The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on External Aid – Tuesday, 24.8.2010

Posted on 25 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

“They provide legal assistance, but they are not a non-government organizations. They accept work for profit, but they are not working just for money. The Samrith Law Group, the first institution in Cambodia providing legal services to serve public interests, is opening a new page for profit-based lawyers’ groups, saying that the reliance on funding from donors [for free legal services to the poor] can be reduced.

[This long article has been abbreviated – abbreviated sections are marked by three dots …]

“The manager of this lawyers’ group, established in 2008, Mr. Ith Meakthura, said, ‘We want to show to other lawyers in Cambodia that even though we are private lawyers, we can help poor communities.’

“As the Cambodian government cannot offer legal assistance services, this role is normally left to a handful of non-government organizations that depend on international aid agencies, such as USAID and AusAid to support their operations.

“Until early this year, two major organizations of Cambodia offering legal aid, the Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia [the web site http://www.lac.org.kh did not work at the time of this writing] were forced to restrict their expenditures after donors reduced their funding support…

“A senior lawyer of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group, Mr. Ly Ping, said that his group is using a service pricing system with different levels, depending on the capacity of clients to pay. That means they can also offer services with no payment charged. While the Samrith Lawyers’ Group receives also some funding support which is gladly received, they can gain income from their own work as the basis for their operations, in case no aid is provided…

“Mr. Ly Ping stressed, ‘This is our commitment. We want to help. It is an obligation. It is a general feeling of human beings. And we make enough money.’ He added that as for public interest activities, the Samrith Law Group handles also big cases which take a long time, maybe one year, to deal with one or two cases. Such work brings income through services such as consulting, research, and training for some of these private cases, and sometimes donors provide funds for some cases…

“Part of the reason leading to the creation of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group were limitations they saw in the system that relies on the support for non-government organizations. The Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia were established specifically to offer legal aid and related services, but for some other non-government organizations, legal aid is just one part of what they do.

“But to establish the budget of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group faces also obstacles. A major problem of the lawyers’ group are disputes, that happen between personal interests, on which they depend, and public interests, that they want to serve. Since in big land dispute cases they may face the rich and the powerful, the lawyers’ group has to ensure that they proceed carefully, to guarantee the further flow of personal cases to deal with, on which they depend.

“Mr. Ly Ping said, ‘Therefore, our strategy which cases to select is very important. We try to accept moderate cases. Such cases are not too big.’ According to the head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Vireak, though the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has accomplished some initial success, one needs to see whether they can use sustainable choices to replace existing, traditional practices or not.

“Mr. Ou Vireak said, ‘It is too quick to say. I think that legal aid can help to a certain level, but the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has not yet played an important role in legal aid. The real question is always the bigger picture: can they make a change to the court systems in Cambodia?'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2335, 24.8.2010

  • [The former and now fugitive Thai prime minister] Thaksin Resigned from the Position as an Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and Thailand Will Send Its Ambassador Back to Cambodia Today
  • More Than Ten Luxury Cars Transported Ebony Wood across the Svay Leu District; Forestry Administration Officers Said They Were Not Aware of That [Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7042, 24.8.2010

  • More Than 200 Kilogram of Wild Animals [snakes, turtles, porcupines, and civets] Were Intercepted in Suong District [five people were held – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3966, 24.8.2010

  • The Authorities Must Care about the Construction of Roads in Phnom Penh That Do Not Have Proper Culvert Systems to Drain Out the Rain Water That Floods the City When There Are Heavy Rains

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #38, 24.8.2010

  • A Sihanoukville Court Released a [police] Officer Who Raped an 11 Years-Old Girl [court officials could not be reached for comment on 23 August 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Began to Construct a Five Stories Court Building

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

  • Names of Officials to Declare Their Assets Will Be Published [according to the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • Members of the Authorities [police] Suppressed Citizens Who Protested over Flooding, Resulting from the Boeng Kak Lake [sand filling] Development [they used shields and electric batons to disperse about 200 protesters who gathered in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh]
  • [About 300] Amleang Commune Residents Blocked a Road to Protest over Land Disputes [with the sugar company owned by Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat – Kompong Speu]
  • [Prince] Ranariddh: To Merge FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party Will Result in the Loss of Positions [according to legislation about political parties, if two parties merge, the Ministry of Interior will delete the former parties’ name from the list of registered parties]
  • The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on Aid

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5284, 24.8.2010

  • Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [warned the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • There Are Only About 50 Hectares for Coffee Growing Left in Cambodia, and Coffee Growers Are Competing with Coffee from Laos and from Vietnam [before there were more than 500 hectares with coffee grown in Ratanakiri]

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Subedi: The Court System in Cambodia Still Has Difficulties in Providing Justice for Cambodian Citizens – Saturday, 19.6.2010

Posted on 20 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

Note:

1. Apologies for not having had any publication on Friday – a National Holiday, Birthday of the Queen Mother – and providing the Saturday issue only late on Sunday. I had difficulties to receive the draft materials in time.

