Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million – Saturday, 28.8.2010

Posted on 29 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“Phnom Penh: The Counselor of the Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, Mr. Jin Yuan, said that according to Chinese customs statistics, within six months of 2010, the Cambodian-Chinese trade amounted to US$627 million, an increase by 37.70% compared to the corresponding period last year.

“He said in a press conference in the morning of 27 August 2010 that Cambodia is an important member of ASEAN and a neighboring country with long lasting friendship, and it has benefited from the development of a China-ASEAN free trade region. Cambodia and China has achieved fruitful results through their cooperation in economy and trade. Through such quick progress, the amount of investment between both countries this year will arise beyond the amount before the global financial crisis.

“Mr. Jin Yuan added that the export from Cambodia to China rose by as much as 108.70% compared to the same period last years. Products imported from China to Cambodia increased three times. Also, Cambodia became a major target of Chinese entrepreneurs.

“He went on to say that investments from China in Cambodia range from the textile and garment sectors to other multi-sectors, such as agriculture and the development of special economic zones. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, by the end of July 2010, there were 360 Chinese investment projects or 23% of all investment projects in Cambodia, and therefore, China is the top country with investments in Cambodia compared with other countries.

“He continued to say that through encouragement by the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Department of Supervision on Product Quality of China is discussing with the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia a Memorandum of Understanding about strengthening of general sanitation standards and plant sanitation, to solve the supervision of agricultural products such as rice and cassava that are exported to China. [See also China Quality Focus – a Western managed and operated company in China] He said, ‘We believe that through joint efforts of both sides, there can be solutions for the problems relating to the export of agricultural products by the Royal Government of Cambodia.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2339, 28.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Nguyen Minh Triet – Nguyễn Minh Triết] Congratulated the Big Achievements of Cambodia [in developing the country – he said so during his visit to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7046, 28-29.8.2010

  • Cambodian-Thai Border Committees Fixed a Date for Meetings from 8 to 10 September 2010 in Bangkok
  • It Was Reported that Ebony Wood Trading Reoccurs in the Northwest on Land Roads and in the Northeast on Water Ways [Siem Reap and Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3970, 28-29.8.2010

  • The Ministry of Justice Released a Letter to Warn Judges and Prosecutors Who Read Newspapers during Hearings and Assign Clerks to Assume Their Responsibility Instead

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #42, 28.8.2010

  • Thailand Announced to Continue to Provide Aid for the Construction of Road 68 [that connects the Krolanh district in Siem Reap to Oddar Meanchey and then continues to the Thai border; it costs US$42 million]
  • A Danish Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Children [Siem Reap]
  • Customs Officers at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing Intercepted Illegal Wood [about two cubic meters] Prepared for Export to Vietnam [no responsible persons are yet caught – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

  • Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million
  • Fifty Nine Workers [some are underage] Were Liberated when a Middleman Tried to Send Them Illegally to Work in Thailand [to work on fishing boats – Phnom Penh]

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Seventy Five Percent of the Victims of Traffic Accidents Were Motorbike Drivers – Monday, 16.8.2010

Posted on 17 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: To help prevent and reduce the number of deaths in traffic accidents, the Global Road Safety Partnership and Handicap International Belgium collaborated with the National Road Safety Committee to organize a workshop about the draft of a ten years road traffic safety plan 2011-2020 at the Sunway Hotel on 12 August 2010.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior and deputy head of the National Road Safety Committee, Mr. Khan Savoeun, said that in recent years, the number of deaths in traffic accidents rose alarmingly. According to a report of the Ministry of Interior, within six months of 2010, there were 3,040 traffic accidents and 6,346 victims, where 913 people were killed, 2,853 seriously injured, and 2,562 lightly injured. According to a report on traffic accidents in 2009 by Handicap International Belgium, among the victims 75% were motorbike drivers, where 35% died because of head injuries as they did not wear helmets, 49% drove over the speed limit, and 13% were drunk while driving. In 2009, traffic accidents made Cambodia waste US$248 million.

“Mr. Khan Savoeun added that according to a survey by the Ministry of Health about helmet use by motorbike drivers in 2009, 72% of the drivers wore helmets during the day and 46% at night. He called especially on travelers to join to prevent and lessen traffic accidents by trying to obey the law to wear helmets, to fasten seat belts, not to drive over the speed limit, and not to drive when drunk. Only participation from all travelers can help prevent and cut down traffic accidents, as it is said in a slogan ‘Traffic Safety Starts from Me’ – and it is stated in the goals of ASEAN countries’ plans. If they do not join, all road safety plans will not succeed.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7035, 16.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2328, 15-16.8.2010

  • The Head of Police of the Dangkao District Removed the Head of the Traffic Section and Suspended the Deputy Head over Their Mistakes in Detaining a Kampuchea Thmey Journalist
  • A USAID Representative Praised Cambodia over a Successful Reduction of the Spread of HIV [by 2010, there are 40,039 people having AIDS, and about 95% of them receive life extending pills]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7035, 16.8.2010

