially known as a financial management law for 2010, during the parliament session on Monday morning, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, said that the increase of road taxes and the collection of taxes for real estate including land, houses, buildings, and constructions are a measure to seek additional income while Cambodia is encountering an economic and financial crisis.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon added that measures of the government to create taxes on land and houses is not expected to bring in much here in Phnom Penh, because there are 180,000 houses from which only US$3 million to US$9 million can be made. This tax collection will surely be made from high ranking officials and rich people, but it does not have an impact like the tax rates of land and houses in foreign countries, where up to 1% of the total value is charged. In our country, it is only 0.1%. The government will use it to reduce the state support of resources to under national levels and to expand taxation culture which is a movement for direct tax income in the future.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon stressed that this new tax was created after proper studies, by an assessment committee, but it is not to frighten the people.

“This statement of the Minister of Economy and Finance is a defense and a response to the criticism of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians when the parliament begun discussing to approve a draft of the national budget for 2010.

“The total national budget for 2010, about US$2 billion, was criticized by the Sam Rainsy Party because of the increased expense allocated for national defense and security, which amounts to about US$274 million, while expenses allocated for agriculture and contributing to the development of the national economy were increased by only 5%.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians also opposed the policy to collect land and house taxes, and to augment road taxes from automobiles, which is proposed as a measure to increase income for state expense in 2010.

“Parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said during the parliament session that to augment road taxes and the collection of land and house taxes are strange moves and cannot be supported. Both the rich and the poor cannot cry during the economic crisis at present, because their houses and their land cannot be sold, and some even are indebted to banks.

“The parliamentarian Yim Sovann suggested that the government should try to be brave to collect other taxes, like from visits to the Angkor Wat Temples [contracted to a private company], from forest exploitation, from land contracted out as economic concession land, and to monitor the selling of state property, so that it becomes transparent. Doing so, the state will have increased income and does not need to collect taxes from houses and to increase the road tax.

“The National budget law for 2010 says that taxes will be collected from real estate such as land, houses, buildings, constructions, and others, with a value over Riel 100,000,000 [approx. US$25,000]. The tax will be collected annually at a rate of 0.1% of the total value of the real estate. But the tax excludes agricultural land, and land and buildings of the government, of communities, or individuals who serve religious or humanitarian activities. But houses for normal citizens must pay taxes.

“The budget law for 2010 foresees also an increase of taxes on means transportation including automobiles (road taxes):

  1. Vehicles with a power over 12 HP to 17 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125] each year, and after the 5th years, it is Riel 360,000 [approx. US$90].
  2. Cars with a power over 17 HP to 24 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 1,600,000 [approx. US$400], and after the 5th year, it is Riel 1,200,000 [approx. US$300].
  3. Cars with a power over 24 HP, like Lexus’ and Land Cruisers, had to pay only Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250] for road tax in the previous year, but next year, they will be charged Riel 2,000,000 [approx. US$500].
  4. As for passengers’, general transportation, and tourists’ cars with a power of 12 HP, and small motorbikes, their taxes are kept at the same level.

“However, 106 parliamentarians among 109, who were present during the session on Monday morning, raised their hand in favor of the overall content to accept the draft of the national budget for 2010 to be discussed and approved. The Parliament session continued until Monday afternoon, and the parliament plans to continue to discuss the national budget law, which consists of 6 chapters and 20 articles, on Tuesday morning.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #350, 1.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Ordered All State Institutions and Provincial Authorities to Review All Agreements with the Siamese [Thai] Government
  • More Than 40 Persons from Civil Society Organizations of Cambodia Will Attend the Geneva Meetings [on 1 December 2009, of the UN Human Rights Council, of the first Universal Periodic Review of human rights practices in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2112, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Considers [Thai prime minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva and [Thai foreign minister] Kasit Piromya as Evil Persons for Cambodia [but he proclaimed to support all Thai investors]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Warned Members of the Royal Family Who Speak Publicly Affecting the King’s health
  • The Odor of a Decaying Body of a Woman Was Found in the Forest, and It Is Assumed that it is a Case of Rape Murder [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #543, 1.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Got Angry with [the Thai Minster of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya after [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Rejected Negotiations to Restore Diplomatic Ties [as long as the convicted and fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is an official adviser to the Cambodian government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6819, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Agreements with Thailand Were Suspended, and Even Scholarships for Students Were also Suspended, so that Nobody will Owe Any Gratitude to Thailand
  • Illegal Loggings Still Exist without Any Effective Measures to Prevent Logging in Kompong Thom

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #57, 1.12.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Warned Thai Leaders Not to Look Down on Khmers, and He Suspended all Aid from the Government of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s Lawyer [Mr. Michael Pestman] Asked the Court to Investigate the Prime Minister for Political Interference [in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal; Mr. Pestman said that Mr. Hun Sen had told all witnesses not to cooperate with this tribunal, accusing Mr. Hun Sen of committing a criminal mistake, which seriously affects legal investigations by this court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Should Stop Finding Ways to Press Cambodia
  • The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ increase
  • A Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing One and Injuring Three [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1823, 1.12.2009

  • Vietnamese Garments with Cambodian Labels [“Made in Cambodia”] to Be Exported to America Are Found [to exploit the Cambodian export quote limits from Vietnam

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The National Assembly Prepares to Release the Salaries of Personnel through a Bank, and to Collect Taxes on the Salaries – Monday, 30.11.2009

Posted on 1 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“Phnom Penh: Personnel of the National Assembly (not to be confused with the 123 parliamentarians) is required to receive their salaries through a bank account and to pay taxes for their salaries; according to the plan, this will start from January 2010.