2. I upload the Saturday publication in transit from the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong on the way to the regular meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN, the organization handling the global Internet address system – in Brussels, and further travel beyond, to Canada and the USA. This travel will also result in some irregular timing of the publication of The Mirror during the next weeks.

But we still try to keep up the publication regularly, though with some delays.

Norbert Klein

“The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia stated at the end of his third mission to Cambodia that serious flaws in the Cambodian court system affect the courts’ abilities to provide justice for common citizens.

“Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Subedi, said that the lack of resources, institutional problems, and the interference from outside of the court system have created institutions which are not trusted by citizens from all levels of society. He said, ‘More and more citizens had been jailed because of flaws in the court system, and such failures to provide justice are on the rise.’

“Mr. Subedi added that such cases relate especially to land disputes and to the freedom of expression. He added, ‘I am concerned about the impact from land disputes and from the relocation of common citizens… and the decline of political freedom to discuss issues the society is facing which result in complaints against journalists, human rights activists, and political opposition of defamation, disinformation, and incitations.’

“During his 10-day visit to Cambodia concentrating on the judicial system, Mr. Subedi met with the Khmer King, Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, high ranking officials, judges, members of the civil society, and parliamentarians. But Mr. Subedi said that a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday, 17.6.2010, was canceled due to health reason. He went on to say, ‘I will find other ways to convey my messages to the Prime Minister.’

“Citizens had directly delivered to Mr. Subedi a petition asking him to intervene to supprt their cases. On Monday, 14.6.2010, for a short time, he met with representatives of citizens involved in land disputes in Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap.

“The next day, Mr. Ruos Sokhet, a journalist in jail, asked Mr. Subedi to intervene of behalf of his case. Mr. Ruos Sokhet has been jailed since November 2009 for sending a text message insulting Mr. Soy Sopheap, a well-known television presenter.

“Mr. Subedi stated that in his position, he cannot work on any specific complaints, but he said that direct visits show specific forms in the operations of the judicial system in Cambodia. He added, ‘The voices of the citizens are crucial for me, to specify the need for reforms in the court system, and to see what other sectors must also be reformed.’

“He continued to say that he asked the government to create a clear timetable to implement his recommendations on the court system. He said, ‘This is an obligation implemented voluntarily by the Cambodian Government, and I hope that the government will take up its commitment.’ Mr. Subedi will report the results of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010.

“The head of the Cambodia Human Rights Commission, Mr. Om Yentieng, said that he does not know what Mr. Subedi will report to the UN Human Rights Council, but he said that the visit was short, so the assessment of the court system is not accurate. He suggested that the United Nations should create a work team to work with the government on human rights. He said, ‘In order to produce a proper report, they should create a work team to cooperate with the government, so that they have the details and additional information before they conduct any assessments.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, informed Mr. Subedi about the political bias of the courts, and especially about the complaints against the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the case of the parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua, who are strongly critic of the court system. He added that with the possibility to reach international institutions of the United Nations, Mr. Subedi can bring positive changes for Cambodia. He said, ‘So far, I have less and less trust, but we will wait and see.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #196, 18.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 19 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #507-508, 18-19.6.2010

  • Chinese Military Assistance, 257 Military Trucks and 50,000 Military Uniforms, Have Arrived
  • The United States of America Delivered Seven Valuable Types of [Khmer] Artifacts to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2278-2279, 18-19.6.2010

  • Mr. Om Yentieng Apologized to Samdech Dekchor Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen [for building a statue, though the Prime Minister is still alive – according to Khmer tradition, a statue of a person is normally created only after that person has died. The statue had been erected in front of the Anti-Corruption Institution; Mr. Om Yentieng built it as a sign of his own respect to Mr. Hun Sen, but he had not informed him; in the meantime the statue has been removed]
  • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers] Denied that Two Red-Shirt [anti-Thai government] Leaders Are Hiding in a Casino in Poipet
  • Facing a Series of Robberies, 200 Citizens Volunteer to Cooperate with the Police to Strengthen the Security of Their Villages and Communes [by establishing groups to patrol the Sangkae district, Battambang]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #684, 18.6.2010

  • [UN special rapporteur] Surya Subedi Told Ms. Mu Sochua that He Will Raise the Issue of [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Return when He Comes to Cambodia Next Time

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6985, 18.6.2010

  • The Municipal Court Issued a Letter to Demand that Mu Sochua Pays the Fine – while She Is Leaving the Country to Bring a Petition to [US President] Obama

