Week 663

The Creation of the European Union – Jointly Celebrated? – Sunday, 9.5.2010

Posted on 10 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

On Saturday, 8 May 2010, we carried a headline saying: The European Union and Cambodia Jointly Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Creation of the European Union. What does such a celebration mean? At least it is a sign of recognition: Cambodia and the European Union have mutual friendly relations, even cooperation beyond financial aid, like during the two days ASEM Conference on very practical, actual problems: Forests, Forest Governance and Timber Products Trade – Scenarios and Challenges for Europe and Asia, on 4 and 5 May 2010 in Phnom Penh, and the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting on 5 to 6 May 2010.

But even dealing with such practical questions as the handling of forest resources – how did it relate to the present campaign in Cambodia to crack down on the illegal cutting of luxury grade wood which has already identified 6,000 cubic meter of such wood, so that the authorities could confiscate it; but the question is raised in some papers that so far, the Oknhas – mostly rich businesspeople – behind this trade have not been touched, while low level operators are arrested. Have these international meetings and the joint celebration also led to exchanges about the basic values which were at the beginning of the European Union? Or which may motivate, beyond economic considerations, the further inner growth of ASEAN?

On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, Foreign Minister of France between 1948-1952, made a programmatic speech, a proposal, which led to the creation of the European Union. It has to be noted that this was exactly 5 years after the end of the Second World War, in which France had been among the victors against Germany. This speech initiated the end of the traditional, centuries old emotional distrust and enmity between France and Germany. To construct peace.

Declaration of 9 May 1950

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.

The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realized simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.

By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.

To promote the realization of the objectives defined, the French Government is ready to open negotiations on the following bases.

The task with which this common High Authority will be charged will be that of securing in the shortest possible time the modernization of production and the improvement of its quality; the supply of coal and steel on identical terms to the French and German markets, as well as to the markets of other member countries; the development in common of exports to other countries; the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries.

To achieve these objectives, starting from the very different conditions in which the production of member countries is at present situated, it is proposed that certain transitional measures should be instituted, such as the application of a production and investment plan, the establishment of compensating machinery for equating prices, and the creation of a restructuring fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The movement of coal and steel between member countries will immediately be freed from all customs duty, and will not be affected by differential transport rates. Conditions will gradually be created which will spontaneously provide for the more rational distribution of production at the highest level of productivity…

The essential principles and undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty signed between the States and submitted for the ratification of their parliaments. The negotiations required to settle details of applications will be undertaken with the help of an arbitrator appointed by common agreement. He will be entrusted with the task of seeing that the agreements reached conform with the principles laid down, and, in the event of a deadlock, he will decide what solution is to be adopted.

The common High Authority entrusted with the management of the scheme will be composed of independent persons appointed by the governments, giving equal representation. A chairman will be chosen by common agreement between the governments. The Authority’s decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and other member countries. Appropriate measures will be provided for means of appeal against the decisions of the Authority.

To understand the boldness of the proposal, against all historical experience, it is necessary to highlight this section:

“The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

“The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

The production of coal and steel – the basis for the economic strength and for the opposing military machineries – is to be taken away from the opposing national authorities and put under a common international administration, a common High Authority which is not working under the supervision of the different governments – but these governments have to work under a joint High Authority for the common good of their people, for the “the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries,” and in this way, “Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent,” working beyond its own narrow interests.

For 60 years, there has been no war in central Europe – because the coal and steel industry, the physical basis for a war machinery – was no more under full national sovereignty: “war between France and Germany became not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

During the past week, tensions at the border between Thailand and Cambodia flared up again: at the Ta Krabei Temple, and at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda.

What would happen, if both Cambodia and Thailand would give up claims on what sets them against each other – like Germany and France had been facing each other as not reconcilable enemies for ages, sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides to death – and consider and operate the historical heritage of both countries not for confrontation, but for cooperation?

Even the whole community of ASEAN would receive a new breath of life, if two member countries could make a step – probably smaller than the end of the bloody history between Germany and France – not just to forget past tensions, but to build an irreversible path into a common future. Like the unthinkable proposal Robert Schuman made 60 years ago. Was something similarly bold like this considered in the joint celebration of the creation of the European Union?