“On 25 November 2009, 73 persons employed at the National Assembly, in positions of directors and deputy directors of departments, are preparing documents and have their photos taken to fill in application forms to open accounts at the ANZ Royal Bank. This is the first step. Next comes the filling of forms by normal staff of the National Assembly – their total number is not given. But it is known that those staff are under the administration of the secretariat of the National Assembly, where at present, there are 1,200 staff members and some other contracted persons.

“Officials of the National Assembly in charge of this work said that the National Assembly organizes to release the salaries through a bank, following public financial reforms of the Royal Government. Also, this eases the release of the salaries for civil servants at other cities and in the provinces, as they need not come to collect their salaries in Phnom Penh, and it improves the efficiency of the management of resources. The release of salaries to staff of the National Assembly through a bank will begin in January 2010.

“The private ANZ Royal Bank received the exclusive right from the Cambodian government to handle the release of the salaries of civil servants and officials of all ministries and institutions. This agreement was made in mid 2007.

“The head of the commercial communication section of the ANZ Royal Bank, Mr. Nou Netra, who is organizing the documents to open bank accounts for the staff of the National Assembly, said that so far, the ANZ Royal Bank has already prepared to release the salaries for 35 of the 36 state institutions, and it has been operating at 27 ministries.

“Meanwhile, personnel of the National Assembly will also have to pay taxes on their salaries, which had been decided to begin in October 2009, but the National Assembly had asked to delay it until early 2010.

“During a meeting between the secretariat of the National Assembly and tax officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance last week, tax officials mentioned the order of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen regarding the collection of taxes on salaries of civil servants at all ministries and state and private institutions.

“Monthly salary taxes will be collected in accordance with the amendment of the taxation law that was published to be used on 31 March 2003.

“The ranges for the collection of taxes on staff salaries are set as follows:

  • from Riel 500,001 [approx. US$125] to Riel 1,250,000 [approx. US$312]: 5%
  • from Riel 1,250,001 to Riel 8,500,000 [approx. US$2,125]: 10%
  • from Riel 8,500,001 to Riel 12,500,000 [approx. US$3,125]: 15%
  • more than Riel 12,500,000: 20%.

“It should be noted that the total number of staff of the National Assembly and the total amount of their salaries are not given. But the amount of their salaries depends on their experience and certified level of education. Normal staff who are high school graduates earn more than Riel 600,000 [approx. US$150], and heads of departments earn Riel 1,200,000 [approx. US$300] and above.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5060, 29-30.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 30 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #349, 29-30.11.2009

  • Army Commanders at the [Cambodian-Thai] Border Meet Each Other More Often and Play Sports, while Diplomatic Ties Are Still Tense
  • Cambodia Will Ask to Extend the Time Necessary to Clear All Mines from Cambodia for 10 More Years [at a an international conference in Colombia about mines and other explosion devices]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2111, 29-30.11.2009

  • A Branch Director of the Acleda Bank in Kompong Cham and His Girlfriend Were Arrested for Taking Nearly Half a Million Dollars [Phnom Penh]
  • A Court Decided to Release a Man Accused of Rape and of Taking Photos to Extort Money [from his sister-in-law, due to lack of evidence – Phnom Penh [according to another source, the man tried to catch her for committing adultery with another person]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #542, 29-30.11.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann: There Should Be No More Tensions, while the Border Issues near the Preah Vihear Temple Are Being Solved

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6818, 30.11.2009

  • To Eliminate Gender Inequality, there Must Be an Increasing Number of Women Officials [according to a workshop organized by the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #56, 30.11.2009

  • [More than 100] Sam Rainsy Party Members Defected to the Cambodian People’s Party [however, the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann. said that the number was exaggerated, because there were only two or three members who defected]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1478, 30.11.2009

  • Nine Types of Foodstuff [6 tonnes] Worth US$200,000 Arrived as Humanitarian Aid from South Korea [to assist victims of the typhoon Ketsana]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5060, 29-30.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Prepares to Release the Salaries of Personnel through a Bank, and to Collect Taxes on the Salaries
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Asked Cambodia to Consider Asking for a Loan [from Thailand, to construct a road with the amount of about US$41 million] again, as the Military Commanders Promised that there Will Be No Armed Clashes
  • Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [that is from the Special Border Protection Unit] Shot at a Group of Khmer Citizens, Killing One Youth [they had entered the forest to cut trees on Thai territory – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The National Assembly Asked the Government to Provide Documents and to Explain the Border Demarcation [with Vietnam]

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