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3909-3910, 18-20.6.2010

  • The Government Released Circular Number 3, Ordering the Authorities to Clear Temporary Shelters [established on state land] Which Causes Misery for the Poor Countrywide
  • The Ministry of Justice Issued a Warrant for the Third Time to Arrest Persons of a Mixed Authorities’ Group [of police and soldiers] Who Shot at Citizens in the Chi Kraeng District [injuring four citizens], while the Siem Reap Court Has Not Identified the Perpetrators [the people were shot at on March 2009 when they protested against court decisions handing over disputed land to other groups of citizens, believed to be used by some rich and powerful people; the Ministry of Justice issued the warrant, ordering the Siem Reap Municipal Court to arrest the perpetrators]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #196, 18.6.2010

  • Subedi: The Court System in Cambodia Still Has Difficulties in Providing Justice to Cambodian Citizens
  • Cambodia Should Speed Up Handling Procedures at the Borders [to facilitate export and import – according to a visiting senior economists of the World Bank, Dr. Peter Malvicini]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5227-5228, 18-19.6.2010

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Will Face Six-Month Imprisonment if She Does Not Pay the Fine [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Truck Loaded with Stones Hit a Motorbike from Behind, Killing Two Persons [Phnom Penh]

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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]

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Most of the Important Positions at International Border Crossings Are Not Reassigned, not Following a Sub-Decree – Friday, 21.5.2010

Posted on 22 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: Important positions of some officials – such as police, customs, and CamControl – at border crossings for international travelers and at border crossings for local travel are, at present, not reassigned properly, contrary to the terms that are clearly set by the Royal Government in a sub-decree.

“Sub-Decree 64, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2001, that consists of 13 chapters and 39 articles, clearly speaks about the structure for the administration, and the roles and terms of the officials that must be followed.

“According to Chapter 8, about the terms in Article 29, the head of border crossings for international travelers, and the officers at border crossings for local travel, the heads of sea ports, and the heads of other expert authorities must be reshuffled every two years. According to Article 30, officials stationed at border crossings for international travelers, and at other border crossings, will be reshuffled every year.

“But in reality, those officials collude with each other systematically, and important officials are not reshuffled according the terms as clearly stated in the Sub-Decree of the Royal Government. On the contrary, most officials holding important positions, such as in the police, or as tax and custom officers at international border crossings, and at other border crossing for local traffic, stay in their lucrative positions more than five years, and some even up to eight years, and the relevant ministries do not reassign them. In addition, the number of ‘mixed officials’ [police, tax officials, CamControl, and local authorities] at each international border crossing point is too high.

“It is seen that when related ministries and institutions do not implement the terms for the officials working at international and other border crossings for relevant ministries for years, without being reassigned, those officials use their positions to commit all kinds of corruption. They commit dishonest activities for personal gain and seek money for bribing the higher levels, so that they can stay in their positions longer, which leads to the loss of income for the state.

“In Chapter 11 of the Sub-Decree about penalties, Article 35 clearly states that officials who take the opportunity to use their positions and power to arbitrarily create difficulties for travelers, for for owners of vehicles, and relate to all types of goods crossing the border, or who violate their duties, will be convicted according to the law. However, in reality, none of them has been punished. Officials working at the same border crossing for several years usually make the citizens, and especially big traders feel afraid of them, as they think that officials who can stay at their posts for many years are not normal cases: they must have the backing of some high ranking officials. This allows those officials to do whatever they want.

“The Sub-Decree also established a monitoring procedure, with a representatives from the Council of Ministers as the head, and representatives from other ministries and institutions, and from the related municipalities, according to a notification from a Minister of the Council of Ministers, to monitor the activities and to checking the related offices, in order to report to the head of the government.

“But the mechanism seems ineffective for the day-to-day activities at international and other border crossings. Some police, customs, and CamCotrol officials are not reshuffled as required according to the sub-decree. Those officials use money collected at the border crossings to control the flow of document themselves. Some do this directly with the departments and their staff at each ministry. Others do it directly through the Customs Office, so that they can hold their positions at border crossings for years.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen warned on 6 April 2010 during the closing convention of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, that even if they fail to reshuffle, officials will be punished according to their terms that seem to allow those officials to commit corruption systematically as they know the place well.

“A parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, told reporters that through direct monitoring at some international border crossings, such as the Poipet border crossing, the international seaport in Sihanoukville, and the Smach international border crossing in Komopong Cham, there are many organizational structures of administration, and more than 1,000 coalition personnel involved, including police, military, and CamControl officials, and local authorities.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap added that the collection of state income is destroyed by corruption, committed by a small number of people working at those border crossing points. If an official takes, personally, just Baht 5 or Riel 1,000 or Riel 500 to buy something to eat, pretty much money is lost. They cause difficulties for the trading of citizens and of national and international investors. He suggested that the number of those officials should be reduced by half in order that much benefit can be contributed to Cambodia.

“Therefore, related ministries must check these unclear points, because the collusion not to reshuffle important positions of officials at international and other border crossings, and the too high number of officials, seriously violates the Sub-Decree signed by the head of the Royal Government.