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Seven Companies Receive Economic Concession Land from the Government – Saturday, 8.5.2010

Posted on 8 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“Phnom Penh: Seven local and foreign companies received economic concession land from the Royal Government of Cambodia to grow agro-industrial crops and trees. The agreement to provide concision land was made on 5 May 2010 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and was chaired by Minister Chan Sarun.

“In front of the participants and leaders of the companies that got concession land, the Minister of Agriculture expressed appreciation for those companies as they are trusted by the Royal Government. And he suggested to those companies to invest more, to promote a proper and sustainable ago-industrial sector, based on plans that include the exchange of techniques, the creation of jobs, and the increase of income and of health services, roads, and agricultural markets. He asked those companies to care about protecting the environment in order to avoid, and to reduce, as much as possible bad impacts on the environment because of their investment operations, to promote the plantation of trees, especially rubber trees, and the manufacturing for export, based on a proper sharing of benefits between the investors and the state.

“The seven companies that received economic concession land:

  1. PLT Company, 7,900 hectares in Rovieng district, Preah Vihear, for planting rubber trees
  2. CRCK Rubber Development company, 6,044 hectares in Sandan district, Kompong Thom, for planting rubber trees
  3. Hua Ling company, 7,773 hectares in O’ Reang Euv district and Monorum district in Mondolkiri, to plant Srol trees [a type of pine trees; its rosin is of better quality than that of rubber trees]
  4. CCV company, 5,730 hectares in Santuk district, Kompong Thom, for planting acacia
  5. IPD Instance Pro-Trading, 987 hectares in Sambou district, Kratie, for planting rubber trees
  6. Camtri Corporation, 2,409 hectares in Chhouk district, Kampot, for planting acacia trees
  7. Krongbuk-Ratanakiri Rubber Development Company, 6,695 hectares in Andong Meas district, Ratanakiri, for planting rubber trees.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5192, 8.5.2010

Note:

The article contains:

  • No information which company is national, and which is foreign
  • No information about the bidding process through which these companies “received economic concession land from the government”
  • There is no information presented about any financial conditions that had to be met to receive these contracts
  • There is no information given about the number of years covered by the various contracts
  • The minister asked those companies to care about protecting the environment, but there is no information given whether and what kind of measurable data for the protection of the environment are part of the concession contracts, and what kind of penalty regulations have been contracted, in case the environment protection regulations might be violated
  • What is considered to be “proper sharing of benefits between the investors and the state” is not spelled out in terms of monetary or percentage figures.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 8 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #472, 8.5.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted a Law about the Creation of [six] More Consulates in China [at important cities of China to facilitate trade related visits between the two countries]
  • Korea Grants US$3.3 Million to Support the Health Sector in Siem Reap
  • The European Union and Cambodia Jointly Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Creation of the European Union [on 9 May 2010 – the date relates to a programmatic speech by Robert Schuman, Foreign Minister of France between 1948-1952, on 9 May 1950. – The Mirror editorial tomorrow will deal with this in detail – relating also to relations within ASEAN]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2243, 8.5.2010

  • The Heng Development Company Is Accused of Violating 4,000 Hectares of Residents of Four Communes in Kandal Stung District [in Kandal; around 250 citizens came to protest in front of the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh]
  • Son of [the Kompong Speu deputy governor] Mr. Tong Seng Drove His Car to [intentionally] Hit a Worker [working at his ice factory, because the worker demanded his salary that had not been paid for four months], but the Authorities Released the Driver [after there had been interventions from generals – Kandal]
  • Leaders of Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the government] Agreed to Disperse on 10 May 2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #650, 8.5.2010

  • [Opposition part parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Many Questions [about payments from foreign companies to Cambodia related to mineral and oil concessions] Were Not Answered by the Government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6950, 8-9.5.2010

  • The Authorities Require Land Owners of 3,177 Unused Plots of Land in Seven Districts in Phnom Penh to Pay Land Tax to the State
  • The Chamkar Mon Authorities Raided Four Night Clubs Including the “Young Girl Night Club” Where There Were Many Teenage Girls [Phnom Penh. – The Owners of three clubs were arrested for involvement with drug distribution, and nude dance presentations; the fourth club was not found to have committed any violations]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3874, 8-9.5.2010

