Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia – Monday, 2.2.2009

Posted on 3 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Recently, human rights officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a report denouncing that there were serious human rights abuses in the forced eviction of thousands of Khmer poor citizens from their houses in order to grab land. The report of the UN Human Rights Council noted that the number of evictions of citizens has increased throughout Cambodia.

Note:

Reference is made available to several UN resources here, including steps to access them.

UN Office for Human Rights

Select: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands homeless: UN expert

Press Release: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands of people homeless. 30 January 2009.

The following statement on the latest in a series of forced evictions in Cambodia was issued today by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik.

“More than 130 families were forcibly evicted during the night of 23 and 24 January 2009 from Dey Krahom, in central Phnom Penh to make way for a private company to redevelop the site.

“The forced eviction was carried out in the middle of the night, without prior notice and the shelters belonging to this poor community were torn down and destroyed. This situation has grave consequences for all the victims, but particularly the women and children. Reports also state that prior to the eviction, the community suffered intimidation and community representatives and members were also subjected to criminal charges.

“It is regrettable that the ongoing negotiations with the residents were abandoned, casting aside a valuable opportunity to reach a just and lawful solution to this longstanding dispute. It is now of utmost importance that the rights of the residents to fair compensation for their lost homes and property and the provision of adequate alternative housing are fully respected.

“Unfortunately this is by no means an isolated case, and the increase in forced evictions throughout Cambodia is very alarming. Reports indicate that tens of thousands of poor people have been forcibly evicted and displaced, pushing them into homelessness and further destitution.

“In Cambodia, a consistent pattern of violation of rights has been observed in connection with forced evictions: systematic lack of due process and procedural protections; inadequate compensation; lack of effective remedies for communities facing eviction; excessive use of force; and harassment, intimidation and criminalization of NGOs and lawyers working on this issue.

“Forced evictions constitute a grave breach of human rights. They can be carried out only in exceptional circumstances and with the full respect of international standards. Given the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by the victims of forced evictions, I urge the Cambodian authorities to establish a national moratorium on evictions until their policies and actions in this regard have been brought into full conformity with international human rights obligations.”

The former Special Rapporteur on adequate housing conducted a mission to Cambodia in 2005 and presented a mission report on his findings and recommendations (E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.3). Concerns on forced evictions in Cambodia have been shared through a large number of communications by the Special Rapporteur with the authorities. These communications remain unanswered to date.

More information on the work and reports of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, including a series of pictures, is here; to see them, select
Photographs of the evictions (PDF) at the end of the text.

“The report of the UN Human Rights Council condemning the Cambodian government for human rights abuses was made after the eviction of the Dey Krahom residents in the Tonle Bassac commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, on 24 January 2009. In that event, citizens of more than 100 families were beaten wildly and machinery was used to demolish their houses brutally. These activities seriously violated the citizens’ living rights, and violated also human rights conventions of the United Nations.

“Through a statement on Friday, 30 January 2009, an expert officials of the United Nations [the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik] asked the Khmer authorities to suspend evicting residents from their houses, because it is against international human rights obligations. But the Phnom Penh authorities and the Hun Sen government do not care about the report of the UN Human Rights Council, and the corrupt Phnom Penh authorities still collude with the 7NG company of Oknha Srey Sothea to grab citizens’ land impudently. At present, the Dey Krahom residents victimized by the eviction require shelters and need urgent aid from national and international organizations, as well as from generous individuals.

“Local human rights officials observing the collusion between the municipal authorities and the 7NG company evicting the citizens from the Dey Krahom region, said that most citizens have not yet received proper compensation. In contrast, the 7NG company of iniquitous businessman Srey Sothea had set an ultimatum for getting compensation from the company.

“Local human rights organization officials said that the criticism by human rights expert officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, is in line with the real situation in Cambodia. In fact, that the municipal authorities collude with the 7NG company and ordered armed forces to evict the more than 100 families from their houses in the Dey Krahom region is a problem that cannot be glossed over. Therefore, the government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, must consider how to respect human rights, in order to avoid criticism from all directions.

“Land dispute observers in Cambodia criticized the fact that during these last six months, abuses of citizens’ land, and evictions of citizens, happened more than before the fourth-term national elections on 27 July 2008. Even though the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes was changed, the number of land disputes could not be reduced. On the contrary, after Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, appointed Bin Chhin as the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes to replace [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, land disputes grew more severe.