“Many officials who do not have high ranking officials backing them and have no money to bribe higher levels, complained that they could not stay at good posts like others, because those working at such good posts are not reshuffled as before, but there are biddings for positions. This is a bad model for law enforcement which requires reforms.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5203, 21.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 21 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #483, 21.5.2010

  • The Phanpimex Company Destroyed a State Electricity Cabin to Claim Land [Phnom Penh]
  • The Garment Sector Creates Employment for More Than 300,000 Workers [in Cambodia, despite of the global economic crisis]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2254, 21.5.2010

  • Robbers Armed with AK Rifles Robbed a Village Chief in Banon District, Battambang [taking away some money and jewelries]
  • Opportunists Committed Looting and Robberies and Burnt Down [about 35] Buildings in Bangkok

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #769, 21.5.2010

  • The Great Heroic King [the former King] Should Raise the Restricted Freedom and Human Rights Issues of Kampuchea Krom People in His Meetings with Yuon [Vietnamese] Leaders during His Visit to Yuon [Vietnam – no date of his visit is specified]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #661, 21.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Yim Sovann: Mr. Om Yentieng Has Made No Achievements in Combating Corruption [recently, Mr. Om Yentieng was nominated head of the Anti-Corruption Unit – he will be automatically also a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, the body that is supervising the Anti-Corruption Unit; it seems that this construction implies that the head of the Unit is also supervising himself]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6961, 21.5.2010

  • More Than 30 Buildings Were Burnt Down in Bangkok – the International Community [the European Union and the United States of America] Condemned the Violent Suppression, but Were also Surprised with the Violence of the Demonstrators
  • In a Raid on a Drug Site in Sihanoukville, Sixteen People Were Arrested [for drug smuggling]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3885, 21.5.2010

  • The Opposition Party Calls the Prohibition to Visit [two] Farmers Being Jailed [for removing border markers in Svay Rieng] a Breach of the Rights of Parliamentarians

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #176, 21.5.2010

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Will Create Quick Reaction Youth Teams Countrywide [before the elections in 2012 and 2013]
  • The Nomination of Mr. Om Yentieng [a senior advisor of the Prime Minister] Invites Criticism [he was appointed by Prime Minister Hun Sen as the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit – the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that Mr. Om Yentieng is not able to fight corruption as head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee of Cambodia under the Council of Ministers, and also, he might be influenced by Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5203, 21.5.2010

  • Most of the Important Positions at International Border Crossings Are Not Reassigned, not Following a Sub-Decree
  • Cambodia Loses US$45 Million Each Year due to the Import of Pigs from Thailand [about one million pigs are imported to Cambodia each year, affecting local pig raisers; according to the head of the Cambodian Macro, Small, Medium Enterprise Project [MSME] of USAID, Mr. Curtis Hundley]

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ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents – Friday, 30.4.2010

Posted on 1 May 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that in Cambodia more than 1,500 people were killed last year by occupational accidents. That means four persons die each day at their workplace.

“Regarding these occupational accidents, ILO announced that Cambodia will celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 30 April 2010 by a march in Kampot City.

“The celebration on 30 April 2010 will be held under the topic ‘Understanding about Your Safety and Health Hazards and the Prevention of Occupational Accidents.’

“The head of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Leng Tong, said that in 2009, nearly 3,000 workers in Cambodia suffered from serious accidents relating to their work.

“The president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, which has a membership in the fields of tourism, garment production, and construction, Mr. Ath Thun, considers the figures provided by ILO about deaths at work places as based on accurate monitoring.

“Mr. Ath Thun said that Cambodia is a developing country, and in general, investors in Cambodia do not care much about the health of workers, while also the government does not pay much attention to the health of workers. As health issues of employees and workers do not receive much attention, this results in accidents happening continually. In recent years, there is a fast growing number of high-rise buildings that do not have occupational safety systems, and there is no clear regulation about who has to take the responsibility when accidents happen, and when workers are killed, whether their families get proper compensation, or they are left with little money.

“Mr. Ath Thun added that most occupational accidents occur at construction sites and brick kilns, in fishery, as well as at other companies, institutions, and small enterprises that are not following standards and that do not have proper occupational protection systems. In the garment sector, workers often lost a hand or suffered from chemical substances that affect their health. Some others encountered traffic accidents when they went to or came out of their factories.

“The recent announcement by ILO, on 29 April 2010, says that the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia has broadened its publications about occupational safety and health to the provincial level, conducting a public demonstration in Kampot. More than 350 participants, representatives of the government and of employers and employees, will join to celebrate by marching from the Kampot Bridge along the river, carrying signs and banners with slogans on the way to the next celebration site at the Kampot Municipality to listen to speeches and to watch performances about safety.

