Week 671

Borders Link and Borders Separate – Sunday, 4.7.2010

Posted on 7 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

The Mirror carries regularly reports about incidents considered to be border violations, but much more frequently information about smuggling. Some people are caught and sent to court; the border with Thailand has been beyond regular control, so that finally an attempt had to be made that even a large number of illegal border crossings had to be brought under control, as The Mirror had reported on 10 June 2010, from which we quote again:

Illegal border entries closed in crackdown

Between 30 and 40 illegal border crossings in Banteay Meanchey province have been closed in an attempt to curb the smuggling of pigs, gas, petrol, fruits and expired perishable foods from Thailand to Cambodia, provincial officials said Wednesday.

“We have closed more than 30 illegal border crossing points along the border with Thailand to stop smuggling, and this closure is forever,” Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Im Phoansophal said…

He declined to provide any figures supporting this claim, though he accused local businessmen of resorting to smuggling in order to evade taxes.

“Businessmen have always used these illegal crossing points to smuggle their goods. They prefer to do things this way because they don’t want to pay tax on items, and they think it will cost less to just bribe local officials,” he said.

Obviously, these 30 to 40 border crossings had been used regularly and formally – though illegally – for some time, before there was an effort made to put this chaotic situation to an end. This surely does not mean that there is no illegal border crossing going on any longer at the Cambodian-Thai border, which extends for about 800 kilometers, for long stretches through forested areas.

When a Thai newspaper published a report, saying that Thai anti-government activists, suspected of having been involved in the bombing of a building in Thailand during the recent violent confrontations in Bangkok, had entered Cambodia, Cambodian government officials quickly denied this and accused the Thai government and the Thai media of making false accusations against Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post reported on 29 and 30 June 2010:

In a statement issued Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers said there was no evidence the men had entered Cambodia. The statement also called on the Thai government to end what it described as a “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia…”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday that the allegations were “stupid.”

“Cambodia completely denies this kind of provocative information,” he said…

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia,” and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia.” …

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,… also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

These official and massive Cambodian denials – assuming that nobody could have crossed the border without having their names registered in an official border crossing list – were combined with accusations against the Thai government and media, requesting “they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

This war of words was accompanied by the forwarding of a document by the Spokesman and Deputy Director for Press Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit – a document written by Pen Ngoeun, an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, representing “only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers.” In spite of this disclaimer, it is interesting that this long document was widely published at this time and with this background, asking: WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END.

This long document is accusing that Thailand, since 150 years, has taken a negative attitude against Cambodia. “This writing is not a piece about history, but as far back as the eyes can see, the Kingdom of Thailand has kept its enmity towards Cambodia,” which is similar to “the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with ‘former terrorist’ turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides…” This negative attitude was also the cause which made Cambodia to entrust its destiny to French colonial rule. “Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since.”

“Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List.

Would Thailand wake up from the bad dream of a hungry mad dog? It had to be decided by Thailand. It had nothing to do with Cambodia.”

It is appropriate to say that not only persons in positions of political leadership will have to find ways to help to establish good neighborly relations. This will also be necessary in Cambodia, not only by using a different type of language, but also by seeing some facts, not published in Cambodia and therefore hardly seen, and therefore also not considered in Cambodia.

What this Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers calls “various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List” related to the contested 4.6 square kilometers around the Temple of Preah Vihear, is described with quite different words in a document, based on a meeting at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on 18 June 2008, inscribing the Temple “without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – “without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary.” The related map, superseding the maps formerly presented in Cambodia’s nomination file, signed by the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia Var Kim Hong at the same time, is here:

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Joint Communique

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries…

Finally, after, and in spite of all the strong denials and accusations, the two Thai bombing suspects, Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, were arrested in Cambodia and handed over to Thai authorities.

We recall:

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

Will this now – with reversed roles – be considered and implemented in Cambodia?