  • The Honor of the Poipet Immigration Police Is Getting Lost as They Extort Money from Workers
  • A Luxury Grade Wood Storehouse in Sihanoukville Was Checked, and 10 Cubic Meter of Wood Was Found Buried in the Ground

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5192, 8.5.2010

  • Seven Companies Receive Economic Concession Land from the Government
  • Early 2010, the Number of Cambodian Workers Who Migrate Abroad Increased [from January to April 2010, 2,607 workers were sent to work in Malaysia and 500 to Korea]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest – Friday, 7.5.2010

Posted on 7 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology invited the six governors from Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, and Pursat, and other related institutions, to attend a discussion in the morning of 6 May 2010 to determine what to do in three regions, and to decide actions on the reservoirs in a second area around the Tonle Sap Lake. The event was chaired by the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, at a meeting at the ministry, in order to find protective measures to timely prevent the possibility of a serious devastation of the Tonle Sap Lake and other related areas.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed that the meeting held on that day was in response to a wise decision and order of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. The three areas determined connect flooded forest to the Tonle Sap Lake, and those areas are covered by grass land, jungle with tall trees, and flooded forest. Based on aerial photos taken from planes, the flooded forest is being burnt down, but the burning is not for hunting animals. A working team conducted a study over three months by using aerial photos taken in 2005. The second study was also based on – new – aerial photos, and the third study depended on direct visits at the six provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake.

“Regarding this direct monitoring, Mr. Lim Kean Hor presented the findings and figures. According to the aerial photos taken in Kompong Thom, the size of the third area dropped to only 3,130 hectares, compared to 2005 when the size was 56,000 hectares. Therefore, in Kompong Thom more than 94% or 53,000 hectares were lost.

“In Kompong Chhnang, there are only 4,000 hectares at present, while before there were 101,000 hectares, which is a loss of as much as 95% or 97,000 hectares. This is a serious destruction, and if there are no thorough and timely interventions, the three areas that serve as a special eco-system, providing shelter for fish to lay eggs, and that are also a natural tourism site. will be lost. Therefore, there must be emergency decisions taken to protect these areas.

“The Minister added that if the cutting down of flooded forest continues, the areas will become barren land. Thus, the authorities must think of this and take action. If some people have been doing cultivation on the land inherited from their ancestors, they can keep the land, but if it is land gained from clearing of forest during the years 2003 to 2010, it will be confiscated and kept as flooded forest area. There are losses in all provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, but Kompong Thom and Kompong Chhnang sustained more serious destruction than the other four provinces.

“After presentations by the six province governors during the discussion, it was agreed that the size of the three areas of 640,000 hectares, based on the aerial photos taken in 2005, will be kept as protected area. The meeting agreed to send this conclusion to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to decide about it formally by issuing a sub-decree for the three areas.

“Relating to reservoirs in the second area, Mr. Lim Kean Hor stressed, ‘First, please keep some existing resources, and second, consider that some reservoirs were not constructed technically correct.’

“The meeting decided to determine the three areas of 640,000 taken in 2005 to be protected areas. The actions to be taken with reservoirs in the second area of the Tonle Sap Lake depends upon the Tonle Sap Lake Authority.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 7 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #471, 7.5.2010

  • Cambodia Calls On Partner Countries to Continue Addressing the Global Crisis [such as the financial, the food, the climate crisis, and the crisis related to terrorism – according to the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting held in Phnom Penh from 5 to 6 May 2010]
  • A Secretary of State [of the Ministry Social Affairs] Is Accused of Cheating US$5,000 [from the residents of a commune in Battambang, violating a contract to provide US$5,000]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2242, 7.5.2010

  • Traders Continue to Transport Wood Anarchically in Chhloung District [Kratie]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6949, 7.5.2010

  • Preventing the Destruction of the Tonle Sap Lake: The Six Provinces around the Lake Must Act to Protect the Flooded Forest
  • Most Beggars in Phnom Penh Are Children – Expert Officials Suspect that They Are Probably Forced [by their parents] to Do Begging
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage after Nine Villagers Died [at present, more than 30 other villagers are suffering from it – Kratie]
  • A Park between Roads 106 and 108 Will Be Designated as Democracy Compound [for protesters, not more than 200; it is located in the Wat Phnom commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3873, 7.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Political Stability in Siam [Thailand] Is Beneficial for Cambodia [for the economy and for politics], but the Neighboring Country Must Respect International Treaties