“Many said that after the Phnom Penh authorities colluded with the 7NG company to evict the Dey Krahom residents, citizens of the Group 78 in Tonle Bassac and citizens in the Boeung Kak region are very frightened, because they may soon face the same injustice like the Dey Krahom residents. Residents of the Group 78 in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac and of the Boeung Kak region, appeal to local and international human rights organizations to help find solutions for them, so that they will not suffer human rights abuses like the Dey Krahom residents.

“Previously, important international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, frequently released reports criticizing human rights abuses in Cambodia, especially evictions of citizens. Reacting against such criticisms, the not trustworthy man Om Yentieng, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government and senior advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, frequently denies the facts, claiming that the respect for human rights in Cambodia has improved. However, after the events on 14 January 2008, Om Yentieng could no longer conceal the fact, because victimized Dey Krahom residents gathered to protest at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Tiger Cave Tuol Krasaing headquarters.

“Human rights organization officials observing land violations in Cambodia assume that during the fourth-term government, set up through a unified and comprehensive vote, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, land disputes will not decrease, and what Hun Sen said about the possibility of a land revolution, is said as a kind of an empty predictiion. If Hun Sen were really willing to settle land disputes, this strong man of Cambodia will not allow senior officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked businessmen, and the armed forces to use execute power to grab citizens’ land as they liked and do at present.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #39, 2-8.2.2009

  • 796 Education Officials Get Work Medals [for doing good work in 2008 – in Phnom Penh there are 9,905 teachers and education officials]

Bakong, Vol.10, #252, 1-2.2.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Headquarters Was Put in Disarray by a Student Group and by Party Members [reflecting an internal factional split – Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1862, 1-2.2.2009

  • A Cambodian Private Hospital Association Will Be Created to Help Poor People
  • Siamese [Thai] Demonstrators Announced Having Controlled the Government House on Saturday Night

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #335, 1-3.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Is Angry with [the former RCAF commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan for Hosting a Party with Commanders with Funcinpec and Khmer People’s National Liberation Front [of Mr. Son Sann] Backgrounds on 5 January 2009
  • Three More Generals Are Removed from Their Positions [they are Lieutenant General Dam Vuthy, Lieutenant General Dam Dararith – they are brothers, and Lieutenant General Tan Phanna, who is a younger brother of General Chhin Chanpor who was recently removed as the deputy military police commander]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #720, 2-7.2.2009

  • Immigrant Police in Dar Commune Allow Yuons [Vietnamese] to Enter to Do Their Businesses Freely [by just paying some money – according to local citizens and merchants, Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6567, 2.2.2009

  • A Truck [loaded with pigs] Collided with a Bus: A Tragedy on National Road 5 Killed Three People and Seriously Injured 15 Others [Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

  • Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls on Those Loving Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party in Order to Protect the National Interest [he said so during an extraordinary congress of the party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4810, 1-2.2.2009

  • An [unnamed] Owner of a Rubber Plantation Pays Compensation for a Woman Killed by the Daughter of Mr. Lar Sarith, a Well-Known Singer [she was released after about 20 hours detention – Phnom Penh. She had fled after the accident, but finally police managed to arrest her by shooting a car tire flat. The accident injured a moto-taxi driver and destroyed his vehicle – compensated with US$1,200 – but killed a woman – compensated with US$1,800]
  • The Fifth Person of a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [involved in planting explosive devices in Phnom Penh] Is Arrested and Brought to Court
  • Mr. Yet Chakriya Takes the Position of Prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court [replacing Mr. Ouk Savuth]
  • Cambodia Asks Israel to Consider Importing Rice from Cambodia
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Admires Cambodia for Fighting AIDS Successfully
  • US$40 Is Released to Each Worker of the LA Factory for the First Step [to settle outstanding payments]
  • The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea Cooperates with the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3478, 1-2.2.2009

  • New Evidence to Accuse Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch – some videos provided by Vietnam about the Tuol Sleng prison showing detention rooms, tools for detaining prisoners, and many dead bodies, when Vietnam forces found this prison in January 1979]

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The Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.1.2009

Posted on 29 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Banteay Meanchey: Aunty Im Savoeun [now a member of the National Assembly, elected as a member of the Cambodian People’s Party] remembers what hurt her the most – it was when she lost her husband after he was tortured by the Khmer Rouge. Her husband had stolen a potato because he had been starving, and then he was beaten to death.