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The Ministry of Interior Asked for the Establishment of Public Expression Compounds at Cities and Provinces – Saturday, 3.7.2010

Posted on 6 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia asked all municipal governors to establish locations for public expression, following the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations.

“According to a letter from the Ministry of Interior to the district and municipal councils and municipal governors that Kampuchea Thmey received on 2 July 2010, signed by the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations had been announced by Royal Decree 1209/025, dated 5 December 2009, to replace the demonstration law of 1991 of the State of Cambodia. According to Article 14 and 25 of the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations which becomes valid after six months, each province and city must create public expression sites, choosing appropriate compounds or centers in the areas under their authority which people can easily know and find to conduct peaceful demonstrations or to express their ideas publicly; the maximum number of participants is 200 people.

“The letter from the Ministry of Interior adds that in order to have agreements about the creation of public expression sites in provinces and cities, the Ministry of Interior called for meetings for internal discussion between district councils and governors to create public expression sites with a minimum size of 600 square meter (15 meter by 40 meter).

“Regarding the creation of public expression sites by the Ministry of Interior, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, who had led several demonstrations, Mr. Rong Chhun, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey in the evening of 2 July 2010, saying that it is not necessary for the authorities to create public expression sites, as this is a restriction of the freedom of expression, but the Ministry should allow the people to demonstrate at the places they want.

“Mr. Rong Chhun added, relating to the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations, he had often defended the opinion that citizens can protest at the places or institutions they prefer. He said that the creation of public expression sites is not necessary, as most citizens want to protest in front of the institutions where they want their protest to be heard. Therefore, when public expression sites are established far from such related institutions, their expression or protest will not be cared for.

“Mr. Rong Chhun went on to say that according to this Law on Peaceful Demonstrations, if any citizens does not protest at the places designated, they violate the law.

“In Phnom Penh, the authorities had checked a location at a park at the west of the Dragon Bridge [near Wat Phnom] to establish a public expression site in accordance with the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22, 3.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2291, 3.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Asked for the Establishment of Public Expression Compounds at Cities and Provinces
  • More Than 700 Cartons of Ecstasy [about one million tablets] Recently Imported Were Intercepted [five people including a Chinese man were arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • Traders Illegally Export River Sand Abroad by Using Old Licenses [previously, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that river sand must not be exported, but it is for local use only]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] Go to Beijing [for medical checkups]
  • Within Five Months of 2010, there were More Than One Million International Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia [an increase by 11% compared to the corresponding period in 2009 – according to the Ministry of Tourism]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6998, 3-4.7.2010

  • Japan Granted US$2.26 Million as Salaries for National Staff at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [from April to September 2010]
  • The Head of the Royal Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Ordered the Demolition of Reservoirs in the Regions 2 and 3 [in provinces around the Tonle Sap lake] in Order to Save the Tonle Sap Lake [as such reservoirs affect bio-diversity and the eco-system – the order did not say anything about the reservoirs in a third region]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3922, 3-4.7.2010

  • When Will Relevant Officials Declare Their Property as Required by the Anti-Corruption Law?
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: That Yuon [Vietnam] Removed Its Border Marker [Number 184 in Svay Rieng] Invading [Cambodian territory] Indicates Success in Protecting the Eastern Territory
  • The Ministry of Interior Requires All Municipal Authorities to Create Public Expression Compounds with a Minimum Size of 600 Square Meters

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5240, 3.7.2010

  • The Authorities Asked 70 Monks of the Srah Chak Pagoda to Leave the Pagoda Temporarily for Reorganization [after a monk secretly filmed nude girls bathing with holy water – Phnom Penh]
  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An Asked Italy to Help Repair and Conserve the Preah Vihear Temple [according to his meeting with the Italian Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Michelangelo Pipan]
  • 449 People Having Cholera and Other 4,000 Alleged Cases Were Found [in Kampot, Koh Kong, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Kratie, Pailin, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, Pursat, Ratanakiri, and Sihanoukville, resulting from the use of unhygienic water, as there is a lack of water in the dry season; 60 people died already, according to officials of the Ministry of Health]

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Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available – Friday, 2.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Phnom Penh: Private mobile phone companies are encountering a lack of frequencies and cannot provide their services to millions of mobile phone customers well, so they asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia to intervene to add more frequencies.