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #166, 7.5.2010

  • Ms. Helen Jarvis Will Resign from Her Position [as head of the Victims’ Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] at the End of This Month [for personal reasons]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Promised to Dissolve the Parliament in September 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5191, 7.5.2010

  • Three Fishermen, three Brothers, Were Killed by Lightning on the Sea during Light Rain [Kampot]
  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Release 14 Detained People, Accused of Destroying Public Forest

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign – Thursday, 6.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party had expressed their concerns before, that the non-transparent management of the rich natural resources of Cambodia, as well as corruption, make citizens – the owners of those important resources – become poor, so that they cannot receive the benefits from the present anarchic exploitations of natural resources.

“Officials from 16 countries met in Phnom Penh for two days, on 4 and 5 May 2010, to discuss about the control of forestry resources and the trade of forestry products. Cambodian high ranking officials welcomed and chaired the discussion meetings to step up effective controls on forest resources. Asian and European officials came from Burma, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Siam [Thailand], the United States of America, and Yuon [Vietnam], to discuss how to promote forestry exploitation that follows legal standards.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä, the Director of Directorate G – Sustainable Development and Integration – in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, said that forestry trading is an important sector that boosts economic growth in Asian and European countries, and forestry products have significantly and enormously contributed to development of the economies of Asian and European countries. It is stressed that forestry products are essential for a national economy.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä said that good management of forestry resource will help prevent forestry destructions in any country, though forests can provide substantial national income. Cambodia used to export forestry products to some countries such as the former Soviet Union. But since Cambodia introduced reforms in 2001, the export of [unprocessed] forestry products abroad was halted [but illegal export continued].

“The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia, Mr. Chan Sarun, who was also present at the discussions, said that people from the countries that attend the meeting can jointly create plans to strengthen forestry management and legislation. ‘We can create joint planning to improve forestry control and to strength fundamental laws, as well as cut down illegal forestry productions.’

“Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore.

“Ebony, Thnong, and Beng are most wanted luxury grade woods to produce furniture in some countries, and most illegal exports from Cambodia are of these kinds of wood. Most luxury grade wood confiscated was found in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Kratie. The destinations for its export are known to be China and Yuon, where millions of cubic meters are needed.

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees.

Global Witness said in a statement early April 2010, ‘The idea that Ty Sokhun has been removed from his post because of a failure to crack down on illegal logging is laughable.’ The organization thinks that to tolerate Mr. Ty Sokun after 15 years of forestry crimes originating from his office shows that the past spreading of forestry crimes seems to be forgotten.

Note – From the text of the Global Witness statement:

Sacking of Cambodia’s forest chief unconvincing as move against illegal logging

Press Release – 7.4.2010

Global Witness today welcomed the removal from his post of the Director General of Cambodia’s Forest Administration, Ty Sokhun, but warned that much more needed to be done to guarantee the survival of the country’s remaining forests and the fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s other natural resources for the benefit of the many not the few.

Global Witness’s 2007 report, Cambodia’s Family Trees, documented how Ty Sokhun and the Ministry of Agriculture Director, Chan Sarun, sold off 500 or more jobs in the Forest Administration. The report also revealed that Ty Sokhun’s father-in-law was a key member of Cambodia’s biggest illegal logging syndicate.

“Ty Sokhun’s reign as Cambodia’s forest chief was a disaster for Cambodia’s forests”, said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. “On his watch we saw Cambodia’s forests shrink dramatically, largely due to illegal or ill-managed logging operations. It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen says he sacked Ty Sokhun because he had no confidence in his ability to crack down on illegal logging but Global Witness questions why it has taken so long to act…

Taylor: “Ty Sokhun was not the only one responsible for the destruction of Cambodia’s forests. Our investigations have proven the complicity of officials and elites at the highest levels, including members of the Prime Minister’s own family. If Hun Sen genuinely wants closure on the destruction of Cambodia’s forests, he should commission a full independent enquiry into what has happened, publish the findings and punish the perpetrators.”