“Along the roads in Kampot, banners with slogans are on display, and leaflets to promote public understanding about the importance of occupational safety and health are distributed.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in charge of occupational safety and health, AIDS, and social security, Mr. Huy Hansong, who will chair the event in Kampot on 30 April 2010, said in the announcement that health and safety hazards – problems that have been occurring at present – cannot be identified only through normal ways assuming people’s general understanding. ‘We must have new ways to deal with these dangers and educate workers and employees about practical and new measures of prevention.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, he said that the Royal Government of Cambodia highly prioritizes the improvement of the quality of life of the people. Ensuring a healthy, safe, and productive atmosphere are key factors to achieve this goal. Cambodia is implementing, at the national level, a system for stronger occupational safety and health, in order to offer sufficient protection for the occupational safety and health for all workers and employees.

“The announcement also quotes an ILO specialist on occupational safety and health for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, Mr. Kawakami Tsuyoshi [川上 剛], as saying that ‘this is the fifth time that Cambodia celebrates this international day, and this shows the commitment of Cambodia to achieve occupational safety and health. But we must not be too proud. We should consolidate our effort to get closer to the employees at their workplaces and to provide them with practical support to prevent accidents.’

“It should be noticed that the celebration of the International World Day for Safety and Health at Work by a march in Kampot in the morning of 30 May 2010 is funded by the Korea Program of the ILO, the Better Factories Cambodia program of the ILO, and by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #465, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Equips Troops with More Modern Weapons [saying that Cambodia will shoot back with DK 12.7-milimeter machine guns and B40 rockets if invaded]
  • The European Union Plans to Show Films Promoting Women in Society [from 3 to 9 May 2010 at the French Cultural Center – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2236, 30.4.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian Confederation Union] Mr. Rong Chhun, Plans to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” despite Not Having a Permission from the Authorities
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Left to Attend the Shanghai 2010 World-Expo [in China]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Was Arrested for Raping a 14-Year-Old Boy [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6943, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Wants Indonesia to Manufacture Agricultural Machinery in Cambodia [according to the report about a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Ngurah Swajaya, at the end of his mission in Cambodia]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3867, 30.4.2010

  • Trade Unions Can March to Send a Petition to the National Assembly [on 1 May 2010], but the Authorities Prohibit to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea”
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Cambodia Has to Adhere to Its International Obligations and Only Communist Countries Use the Word “Interference in Internal Affairs” [recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia issued a diplomatic note to request foreign ambassadors not to interfere in Cambodian internal affairs – ((actually, the term “Interference in Internal Affairs” is regularly used as a traditional principle of ASEAN))]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #161, 30.4.2010

  • Documentary Film about [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Vichea’s Murder Is Not Allowed to Be Shown in Public [as there is no permission from any minister]
  • Russia Wants to Buy More Rice but Is Negotiating the Price [Russia wants to buy 20,000 tonnes of rice in 2010]
  • Tropical Storm in Preah Vihear Destroyed Twenty Houses and Injured Three People

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

  • ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents
  • Cambodia Announced to Have Taken Full Control of the Ta Krabei Temple [at the Cambodian-Thai border]; Siamese [Thai] Citizens and Soldiers Can Go There as Visitors
  • More Than Five Tonnes of No-Quality Bra Fish [a fresh water fish] and Quails Imported from Vietnam Were Seized [Kandal – the may be detrimental to health if eaten]

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Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools – Tuesday, 27.4.2010

Posted on 28 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: While the number of primary schools increases to almost 6,500 countrywide, this still cannot respond to the rising number of students every year, 5% of the children who cannot go to school are excluded.

“Does Cambodia have strategies to deal with this shortage? The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Mr. Im Sethy, said, releasing the publication of the report about Education for All on Monday morning, 26 April 2010, ‘The 6,500 primary schools are not enough. We have to construct 700 more school buildings to provide proper education and to increase the number of students registered in schools.’

“According to a report of the Department of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports in 2008 and 2009, there were 6,476 schools and 2,311,107 students in total in Cambodia.

“Mr. Im Sethy added that ‘Our rate of school registration covers only 95% of the respective age group. That means 5% of the children cannot go to school, as they live in remote areas, but we are planning to gather them to register to attend school.’

“He continued to say, ‘We plan to collect also those children, so that they can go to school.’ He added, ‘The Ministry of Education alone cannot succeed. It needs the involvement from other related institutions and development partners.’

“Nobody can achieve results by just talking, so Mr. Im Sethy asked the World Bank, that has provided already more than US$54 million, to extend its aid for the construction of educational infrastructure, because during the last two years, aid has not been used on time, as some areas in Cambodia had been affected by floods during the rainy season, making it impossible to construct schools.

“Mr. Im Sethy went on to speak about the strategic goals of Education for All. Cambodia created a National Committee for Education for All with a National Plan 2003-2015, considering the meeting in Dakar in Senegal in 2000, together with the involvement of related institutions; the achievements appearing today result from clear policies and strategic plans to achieve Education for All.

