Cambodia as a Member of the International Community of States – Sunday, 11.10.2009

Posted on 12 October 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

Serious questions surfaced during the week about the meaning of the consequences when a state has resolved to sign international covenants, and has entered into certain agreements of international cooperation.

The discussion of the draft Penal Code in the National Assembly, during several days on the way towards its adoption, revealed some surprising elements – some of a formalistic nature, others relating to substantive understandings.

Article 88 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states clearly and simply: “The National Assembly sessions shall be held in public.”

When, on 6 October 2009, crucial draft articles were to be discussed, two members of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia were asked to leave the observation gallery. This was later explained to be a measure related to security concerns – but the same persons had attended the meeting unencumbered during previous days. – And it is remembered that ambassadors and several embassy staff members from different countries were prevented on 23 June 2009 to enter and to observe the session, when the immunity of a member of an opposition party was to be discussed.

The present debate took place several days after Dr. Surya Subedi, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental UN body where 47 member states are represented, shared his first report to the Council on 1 October 2009. When Mr. Yim Sovann, a member of the National Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party, referred to Dr. Subedi’s concern about legal provisions for the freedom of expression, Mr. Ai Khan, a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People’s Party, is reported to have said: “I do not know who Subedi is… he does not understand about the words criticizing, scorning, and defaming… I want to notify H.E. Yim Sovann: Do not raise a foreigner’s ideas for discussion here.” Mr. Cheam Yeap, a member of the National Assembly also from the Cambodian People’s Party, had also been reported to respond to a reference to Dr. Subedi as “a foreigner’s request concerning this.” And Mr. Chheang Vun, the chairperson of the Assembly’s Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Media and Information, rejected Dr. Subedi’s statements as a violation of Cambodia’s sovereignty.

Dr. Subedi had not been speaking just “as a foreigner,” in fulfilling a mandate given to him by the UN Human Rights Council. In response to having been told that all Cambodian court actions had been conducted in accordance with Cambodian laws, he had not spoken to violate Cambodia’s sovereignty, but stated that he was “concerned that the laws in question themselves fell short of the standards required by international human rights treaties and practice, and that Cambodia’s judiciary was taking a restrictive approach in interpreting these laws, ultimately leading to excessive restrictions on freedom of expression.” Dr. Subedi is just expressing what is assumed internationally and in general: when a state accedes to international human rights treaties, it is assumed that they will be adhered to – they are not “a foreigner’s opinion.” They are part of multilateral intergovernmental agreements being clarified.

The discussion of the draft Penal Code in the National Assembly showed that by Saturday, 10 October 2009, 525 of the 672 articles had been approved – without a single change, in spite of the many questions for clarification, or suggestions for changes by Assembly members of the opposition parties. This absolute unity of opinion of the deputies of the Cambodian People’s Party is at least surprising in view of Article 77 of the Constitution: “The deputies in the National Assembly shall represent the entire Khmer people, not only Khmers from their constituencies. Any imperative mandate shall be nullified.” Not one of them seems to have thought to pronounce a different position from the majority. And this while they are – by the Constitution! – not bound by any “imperative mandate” ordering them what position to take. It is no surprise that Ms. Mu Sochua, a member of an opposition party, asked in view of the way the debate did not lead to the slightest change of the draft, why to spend more time in such kind of discussion: “I think we should just put a stamp on it.”

Another serious conflict of understanding, difficult to solve, is the warning by the Prime Minister, “that the government will not accept, or even stop receiving foreign aid, if aid is linked with conditions. Recently, the government has canceled the assistance of the World Bank for a land registration program.”

This is obviously a double threat: not only a warning towards the members of parliament in the countries which have to discuss and to negotiate how much money from the taxpayers of their country they will make available for which purposes and under which conditions. As a person from ADHOC pointed out, it is a threat also against those people of Cambodia who might benefit from such international aid.

In the case of the World Bank, their conditions were actually what both sides – the World Bank and the Cambodian government – had agreed upon together, about a Land Management and Administration Program: under which conditions Cambodians living on a certain piece of land for a certain period of time could get an ownership title for this land. But when the World Bank discovered and raised their observation, that the agreement is not applied evenly, the Prime Minister canceled the cooperation. The Program was applied mostly in rural areas, but people in certain settlements in the city do not get land titles, but are “evicted” or, to use the new wording of the government, are “temporarily relocated” (which often involved massive violence).

The aid, of which the Prime Minister is reported to be tired, relate to “linking it with conditions about the respect of human rights, the solution of land disputes, resettlement of the poor, and especially the creation of an anti-corruption law, an old intent of Cambodia,” as a newspaper explained.

Various pronouncements of the Prime Minister over the years had stated clearly that these are also his own political goals, when he said that a new farmers’ revolution might happen if land grabbing continues, and it is the Prime Minister himself who had announced, over the years, the planned creation of an anti-corruption law.

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Saturday, 6.9.2008: Kol Sokhum and World Famous Film Star, Mr. James Bond, 007, Join to Make Investments Together, Shaking Asia

Posted on 7 September 2008. Filed under: Week 576 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 576

Note:

We mirror this article, though there are some problems – still it serves our purpose to mirror selected articles showing the original Khmer press. First of all, “James Bond” cannot visit Cambodia, because James Bond is not a person, but a fictional character, created in 1953 by the writer Ian Fleming. Secondly, the role of the Agent 007 was played, over the years in the different James-Bond-Movies, by the following actors: Sean Connery · George Lazenby · Roger Moore · Timothy Dalton · Pierce Brosnan · Daniel Craig.