  • Seventy Five Percent of the Victims of Traffic Accidents Were Motorbike Drivers
  • A Toyota Camry Crashed into a Motorbike, Killing a Woman and Her 2-Years-Old Child and Seriously Injuring Her Husband [Phnom Penh]
  • After as Many as 107 Garment Workers Fainted [because of a lack of oxygen in the Main Harton [[phonetic]] factory], the Authorities Suspend Work for Two Days [Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3959, 16.8.2010

  • A Barge and Yuon [Vietnamese] Skilled Workers Crossed the Sekong River into the Siem Pang District to Conduct Unlicensed Gold Ore Exploitation while the Governor Is Asleep [Stung Treng – Vietnamese traders sent a barge with many skilled workers and with gold ore exploring machines to the Siem Pang district – those Vietnamese traders are backed by some powerful officials]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #31, 15-16.8.2010

  • Court Arrested a Moto-Taxi Driver Who Drove [a female] Distributor of Leaflets [in Phnom Penh, criticizing government leaders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #237, 16.8.2010

  • 60,000 Workers Plan to Strike to Demand a Wage Increase [on 13 September 2010; at present, the minimum salary of workers is US$61 per month; according to the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, Mr. Ath Thun]
  • Four Suspects Were Arrested over a Drug Crime [in Phnom Penh]
  • Burma Plans to Release [the Burmese elected leader] Suu Kyi after the Elections [to be held on 7 November 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5277, 15-16.8.2010

  • The Head Diplomat of Cambodia [Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs] Sent a Letter to the ASEAN General Secretary to Ask for the Coordination by ASEAN over Border Disputes [with Thailand]
  • The Brazilian Ambassador Plans to Encourage [Brazilian] Experts in the Agriculture of Sugar Cane Growing to Come as Advisors [to Cambodia]

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The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education – Monday, 9.8.2010

Posted on 10 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the World Bank on 5 August 2010 in Washington, the World Bank approved US$23 million as grant aid and loan to reinforce higher education in Cambodia.

“The announcement reads that of the US$23 million, US$11.5 million is grant aid and the other US$11.5 million is a loan.

“The World Bank Country Manager in Cambodia, Mr. Qimiao Fan, stated, ‘Investment in human resources for sustainable development and poverty alleviation is part of the strategy of aid for Cambodia.’

tho”According to the announcement about funding for Cambodia, released on Friday evening [6.8.2010], the project to strengthen higher education quality and to promote capacity aims at consolidating teaching quality, management, and research capacity, and will also provide scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study.

“The World Bank Country Manager added, ‘I hope that the new project will help Cambodia, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, to strengthen quality standard of education as well as to build up educational capacities for the public and the private sectors.

“High ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia welcomed this aid – it is what Cambodia needs for the development of human resources. Also, such development requires involvement from the local authorities, donors, and non-government organizations.

“The five-year project will concentrate on:

  1. Strengthening of the capacity of higher educational systems in Cambodia by promoting the development, management, and good governance of higher education institutions. This includes strengthening the capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Research and Studies, the Committee on Quality Education, and of institutions of higher education.
  2. Contributing to development of competitiveness and new kinds of loans that can help consolidate teaching and management, as well as offer real solutions to developmental problems in Cambodia.
  3. Providing scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study, based on the definition of the target groups of the poor, and on educational criteria.
  4. Monitoring and assessing the management of the project.

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 9 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2322, 8-9.8.2010

  • Most Citizens in Banteay Meanchey Stop Eating Pork [because it is infected with diseases, which harm the people’s health]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7029, 9.8.2010

  • The Head of the Royal Government Protested [by sending letters] to the United Nations about Abhisit’s Remarks Threatening to Use the Army [Mr. Abhisit allegedly was quoted by The Nation, to have said “…we will cancel the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 if the problems of aggression cannot be settled. We will use both diplomatic and military means.” Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed this remark violates the UN Charter]
  • Fifty Three Male and Female Teen Gang Members Were Rounded up in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3953, 9.8.2010

  • A Human Right Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Condemned the Actions of the Authorities against Representatives of the Residents of the Chi Kraeng District, Where at Least Forty Six People Face Arrest [after they protested over a land dispute in Siem Reap, and some were already detained since 2009]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

  • The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education
  • A Man Was Fatally Axed by an Unknown Person, Leaving His Wife and Daughters [Kandal]
  • The UNESCO Secretary General Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Negotiate over the Preah Temple Issue [on 7 August 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #232, 9.8.2010

  • A Woman Fainted and Six Others Were Injured in a Protest Was Confronted [by police and bodyguards] over a Land Dispute [around 50 citizens from Battambang came to protest in Phnom Penh over a land dispute of 1,672 hectare with a military police official – a picture from the Phnom Penh Post is accessible here:]