“According to a source familiar with the frequency issue, a licensed private company had asked the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, to intervene for the company to increase the frequencies available so that the companies can provide better services to their customers.

“The letter of request was also forwarded by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, H.E. So Khun. But later, when the company asked to increase the number of frequencies, the Ministry said that there are no frequencies available. Actually, there are unused frequencies, but the Ministry does not make them available.

“Private companies asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, to intervene supporting their request for the increase of available frequencies for licensed companies, so that they can provide good services to their clients.

“On 27 April 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated during a meeting of the Public-Private Sector Forum that any requests for the increase of the number of frequencies for mobile phone companies, the Ministry has to send them to the Royal Government to decide. But according to a trustworthy source, previously, the Ministry had provided frequencies to some companies without including the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the decision. The Ministry did it on its own quietly. Some companies went directly to the Ministry, and the Ministry provided the frequencies to them immediately. However, some licensed companies, that had sent their requests to the head of the Royal Government for the increase of frequencies, had their requests rejected by the Ministry saying that there are no frequencies remaining.

“Some investors of private companies said that mobile phone companies operating at present are seeking ways to serve and to satisfy their clients who use their services, but the challenge is that some licensed companies are not provided with additional frequencies by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication to provide better services to their clients. Probably, some companies had colluded with the Ministry to receive more frequencies secretly, without involving the whole Royal Government.

“At present, millions of mobile phone clients are annoyed when calling from one phone to another, and some people had requested the companies to expand their service regions to ease communication. But some private companies said that the problem is not their capacity to expand their mobile networks, but the reason is that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication does not provide them with more frequencies, as requested.

“Regarding this issue, Kampuchea Thmey tried to contact the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for more information, but failed to receive such information.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

  • Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available
  • This Year the Number of Candidates to Take the Grade 9 Exam [lower secondary examination, usually at the age of 14 to 15, before entering higher secondary school] Is 159,724, Which is an Increase by 3,394 Candidates [the exam will be from 5 to 6 July 2010 countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6997, 2.7.2010

  • Deum Ampil Is Bankrupt; This Young News Center [a press center that had been created few years ago] Surprisingly Stopped Its Publications [newspapers and radio broadcasting; according to information by Deum Ampil to the Ministry of Information]
  • On 26 July 2010, The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Announce the Verdict to Sentence Brutal Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [at 10:00 a.m.]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3921, 2.7.2010

  • The First Drop of Oil of Cambodia Will Be Produced by 12/12/2012 [but the government has not yet specified anything about the expected quantity]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #206, 2.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Cambodia Can Extract Its First Oil by December 2012 [after there had been positive results from the oil exploration in Block A in the gulf of Thailand, with joint investments by Chevron with 30%, Mitsui Oil Exploration with 30%, Kris Energy with 25%, and GS Caltex of South Korea with 15%]
  • The Court Set a Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Riel 8 million [approx. US$1,850] Compensation to the Prime Minister [for losing a defamation case; she is required to pay it within ten days after the announcement by the judge on 29 June 2010, otherwise legal measures will be taken against her]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5239, 2.7.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted Two Draft Laws Relating to Economic Cooperation with ASEAN, China, and South Korea [to create an investment atmosphere which is free, coordinated, transparent, and competitive, in order to achieve a business environment based on friendship between ASEAN, China, and South Korea, offering protection to all investors. Also, the agreements will help to promote opportunities and increase the flow of investment capital from the private sector for the development of the economies of the ASEAN countries cooperating with China and South Korea]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed in the Prey Sar prison] Heng Pov Was Brought [to court] for Questioning over the Murder of the Former President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Vichea [in 2004 – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Workers Legally Abroad [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] Is Nearly 30,000 [workers in South Korea can get between US$800 to US$2,000 per month, in Malaysia from more than US$200 to nearly US$300, and in Thailand a bit less than in Malaysia]

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People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture – Thursday, 1.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“A report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund [UNCDF] released yesterday found that workers in rural areas in Cambodia are shifting to do different work besides agriculture, formerly the only source of their income. They are leading a change that can boost sustainable development in rural areas.