“He added, ‘The Education for All plan approved in Dakar focuses only on primary education, but Cambodia has bigger ambitions than this, that is to achieve secondary education so that all Cambodian youth can end in Grade 9 following Article 68 of the Constitution.”

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – Article 68:

The State shall provide free primary and secondary education to all citizens in public schools. Citizens shall receive education for at least 9 years.

“He continued to say that following the first stage tree-prone and rectangular policy and the Second Stage Rectangular Strategy of the government, at present, there are 3.5 million Cambodian people learning, or one among four is in some learning processes.

“The Representative of UNESCO in Cambodia, Mr. Jinnai Teruo, said that Cambodia has made a lot of achievements in recent years in the equity of school registration, the quality and effectiveness of education, and the success in strengthening educational infrastructure, especially the registration in primary schools that increased from 93% in 2008 to 94% in 2009.

“He added that nevertheless there is still no equity in the registration between children in urban and in rural areas. This issue calls for increased attention towards those children, so that they too can go to school; infrastructure should be built for those without the opportunity to receive education who are at present not in schools, so that Cambodia can become successful in the Education for All plan.

“A Representative of the Global Campaign for Education, Ms. Leng Theavy, said, ‘This year, like in previous years, we have organized events to publicize the global campaign for Education for All in Cambodia in order to receive the announcement of results, and to determine follow-up goals of the global campaign for education following also other signatory countries of the Dakar declaration of 2000.’

“She added that the agreement aims at promoting the joint commitment of the government, of development partners, and of non-government organizations of each country, to ensure that the goals of the Education for All plan will be accomplished.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2233, 27.4.2010

  • A Fierce Tropical Storm Destroyed 113 Houses and Killed a Young Girl [Banteay Meanchey]
  • An American Man Committed Suicide by Jumping from the Third Floor of a House [the reasons behind are not known – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6940, 27.4.2010

  • The US Embassy Celebrated the 40th Earth Day of Environmental Conservation [Phnom Penh]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Change Their Shirts while the Deadline for Them to Disperse Is Approaching

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3864, 27.4.2010

  • Mixed Authorities [border police and others] at the Poipet Border Crossing Continue to Extort Money from Cart Pullers Just as They Like

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #156, 27.4.2010

  • Draft Law on Compliant Procedures Involving Individuals Was Approved [this law offers courts the power to temporarily confiscate assets during divorce case proceedings to make sure that the property of each party is not sold before a verdict, and it provides to the courts the authority to decide on imprisonment to ensure child-support payments for children whose parents get divorced]
  • Cambodia Still Cannot Export Crocodile Leather because Crocodile Raising Has Not Met the Standards That Lead to Good Quality Leather [according to the head of the Fishery Administration Department, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • China Is Provided with New Power as It Became the Third Major Member of the World Bank [after the United States of America and Japan]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

  • Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools
  • Head of the Confederation Union [Mr. Rong Chhun] Plans to Play the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” on 1 May 2010 [but he waits for permission from the government; Mr. Chea Vichea was the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers who was murdered in 2004; so far, the perpetrators have not been arrested]
  • The [Ratanakiri] Provincial Authorities Collected More Than 700 Cubic Meters of Wood Scattered Disorderly in the Forest

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Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council – Wednesday, 10.2.2010

Posted on 11 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Cambodia has requested the United States of America to support the candidacy of Cambodia to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“During a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, and [the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to ASEAN] Mr. Scot Marciel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the morning of 9 February 2010, Mr. Hor Namhong requested the USA, through Mr. Scot Marciel, to support Cambodia’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2013 and 2014.

“Since Cambodia has become a member of the United Nations, it has never participated working in the framework of the UN Security Council.

“Mr. Hor Namhong pointed out to Cambodia’s qualifications to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, saying that Cambodia, with the help from the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), in 1993 organized free and fair elections for the first time in Cambodia after it had been freed from the Pol Pot genocidal regime.

“The next non-permanent Security Council Members of the United Nations will be elected in 2012.

“It should be noted that in recent years, Cambodia has sent its troops within the UN framework to help many developing countries and countries that have just recovered from war, such as Chad.

“During the meeting, Cambodia also requested America to cancel the debt that Cambodia owes America since the time of the Lon Nol regime time [the Khmer Republic, 1970 to 1975].

“Cambodia owes America more than US$300 million since the Lon Nol regime from 1970 to 1975.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 explains details of the loan with normal repayment obligations:

“Between 1972 and 1974, the US Department of Agriculture financed $274 million in purchases of US cotton, rice, and flour for Cambodia… with interest, the total had risen to $339 million by 2007.”

The Cambodian Daily further reports: “Mr. Maciel also said that the had reiterated in the meetings that the US was ‘very disappointed’ with Cambodia’s decision in December 2010 to deport 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers back to China over the objections of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees” [contrary to the Cambodian commitment to the relevant UN conventions].