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Khmer Krom Position [and appealed to the Cambodian government not to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to restrict the freedom of expression of Khmer Krom people]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5271, 8-9.8.2010

  • Thai Extremists Set a Deadline for the [Thai] Government to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding [signed in 2000 Cambodia] within Seven Days [otherwise they will protest again in front of the Government House]
  • Cambodia Warned that Thailand Would Become a Lawless Country if It Decided to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about Border with Cambodia [Deputy Prime Minister Sok An is quoted to have said so]

Note

1

As the “MoU” is frequently referenced – though we are not aware that it has ever been published in the Khmer press (if it was, we would appreciate information when and where this was done) – we present here its Article V, as it was quoted by the Thai side in the context of the work foreseen in the minutes of the World Heritage Committee about the decision in 2008 to list the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying that the World Heritage Committee

  • “Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,..
  • “Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards…”

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary. 14 June 2000

Article V

To facilitate the effective survey along the entire stretch of the common land boundary, authorities of either Government and their agent shall not carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, except that which is carried out by the Joint Technical Sub-Commission in the interest of the survey and demarcation.

According to this Article V, certain activities in the border area require mutual coordination and cooperation.

2

It should also be noted that the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has no intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the border with Cambodia. In a live television debate of several hours last Sunday, with representatives of the newly-formed ‘Thailand Patriot Network’ and civil society groups, including some “yellow-shirt” persons from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who request the cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Thai prime minister not only publicly rejected their request during this live TV debate, he also stated again the position of the Thai government to respect the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice, that the Temple of Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia and not to Thailand. – What is necessary, he says, is to work according to the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 on the border.

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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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  • Human Rights Watch Criticizes Cambodian Military, but Cambodia Dismisses the Criticism – Saturday, 10.7.2010

    Posted on 11 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

    “Phnom Penh: Human Rights Watch [“Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice”] criticized the Cambodian military for being involved in forced evictions.

    “This criticism is made as Cambodian military forces cooperate with the US army to organize a big military exercise starting on Sunday next week.

    “According to a report from New York issued on 9 July 2010, Human Rights Watch said that the joint military exercise, which the United States of America decided to organize in Cambodia, will affect the US commitment to promote human rights in Cambodia.

    “Human Rights Watch said that Cambodian military forces are used to protect the interest of private companies [see Phnom Penh Post of 2 June 2010] and to evict Cambodian people by force in order to grab their land. In addition, Cambodian armed forces beat and sometimes shot at Cambodian innocent people over land disputes.

    “Human Rights Watch asked the United States of America to suspend its military aid to Cambodia, where it granted about US$1.8 million in 2010 for the construction of a military training center.

    “Anyway, high ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia dismissed this criticism, adding that the cooperation between Cambodia and the United States of America continues.

    “The spokesperson and Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, said that what was mentioned by the Human Rights Watch was without clear basis and thus it is unreliable. Cambodian troops have never committed anything as criticized [see Phnom Penh Post of 10 May 2010].

    The Asian Human Right Commission (AHRC) has learned that on November 14, 2006, three villagers were allegedly assaulted in relation to a land dispute by members of the military from the ACO command headquarters (tank headquarters)

    “The spokesperson of the government, Minister of Information Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said that the Cambodian armed forces are used to protect and to maintain security and social order, and every country uses armed forces, also the United States of America. But the government has never ordered troops to grab people’s land.

    “The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the criticism of Human Rights Watch is unnecessary and useless.

    “He added that the relations of Cambodia and the United States of America are smooth in all sectors, both in such fields as diplomacy and military. These ties will continue without change.

    “It should be noted that the criticism of Human Rights Watch was made a week before Cambodian forces start to cooperate with the US Pacific Command to jointly organize a big multi-national military exercise and training from 17 to 30 July 2010. Twenty six countries will join in this exercise which is named Angkor Sentinel 2010.

    “The multi-national exercise is organized with the aim to strengthen the capacity of military forces for peacekeeping missions in the region and in the world.

    “Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat said that twenty six countries will participate in the military exercise which is divided into two parts: a ‘command post’ exercise in Phnom Penh in the Intercontinental Hotel, and field training exercise at the area of the ACO [‘allied command operations’?] Tank Command Post in Kompong Speu, along National Road 4.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, 10.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 10 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2297, 10.7.2010

    • The Appeals Court Determined 9 August 2010 as the Date for the Hearing of the Border Post Removal Case [on opposition party president, Mr. Sam Rainsy]
    • After Taking Out Money from a Bank, a Man [a factory accountant] Was Robbed and US$3,500 Was Taken Away [there may have been two or more robbers involved, but they are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7004, 10-11.7.2010

    • A Cambodian Muslim Man Got Drunk and Started a Shootout in a Cambodian Muslim Village, Killing Two People and Injuring Five Others Before He Escaped [Kompong Cham]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3928, 10-11.7.2010