“At the occasion of the change of head of the Forestry Administration and the appointment of Mr. Chheng Kimson it was seen that some high ranking officials such as [Minister of Agriculture] Mr. Chan Sarun were spared to be called to account for their wrongdoings by the head of the Cambodian government, while in fact Mr. Chan Sarun and Mr. Ty Sokun are the most important persons responsible for forestry crimes for years. This way of suppressing illegal wood trading makes international donors to think that Cambodia does it just to satisfy them to get aid, while the Cambodian government is not really willing to intercept illegal wood trading. [[see also The Mirror of 7.4.2010]]

Note – from a historical Global Witness statement from December 2004

Resign or be sacked

Press Release – 3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honourable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterised the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” However, according to the ADB so many people, companies, institutions and countries were responsible for the fiasco that no one should be made accountable. Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted. Yet as recently as April 2004 the Independent Forest Sector Review referred to “high levels of institutionalised corruption.” Still, no one is being held to account.

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.”

Good governance is at the core of the new “Rectangular Strategy,” of the third legislature of the National Assembly, but the government has been talking tough on corruption and doing nothing for years, as has the donor community. At the 1996 CG meeting, then First Prime Minister H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia was committed to “implement appropriate measures,” to amongst other things “effectively combat corruption.” More recently at the 2001 CG the ADB’s Urooj Malik “respectfully urged” the Royal Government “to move forward with the finalization of legislation on Anti-corruption…”. The donors then pledged US$ 615 million, US$ 115 million more than the Cambodian government had actually asked for. In 2002 “the adoption of a new Anti-Corruption Law” was, according to the World Bank, by now “of particular and most urgent importance.” The donors pledged US$ 635 million.

“The Cambodian government must find the whole CG process absolutely hilarious. Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and each year the donors give them more money.” said Buckrell.

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” During Monday’s CG, the donors must hold the entire government to account for their failure to put anti-corruption rhetoric into practice. The donors should insist on rapid enactment of an effective Anti-Corruption law and a register of business interests for politicians, officers in the military, and senior officials.

“Dismissing the Director of the Forest Administration is an absolute minimum first step any donor really interested in Cambodia’s development should expect from a government committed to reform and addressing corruption,” said Global Witness Director, Simon Taylor. “Our recent report, Taking a Cut, provides a number of other key minimum steps we would expect the Cambodian Government to undertake to clean up its act. Some years ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that his Premiership depended on his success in delivering improvements in the forestry sector. By any standards, he has thus far failed. The challenge is now to the donors and the Prime Minister to deliver.”

“According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the trade in forestry products with markets in Asian countries, North America, and the European Union in 2001 amounted to about US$140 billion, while in 1999, it had been less than that. A report about the fight against illegal forestry crimes of the World Bank, from 2006, showed that the forest destructions in the world siphoned off more than US$10 billion each year.

“A well known opposition party leader in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, had said that corruption leads to the devastation of natural resources of Cambodia. He said that if there were a proper and transparent management of those resources, Cambodia were able to earn huge amounts of money for national construction and for some important infrastructure developments to serve the needs of the citizens.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy recalled that the exploitation of national resources does so far not contribute proper benefits for the nation and for poor citizens, due to corruption. If there were an accurate management, Cambodia could find sufficient income without depending on foreign aid or loans, as the government does at present.

“The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that the improper management of the national budget, especially the collection of income from the exploitations of natural resources without transparency and without following the laws of control, make Cambodia lose its benefits. Mr. Yim Sovann suggests that the government should create effective laws to control the natural resources and to ensure that income from the exploitation of natural resources is not lost to corruption.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 6 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.17, #1438, 6.5.2010

  • Sweden Plans to Establish an Embassy in Cambodia [no exact date specified]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #470, 6.5.2010

  • A 30-Year-Old Woman Was Attacked with Acid over a Suspected Love Affair [the perpetrators are not yet arrested – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2241, 6.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Met with the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense [Mr. Shimba Kazuya [防衛副大臣 榛葉賀津也], discussing about bilateral and regional cooperation]
  • Jointly Stepping Up the Fight against Human Trafficking
  • A Workshop about the Results from a Consultation to Cooperate Implementing the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women Was Held [Ms. Chim Manavy, the director of the Open Institute: priorities and strategies to achieve the same goals together cooperating between civil society organizations and institutions of the government, to effectively implement the action plan, had been discussed and set up, including Information and Communication Technology as a means to promote gender equality and to empower women, as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #648, 6.5.2010