“The UNCDF report says that while about 80% of Cambodian citizens are mostly living as farmers, the economy in rural areas has extensive potential that is not yet used through the diversification of the economy.

“According to the above report, called Basic Development Outlook, that tries to support decentralization, two years ago, 91% of the poor people in Cambodia lived in rural areas.

This report says that even though agricultural development is crucial for Cambodia, also the diversification of the economy in rural areas, and strategies to reorganize basic policies might encourage the growth of the economy in rural areas, to move Cambodians out of poverty.

“The report says, ‘The current integrating policy strategy to develop rural areas in Cambodia focuses on agriculture and the provision of social and public services, and on the social safety network. These are necessary policies, but frequently they are not adequate for improving basic economic developments.’

“The main author of the report and Chief Technical Advisor of UNCDF, Mr. Nicola Crosta, told the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday, 30 June 2010, that workers in rural areas change to work in other sectors, like tourism, due to the increasing use of machinery in agriculture in Cambodia. Therefore, this sector needs less and less labor.

“Mr. Crosta added, ‘Must importantly the Cambodian government must anticipate the future (of rural development) and must not fall into the trap to think only of agriculture (that means there must be other sectors for citizens in rural areas in addition to agriculture).’

“A government official said to the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday that the government has decided to concentrate on basic developments, stressing that the increase of the yield of rice is a measure to improve the livelihood of people living in rural areas.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Iv Tong, welcomes ‘that machinery is used in cultivation, as it can increase productivity, and most importantly, improve the livelihood of farmers, and it contributes to economic growth in Cambodia.’

“He added that rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are a means to improve the living condition of farmers.

“But the above report warns, ‘While infrastructure is crucial, it should not be considered as enough for the development of the economy.’

“In the meantime, some economic advisors do not agree with the opinion that the improvement of agricultural techniques through the use of machinery leads to unemployment.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale businesses, Mr. Ut Ren, said that many laborers lose their jobs because of the replacement of human power by machinery, but they then seek jobs in food manufacturing factories.

“He added, ‘We should not be concerned that agricultural development would affect rural employment. What we have to be worried about is how much potential from this sector can be used more productively.’

“Nevertheless, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, believes that at present, there is too little industry in rural areas, so it cannot provide enough jobs for farmers.

“He said, ‘Farmers would seek jobs in new areas in agriculture such as in former forest areas, and they will travel to Thailand to seek jobs.’

“Without worrying too much about the challenges in rural areas in Cambodia, the UNCDF believes that the strengthening of decisions at the basic levels in Cambodia is an important way to boost economic growth.

“He added that at present, Cambodia is improving a 10-year plan that shows policies relating to these views.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #446, 1-2.7.2010

  • Eight Relatives of [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Are Reported [by The Nation on 30 June 2010] to Be Entering Cambodia [bringing much money, millions of Baht, with them, but Cambodia denied it] (no more details are given)

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #518, 1.7.2010

  • Cholera Killed Six Prov Ethnic People [25 Others are hospitalized – Lum Phat district, Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2289, 1.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [and five other officials] Recovered from A/H1N1 [Swine Flu]
  • Cambodia Sent a Diplomatic Note to Siam [Thailand] to Investigate the Fatal Shooting on a Khmer Citizen near a Border Crossing in Sampov Loun [Battambang, that had accused him of illegally trafficking a motorbike across the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6996, 1.7.2010