    • It Has Been Two Years Already, but the Authorities Still Cannot Arrest the Perpetrators Who Fatally Shot [Moneaksekar Khmer] Journalist Khim Sambo and His Son
    • Human Rights Watch Wants the United States of America to Engage in Strengthening of Human Rights During the Participation to Organize a Multi-National Exercise in Cambodia [the “Angkor Sentinel” exercise is part of the 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative, an effort jointly run by the US Departments of Defense and of State to help train peacekeepers]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, 10.7.2010

    • Human Rights Watch Criticizes Cambodian Military, but Cambodia Dismisses the Criticism
    • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Asked to Change His Foreign Defense Lawyer Mr. François Roux [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal agreed to his request]
    • The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia
    • A Man Raped a Two-Month Pregnant Woman and Then Killed Her in a Rice Field [he was arrested – Preah Vihear]

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    The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions – Saturday, 12.6.2010

    Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to issue a sub-decree soon about the rate of disabled people that should be employed at state institutions, companies, factories, and enterprises.

    “A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Sem Sokha, said in the evening of 11 June 2010 that the sub-decree had already been checked by the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council, and it will then be sent to relevant ministries, and finally to a cabinet meeting.

    “Mr. Sem Sokha added that the sub-decree will be released soon, because also Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen wants it to be issued soon in order to help handicapped people to work at state and private institutions.

    “Mr. Sem Sokha mentioned some contents of the sub-decree, which states that state institutions are required to employ at least 2% disabled people [among their total personnel] who have sufficient qualifications, while private companies, factories, and enterprises are required to recruit 1%.

    “When he was asked what actions would be taken, if any state or private institutions do not adhere to the sub-decree, he explained that they will be fined to pay 50% of the salary of the civil servants they would have to hire. That means if a ministry is required to employ two or three disabled people but do not employ them, they have to pay 50% of their salaries as a fine. He added that for companies, factories, and enterprises, they will be charged 40% of the staff salary. According to a demographic study in 2004, 4% of the population are disabled.

    “Mr. Sem Sokha said that when the sub-decree becomes valid, disabled people will receive full rights to live integrated in society and especially they can work at different state and private institutions like normal people.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 12 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #502, 12.6.2010

    • A CRV [“compact recreational vehicle”] Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing Two people and Injuring Three Others Seriously and Lightly [Battambang]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

    • The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions
    • The USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Warship of the United State of America Began [for the first time also a] Cambodia Phase of CARAT Exercises [Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, begun in 1995, after Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were involved already in the past]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #680, 12.6.2010

    • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that There Will Be a Political Solution for Him [he was convicted over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng; now he is abroad]
    • A Petition Was Sent to the US President to Ask Him to Condemn the Supreme Court of Cambodia and the Cambodian Government over the Prosecution of Ms. Mu Sochua [regarding the defamation case of Prime Minister Hun Sen which is a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression. There is no information given which institution or group organized it – it is just stated that thumb prints and signature were collected by people supporting the petition]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6980, 12-13.6.2010

    • Japan Announced to Grant US$131 Million Development Aid to Cambodia Each Year for Three Years
    • A Twelve Seater Car Tire Burst and the Car Overturned, Resulting in Three Deaths and Six Injured People [Kompong Cham]
    • Lightnings Killed Three Persons and Injured Another in the Kong Meas and Dambae Districts after Two Days of Continuing Rain

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3904, 12-13.6.2010

    • Leaders from 46 Countries in Asia and Europe Will Meet in Brussels [on 14 July to prepare the upcoming 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2010]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5222, 12.6.2010

    • The Forestry Heads of Three Provinces [Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Oddar Meanchey] Were Reshuffled while the Iron Fist Campaign Is Still Being Implemented Strictly
    • The Authorities Chased a Car Loaded with Ebony, Driven by a Kompong Thom Police Major; Because He Was Scared, He Ran into the Soth Nikum District Police Station [the car driver and his wife were arrested – Siem Reap]
    • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers] Rejected the Findings of the Corporate Council (?) based in England Which Indicate that Peace in Cambodia Is Deteriorating

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Thursday, 10.6.2010

    Posted on 11 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “Phnom Penh: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC], called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, announced
    that there is disagreement among co-investigating judges after there had been some misinformation, and an international co-investigating judge considers it as disagreement.

    “According to the announcement by the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, released on 9 June 2010, the co-investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal want to correct some information that led to a misunderstanding in a publication on 8 June 2010 of The Cambodia Daily, with the headline, ‘Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects’ and on 9 June 2010 ‘Khmer Rouge Judge Does Not Sign On to New Investigations.’