“Cambodia suggested two ways the USA could cancel the debt. In the first choice, Mr. Hor Namhong suggested the USA could just cancel all the debt, but as an alternative choice, he asked the USA via Mr. Scot Marciel to cancel 70% of the debt of more than US$300 million in order to allow Cambodia to develop the country. Cambodia would pay back the rest of 30% to the USA later.

“Though he listened that there are these two modalities proposed by Cambodia, Mr. Scot Marciel could only say that he will bring Cambodia’s request about the canceling of debt to the US government when he returns back.

Note:

The Cambodian Daily of 10.2.2010 adds the following further information:

Contrary to the explanation by Mr. Maciel, the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, claimed that the money was paid for the slaughter of Cambodians – “The debt was used for weaponry and the weaponry was used to destroy all things including the life in the country.”

“Mr. Scot Marciel stressed that in the USA there is no legal basis regarding the canceling of debts.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #410, 10.2.2010

  • Cambodia Will Appeal to the Court in The Hague and to the UN Security Council [to solve the border dispute with Thailand; according to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • US Wants Cambodia and Thailand to Peacefully Solve Border Disputes [according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • Cambodia Wants the USA to Support Cambodia’s Candidacy as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2173, 10.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Siamese [Thai] Troops Can No Longer Remain at the Ta Moan Temple [claiming that it is in Khmer territory]
  • Thailand Increases Security Efforts before the Court Makes a Judgment over the Property of [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Cambodia and Italy Signed the First Agreement on Culture [about cooperation on development projects at the Angkor area, as well as about training for young experts in cultural preservation work at the Angkor area]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #733, 10.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Rejected Information that It Had Provided Khmer Citizenship to Thaksin Shinawatra

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #602, 10.2.2010

  • The Khmer King Is Listed as a Member of the Community of French Scholars [of the “Academie Française”; based on his contributions to pre-historical research in Cambodia, where he is appreciated for his efforts to maintain the Khmer cultural heritage, and especially, his support for a French training program for people in restoration techniques for the Khmer Angkor Wat Temples]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6880, 10.2.2010

  • A French Drug Addict Robbed the [Cambodia Asia] Bank; It Was the First Time that a Foreigner Committed Armed Robbery [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • The Anti-Corruption Draft Reached the National Assembly [but the content is not yet made known]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #108, 10.2.2010

  • America Does Not Plan to Cancel the Debt [of about US$300 million; according to the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Mr. Scot Marciel]
  • [The North Korean President] Mr. Kim Jong Il Told the Chinese Ambassador that the Korean Peninsula Should Be Free from Nuclear Weapons

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5122, 10.2.2010

  • [Four] Robbers Went into a House, Shot One Person to Death and Seriously and Lightly Injured Three Others, and Took Away US$15,000 [Pailin]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1873, 10.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Warned that If Negotiations [with Thailand] Do Not Bring Solutions, Armed Force Will Be Used

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The Government of Finland Promised to Grant More Than US$9 Million to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010 – Saturday, 6.2.2010

Posted on 7 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: During the Cambodian development cooperation forum in Phnom Penh from 4 to 5 December 2008, the Government of Finland promised to grant US$9,086,107 to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010.

“The president of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrey Heng Samrin, said so during a meeting with the new Ambassador of the Republic of Finland, Ms. Sirpa Maenpaa, on 5 February 2010 at the National Assembly.

“He added that from 1992 to 2008, Finland has granted more than US$25 million aid to Cambodia. As for the trade relations between both countries, Cambodia exports products to Finland amounting to more than US$1.2 million, and Finland exports products to Cambodia of more than US$1.6 million.

“During the audience with Samdech Heng Samrin after she had submitted her diplomatic credentials to the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the morning of 5 February 2010, the Ambassador of Finland said that as an ambassador, she will encourage closer ties and cooperation between Cambodia and Finland, and the Government of Finland promised to keep on cooperating with Cambodia. Previously, both countries had cooperated in the field of administration and in projects to alleviate poverty among people living around the Tonle Sap Lake. She promised to encourage the Government of Finland to step up aid for Cambodia.

“The new Ambassador of Finland told Samdech Heng Samrin that some members of parliament of Finland plan to visit Cambodia in the middle of March, and they hope to meet with Samdech Heng Samrin and to have working sessions with some of the special committees of the National Assembly of Cambodia.

“Samdech Heng Samrin agreed with these plans and welcomes the upcoming visit from the parliament of Finland.