  • Journalists Publish a Declaration on Freedom of Information, Demanding that the Government Creates a Law about the Right to Know Soon [the government is drafting this law without open participation of journalists’ associations]
  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Norodom Sihanouk and Siamese [Thai] King Sent Each Other Good Wishes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6948, 6.5.2010

  • Nearly 100,000 Hectares of Economic Concession Land in Kompong Thom Are Delivered to Twenty One Companies for Growing Agro-Industrial Crops
  • A Woman Was Raped and Killed and a Few Hours Later, the Perpetrator Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • A Statement by Cambodian Journalists Published on the World Press Freedom Day Suggests that “The Right to Know Must Be Guaranteed for Cambodian Citizens by the Government”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

  • Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #165, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Claimed Again that the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Is on Khmer Territory [while Thailand claimed it is on Thai territory. – Actually, it is on territory declared by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Joint Communique on 18 June 2008, signed together with UNESCO and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a “buffer zone” not claimed by Cambodia in the context of the World Heritage Site designation plans]
  • [More than 100] Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protested in Front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC – to oppose the submission of a Master Plan for the development of the area from the Municipality to the CDC, but officials said that the Master Plan has not yet been delivered to the CDC – but people have already been evicted before the plan was accepted]
  • The Minister of Finance of Indonesia [Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati] Receives the Top Position in the World Bank [as its Managing Director]
  • Cambodia Railway Station Is Starting with New Life because of Continuing Investment [it is now controlled by the Toll Royal Railways; the whole Cambodian railway system is being repaired under US$141,1 million aid and credits from the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and OPEC]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5190, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Imports Fuel Amounting to US$450 Million Each Year [according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce]
  • 199 Pieces of Ebony [loaded on a boat] Prepared to Be Imported to Vietnam, Were Seized on the High Sea [Kampot]

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Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake – Wednesday, 5.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, stated that Cambodia will be able to produce oil in 2012. He said so during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia in the morning of 4 May 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated on the occasion that he strongly believes in the project signed that day, because it enables to study whether or not to explore for oil and gas resources, especially to explore for oil in Block 17, adding, ‘I welcome and wish this Japanese company well for having decided to invest in Cambodia.’

“The deputy director of JOGMEC said that he cannot foresee the amount of money to be invested in this project, as today’s signing allows the company only to study the field, but it has not reached a stage to discuss mining explorations. According to the plan, the study might take around two years, and then, the company might conduct explorations as soon as possible.

“A spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ek Tha, said at that occasion, ‘This is an agreement that encourages joint industrial studies between two Asian countries, Cambodia and Japan.’ He added, ‘The area to be studied covers 6,500 square kilometers, and it is to the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in Kompong Thom.’ According to officials, the JOGMEC had already conducted magnetic and pressure studies between 1997 and 1999.

“Mr. Ek Tha went on to say that there are concerns raised by environmentalists in Cambodia about this project. But he said that Cambodia and the Japanese oil company are studying also the possible bad impacts on the environment in Block 17, in order to reduce or to avoid those impacts, since Japan is a country that strongly cares about the environment. Cambodia is also keenly caring about the environment in order to maintain the sustainability of resources in this long term project. The environment is also an important issue for the Cambodians of future generations.

“It should be noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on commercial cooperation on underground oil and gas resources was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Takahashi Chiaki [大臣政務官 高橋千秋], who said that his country is the second biggest donor to Cambodia, granting US$12 million each year.

“According to the Council of Ministers, commercial ties between Cambodia and Japan are progressing, amounting to US$105.18 million between 1994 and 2009. Cambodia exported products to Japan worth US$69.6 million in 2008, but only US$6.8 million within 8 months of 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Set Up a Democracy Compound for Non-Violent Protesters [which is not far from the National Assembly – a law relating to this creation will become valid in June 2010]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2240, 5.5.2010

  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Wants All Journalists Associations to Unite into One [to facilitate the organization of training events and to strengthen international trust, and to better protect journalists’ rights; at present there are 23 different journalists’ associations]
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister [Tun Abdul Razak] Will Visit Cambodia Officially for Three Days [from 9 to 11 May 2010 in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #647, 5.5.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6947, 5.5.2010

  • A Man Coming from Pailin to Buy a Car Bringing More Than US$15,000 with Him Was Robbed [by four robbers] and Wounded by One Shot [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3871, 5.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Demands the Government to Explain to the National Assembly about ‘Tea Money’ and Payments from the BHP Billiton and the Total Petroleum Companies, as Well as about Payments for the Provision of Mobile Phone Licenses

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #164, 5.5.2010

  • Official [Mr. Chheng Kimson, head of the Forestry Administration]: 6,000 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized and 100 Suspects Were Accused [during the present campaign]
  • The Ministry of Health Will Provide Logos to Be Displayed at Restaurants That Serve Food According to Good Sanitation Standards

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5189, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Tells Thailand that the Ta Krabei Temple and the Cable Lift to the Mountain Is On Khmer Territory [this response was made after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had sent a diplomatic note to Cambodia, claiming that the temple and the construction site for a cable lift are on Thai territory]
  • A Trade Union and the Opposition Party Plan to Present the Documentary Film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea’ [while the authorities had warned they would take legal action against this]
  • Court Detains Fourteen Villagers for Destroying State Forest [Banteay Srey, Siem Reap]
  • The National Television of Cambodia Spends US$600,000 to US$700,000 Each Year [for hiring a satellite link] to Send Television Programs to the United States of America [now, the Ministry of Information wants to send them through standard Internet procedures which is cheaper]

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On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists – Tuesday, 4.5.2010

Posted on 5 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“At least 11 journalists are reported to have been killed unjustly [since 1992 in Cambodia], and the perpetrators who killed them were not convicted according to the law. On the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010, journalists and civil society organizations in Cambodia appealed for the elimination of restrictions on the freedom of expression of Cambodian journalists, which until now result in suffering just because they write and express their opinions.

“Cambodian Journalists met to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010 to assess the situation of journalists in the previous year, and to point to various difficulties they are encountering in Cambodia. The most noticeable issue is the creation of new Penal Code, where observers and especially legal experts consider that it contains several points which may newly define crimes of journalists.

“The president of the Press Council of Cambodia, which has 15 major press associations as members, Mr. Sok Sovann, said that the World Press Freedom Day is an occasion where Cambodian journalists can gather to commemorate national and international journalists who lost their lives, were arrested, or are jailed because of their work as journalists. Mr. Sok Sovann added that the Press Council of Cambodia used 3 May 2010 as the date to inaugurate its headquarters, and there will be a commemoration for the Japanese journalist who recently was killed in Siam [Thailand]. Also, there will be a celebration for the creation of a memorial monument to commemorate former leading journalists.

“The Director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Research, Mr. Moeun Chhean Narith, monitored the progress of the press in Cambodia and noticed that the freedom of expression in Cambodia in 2009 dropped, compared to 2008. He added that some journalists were arrested and some were intimidated while they were covering events.

“Also, Reporters without Borders issued a report in February 2010, saying that freedom of expression in Cambodia remains difficult, as many journalists had to face accusations at courts, and some others are in detention or in prison. Fulfilling the work of a journalist in Cambodia is difficult due to the restrictions on press freedom.

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party noticed that the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Cambodia were restricted, narrowing the space of democracy. It is recalled that journalists with a tendency towards the opposition party had frequently received threats. Even the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy had the expression of his ideas restricted during the sessions of the National Assembly, making some parliamentarians to wear masks as a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“Also the Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a statement for immediate publication, saying that the International Press Freedom Day is celebrated this year to mark the downturn of press freedom in Cambodia. Since Cambodia has practiced democracy since 1992, at least 11 journalists and those working related to journalism who criticized the Cambodian government are reported to have been murdered.

“The statement continues to say that at present, journalists and those working related to journalism are challenged with mistreatments through accusations embedded with politics and criticism. This violates the fundamental rights for expressing ideas as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are included in and protected by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The statement adds that the overuse of laws to intimidate and to suppress the media through torture, criminal charges, and mistreatment, blocks the open development of journalism in Cambodia and forces journalists to use self-censorship when expressing their opinions, so that they do not irritate the rich and the powerful. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights asked the government to promote and to protect press freedom and the freedom of expression in Cambodia.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights supports journalists, as some have faced mistreatment, violence, and intimidation when they received complaints for trying to report truth, justice, and responsibility, and the report praised journalists who had sacrificed their lives, struggling to promote the basic principles of the freedom of expression and of democracy.