  • The Transportation of Luxury Grade Wood Occurs Again in Siem Reap [two cars were intercepted with illegal wood, and four people were arrested]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3920, 1.7.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy Plans to Create a Real-Estate Assessment Committee in Order to Start to Collect Taxes at the End of This Year [it will help increase the national income from US$3 million to US$9 million, after Cambodia experienced a drop of income due to the global financial crisis]
  • An Australian Company [OZ Minerals] Wants that the Authorities Provide Appropriate Compensation to Poor Citizens before Evicting Them, when Claiming Land for Exploring Gold Minerals [in Mondol Seima district, Mondolkiri – both the company and the government share the income from the exploitation of gold]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #205, 1.7.2010

  • People in Rural Areas Are Entering into Other Sectors besides Agriculture
  • [Eighty seven] TACFAT Factory Workers Protested in Front of the Ministry of Labor to Demand Their Salaries [from the owner of the factory]
  • Global Witness Welcomes the Clarification [by the Minister of the Council of Ministers] of Oil Issue [about the payment by the Total company to receive exploration right from the Cambodian government], Mr. Sok An, but suggested that the government should publish the full details of all agreements and of account balances, so that the Cambodian people can be confident that the deals are above board]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5238, 1.7.2010

  • Bank Systems in Cambodia Are Mostly Controlled by Foreigners [there are 27 commercial banks, where as many as 17 banks are completely controlled by foreigners, and among 6 specialized banks and 20 micro-finance institutions about 77% are controlled by foreigners]
  • The Users of the Banking System [those who deposit their money in banks] Increased to About One Million [in 2009; according to the National Bank of Cambodia]

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The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts – Wednesday, 30.6.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“The acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens. He said so on Tuesday 29 June 2010, after the secretariat of the National Assembly released an announcement on Monday 28 June 2010, that the National Assembly will hold an annual international conference in Kratie about the role of the parliament in encouraging and strengthening the development of the triangle zone.

“The announcement says that a conference between the Commissions on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly of Cambodia, Laos, and Yuon [Vietnam] will be organized for four days, starting from 6 July 2010, aiming to step up friendship and cooperation between countries that are good neighbors, and to participate more actively to jointly encourage friendship, solidarity, and cooperation in the border regions of the three countries.

“It is noticed that Cambodia and Laos would gain little benefit from the development of the triangle economic zone, while Yuon, the initiator, benefits most. The triangle economic zone might create big industrial factories where Yuon can create best productivity processes, with the production for sale in the region, while Cambodia and Laos cannot do the same.

“Mr. Kim Sophearith added that he supports the development plans of the government, but the development must be thoroughly studied to discover any bad impacts in advance, because both development or poverty alleviation will have its impacts on the economy in Cambodia, to progress as in neighboring countries.

“Analysts noticed that most development plans of the government by investments, from local or from foreign investors, frequently victimize Khmer citizens. Obviously, in Phnom Penh, thousands of poor families, or tens of thousands of people, had suffered misery from intimidation, violence, human rights violations, or were imprisoned by the authorities or by development companies, like in the case of Sambok Chab and in the case of Dei Krahom in the Bassak commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, where citizens were evicted from their settlements where they had been living for a long time, now moved to the suburbs of Phnom Penh, where there are no adequate utility system, no schools, and no hospitals.

“Citizens in the Boeng Kak area in the Tuol Kork district are also being victimized by the development plans of the Shukaku company which belongs to Yeay Phou, well-known as a businesswoman among many in Cambodia, who is close to high ranking officials of the ruling party. Some citizens said that they had been offered very few solutions from the state, and some did not receive any, because the state carried out expropriation legislation adopted by the National Assembly earlier in 2010.

“The Sam Rainsy Party considers that this law will affect many poor families when the state intends to develop an area and then requires citizens living in that area to leave, even without receiving any compensation. Also, the development in the northeast of Cambodia in Ratanakiri or in Mondolkiri had seriously affected many ethnic minority people and their communities, when the government provided concession land to local and to foreign companies for their development.

“At present, many ethnic minority people are losing the traditions handed down from their ancestors, because they do not have the land of their graves any longer, or the land for cultivation. In addition, in Kompong Thom, various families of veterans who died or are disabled were victimized by the provision of economic concession land to a Vietnamese company to plant rubber trees.

“Thus, can this not be considered as development based on the misery of Khmer citizens? Moneaksekar Khmer criticizes this intending to ask the government to look at the difficulties of the many Khmer citizens who have been jailed due to such developments, where the government does not think sufficiently of the benefits for poor people. Therefore, because of the bitter lessons and experiences mentioned above, when planning the development of the triangle zone of the three countries – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the Cambodian government must conduct thorough studies in advance about possible bad impacts on the environment and especially on the citizens in the region, as suggested by the acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, who said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #517, 30.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister [Yim Chhay Ly], and the Senior Ministers [Chhay Thorn and Tao Seng Huor and two other officials] Are Infected with A/H1N1 [Swine Flu – according to the Ministry of Health]
  • The Ruling Party Condemns Those Who Block the Demarcation of the Border [while the opposition party says that it will continue to check the border demarcation in order to ensure transparency and independence]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2288, 30.6.2010

  • There Is No Bribery in the Demolition of Reservoirs around the Tonle Sap Lake [claimed the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor – it is said that some people who own reservoirs try to bribe officials so that their reservoirs are not demolished]
  • Burma Plans to Create Direct Flights to Cambodia [but has not specified the exact date]
  • Chemicals Are Still Applied on Food [to make it look fresh and to prevent the fly] Sold at Markets [which affect the health of eaters]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6995, 30.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Decided Not to Pay the Fine [approximately US$2,000] of Mu Sochua [for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen], while a Treasury Official Said that the Deadline for the Payment Is 1 July 2010
  • A Court Decided to Detain a Defrocked Monk in Prey Sar Prison, as there Were Pictures of 627 Beautiful Girls Found on a Memory Stick, Bathing [nude] in Holy Water, Whom He Had Filmed Secretly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #204, 30.6.2010

  • Thailand Released [ten] Cambodian Citizens [and two soldiers] Arrested [for crossing the border illegally]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: If I Was Afraid [of being jailed], I Would Not Have Sued the Prime Minister [she was aware of the possibility of losing the case against Prime Minister Hun Sen and of getting jailed, before she decided to sue him. Now she is required to pay a fine, but she will not pay it and rather get jailed, as she considers the verdict not to have provided justice]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5237, 30.6.2010

  • Inquiry: Violence against Women in 2009 Declined Much Compared to 2005 [according to a study about 3,040 citizens in 24 provinces and cities, the violence by husbands against wives declined from 64% in 2005 to 53% in 2009]
  • A Prince [the Duke of Gloucester] Who Is a Royal Family Member of the English Royalty Visits Siem Reap and the Banteay Chhmar Temple [to observe the repair of the temples by the Global Heritage Fund]
  • “Cultural Life in the City” Is the Theme of Cambodia during the World Exhibition in Shanghai [China]

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Siam Recognized Its Mistake in the Fatal Shooting of a Khmer Citizen and Sent a Compensation of Baht 30,000 – Tuesday, 29.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Battambang: The head of the Cambodian-Siamese Phnom Dei border crossing station in the Sampov Loun district, Mr. An Saray, told Koh Santepheap in the morning of 28 June 2010 that Siam [Thailand] recognized their wrongdoing over the fatal shooting on a Khmer citizen last week. He added that Siam sent a compensation of Baht 30,000 [approx. US$920] to the victim’s family after the body of the Khmer citizen had been sent back to Cambodia on 24 June 2010.

“It should remembered that one Khmer citizen in a group of four others was shot dead by Siamese [Thai] black-clad soldiers [from the special border protection units] on suspicion that the Khmer citizens tried to smuggle a motorbike illegally from Thailand to Cambodia. The Khmer citizen who was killed is Dim Doeu, 44. He lived in Trapaeng Prolet village, Santepheap commune, Sampov Loun district, Battambang. Three others who went with him managed to escape to Cambodia. The victim was suspected of illegally entering Siam and was shot at by Siamese soldiers at 6:40 p.m, on 23 June 2010 in Khao Chhorng Khet village, Klong Hat commune, Klong Hat district [all up to here phonetic], in the Sakaeo province of Siam, bordering Cambodia at the Ou L’hong village, Ta Sda commune, Sampov Loun, Battambang.

“Mr. An Saray said that even though Khmer citizens crossed the border illegally, Siam should not shoot to kill them, because it is against the agreement between both countries. He added that the agreement does not allow any side to use weapons or to arrest and torture citizens of any side who crosses the border illegally. Such a fatal shooting violates the agreement between the two countries. Mr. An Saray said that he had given the compensation from Siam to the victim’s family.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6994, 29.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #516, 29.6.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim: The Cambodian People’s Party Fully Supports Samdech Hun Sen as Prime Ministerial Candidate for a Long Term [he said so during the 59th anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • Four People Were Arrested and Fake Money [fake US dollar notes] of More Than US$50,000 Was Seized [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2287, 29.6.2010

  • Cambodia Denied that a Chief Bombing Suspect in Thailand Entered Cambodia [the Bangkok Post published an article on 27 June 2010, accusing Cambodia of providing shelter to two persons who are considered to be the main instigators of the bomb explosions during the recent confrontations in Bangkok]
  • Traffic Accidents Kill, on Average Each Day, Four People [countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6994, 29.6.2010

  • Siam Recognized Its Mistake in the Fatal Shooting of a Khmer Citizen and Sent a Compensation of Baht 30,000

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3918, 29.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Demanded the Fourteen Countries that Had Participated in the Paris Conference [1991] to Review the Agreements They Signed Related to the Territorial Integrity of Cambodia
  • After the Koh Kong Court Released Some Forestry Officials [but they are under observation], Wood Traders Being Detained also Hope to Find Ways to Get Out [through bribery]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #203, 29.6.2010

  • Citizens from the Anlong Veng District [Oddar Meanchey of more than 50 families] Ask for Intervention by the Prime Minister [they said that the location where they are required to relocate does not have adequate infrastructure; on 25 May 2010, the authorities burnt down houses of more than 100 families to evict them – claiming they are living in a National Park area]
  • The Authorities Continue to Eliminate Reservoirs around the Tonle Sap Lake [so far six reservoirs have been demolished because they affect bio-diversity and the eco-system of the Tonle Sap Lake region; there are 240 such reservoirs]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5236, 29.6.2010

  • The Government Announced to Add US$5 to the Salary of Garment Workers [so their minimum salary increases to US$61 per month; according to the Ministry of Labor]
  • Mr. Chea Mony Was Again Elected as Head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers without Competing Other Candidates

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Cambodia Is Side-Tracking in Implementing the Anti-Torture Convention – Monday, 28.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“The international community celebrates the 23rd anniversary of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Cambodia became a member of this convention in 1992.

“By now, it has been 20 years that Cambodia has become a member of the Convention Against Torture of the United Nations. Human rights group noticed that among the 146 members, Cambodia has achieved little improvement in implementing the Convention. In addition, Cambodia seemingly continues to hide torture against persons who have not been found guilty. Sometimes, torture against suspects became a habit.

“During the international anniversary commemoration, civil society organizations expressed strong concern over the violation of the Convention. Moreover, no thorough investigations have been conducted over torture and mistreatments against suspects who had not been found guilty but had been arrested. Some cases of torture against a person were extreme. In some cases, there was just a suspicion, but law enforcement officials acted beyond the law. That means law violations seem to have been grave, and victims often did not dare to react. Additionally, there was not much effort to seek legal intervention. Therefore, some law enforcement officials often committed wrongdoings.

“According to a statement by Cambodian civil society organizations, in 2007, Cambodia ratified the additional Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and this was seen as a positive step where Cambodia took up more obligations to create an independent protection mechanism to observe all prisons, so as to prevent the use of torture in Cambodia. But things did not go in line with the situation of the world, as it was seen that there were still cases where the agreements entered were neglected in the implementation, not following international laws.

“Civil society organizations called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to fully cooperate with the Committee Against Torture of the United Nations that will come to conduct a second assessment in Cambodia, in November 2010, on the measures taken to ensure effectively following obligations according to the UN Convention Against Torture, and to fully comply with the final observations of the Committee Against Torture. This is a reminder by civil society organizations for the Cambodian government to check what it agreed to carry out, when it became a member of the UN Convention Against Torture, and when it ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture in 2007.

“Torture was not only used against the accused, but also against some suspects to extort information from them. These are the results from the culture of impunity spreading in Cambodia at present, leading to extending of the application of torture against the accused and the suspects. Obviously, the use of ‘citizen courts’ (where citizens act directly, like in some cases where a mob lynched suspects and perpetrators), to sentence robbers is a sign also encouraging the spread of torture in prisons. Many people have been released from prison, but their behavior did not change, as prisons are not places that educate them to walk on the right way. In contrast, prisons are places where torture is used to extracy answers for the authorities. Thus, Cambodia is viewed as not strictly taking up what it had agreed to practice when it became a member of the Convention Against Torture.

“This is a disappointment for civil society, as there are many problems in prisons, especially the use of torture by the authorities during interrogations. Torture is an important topic, because in prisons there are many issues such as corruption and torture. Hopefully, as member of the Convention Against Torture for almost 20 years, Cambodia will make positive changes over some secret happenings in prisons, otherwise crimes cannot be cut down, since those released from prisons continue to cause fear to the society.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3917, 28.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 28 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #515, 27-28.6.2010

  • The Person Who Filmed Beautiful Girls Bathing in Holy Water is a Monk of the Srah Chak Pagoda [after a video clip leaked of nude women bathing in holy water, police investigated and found out that a Srah Chak Pagoda monk had hidden a camera to film them; he was arrested and defrocked – Phnom Penh]
  • The Wife of the Spokesperson of the US Embassy [Mr. John Johnson] Suffered Serious Injuries after a Car Accident [in Sihanoukville]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2286, 27-28.6.2010

  • The UN Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi Apologized to the Cambodian Prime Minister [for using the word “disappointed” as he could not meet with Mr. Hun Sen]
  • [The head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs] His Excellency Ke Kim Yan Asked Common Citizens to Be Brave to Report Real Information to the National Authority for Combating Drugs or Directly to Him If They Are Afraid that There Is Collusion [between police and drug smugglers]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #692, 27-28.6.2010

  • [The executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation] Thach Ngok Thach Said that Khmer Kampuchea Krom People Are Disappointed when Samdech Euv [the former King] Did Not Raise the Case of Yuon [Vietnamese] Mistreatments [of Khmer Kampuchea Krom people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6993, 28.6.2010

  • More Than 200 Pieces of Luxury Grade Wood Were Seized [they had been gathered by wood traders to export them to Vietnam [no info about any punishment of the wood traders – Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3917, 28.6.2010

  • Cambodia Is Side-Tracking in Implementing the UN Convention Against Torture

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5235, 27-28.6.2010

  • Human Rights Activists Called on the Cambodian Government to Implement the UN Convention Against Torture
  • The Construction of a Bridge of 2,215 meters at Neak Loeung [across the Mekong River in Prey Veng] Will Start at the End of 2010 [under grant aid from Japan]

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