“Samdech Heng Samrin expressed his gratitude towards Ms. Sirpa Maenpaa, the newly appointed ambassador of the Republic of Finland, for spending her busy time to meet and to greet him. Also, Samdech Heng Samrin explained her the situation of Cambodia and its parliamentary institutions and the legislative process. Summing this up, he said that the current situation in Cambodia is stable and peaceful, thus, favorable for developments in all sectors.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5119, 6.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #407, 6.2.2010

  • One Khmer-Canadian and Two Khmer Accomplices Were Sentenced to Serve Eight Years in Prison and in Addition They Were Fined Riel 8 Million [approx. US$1,900, for Drug Smuggling – Phnom Penn]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2170, 6.2.2010

  • Cambodian Officials Demanded Google to Remove an Illegal Map from Their Website [showing that Cambodia loses some territory at the border]

Note:

Secretary of State at the Cambodia’s Council of Ministers Svay Sitha is quoted to have written to the Internet company Google, which makes maps of the whole world accessible, free of charge, to all Internet users, “We… request that you withdraw the already disseminated, very wrong and not internationally recognized map and replace it.”He calls the map “radically misleading,” “devoid of truth and reality,” and “professionally irresponsible.”

Actually, Google does not claim that its free service represents internationally recognized borders; it specifically posts a disclaimer which says:

  • 6. (a) GOOGLE AND ITS LICENSORS… MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY CONTENT OR THE PRODUCTS.

To illustrate the problem further, we bring several maps or sections of maps, followed by brief explanations.

Google Map

Google Map

Cambodian Claim towards World Heritage Listing

Cambodian Claim towards World Heritage Listing

The section of the Internet Google map of the Preah Vihear area has a white border line between Cambodia and Thailand – though the real border is neither marked nor agreed upon between both countries. The contours of the Preah Vihear Temple can be seen not only on the Google map, but also – the small, narrow shape in light pale red in the middle of the picture on the right– on the map presented by the Cambodian delegation in June 2008, explaining that for the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, Cambodia claims only, at that time, the temple and an area of about 30 meter around the main temple complex, as shown in the map – in light red – signed by the chair of the Cambodia Border Commission.

According to the decisions of the World Heritage Committee of 2008, when the Preah Vihear Temple was listed, this was done together with the following conditions written down in the minutes of this UNESCO commission:

    14.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;
    15.Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

  • “a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
  • “b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property;
  • “c) confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
  • “d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan; 16.Further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center by February 2010, for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 a full Management Plan for the inscribed property, including a finalized map.”

We are not aware that anything has been published, when the Cambodian government has invited the participation of the Government of Thailand and others to examine the policy how to operate this World Heritage site, including the map delineating the [contested] buffer zone and the management zones previously identified in presentation of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear, and a progress report about a management plan, including a “finalized map.”

The strong criticism against the Google map is surprising when one compares the maps which the Cambodian government’s Department of Geography produced for years, until recently, and which can be seen in many offices: they do not mention Preah Vihear at all, and the borderline does not even show that the Temple of Preah Vihear lies on Cambodian territory – according to a ruling of the International Court of Justice in 1962. The Google map does reflect this – though without indicating that there are contested buffer zones. The map of the Cambodian government’s Geography Department, issued in 2000, does not reflect this, but shows a borderline just as some Thai nationalists who reject the ruling of 1992 claim it. The Google map is showing Cambodia’s national interests clearer than the maps of the Cambodian government’s Geography Department.

Description of the Map: printed in 2000

Description of the Map: printed in 2000

Preah Vihear not mentioned, border shown in favor of Thailand

Preah Vihear not mentioned, border shown in favor of Thailand



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Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #599, 6.2.2010

  • France Criticized the Suspension of the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy and of Opposition Party Parliamentarians in Cambodia
  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaungsuban Ordered the Sisaket Governor and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers to Welcome [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [during his visit at the border on 6 February 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6877, 6-7.2.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador [Ms. Zhang Jinfeng 张金凤] Finished Her Term of Service in Cambodia and Met the Municipal Governor [Mr. Kep Chuktema] to Say Goodbye

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5119, 6.2.2010

  • Bangkok Is Nervous Ahead of the Visit of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to the Border
  • The Government of Finland Promised to Grant More Than US$9 Million to Cambodia for 2009 and 2010
  • A Car Overturned Suddenly, Killing Two People and Injuring Eighteen [Siem Reap]
  • A Leader of the Red-Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Was Shot Dead after Demonstrating in Front of an Army Base

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

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Justice in the Midst of Conflicts – Sunday, 24.1.2010

Posted on 26 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

The report on the increasing number of rapes, especially also of young girls less then 10 year old, in some cases ending with the killing of the victim, carried a terrifying comment: “Law enforcement by the relevant authorities, especially the courts, remained limited, as giving impunity to perpetrators continued,” continuing: “The number of cases brought to be heard at the courts was not so high, simply because of out of court arrangements.” Money is used instead of justice.

In another context, the Ratanakiri authorities are reported to have seized a truck with illegally logged wood after a Cambodian NGO and local citizens informed the authorities – but this is worse: Citizens who tried to report and to prevent forestry crimes were threatened by armed personnel, and the authorities do not dare to disclose the names of the powerful wood traders who hire citizens to commit these crimes. