Week 674

Just Deny… or Investigate and Clarify? – Sunday, 25.7.2010

Posted on 26 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

After the acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch had presented a report Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia to the press, and this was reported on 21.7.2010, on the following day of 22.7.2010 there was already another press report: “The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch.”

As this 76-pages report is based, as it states, on more than 90 interviews and group discussions with sex workers in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Siem Reap, one wonders how a government spokesperson could dismiss such a report on the day after its public presentation – a report that contains Testimonies from sex workers from around the country. The denial cannot be based on an investigation of the details and facts claimed to be real, with names and locations of witnesses, unless there is no respect for the persons quoted, not assuming that some of the terrible experiences they describe are correct and deserve legal clarification.

The press reported from the presentation that some of these cases were claimed to have happened: “Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.”

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says in Article 31:

“Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status.”

What are the implications – under the Constitution – when statements by Cambodian citizens who claim to have been victimized and abused by police, including the allegation of regular impunity, are dismissed and not taken up by agencies which should rather care for equal justice.

Human Rights Watch did not only report their observations, they also made practical proposals, as reported in the Khmer press:

“…the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers.”

It seems that all this has now been dismissed – and the alleged impunity may continue without being investigated? – No investigation and clarified about what was wrong, and what was true and has to be punished according to the laws of the country?

On 26.7.2010 the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia – the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – will announce its first verdict, on the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison. He is the only one of the five persons facing the court who has not denied the accusations against him.

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Court Reform Is Necessary – Saturday, 24.7.2010

Posted on 25 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Recently, the Ministry of Justice issued a special letter to warn court officials not to do improper activities as this might invite public criticism. In a letter dated 16 July 2010, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang VongVathana, wrote that officials of the Ministry have received many complaints from the general public accusing court officials, especially, clerks, without giving their names. The Minister added in the letter that the role of clerks is to take notes, to keep the complaint documents, and to fulfill their role properly according to the legal procedures, neutral and non-biased.

“The Minister of Justice warns in the letter that clerks must not be biased towards any sides during the hearing process and they must follow the orders of judges and of prosecutors in order to gain trust in the judicial system from the public. Such a warning from the Minister of Justice towards clerks is new, but he seems not to consider the judges and prosecutors in the provinces and cities who also commit improper acts.

“Regarding the above issue, the chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Sam Prochea Meaneth, said that the letter was sent to all municipal courts in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Ministry aims at all court officials, particularly at clerks who work with lawsuits of citizens. Clerks at the courts do not have the power to pass judgments in any cases. The decision by the Minister of Justice to issue this letter was not because of any special cases or accusations about wrongdoings, but it was issued as part of judicial reforms.

“Observers of the court system in Cambodia said that the letter of the Minister, dated 16 July 2010, deals only with one part of the problem; it warns only clerks who may be creating problems. But judges and prosecutors, who had committed corruption, like by changing a case from wrong to right, are not warned by the Ministry of Justice and admonished to implement their roles appropriately. Corruption in the court system can result from collusion among clerks, judges, and prosecutors. Therefore to put the burden only on clerks is not proper, because it disregards the irregularities committed by some corrupt judges and prosecutors towards poor citizens.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that they often heard of complaints from citizens expressing their disappointment about the courts and especially about clerks. Non-government organizations said that when citizens have money, clerks seem to care about their complaints, but if they do not have money, clerks discriminate against them and delay their cases for a long time before starting to work on them. The issue of the letter of the Minister is a positive sign, but it is still not covering the whole truth. The most important thing is that the Ministry of Justice makes the citizens trust in the court system of Cambodia.

“Many citizens have already been victimized by judges and prosecutors who colluded with powerful officials to grab their land. In some cases, the corruption of judges and prosecutors has been revealed publicly by citizens, like in land disputes in Ratanakiri. But in the end, the Ministry of Justice did not take any legal action against corrupt those judges and prosecutors, but just assigned them to work as judges and prosecutors in other provinces. Such dealings make citizens to distrust the court system, and they curse powerful officials who grab their land.

“At present, the court system of Cambodia is being criticized by national and international circles, accusing it to be a tool of the ruling party that serves only the rich and the powerful. But for poor victimized citizens as well as for politicians of the opposition, the courts do not seem to provide them justice according to the law. Thus, judicial reform is necessary to avoid that citizens lose trust in the institution of the courts. In the meantime, the international community and the donors must encourage the Cambodian government to speed up reforming the court system, as it had promised. Clerks, judges, and prosecutors, who commit corruption by using law for personal benefit, must be punished according to the law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2309, 24.7.2010

  • Three Men Were Arrested with 570 kg of Borax Powder Used for Applying on Food [to make it last longer] Affecting Human Health [Phnom Penh – Borax, a real multi-purpose chemical]
  • A Laotian Man Was Arrested together with More Than 3,000 Drug Tablets

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7016, 24-25.7.2010

  • Victims and Former Prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison Asked for a Life Sentence Imprisonment for Duch [his sentence will be announced on 26 July 2010]

  • Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

    • Court Reform Is Necessary
    • Cambodia Needs Investors and Tax Favors from the USA to Create a Good Atmosphere at the 60th Anniversary of Having Diplomatic Ties

    • The USA Announced to Provide US$187 Million in Aid for Three Years for the Countries of the Indochina Region [Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam] to Address Poverty and to Conserve the Lower Mekong River

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5258, 24.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister: The Royal Government Will Make Cambodia [the third] Rice Exporting Country [after Thailand and Vietnam in Asia]

    • [Secretary of State of the USA] Clinton Criticized the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam [during the ASEAN-US meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Vietnam – but indirectly supported Vietnam in its claim on some Islands in the South China Sea contested by China]

    • The [Angkor Sentinel 2010] Military Exercise at the Command Post Level [for peace keeping] Was Finished Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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  • Cambodia Can Sell Forestry Carbon Credits on the International Market in 2011 – Friday, 23.7.2010

    Posted on 24 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “Siem Reap: A senior forestry official of the Kingdom of Cambodia said that to sell carbon credits based on Cambodian forests to companies in developed countries, which are polluting the environment, might begin late this year or in 2011.

    “The Director General of the Forestry Administration of Cambodia, Mr. Chheng Kim Son, said at 11:47 a.m. on 19 July 2010, ‘We hope that at the end of this year or in 2011, Cambodia will be able to sell abundant carbon credits for the first time from our forest to highly industrialized countries around the world which are emitting a lot of pollutants or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year.’

    “He added that currently, the forestry cover of Cambodia remains at 59.09% of the size of the country which can attract tonnes of gas, but in the first step, we can create forestry carbon credits on 60,000 hectares of forest from communities in Oddar Meanchey, and the same plan is to be carried out also in the Keo Seima district [in Mondolkiri].

    “Mr. Chheng Kim Son explained that according to a study, the 60,000 hectares of forest can attract and ‘sink’ more than 8 million tonnes of carbon within 30 years. Negotiations on the price for selling are going on, but no prices have yet been specified, as this depends on buying requests by encouraging companies in developed countries to balance their carbon dioxide emissions by paying money to developing countries to protect their forests [so that this carbon dioxide can be absorbed and ‘sunk’ in, protecting the atmosphere].

    “He added that forestry resources are globally valuable for biodiversity, especially for the living condition of people. Forests can contribute to the economic growth of a nation. Therefore, all development plans affecting forests must be studied and assessed carefully in order to avoid wastage in the future.

    “The Minister of Environment of Cambodia, Mr. Mok Mareth, used to say about the loss of forest that, according to a report of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), just the annual loss due to deforestation and the decline in forests amounts to US$2,000 billion to US$4,500 billion, but the amount received from unsustainable investment is just US$45 billion. This shows that to conserve the forest well, will provide 100 times of the price back. He said so on 20 June 2010 during a celebration of the International Day of Biodiversity in Cambodia, organized in Siem Reap.

    “Mr. Mok Mareth added that “It is to be regretted that biodiversity – because of a niveau of high prices in the economy, with growing consumption, with a strongly increasing population, as well as with development without proper planing, the ecosystem of the nation is eroding, leading to the remarkable and alarming extinction of different species in the world . According to an estimation, about 10% of the biodiversity assessed is strongly in danger of extinction.

    “Mr. Mok Mareth went on to say that such big failures are caused by poverty, by a lack of understanding about the importance and the value of biodiversity, and because of a lack of participation by all involved, including investors, local communities, and ethnic minority people. These negative experiences are a good lesson for the world, to reconsider human activities that destroy natural resources, so that it is necessary to work out new effective strategies to achieve the three goals of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity: 1. Conservation, 2. Sustainable Consumption, and 3. Equal distribution of benefit in the use genetic resources.

    “Civil society organizations working to protect forestry resources in Cambodia welcome the initiatives to sell forestry carbon credits of Cambodia for the first time, and this will become an important message to publicize the universal value and benefit of forests, so as to guarantee national economic development and to stop deforestation countrywide.”Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7015, 23.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 23 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2308, 23.7.2010

    • Within the First Six Months of 2010, 158 People Were Killed by Mines and Unexploded Ordnance [among the 367 victims, a remarkably increased number compared to 2009, where there wear 274 victims]
    • A Man Was Arrested for Raping His Daughter [Stung Treng]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7015, 23.7.2010

    • Cambodia Can Sell Forestry Carbon Credits on the International Market in 2011
    • There Are Almost 100,000 Candidates to Take This Year Upper Secondary School Exam [Grade 12] at 191 Centers

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3939, 23.7.2010

    • A Siamese [Thai] Delegation Will Meet the Secretary General of UNECSO in France Today, Asking that Developments in the Area around the Preah Vihear Temple Must Be Agreed to by Siam [Thailand]
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Courts Are Political Tools of the Cambodian People’s Party That Do Not Play Their Role to Provide Justice to Victims

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #1, 23.7.2010

    • [Two] Robbers Robbed an Owner of a Construction Material Shop, Taking Away US$3,000 Safely [Phnom Penh]
    • Oil Tank Truck Rolled over a Motorbike, Killing One Person and Injuring Two Others [Phnom Penh]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #221, 23.7.2010

    • Nokia [the world famous mobile phone company of Finland] Will Open Its First Office in Cambodia [in Phnom Penh – on 23 July 2010]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5257, 23.7.2010

    • The Court Will Cut the Parliamentary Salary of Ms. Mu Sochua by Riel 4 Million [approx. US$950] Each Month [as compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen as she lost in the defamation case according to the court, which requires her to pay Riel 8 Million, approx. US$1,900]
    • Officials of the United Nations and of the Royal Government Agreed to Hold Discussions [in September 2010] to Seek Funding for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [facing a financial shortage; in 2010, it needs additional US$10 million and in 2011, it needs US$39 million]

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    The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16% – Thursday, 22.7.2010

    Posted on 23 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, the export and import of Cambodia increase by 16% in the first six months of this year, compared to last year.

    Note:

    We are unable to understand the meaning of the added up export and import figures, and the calculated combined percentage numbers for export and import together. The absolute figures, given separately for exports and for imports, are, of course, clear in their meaning, also the comparisons of present and of past years within exports and within imports, separately.
    Any help to understand these combined “export and import sum and percentage” figures – via Comments – is appreciated.
    Norbert Klein

    “As said by experts, the commerce grows due to increasing global demand.

    “Nevertheless, some experts warned that the economic recovery is in a delicate condition.

    “A secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Chan Nora, said, ‘Commerce should be growing during this period as the global economy is recovering, while also the consumption of products increases. Especially, the Ministry of Commerce is trying to coordinate exports.

    “Reports for the first six months show that imports increased by more than 18% to US$2,183 million this year, compared to the corresponding period last year with US$1,844 million.

    “The exports increased by 13.14% to US$1,498 million. Compared to the same period last year, exports amounted to US$1,324 million, where 70% was related to garment products.

    “The figures demonstrate that exports and imports in the first six months of 2010 increase by 16.19% to US$3,168 million compared to the same period last year.

    “However, some observers noticed that the Cambodian economy is still facing dangers, as overall economic activity still drops, though the figures show an increase.

    “The director of the Khov Chuly Group importing construction materials, Mr. Khov Phalaboth, said that even though there is progress in the real estate, agricultural, and industrial sectors, it seems too quick to say that the Cambodian economy has completely recovered. He said, ‘The economic downturn has not completely come to an end. Hazards remain. Typically, it is like recovering from sickness, but things might still get worse.’

    “Mr. Chan Nora went on to say the increase in imports by Cambodia encourages an increase in exports. He said, ‘The local garment and textile sectors are doing better, causing also an increase in the demand for raw materials.’ The head of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, said, ‘The growth in commerce is really vigorous.’ He added that the increase in exports and imports is a measure of the economic growth of Cambodia. According to the National Bank of Cambodia, exports and imports dropped by about 17% from US$10,633 million in 2008 to only US$8,827 million in 2009.

    “At present, the government is also looking into the future. Mr. Chan Nora said that the Ministry of Commerce is actively negotiating about the export of agricultural products to China, but the quality of local products is still an obstacle.

    “He said, ‘We had asked people to send experts here to improve the quality of our products. We want to export our own manufactured products so as to get higher prices.’ He added that agricultural products are becoming important local products for export.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 22 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2307, 22.7.2010

    • The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch [about rights abuses and mistreatment of sex workers]
    • The Ministry of Justice Warned Court Officials and Clerks to Punish Them if They Act against Their Professional Standards [for example if clerks work as if they were in the position of judges or prosecutors]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3938, 22.7.2010

    • Sam Rainsy’s and Mu Sochua’s Cases [about the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, and about defamation] Could Come to an End through Internal Political Arrangements via the International Community [officials of the Sam Rainsy Party hope so]
    • 114 Families in the District of Kien Svay Accuse Some Officials of Grabbing 46 Hectare of Rice Fields [Kandal]

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #10, 22.7.2010

    • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Chea Sim: Cambodia Develops Quickly because of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen’s] Governing [he said so during the 35th meeting of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party]
    • The Government Hopes that the United State of America Will Cancel the Debt of More Than US$300 Million [owed by Cambodia since the time of the Lon Nol government, said the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties in Phnom Penh]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

    • The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16%
    • Five Khmer Fishermen Returned from Indonesia [after they had been detained there for almost one year; before they had been forced to work like slaves for nearly two years on a Thai fishing vessel]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5256, 22.7.2010

    • Cambodia Prepares to Negotiate with Countries of the European Union to Lift Three Kinds of Visa Requirements [in diplomatic, official, and normal passports; the lift of visa requirements in diplomatic and official passports would help strengthen relations between the governments, and the lifting of visa requirements in normal passports would help to attract tourists between the countries]
    • The Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union [held from 19 to 21 July 2010 in Geneva] Called on All Parliament Leaders to Help to Avert Further Global Crises
    • The Department of Labor Issued an Official Letter to Suspend the Operation of the Champa Manpower Company [that did send workers to Malaysia; after this company was found holding workers, including underage girls, in a bad living environment]

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    Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them – Wednesday, 21.7.2010

    Posted on 22 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “The acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Elaine Pearson, said at the release of a 76-page Human Rights Watch report to the national and international press on 20 July 2010, ‘It is known since a long that some police and other authorities of Cambodia detain sex workers illegally, beat them and rape them, and steal money and other property they have with them.’

    “Ms. Elaine Pearson added, ‘Police arrests sex workers as part of their regular raids in streets and parks in Phnom Penh. Using these opportunities, there is active violence, and other kinds of abuses happened during such actions to arrest and collect sex workers by members of the district police and by other authorities at specific times, sometimes targeting only sex workers to arrest them, and at other occasions arresting sex workers together with other groups of citizens that are considered as “garbage of society” found living on the streets.’ Ms. Elaine Person added, ‘Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.’

    “She went on to say, ‘In an atmosphere, where police who committed abuses do not receive any punishments, the Cambodian government has to recognize that not to initiate any criminal procedures against such activities is to allow human rights abuses to continue.’ She added that the Cambodian government should close social rehabilitation centers where sex workers are illegally detained, and to completely close the drug rehabilitation centers soon [which are the subject of similar allegations], as well as to stop all violence against sex workers.

    “In addition, the 76-page report of Human Rights Watch titled ‘Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia’ released to journalists on 20 July 2010, says that in Phnom Penh, police had sent sex workers to a Phnom Penh social rehabilitation center and then to non-government organizations or to a social rehabilitation center of the Prey Speu authorities. The conditions at Prey Speu are like hell, as sex workers who had been sent there told Human Rights Watch that they were allowed to get out of their rooms only twice a day to bath, using water from a dirty pond or to go to the toilet, followed by a guard.

    “In addition, sex workers, beggars, drug abusers, street children, and homeless people also sent to the Prey Speu center have suffered from beatings, rape, and other mistreatments. The report adds that at least three persons had been beaten to death at the Prey Speu center between 2006 and 2008.

    “Along with the demand and request to the Cambodian government to stop all violence against sex workers and to completely close any center that detains sex workers illegally and is using violence. Human Rights Watch asked the donors of Cambodia that support the efforts against human trafficking and training for police, especially the USA, Australia, Japan, the European Union, and the United Nations, to reconsider their funding to police institution and to the Ministry of Social Affairs, until an independent investigation about the alleged abuses is conducted, until the persons responsible for the abuses are brought to justice, and until the Prey Speu social rehabilitation center is completely shut down.

    “Ms. Elaine said that the donors should not spend their money to train abusive officials, but should rather take steps to promote responsible actions from the Cambodian government. Also, the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers. This committee should be created soon and should have the authority to summon witnesses and to produce public reports.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 21 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2306, 21.7.2010

    • Twenty Four Female Workers between the Ages of 15 and 17 Were Found in the VC Manpower Company That Plans to Send Them to Malaysia [the Ministry of Interior is collecting information from them to take legal action against the company]
    • Takhmao Forestry Officials Intercepted [53 pieces of] Ebony Wood Loaded in a Twelve-Seater Car, Prepared to Be Transported to Vietnam [Kandal]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7013, 21.7.2010

    • The Asian Development Bank Assessed the Cambodian Economy: Through [increased] Tourist Arrivals and Textile Exports, Economic Growth Is Estimated to Be 4.5% [in 2010]
    • The Construction of the Prek Pnov Bridge [across the Tonle Sap river] Is Almost Completed [after spending about US$43 million] and It Is Scheduled to Be Inaugurated in September 2010

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

    • Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #9, 21.7.2010

    • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Leads a Delegation to Attend a World Heritage Committee Meeting [in Brazil from 25 July to 3 September 2010]
    • Human Rights Watch Asked the Government to Halt Abuses against Women Sex Workers [when they are intercepted, they suffer beatings, rape, extortion of money, sexual harassment, detention, and other bad actions from the authorities]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #219, 21.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Stock Exchange Will Be Opened in July 2011 [according to a new delay announced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
    • There Are Many Plaintiffs in Case 002 [of former Khmer Rouge leaders, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea; as many as 3,993 candidates applied to be plaintiffs of the case, and the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are considering whether to accept their applications]
    • An opposition Party Official Showed a New Position, Requesting a Political Coordination [between the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the government, relating to the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, for which Mr. Sam Rainsy was convicted by a court]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5255, 21.7.2010

    • The Total Investment Capital during the First Six Months of 2010 Drops by About US$138 Million [to US$917.4 million, where US$161.4 million were invested by local investors – according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
    • Because of a Dispute [between families], a Policeman Fatally Shot Two Persons and Injured Three Others [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

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    LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World – Tuesday, 20.7.2010

    Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “Phnom Penh: The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] has found that prisons in Cambodia could become detention centers with the highest prisoner rates before or by 2018. Such a prediction is based on the results from the observations of 18 among the 25 prisons countrywide.

    “The findings from the observations of LICADHO, released on Monday, 19 July 2010, show that there are 12,646 prisoners in 18 prisons in 13 provinces, as observed by LICADHO. In December 2009, one third of the prisoners in detention did not yet have a hearing. Some prisons do not have proper living condition for prisoners.

    “Prisons in Cambodia have scarce resources, and the overcrowding of prisons leads to ever more serious conditions in the prisons.

    “According to the report of LICADHO, the increase in the number of prisoners from day to day might lead to a situation where Cambodia has a prison system with the highest prisoner rates in the world before or by 2018, because in some prisons in Cambodia there are three times more prisoners compared to the designed capacity. For example, in the Takmao prison, the official capacity is only 314 prisoners, but actually, there are up to 1,042 prisoners. The M2 rehabilitation center in the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh, houses up to 777 women and children while the official capacity is merely 300. The Kompong Thom prison has 208 prisoners, while the official capacity is 50 prisoners only.

    “The head of the investigation section of LICADHO, Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that the major cause for the overcrowded prisons in Cambodia nowadays is that some offences should not lead to imprisonment, while now many suspects are detained temporarily before they get sentenced, affecting the judicial systems and the prisoners’ health. Also, there is overcrowding because many prisoners are jailed beyond the term of their conviction.

    “Mr. Oum Sam Ath added that LICADHO recommended to the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to discuss this situation with the Ministry of Justice and with the court system, to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons by checking the terms of imprisonment, and by releasing prisoners facing minor accusations, like misdemeanors, on bail.

    “Nevertheless, the head of the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Heng Hak, said that the current number of prisoners is not the highest rate in the world.

    “He went on to say, ‘At present, we are dealing with overcrowding by constructing new prisons or expanding the housing capacity of the existing prisons, such as M2 and M3, and by repairing old buildings as well as constructing new ones, like in Pursat, where we built a new prison – M4 – which can house 2,500 prisoners.’

    “Mr. Heng Hak added that nowadays, the conditions for prisoners are better, as they now get a food support of Riel 2,800 [US$0.65] per day.

    “Before, their food support was only Riel 1,500 [US$0.35]. The health of prisoners is better than before, as they are cared for by the government by cooperating with non-government organizations working on health issues, to check and to treat prisoners.

    “It should be noted that at present, there are 25 prisons nationwide with 13,325 prisoners; LICADHO found that 90% of the prisoners are overcrowded, as these 25 prisons can house merely 8,000 prisoners.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 20 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2305, 20.7.2010

    • Samdech Hun Sen Announced to Continue a Long-Term Career in Politics
    • The Opposition Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee [opposition party leader] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Return [but so far, there is no response]
    • In This Year’s [lower secondary school] Grade 9 Examinations, 91.81% of the [159,724] Students Passed Which Is Comparable to Last Year

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7012, 20.7.2010

    • Two Female Workers Jumped from the Second Floor of a House to Escape [from the VC Manpower Company, sending workers to Malaysia] – One Was Seriously Injury [she broke her spine], the Other One Ran Away [Phnom Penh]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3936, 20.7.2010

    • The United States of America [during a visit by US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns] Asked Cambodian Politicians to Think about the Freedom of Expression in Politics before They Decide to Use Court Systems to Solve Problems
    • The US Senate Created a New Law Requiring Companies Registered at the US Stock Exchange to Declare Their Payments to the Cambodian Government before Starting Oil and Gas Exploitation Later in 2012

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #8, 20.7.2010

    • Cambodia Continues to Develop the Preah Vihear Area without Caring about Thai Warnings [Thailand claimed that the demarcation of the area between both countries have not been finished, but Cambodia claimed developments are made only on Cambodian territory]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #218, 20.7.2010

    • Those Who Attempt to Overthrow Hun Sen Using No-Democratic Means Will Receive a Response by Force [the Prime Minister warned the opposition parties for recently discussing his health condition]
    • Cambodia Angkor Air Will Buy Two Planes [Airbus 321, which cost about US$99.5 million each] to Expand Its Flights [so there will be five planes in total]
    • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Closed Investigations of Case 002 [involving former Khmer Rouge leaders Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

    • LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World
    • Samdech Dekchor Wants Universities to Be Established in All Provinces [to reduce the expenses of students who seek to further their education in cities]
    • The National Budget for 2011 Amounts to Riel 12,000,000,000,000 [approx. US$2,800 million, compared with 2010 when it was Riel 8,000,000,000,000 or approx. US$1,900 Million – according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
    • Garment Workers of Two Factories with About 2,000 Workers Strike to Demand Improved Work Conditions in 16 Points [such as an extra payment of US$10 for female workers who have delivered a baby buy milk powder, and the permission for a 90 days absentee regulation during pregnancy – Phnom Penh]

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

    And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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    New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums – Monday, 19.7.2010

    Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “Construction development companies have received some information about a new sub-decree that allows foreigners to own about 70% of condominium buildings, in order to promote the real estate and the construction sectors in Cambodia.

    “The sub-decree adopted by the Council of Ministers states that foreigners in Cambodia can have about 70% of ownership rights of houses.