The name given here phonetically in Khmer is ជេម​ ស្បន “Jem Sbon” for “James Bon(d?)” – [here written in standard Khmer UNICODE system; if you do not have it, you can download it here].We assume that it is “the 007 Agent James Bond,” and not the also well known actor “James Bone 007” from the Philippines.

It is not clear who might have come.

“A well known English Hollywood film star visited Cambodia for two weeks. His visit focusesd first of all on many touristic sites in Cambodia, especially the seashore regions in Sihanoukville that are beautiful natural tourism sites in Cambodia.

“Mr. James Bond, who is known worldwide and is named ‘Agent 007,’ visited Cambodia for the first time.

Note:

In his first mission since being formally knighted, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore visited Cambodia on 23 and 24 October 2003 to promote the increased production and use of iodized salt to combat iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), a major threat to the health and development of Cambodian children. Therefor the recently visiting “James Bond” canot have been Sir Roger Moore.

“The unofficial visit of nearly twenty days in Cambodia by the world famous film star, Mr. James Bond, was organized together with a marvelous Khmer woman, Ms. Kol Sokhum, for two weeks in Sihanoukville, in order to study development projects for big centers according to international standards.

“Ms. Kol Sokhum, the director of the LLK Company, reported to Khmer Machas Srok yesterday that, regarding the visit to study development projects in Sihanoukville, the world famous film star again and again admired our Khmer natural resources, a very rich wealth. She said, ‘Mr. James Bond said that Cambodia is small, but it is rich in beautiful natural wealth, and he said he wants to report [to his friends and to the world] about Cambodia so that they will try to help Cambodia, since he is very interested in Cambodia. He told me that it was the first time that he knew Cambodia, and it was incredible; he continued urging the Khmer people not consider themselves to be without values; the country is like a diamond which has not yet been polished.’

“Hearing the admiration by this English Hollywood film star, Ms. Kol Sokhum called on Khmer women to be strong and to be brave and to make themselves to be good models for all women preparing their lives well. She went on to say, ‘We women, we have to try to make ourselves good, both in ideas and in intelligence, in order to attract investments from the world to Cambodia. I would like to ask Khmer women to enhance their knowledge in order to appeal to the world – as for me, I will make further efforts. Whatever I tried is for our country and our citizens, although I have to sacrifice everything for all Khmers. I want to be a good model for Khmer women in order to shake the world, both in work and in the field of investments…’

“She continued that Mr. James Bond said he will visit Cambodia again. During his two-weeks visit, Mr. James learned to live like Khmers do, and even he liked to eat Khmer food, such as sour soup.

“Ms. Kol Sokhum said also that the film star James Bond admired that Khmer women are beautiful with petite figures, but somewhat short.

“Mr. James Bond left Cambodia on 4 September 2008 and he promised he will visit Cambodia again soon, to join to make investments together with Ms. Kol Sokhum to surprise Asia. In the meantime, Mr. James Bond said also that he will create good documentation about the reality he had seen in Cambodia to be published in world magazines. Mr. James Bond hinted the natural tourism sites he has seen in Cambodia motivate him to plan to come to produce also films soon.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #138, 6.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 September 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1739, 6.9.2008

  • Family of Khim Sambour [Moneaksekar Khmer journalist who was killed] Quietly Goes Abroad, Affecting the Investigation
  • [Beer garden restaurant 16-year-old] Waitress and Her [54-year-old] Mother Threatened With a Gun to Get into a Car, Taken to Tuek Meas Guesthouse, and Two Men Then Raped the Daughter [the men escaped, 4 September – Phnom Penh]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #238, 6.9.2008

  • Kol Sokhum and World Famous Film Star, Mr. James Bond, 007, Join to Make Investments Together, Shaking Asia


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #92, 6.9.2008

  • The Council for the Development of Cambodia: Developments Increase at the Beginning of 2008 in Cambodia


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6443, 6-7.9.2008

  • Sand Pumping at Boeng Kak Lake Suspended in Order to Seek Solution to End the Problem [with the residents – Phnom Penh – this article contradicts an article in Rasmei Kampuchea]
  • Vietnamese Immigrants, Who Beg from Tourists, Have Been Moved Away from Chong Khnies [Tonle Sap Lake – Siem Reap]
  • War between Black Monkeys and Grey Monkeys Shakes Phnom Bak Mountain [there are more black monkeys than grey monkeys]; Female [grey] Monkey Carry Their Babies and Flee to Kiri Seila Phnom Bak Pagoda [Kompong Trach, Kampot]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3558, 6-7.9.2008

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Will Send Experts to Investigate Murder of Mr. Khim Sambour in Late September


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4687, 6.9.2008

  • Businesspeople Rush to Transport Luxury Wood from Ratanakiri to Phnom Penh by Hiding It under Pieces of Furniture
  • Sand Pumping to Boeng Kak Lake Continues, but It Does Not Affect People’s Houses [this article contradicts the an article in Koh Santepheap]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3403, 6.9.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Will Take Over All Ambassadorial Positions from Funcinpec [according to a Funcinpec senior official]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – will the Prime Minister’s concern for the environment continue to be violated?

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