    “The same announcement says that to ensure clarity, the co-investigating judges decided to make a public announcement on the above case, and declared on 9 June 2010 that the international co-investigating judge considers that there is disagreement between two investigating judges (a national judge, Mr. You Bunleng, and an international judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde) over the appropriate time to begin inquiries.

    “The announcement adds that relating to the plan for investigations on Case 003 and 004 to be organized before the end of this year, the international co-investigating judge will continue this work alone in accordance with the regulations of Procedure 27 of the internal procedures of the ECCC.

    “Regarding the background of the disagreement, an international co-investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, wrote a letter dated 2 June 2010 to Judge You Bunleng, saying, as the investigations on Case 002 have been completely finished, the investigators should not be kept to get their salaries paid without having work to do. He added that he cannot wait longer without a clear result. Therefore, if a warrant to begin new investigations would not be signed by Friday, 4 June 2010 at noon, he would have to write a note about the disagreement, because it could possibly lead to various negative consequences.

    “The Khmer Rouge Tribunal asked The Cambodia Daily to correct the information published on 8 June 2010 with the headline “Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects” on page 26, claiming that the press quoted information that was ‘non-basis information’ and was not from the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

    Note:

    The Cambodia Daily added on 10 June 2010 that Mr. Marcel Lemonde stated that the letter to start further investigations waited for three weeks to be signed. Then Mr. You Bonleng signed it.

    The Cambodia Daily then quotes Mr. You Bonmleng’s letter from 8 June 2010:

    “Throughout the process of reflection on your proposal and the ultimatum you imposed on me, I had thought that it seemed time to take action as part of cases 003 and 004; I therefore signed the draft rotatory letters on Friday, June 4, 2010.

    However, upon more attentive and deeper consideration of the question, I think that it is not yet opportune to take action in cases 003 and 004.

    So I permit myself to return to you the draft rogatory letters containing your signature, mine being crossed out, and we shall contemplate discussion on any measures concerning cases 003 and 004 in the month of September 2010.”

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 10 June 2010

    Areyathor, Vol.17, #1443, 10-11.6.2010

    • 250 Children Scavengers [at the major garbage dump of Phnom Penh] in Stung Meanchey Received Learning Materials from the Minister of Social Affairs [Mr. Ith Sam Heng]

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #500, 10.6.2010

    • The Prime Minister Considers the Armed Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers] at Chambok Koang as a Minor Incident

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

    • Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
    • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Is Disappointed with the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [who plans to focus only on judicial reforms in Cambodia, while ADHOC wants him to pay attention also to the land issues that result from the provisions of economic concession land to companies and the removal of people from the land]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #678, 10.6.2010

    • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Called on Officials under His Administration to Conduct Reforms Using the Aid Received
    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [the murdered head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Will Be Shown Soon [though the authorities did not allow it]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6978, 10.6.2010

    • The Border Marker Number 241 at the K’om Samnor-Vinh Soeung International Border Crossing Was Inaugurated; the Provinces of Kandal and of An Giang [of Vietnam] Have Land and Water Borders of 29.5 Kilometer
    • Bill Gates Donates US$1.5 Billion to Impoverished Countries for the Care for Women and Children

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3902, 10.6.2010

    • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Does Not Believe that Foreign Aid Can Be Used for the Right Targets and with Transparency, though [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Promised to Carry Out Reforms

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #190, 10.6.2010

    • Thirty Border Crossings in Banteay Meanchey Were Closed [in order to stop the illegal import of pigs, petroleum, gas, fruit, and no-quality foods from Thailand to Cambodia]
    • Cambodia Sugar [produced by a sugar factory in Koh Kong] Can Be Exported for the First Time [10,000 tonnes of sugar are exported to London]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5220, 10.6.2010

    • Samdech Dekchor Called on Citizens Not to Do Football Betting during the FIFA World Cup [which will start on 11 June 2010, and he asked the authorities to suppress betting]
    • An Old French Man Received Two Years Imprisonment for Buying Child Debauchery, but His Imprisonment Will Be Implemented for Seven Months Only [Phnom Penh]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance – Wednesday, 9.6.2010

    Posted on 10 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “Donors and aid organizations provide development aid to Cambodia because they want the Cambodian government to create mechanisms to fight corruption, effectively implementing an anti-corruption law. In 2010, Cambodia received pledges of US$1.1 billion of aid from donors, where Japan provides US$131 million, comparable to China that provides more than US$100 million. The third big donor is the United States of America that provides US$68 million, Germany more than US$65 million, and Australia more than US$61 million. Besides, the Asia Development Bank, the World Bank, and many other global institutions provide most of the rest of the aid amounting to US$352 million.

    “Also, twelve organizations of the United Nations provide more than US$86 million, and European countries, including through the European Commission, provide more than US$255 million, among which Germany provides most with US$65 million.

    “Besides the intention to see the government organize anti-corruption mechanisms, the donors and aid organizations as well as international financial institutions focus on the plans to maintain macro-economic stability and to reduce the poverty of Khmer citizens, by suggesting that increased aid efficiency is essential, and they hope that the Cambodian government will use the aid efficiently and transparently, to encourage economic growth. If Cambodia cannot achieve economic growth, poverty alleviation will be difficult. Therefore, the donors and aid organizations will step up their mechanisms to carefully monitor the use of aid.

    “The country director of the World Bank in Cambodia called for concentration to strengthen the economic basis, like through the improvement of competitiveness and of the investment atmosphere, the provision of concession land that benefits the poor, solutions for citizens who lose their land, public administration reforms, and especially the improvement of transparent control and use of income from natural resources.

    “The International Monetary Fund, an institution that provides technical assistance on finance and banking, suggested that the Cambodian government has to cut down the national deficit that increased by 6% in 2009 down to 5% by eliminating tax exemptions, though they are important to attract investors.

    “Formerly, in order to attract investors to Cambodia, the government decided not to tax factories or enterprises newly opened during the first two or three years, depending on whether those factors or enterprises had gained profit or lost.

    “Also, the representative of the European Union demanded the improvement of education quality and the promotion of primary education, fields which are still weak. He said that the number of people who cannot attend school is still high. Thus, the government has to ensure that boys and girls have equal opportunities to go to school, so as to increase educational opportunities for girls. And the government has to decrease the number of students that drop out from school.

    “Not only in Cambodia, but also in other developing countries in the world, financial aid is crucial for the development of these countries.

    “Among the more than 14 million Khmer citizens, about 4 million live under the poverty line. In 2006, Cambodia received more than US$700 million financial aid, and the figures keep increasing from year to year, where in 2010 the aid pledges increased to US$1.1 billion. Nevertheless, expert officials estimated that in 2011, the aid will decline to US$958 million and in 2012 to US$750 million.

    “The opposition parties suggested to donors and aid organizations not to provide aid to the government, accusing the government of committing corruption, and the government does not use the aid properly. But the aid keeps rising anyway.

    “It is good that the government is successful in trusting donors and aid organizations in its ruling. But what the government had promised is not just to satisfy the donors. The government must work on its weak points and should not arbitrarily react against criticisms. Particularly, it should be able to carry out its commitment to conduct public administrative and judicial reforms, to strengthen the transparent management of income from oil and gas resources, and to strengthen the effective implementation of the anti-corruption law.

    “If the government can achieve success following its commitments, we believe that the aid to be provided in 2011 would be more than that in 2010.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 9 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #499, 9.6.2010

    • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Had an Armed Clash at Ou Cham Bak Point in the Trapeang Prasat District [in Oddar Meanchey; one Cambodian army commander said that Thai soldiers started shooting at Cambodian soldiers first, but the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Defense says that this is not clear – but nobody was wounded]
    • Spain Provides a Loan of US$5 million for Development over a Period of Three Years [2010 to 2012, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals]
    • [Mr. José Mujica, a former left wing guerilla fighter, elected president in 2009] The President of Uruguay Is the Poorest President in the World [he owns no house and drives a car that cost only US$1,900; he gets US$11,000 as his salary, but he donates one fifth to the funds of his party, and the rest of the salary to the state funds to construct infrastructure for people in poor areas]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2270, 9.6.2010

    • The Forestry Head of the Sandan Commune Intercepted More Than 400 Cubic Meter of Wood Hidden by a Trader [so far nobody has been arrested – Kompong Thom]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

    • The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6977, 9.6.2010

    • The Appeals Court Maintains the Judgment of the Municipal Court That Rejects the Request [of opposition party president Sam Rainsy] to Create an Independent Border Committee [to check the putting of border markers in Svay Rieng]
    • Fake $100 Notes Worth US$10,000 Were Planned to Be Trafficked into Phnom Penh [but were intercepted; a man was arrested – the Banteay Meanchey police suspected a taxi that carried no passengers but drove very fast towards Phnom Penh – Kandal]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3901, 9.6.2010

    • Corruption and Interference by Politicians into the Judicial System in Cambodia Must Be Reformed in Time

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #189, 9.6.2010

    • Four Companies [names not mentioned] Continue to Dredge Sand at the Koh Kong Beach [sand dredging is supposed to have been forbidden, and it affects the fish yield ]
    • Another Car Assembly Company Will Be Established [in Cambodia; the Khmer First Car Company, owned by a Chinese national, will be established in Phnom Penh to assemble trucks – brand name not mentioned]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5219, 9.6.2010

    • The Senate and the National Assembly Appointed Members of the Anti-Corruption Council [Mr. Prak Sok, a former member of the Constitutional Council, is the representative of the Senate, and Mr. Tob Som is the representative of the National Assembly]
    • The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Employment in Charge of Foreign Commerce of France [Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac] Visits Cambodia [from 9 to 11 June 2010, to boost Cambodian-French cooperation]
    • 11.54 Cubic Meter of Ebony Wood Was Intercepted [the car driver run away from the truck – Prey Veng]

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    Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors – Monday, 7.6.2010

    Posted on 8 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

    “According to assessments of some international organizations, each year as much as US$500 million of the state’s resources is lost to corruption in Cambodia, which seriously affects the interest of the country and of Cambodian citizens.

    “At present, corruption is deeply rooted in Khmer society, and there is no hope that anybody could eliminate it, though an anti-corruption law will come into force. However, national and international circles were surprised when Prime Minister Hun Sen stated recently, at the occasion of granting certificates at the Royal University of Administration, that corrupt officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, as well as civil police, and military units should know to be warned that the government will enforce the anti-corruption law against those officials, and will encourage non-corrupt officials to help report cases of corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit, which is just being established after an anti-corruption law has been voted upon.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen enthusiastically stated that the government will be able to eliminate corruption by using the anti-corruption law. He said that now, the government has enough legal mechanisms to bring corrupt officials to court to be punished, and most officials who do not commit corruption at each institution, ministry, and department will report the persons that commit corruption to the Anti-Corruption Unit.

    “Mr. Hun Sen added that he trusts the fight against corruption will work, because at each unit, among 100 officials there might be only two or three who commit corruption, and there are many other non-corrupt officials who will report to the Anti-Corruption Unit. They will join to eradicate corruption, since it siphons off also the interest of the units.

    “This is a rare and interesting public commitment of Mr. Hun Sen to fight corruption. Therefore, high ranking officials at different institutions, ministries, departments, and at civil, police, and military units, they should listen to Mr. Hun Sen’s clear words and should not be confused that Mr. Hun Sen said it just to satisfy the donors to grant aid, because when he announced it publicly like this, if not all, at least some corruption can be suppressed in this way, so his words should not be criticized. Thus, officials who have been committing corruption for years have now the opportunity to clean themselves from their previous corruption, to become clean officials respecting the nation.

    “Even though there have been some political views that what Mr. Hun Sen had said is just to calm the donors and national and international opinion, as the person who was appointed to be the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is not a person with proper and independent qualifications, but he is just an official who is close to Mr. Hun Sen. But we do not have the same impression like those politicians. Such an impression is not important regarding the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. What is more important is the commitment of the government, and especially of Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader. If he has real commitment, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit will have to implement the anti-corruption law properly.

    “The Anti-Corruption law had been delayed for several years before it was sent to the National Assembly to be discussed and adopted in March 2010, and then Mr. Om Yentieng was named as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit. If Mr. Hun Sen, the head of the government, is willing to eliminate corruption as he claimed, the Anti-Corruption Unit will act to crack down effectively on corruption at different institutions, ministries, departments, and units according to the law, and also the participation from non-corrupt officials to uncover corrupt officials will to some degree assist to prevent the spreading of corruption.

    “Some criticized that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen, so he cannot fight corruption. Such a view seems to be wrong, because the fact that Mr. Om Yentieng is a person close to Mr. Hun Sen will encourage him to be more effective intercepting corruption when Mr. Hun Sen, the top leader, is committed to fight corruption in the government from the top to the bottom. Mr. Om Yentieng must take up the Prime Minister’s order to fight corruption. But one may be afraid that this is easier said than done.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 7 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #497, 6-7.6.2010

    • Samdech Hun Sen Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia [in Vietnam]
    • The Number of People Killed by Lightnings Increases to 35 in 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2268, 6-7.6.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Message to Welcome the New Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Kan Naoto] at the Occasion of Taking Office
    • At Present, Cambodia Grows Tobacco on Only 0.2% of the Agricultural Land Countrywide [over the past ten years, farmers have changed to grow other crops like rubber trees, cassava, and soy beans]
    • The Ministry of Health Plans to Establish Up to 250 Blood Test Centers by 2012 [nowadays, there are 235 around the country]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.4, #776, 7.6.2010

    • Let’s See whether the Commitment of Hun Sen Is Real or Just to Satisfy the Donors

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #675, 6-7.6.2010

    • The Plan of Workers to Suspend Work for Three Days [to demand an increase of salaries, and that employers obey the labor law] Is Still Not Canceled

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3899, 7.6.2010

    • The King Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Intervene, to Connect State Electricity for Poor Citizens at Suburbs Who Are Using Electricity of Private Companies and Are Required to Pay the Bills in Dollars [their electricity costs approx. US$0.50 per kilowatt hour – Phnom Penh]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #187, 7.6.2010

    • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Cambodia [Mr. Surya Subedi] Comes to Cambodia to Monitor the Court System
    • Prime Minister Hun Sen Encourages Support for the Private Sector in Order to Promote Economic Growth