“She was quoted by Mr. Denis D. Gray, writing for the of Associated Press, as saying, ‘I could not help my husband, because there was no medicine. What could be done was only sympathy, and to shed my tears.’

“This 64-year-old woman, like many other women in Cambodia, who suffered half of their lives, is waiting to receive justice. This waiting continued since after the end of the Khmer Rouge politics [in 1979], which had destroyed the law and the judicial system.

“The United Nations supported court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, had recently announced to bring the first of five Khmer Rouge leaders for prosecution: on 17 February 2009, the first hearing will be held to try one of the Khmer Rouge leaders who held high responsibility. That person is accused of crimes against humanity. Hearings of four other persons to find justice and peace of mind for victims are not expected to begin before 2010. 504 seats are prepared for observers to listen to the hearing of Duch (Kaing Gek Eav), the former chief of the Torture Center Tuol Sleng. As for the others – such as former head of state Khiev Samphan, former deputy prime minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, the former minister of Social Affairs and the former strict ideological leader of the movement Nuon Chea – they will be put in prison for the maximum period; there are many countries involved in the process of this tribunal which has been awaited for a long time and which is now finally in progress. Even though it is facing challenging difficulties, it will help to identify what happened, and to close the history of those dark activities of the past.

“Aunty Savoeun said that in these hearings, at this tribunal, there are only 5 to 10 accused – there is no balance, because the Khmer Rouge killed millions of people. She lost four members of her family, and many other families lost some of their members. She said, ‘My beloved husband and son will never return to see me, but they have to receive justice.’

“Highly agitated by communism, the Khmer Rouge’s vision was to damage and to destroy Cambodian traditions and society, until there was nothing left besides falling back to year zero. The Khmer Rouge turned the country into a place of slaves and into a desert without freedoms and rights. At least 1.7 million people, some say more than 2 million, died of killings, starving, and illnesses.

“An official of New-York-based Human Rights Watch, Mr. Brad Adams, said, ‘When more than two million people died, it is not enough to try five to ten perpetrators and then say: Now everything is finished.’

“What we want is that victims and members of thousands of families who died receive acceptable justice; that is, at least between ten and twelve Khmer Rouge leaders should be brought for prosecution.

“Mr. Adams is an American who observes the progress of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since even before this court was created, he has worked 13 years related to Cambodia, but the progress is slow. It is very important as the clock’s hands move. Some accused died, are ill, and old.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1858, 28.1.2009

  • Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party] Ask [Minister of Economy and Finance] Keat Chhon to Explain [polices to face] the Economic Crisis
  • The Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals Suspend Their Political Support for Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh, because of being disappointed by his inactivity, by the lack clear strategy, and by leading depending on his officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6563, 28.1.2009

  • Two Human Traffickers Are Arrested Who Had Trafficked 10 Boys Over the Border for Thai Owners [the parents had been persuaded to let their children work in Thailand where they could earn a lot of money, but the parents had to pay them Riel 250,000 [approx. US$62] per child – Koh Kong]
  • [Kompong Chhnang] Court Summons 4 People, but 70 Others Come [in order to accompany their representatives regarding a land dispute]
  • Tens of Thousands of Tonnes of Khmer Potatoes Are Stuck, while Siamese [Thai] Authorities Prohibit Thai Merchants to Buy Them
  • The 7NG Company Informs [Dey Krahom Residents] to Register Their Names to Receive Houses and Vendor Stalls [31 out of the 91 families agreed to take houses at Cham Chao, Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

  • Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia
  • A [28-year-old] Woman Who Was Raped Appeal for Justice, while the Man Who Raped Her Is Released by the [Pursat provincial court after he had been detained for three months]
  • [Anti-Thai government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Warn to Surround the Government House on 31 January 2009
  • A Woman Delivers Eight Babies in Los Ageless
  • More and More Americans Go to Serve the Army while Unemployment Increases

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Challenging Times – What Kind of Change to Come? – Sunday, 25.1.2009

Posted on 26 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

On 20 January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, change started to come. Never before had so many people around the world be able, through TV and the Internet, to participate form afar – never before was also so much interest expressed, in the new presidency of this country by a crowd of more than a million people in Washington, and many more around the globe.

To refer here to these events may be an occasion to remember the years of Administrative Reform and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia, and the efforts to see spokespersons authorized in the different sections of the Cambodian administration, so that the Cambodian public will not have to read, time and again, that one official refers an inquiry to the next, and the next does not have time to speak to a journalist. And the public, the people – “The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution – are not informed what is being done and why – even in such important situations that they trusted the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for many years, and now he is no more there, and the population – civilian and in uniform – does not know why they should withdraw the confidence they had held for many years.

During the long and difficult election campaign, there had been different slogans leading to the inauguration, becoming more and more specific: “Hope and change” – “Hope is not enough” – “Change you can believe in” – not only believe in, but real “Change we need.” And change started to happen. First of all there is an openness for communication, through the media, to the people. It was reported that the new president visited the White House media quarters and press office – places that the former president is said to have avoided – because there, people ask questions and expect clear answers.

When the new president signed some executive orders in front of TV cameras, before he signed them, he read parts of them and explaining what is meant, for the public to understand. And it was announced that e-mail alerts and Internet blogs would be used for “timely and in-depth content” about the administration’s policies:

“The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. We will publish all non-emergency legislation to the Web site for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

And in terms not only of changed style, but also of content, the president made some fundamental policy declarations in his inaugural address:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

One cannot but remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen had made similar declarations in relation to the ongoing violence by the rich or on behalf of the powerful, when he had said already in 2002:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti-Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In December 2005, the Prime Minister had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

And – interestingly enough – it was the Chinese People’s Daily Online which reported on 13 February 2007 the concerns of the Cambodian Prime Minister (we missed to see this reported in the local press):

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop. The land grabbers are not simple people, and they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

We do not have an explanation for what is happening now – in spite of these words.

When the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch had raise critical question about many countries, including Cambodia, the leader of the Cambodian government’s Human Rights Commission is quoted to have quickly dismissed their statement, elaborated with 20 detailed documents, as “defaming the country with lies. – I refuse all of the accusations, they are just trying to make up things.”

Human Rights Watch had also criticized then USA. The new president’s executive orders to bring change to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and to the harsh interrogation methods, some of which the new attorney general – the US minister of justice – called torture, remove some of these accusations.

In the meantime, when people from 234 families, to be evicted from land, assured to them by a court order, were protesting, they where shot at – not by illegal private thugs hired by a company, but by members of a Military Police unit.

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009


Yesterday, on Saturday, the protracted negotiations – with residents of the Dey Krahom area in Phnom Penh, who claimed that the compensation offered to them for being removed 20 km away, with no school for their children, and no possibility to continue to earn a living like now, where they used to live since many years, are different from the original promise for new arrangements in place – came to an end. They were replaced by destruction and forced eviction.
The police and the people

The police and the people.


Teargas was used, and electric batons – their existence in Cambodia had frequently been denied by the authorities.
Teargas

Teargas


Electric baton

Electric baton


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This action was taken in support of the 7NG Group, the parent company of 7NG construction. The pictures of their website shows big villas on wide green lawns – housing for the few very rich. There website has even a section Code of Conduct. But when one clicks on it, it responds: “We are sorry… – This webpage is under construction.” Is it an irony, or is it just the truth that it shows two big construction machines at work?

dk-kb-grader
According to public discussion, neither the transfer of this public land – originally “3.60 hectares of social land concession granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to the seven Dey Krahom communities” – into private business use is procedurally and legally very transparent. Nor does the 7NG Group presented detailed plans for the commercial use of the land – except that it is for high class housing and maybe a shopping center – rumors in the absence of transparency. The Mirror has regularly reported information that the construction sector of the Cambodian economy is facing severe problems. The construction boom in Phnom Penh during the last years resulted in many high rise and high price buildings being constructed or being under construction, which now have to be scaled down or abandoned. But the 7NG company can go ahead?

Phnom Penh has not seen anything similar to what what President Obama could say to a new senator, who has dedicated herself to public, not high priced, housing:

“During her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

Where are the 7NG plans to be located in view of the warning, quoted by the Chinese international media? Are they among the group about which Prime Minister Hun Sen has “always appealed again and again to stop” – or is the Cambodian government maintaining the position nationally, which President Obama has denounced as wrong internationally: “that power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

The experience of many people to be marginalized and to be pushed further out, for the benefit of powerful and rich interests, will not help to build a human, peaceful, an just society. This is not how the hearts and minds of people can be won.
dk-kb-distressed
People close by were watching: Will they be next?
dk-np-whonext
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[Pictures: courtesy of Karl Bille, LICADHO, Monika Nowaczyk, Nestle Poell G. Lagaya, Makenzi Travis]

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Promoting 70 More Military Officers Leads to More Serious Inflation – Friday, 16.1.2009

Posted on 16 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Monday, 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

Thanks for your interest.

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Defense Tea Banh said that there are 70 military officers among a group of generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who were promoted to the rank of one-star general in 2008, in a ceremony on 31 December 2008. Tea Banh, mentioning the six-month confrontation at the border region during disputes with Siam [Thailand], said that generals from all provinces were promoted according their accomplishments and successes in defending the nation.

“Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh – suspected by some people not to be of Khmer descent – said, ‘We have laws for the appointment of officers in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, from low to high levels, and appointments are based on the special positions in the military and in any specific region where troops are deployed.’

“It should be noted that in March 2006, Minister of Defense Tea Banh said that there were 613 generals ranking from one star to four stars in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. However, on Wednesday, Tea Banh did not mention how many generals from one star to four stars exist at present. This creates a strong interest among observers of the field of national defense in Cambodia, while this field loses its importance to a considerable extent.

“According to a figure in 2006, it was estimated that each one-star general could only have 179 soldiers under his command among the 110,000 soldiers in Cambodia at that time. Figures from 2004, released on the website of a World Security Organization, allow to compare figures with the US armed forces, where there were 876 generals, and for each general there were 1,347 soldiers, both male and female. A journalist in Thailand, an expert in security affairs, said in an email on Wednesday that the newly promoted 70 generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces seem to be too many, but the awarding of such ranks is frequently based on political reasons.

“Nevertheless, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Defense Tea Banh said that the promotions giving higher ranks is completely based on qualifications, but not on political considerations. Also the Preah Vihear RCAF commander Sam Bopharath said that he is one of the military officers promoted, and he was given the rank of a brigadier, having been a captain before. This Preah Vihear military commander said, ‘I was promoted to be a one star-general, after I have worked for 30 years in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

“He went on to say that this promotion is part of the administrative reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, requiring all regional commanders to hold the rank of one-star general. As for Neak Vong, the chief of the General Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces of the Fourth Region, assigned to be positioned at the Ta Moan temple region along the Cambodia-Siam [Thai] border, he said that the ranking is based on active work and long term experiences in military affairs. He added, ‘I have worked for the Ministry of Defense nearly ten years, but I am not yet appointed to be a general; I am still a major.’

“It should be noted that among the expenses in the 2009 national budget of up to US$1,8 billion, the Hun Sen government increased the expenses for the national defense, in order to improve this field to be stronger. In the meantime, observers of the national defense in Cambodia said that in order to strengthen the national defense, corruption in the Ministry of National Defense and in the Military General Headquarters must be eliminated urgently, otherwise the effort to strengthen the military will not receive good results, because corruption in the Ministry of National Defense and in the Military General Headquarters has previously even taken away hats, shoes, and clothes of military officers and of soldiers countrywide. Therefore, the elimination of corruption in the field of national defense is crucial, so that it can be compared to neighboring countries.

“Some experienced military officers said that even though at present, Cambodia has many generals, their abilities are still limited, because their promotions do not depend on real skills and work experiences, and on the struggle to serve the nation. In contrast, they receive their ranks for political reasons, which leads to a serious inflation of ranks, making their positions less valuable, and the stars on their shoulders are just worn for decoration.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3667, 16.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #5, 16-18.1.2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #107, 16-20.1.2009

  • Israel Is Seeking Cooperation in Economy and Investment in Cambodia [according to a diplomatic visit by the first secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, Mr. Tzahi Selzer, in Cambodia]
  • The 7NG Company Will Wait for Three More Days, Offering US$20,000 [for residents] in Exchange for Leaving [the Dey Krahom region]
  • Cambodia Plans to Create [Cambodian National] Television Representative Office in Beijing [according the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • A Danish Woman Is Convicted to Serve 15 Years in Prison and Fined Riel 30 Million [approx. US$7,500 for drug trafficking. Actually, she bought several thousand of over-the-counter painkillers with codeine that can be easily and legally bought at street-side pharmacies throughout Phnom Penh; she was arrested in Phnom Penh when she tried to mail them abroad]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1848, 16.1.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Presented the Potential of Natural Resources of Cambodia to Kuwait Investors [during his visit to Kuwait]
  • To Let Their [10-year-old] Daughter Work for Other People in Phnom Penh for Pay Is Like to Let Them Mistreat Her; When a Girl Could Not Bear It Any Longer, She Escaped from a House and Asked for Help from the Police [she could no longer bear the work and the mistreatment, and could not go to school as had been promised to her parents; she escaped and she wants to return to her parents in Battambang]
  • The Chinese Economy Reaches the Third Rank in the World [after the United States of America and Japan – the Chinese government estimates that the economic growth of 11.9% in 2007 can grow up to 13%]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #184, 16.1.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party Create an Alliance to Form a Democratic Political Movement

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6553, 16.1.2009

  • The Co-Judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Decided to Set the Date for the Hearing of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief ‘Duch’ in March
  • A Detestable Man Who Raped His [12-year-old] Daughter while His Wife Was at the End of Her Pregnancy Was Arrested and Brought to the [Preah Vihear] Court

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3667, 16.1.2009

  • Promoting 70 More Military Officers Leads to More Serious Inflation
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summons Khmer Rouge Tribunal Officials to Question Them about Corruption

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1403, 16.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Health Seeks Self-Governing for State Hospitals [in Phnom Penh, in order to make them autonomous in finance, hoping that this will lead to better health care for patients]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4796, 16.1.2009

  • India Asks Cambodia to Produce Grains That Can Be Exported to India [according to a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the new Indian ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Sachdeva]
  • In 2008, Khmer Tourists Traveling Abroad Decline by 200,000 [with a total number of 760,000, if compared to 2007, because plane tickets were too expensive while the fuel price skyrocketed]
  • More Than 1,000 [Palestinian] People Died in Gaza [since the war started 19 days ago – among them, more than 300 were children and 76 were women – during the same time 13 citizens of Israel died – 4 in Israel, and 9 while invading Gaza]

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

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Dey Krahom Residents Raise Their Last Suggestions, while the Authorities Order Them to Remove Their Houses and to Leave – Tuesday 30.12.2008

Posted on 31 December 2008. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: Dey Krahom residents, who did not leave at the last eviction efforts, demand housing development in place, or monetary compensation according to market prices, in exchange for leaving from the Dey Krahom area in Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh.

“Suggestions were raised a day ahead of the final deadline set by the Chamkar Mon authorities for Dey Krahom community residents, to remove their houses and to resettle in new housing at Damnak Trayueng village, Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district of Phnom Penh.

“Representatives of Dey Krahom residents as well as other citizens raised two suggestions during a press conference in the evening of 29 December 2008, in exchange for leaving from their dilapidated huts in the Dey Krahom community. Residents want either to be provided with land to develop their residencies close to the present place, or, according to the other suggestion, the residents want a monetary compensation according to the market price of the land, finding an independent land assessing company to define the price of the land.

“Such suggestions from the Dey Krahom residents were made, while the Chamkar Mon authorities issued a final notice to the citizens living at the Dey Krahom community in the Pir and Dab Pram sections of the Tonle Basak commune, to remove their and houses to relocate to a new location, prepared for them by the 7NG Company, at Damnak Trayueng village, Chaom Chau, Dangkao, Phnom Penh. The final notice was signed by the Chamkar Mon governor, Mr. Lo Yuy, on 25 December 2008, stating that new 4-by-10-meter ground-floor houses were built by bricks , and a second floor can be built on top. The authorities said that at present, 1,374 families have changed to the new suburban location in Phnom Penh. There are only 91 families left that have not moved to the new location. The authorities ordered this rest of the residents to remove their houses by 30 December 2008 as a final deadline.

“However, the remaining residents refuse to leave the Dey Krahom community and said that they will struggle with their lives if violence is used to evict them.

“A representative of the Dey Krahom community, Mr. Chan Vichet, said that if the authorities use force to evict the residents from their houses at the Dey Krahom community, the residents will also response by force, in order to protect themselves and their property.

“However, the deputy Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Mann Choeun, who met with representatives of the Dey Krahom community in the morning of 29 December 2008, disagreed with the residents’ suggestions. But he presented other alternatives from the 7NG company representatives: the company and the authorities offer two choices to the Dey Krahom residents. First, to accept a flat in the suburban Dangkao district, plus Riel 770,000 [approx. US$190], 30 kg rice, a carton of noodle, and fish sauce. The second choice offered is that a family would be offered US$10,000 plus Riel 770,000, 30 kg rice, a carton of noodle, and fish sauce [but no housing]. The two choices provided by the company and by the authorities were rejected by the residents, saying that the new location is too far away, and it is difficult for their children’s schooling and for them to earn a living day by day.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh municipality signed an agreement, providing the Dey Krahom community land to the 7NG company in 2006. The 7NG company plans to develop this former area of poor people to become an area of housing and modern business buildings.

“However, according to a notice from the Council of Ministers on 8 July 2003, it agreed with the request of the Phnom Penh Municipality for social concession land at the Dey Krahom community, which covered at that time 4.70 hectares with 1,465 families in total, in order to develop housing for poor people. The Council of Ministers had agreed to provide 3.70 hectares as social concession land to develop housing at the Dey Krahom community.

“On the other hand, after receiving the rights from the Phnom Penh municipality, the 7NG company started its development work which has frequently led to disputes with the residents. Some were arrested, and one representative of the Dey Krahom community is still in detention at the Prey Sar Prison, while some of the other people agreed to accept housing constructed for them by the 7NG company.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4781, 30.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1833, 30.12.2008

  • A Foundation in the Republic of Korea Provides a Loan of US$120 Million for Four Development Projects in Cambodia [1. Construction of a water cleaning station to develop the Siem Reap river, 2. Improvements for National Roads 31 and 33, the Provincial Road 11, and a detour in Kampot, 3. Development of Daun Tri river water resources and Krang Ponley water resources in Kompong Speu, and 4. Restoration of important bridges along national roads]
  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Invite Khmer Troops to Have a Party on International New Year’s Day at the Border [Preah Vihear]
  • Victim’s Mother Said hat because She Could Not Find Money to Pay Medical Services on Time, Her Son Died in a Government Hospital [her son was hit with an axe on his head by an unidentified person, and when he was sent to the Pursat hospital, doctors did not care for him besides putting him on a intra-venous serum drip, because the victim’s family did not have enough money for any medical payment]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #171, 30.12.2008

  • Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] Wants to Cooperate to Develop the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia [according to a Thai newspaper, The Nation. Note: Such cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand is also a condition set by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee]
  • International Human Rights Organizations [Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Observatory for Protection of Human Right Defenders] Demand that Cambodia Release Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [who are imprisoned for 20 years for killing the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Vichea in 2004, while the former King and many people and human rights organizations question the flawed police and court procedures]
  • [Meanchey district governor] Mr. Kuoch Chamroen Asks Motorbike Owners [whose motorbikes were stolen or robbed] to Look for Their Motorbikes after Suppressing Second-Hand Motorbike Shops and Motorbike Pawn Shops [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, # #6538, 30.12.2008

  • The National Assembly Adopts Draft Law to Settle Budget Accounts of 2006 Which Were Late because of a Political Stalemate in 2003 Lasting 11 Months
  • Political Crisis in Thailand: [around 10,000] Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporting ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Block Parliament Meeting and Demand New Elections

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3652, 30.12.2008

    Former Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Nappadon Pattama] Encourages the New Government to Demand Khmer Territory around the Preah Vihear Temple

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4781, 30.12.2008

  • Dey Krahom Residents Raise Their Last Suggestions, while the Authorities Order Them to Remove Their Houses and to Leave
  • Vina Hong Kong Group Is Involved in Cutting Trees on Hundreds of Hectares in Ratanakiri [minority tribespeople, residents of Pa Ar village, Ke Chong commune, Bar Kaev district, sue this company at the provincial court for cutting trees]
  • [Three members of a] Group which Robbed a Bank and Gold Shops in Svay Pak [in Phnom Penh] and in Kompong Cham Arrested
  • The Four Kantha Bopha Hospitals Can Not Operate without US$25 Million Aid per Year [said Dr. Beat Richner, the founder of these children’s hospitals which provide free treatment]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3466, 30.12.2008

  • Workers and Vendors in Poipet Accused [new Poipet immigration police chief] Sao Bunrith to Be the Same as [former immigration police chief] Pich Saran [regarding corruption at the Poipet border crossing point]

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