    “This figure is lower than that which had been proposed in the draft of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction which had determined that foreigners can own 80%. Nevertheless, this percentage is still higher than that had been proposed in the first draft about foreign ownership in 2009 which was only 49%.

    “The spokesperson of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Ms. Nun Pheany, said on Sunday, ‘Such a decision is to allow Cambodians to own more real estate in order to prevent too much ownership by foreigners.’

    “Though the percentage for the control of real estate by foreigners is now lower, the sub-decree is still a starting point to encourage foreign investors to help develop the real estate market in Cambodia.

    “Ms. Pheany believes that to develop that field cannot rely only on local buyers.

    “Analysts agreed that the adoption by the government about the ownership rights of foreigners can help to boost the Cambodian economy that is being seriously affected by the global financial crisis.

    “Prices of land and houses in Cambodia declined by 40% to 60% compared to 2008 when prices went sky-rocketing.

    “A senior partner of the Sciaroni & Associates Company and a legal adviser to the government, Mr. Bretton G. Sciaroni, said on Sunday that the sub-decree will provide a new opportunity for the Cambodian economy. He said, ‘It can help Cambodia in many ways. It helps create not only long term operations, but also attracts new foreign investors. He thinks that the sub-decree will turn Cambodia to be a country with some attraction in the region, as the decree is not too strict compared to neighboring countries.

    “He said, ‘We are more open and have a better atmosphere than Thailand.’ In Thailand, foreigners can own houses merely up to 49%.

    “Companies constructing satellite cities in the Phnom Penh area welcomed the decision of the government and hope that this will assist the development of the real estate market in Cambodia and increase the selling of houses, when investors can purchase more real estate property.

    “The director of the construction project on Koh Pich island, Mr. Touch Samnang, said, ‘This sub-decree is good for the development of the real estate market in Cambodia. We expect that through the provision of ownership rights, more foreign investors will consider investing in Cambodia.’

    “His company is constructing 168 houses and villas at Koh Pich island, and this has been achieved already by 40%.

    “The executive director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, thinks that this sub-decree will make Cambodia become an attractive place for foreign investors. But he warned that this sub-decree alone is not sufficient to attract investors to come to Cambodia, adding, ‘Cambodia needs to have other incentives.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 19 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2304, 18-19.7.2010

    • Cambodia Will Send Deminers for a Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon [under the system of the United Nations, said Prime Minister Hun Sen – in September 2010]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7011, 19.7.2010

    • Big Mineral, Oil, and Gas Companies Have to Declare the Amount of Money Paid to the Royal Government [Oxfam praised the US Senate for requiring the declaration by US registered mineral, oil, and gas companies of payments to different governments around the world as a legal obligation]
    • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia and the United States of America Still Have the Potential to Expand Cooperation [he said so during a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns]
    • A Firefighter Association in Japan Donated 20 Firefighter Trucks to the Phnom Penh Municipality

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #7, 18-19.7.2010

    • [Sam Rainsy Party member] Mu Sochua Called the Legal Institutions Controlled by the King Powerless [when there is no response to a Sam Rainsy Party letter to the King to ask for intervention regarding her defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen; so far there is no reaction yet from officials of the Royal Palace]
    • Cambodia Has a High Potential to Plant Rubber Trees on as Many as 600,000 Hectares [at present rubber trees are planted on 139,210 hectares, and Cambodia can already produce more than 40,000 tonnes of rubber each year for export]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3935, 19.7.2010

    • The Legal System and Corruption Are Priorities for Reforms in Order to Encourage a Good Atmosphere to Attract Investors
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee the Return of Sam Rainsy and Free and Fair Elections [during a visit of Mr. William Burns]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

    • New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums
    • A US Official [Mr. William Burns]: Military Ties between Cambodia and America Are More Than Donations of Materials [but they aim at national defense reforms towards the encouragement of civil and military relations that are crucial for a political system]
    • The United States of America Delivered Seven Artifacts to Cambodia [as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5253, 18-19.7.2010

    • Seventy Five Guards Are Deployed to Protect Porpoises from Extinction [in Stung Treng]
    • Barai Tuek Thla Reservoir Resort Will Face Drought if There Is No Rain [it was built during the Angkor era – Siem Reap ]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
    And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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