“The names of the 11 murdered journalists are given by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights as

  1. Mr. Thou Thormongkol murdered on 11 June 1994
  2. Mr. Non Chan murdered on 7 September 1994
  3. Mr. Chan Dara on 8 December 1994
  4. Mr. Thun Bunly on 18 May 1996
  5. Mr. Chet Duongdara on 30 March 1997
  6. Mr. Pich Em on 4 May 1997
  7. Mr. Michael Sokhan Sinea on 7 July 1997
  8. Mr. Ou Saroeun on 15 October 1997
  9. Mr. Chour Chetharith on 18 October 2003
  10. Mr. Pov Sam Ath on 26 April 2007
  11. Mr. Khim Sambou on 11 July 2008

“The Ministry of Information of Cambodia published in its 2009 report that in Cambodia there are 385 newspapers, 50 newsletters, 172 magazines, 21 journalists associations, and several radio and television stations. Frequently, the Minister of Information called on journalists to closely adhere to their journalistic and moral codes, so that they can avoid complaints and mistreatment.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #466-468, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Attempt to Present the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [killed in 2004 – the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Failed [as the police took the projection screen away – as there was no permission given by the Phnom Penh municipality]
  • China Announced to Provide Aid of Yuan 100 Million [approx. US$15 Million; plus 257 new military trucks and 50,000 soldiers’ uniforms] to Cambodia, and Continues to Support Cambodia
  • The Resulting Omen from the Royal Ploughing Ceremony: Corn Will Provide Good Yields, and Beans Offer Fairly Good Yields [there is no prediction about paddy rice yield, as the royal oxen ate little paddy rice]
  • One Day Before the International Labor Day, the Director and Staff of the Deum Ampil News Center Received a Letter with Death Threats from an Anonymous Sender

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2237-2239, 1-4.5.2010

  • Within One Year [from 3 April 2009 to 3 April 2010], Twenty Four Journalists Were Arrested [compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, when there were only two] and There Were Ten Complaints against Journalists [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Every Year Cambodia Imports Fruits from Thailand Amounting to About Baht 1 Billion [approx. US$31 Million]
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: The Opposition Party Still Uses Chea Vichea for Political Gain [as it implies that the government was behind his murder]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #271, 3.5.2010

  • Most Wood Traders Are Oknhas – Is It Therefore that [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Does Not Dare to Bring Them to Court?

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #644-646, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Right to Know Remains a Problem, if the Government Is Not Open to Support Press Freedom [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Chea Vichea’s Daughter, Chea Vichita, Asked Her Mom, ‘Why Was Dad Murdered while He Did Such Good Things?’

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6944-6946, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Government Starts to Conduct a New Census on Civil Servants to Control Their Real Number
  • An Anti-Drug Police Colonel Is under Arrest for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • While Gold Sellers Were Preparing Themselves in the Morning to Travel from Their Home to the Market, They Were Robed by [three] Robbers Who Took Away Jewelry Worth More Than US$100,000 [Battambang]
  • [The Mega] Night Club Was Raided by Police at Midnight, Arresting 109 Men and Women [Phnom Penh]
  • Seven Died and Thirteen Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident When a Car Hit Cows Crossing the Road [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

  • On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #162-163, 3-4.5.2010

  • China Promised to Support Cambodia in the Fields of Military, Investments, and the Economy
  • Cambodia and Japan Will Sign an Oil Exploration Agreement Today [for the Tonle Sap area]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Claims that there Is Torture in the Prisons
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: New Elections Can Be Held on 14 November 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5186-5188, 1-4.5.2010

  • On the International Labor Day on 1 May Trade Unions Demanded that their Salaries Should Be Increased, and the Rules for Their Work Conditions Should Be Respected
  • The Prime Minister Called on Institutions Involved to Strengthen the Observation of the Labor Law
  • 10 Out of 1,000 Children in Cambodia Have Heart Diseases [according to Dr. Hav Rathneary, a Cambodia child heart disease expert]
  • The Preah Vihear Court Led Armed Forces to Confiscate More Than 100 Cubic Meters of [illegally cut] Wood
  • The Biggest Fertilizer Companies in Vietnam [PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Joint Stock Company] Enter into the Cambodian Market [by establishing an office in Cambodia]

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