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 6-7.6.2010

    • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian,] Ms. Mu Sochua Faces Imprisonment if She Does Not Pay the Fine [Riel 16 million or approx. US$3,810 in a defamation case with the Prime Minister]
    • The Commune Fund Has in 2010 Countrywide Nearly US$30 Million [the funds are used to develop and carry out investment projects at all communes – The commune fund is provided by the Royal Government]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Improving Communication by Communicating – Sunday, 6.6.2010

    Posted on 7 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

    The major event during the week was the meeting of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum, which brought more than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations to Cambodia, to meet with representatives of the Cambodian government. One newspaper quoted a Cambodian official as saying, before the meeting: “Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected.” As expected! On the other hand, just days before this meeting, a group of local NGOs released a study with a critical call to the donor community, suggesting that donors should press the government to fulfill agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply Joint Monitoring Indicators defined in the past. Global Witness, the UK based monitoring agency supported by 17 trusts and foundations, 4 development organizations from different countries, and 7 governments, suggested that the donors should take “a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.”

    There are voices saying that the pledge of about US$1 billion is a sign that the donors don’t care about critical statements – either deploring the fact of the pledges realize “as expected,” or taking the pledges as a sign of a flat endorsement of the Cambodian government’s policies. Both these opinions are wrong.

    To publish critical evaluations of aid effectiveness some days before such a meeting helps to get broad attention. But to expect that it would greatly affect the meeting, assumes that the international donor delegates arrive to sit around the table and then decide on the spot how much to pledge. They all come with the results of a year’s deliberations at home, considering information and opinion gathered and discussed with others, and decisions prepared towards the meeting.

    Both sides then, in the formal meeting, share their well considered long range statements:

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The aid provided by development partners is a very important contribution for the development of Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform.”

    “The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities.’”

    That is more than a hint that the donors think that available resources are not aligned to development priorities.

    What went on during the closed-door meetings may have been more mutually engaging – but the most important things will happen – or not happen – during the course of the year which starts now towards the next meeting. And it will depend on the monitoring of ongoing events and the related discussions – including the regular follow-up in the press and by government and non-government agencies’ observations.

    This is a field of hard work: to observe, to analyze, to compare, to speak up, to share – regularly and consistently.

    There will be questions requiring answers, and if the questions do not get answers easily, they have to be repeated and made more precise and receive follow-up, maybe again and again. This is the role of the public, and especially of the media. That is why the press is also called “the fourth power” in a state – independent also, like the three others: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, mutually separate, as Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia requires.

    The Mirror tries to contribute to this important process.

    One element of regular surprise is information like the following, which we carried during this week:

    • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

    A fugitive from prison. Was he arrested?

    • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested]

    Why 60 persons for one suspect? And he was not arrested?

    • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers to go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence]

    “Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law” says Article 31 of the Constitution. But some get arrested and others not! So many cries for help trust in the highest authority of the government, carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady. When will this confidence wear out if there are too many disappointments?

    • The Government Declared to Fight Corruption [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that there are only a handful of corrupt officials, and the government will encourage other officials to fight corruption together]

    We will read it in the press.

    And here is a variety of related observations:

    An interesting source of income for the state reported:

    • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

    Not much, less than US$500. There is no report how much was collected from new, big cars driving around town without neither temporary nor permanent license plates. Almost every day when I am driven around town on a motorcycle-taxi, I see some. Probably there was nothing to report because nothing is being collected from them.

    The President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

    Members of the National Assembly, elected by the people (The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people – says Article 51 of the Constitution), need a permission before they can travel inside of the country? Article 40 of the Constitution sound different: Citizens’ freedom to travel, far and near, and legal settlement shall be respected. We did not reed that the parliamentarians claimed this Constitutional right.

    The result:

    • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Were Prevented from Visiting and Checking a Border Marker [in Takeo, as their visit was blocked by more than 30 armed forces and more than 50 local citizens]

    And finally a dilemma:

    • The Opposition Party President Sam Rainsy Plans to Go to the Philippines to Meet with Parliamentarians and Democrats in Asia [at the end of this month, to welcome the newly elected president of the Philippines when he takes office]

    Probably there will be many international guests there, especially from the ASEAN region. Among them politicians from Cambodia. But Mr. Sam Rainsy is facing the court in Cambodia, though he is abroad to avoid arrest – but he is free in France, and he is free to travel.

    Could another politician from the ASEAN region, the former Thai Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra, also go to the Philippines? Maybe not. There is a search warrant for him from Interpol, and the Thai government is now in the process to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin through Interpol to 187 countries, which makes it more and more difficult to travel anywhere. Except to Cambodia:

    • Cambodia Expressed [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] the Position Not to Extradite Thaksin to Thailand

    He was convicted by a Thai court for corruption – for arranging the sale of valuable Bangkok land without bidding and at a low price, to his wife. But he left the country – “temporarily for about a week,” after paying bail – and did never return.

    Everybody is equal before the law? Not quite.

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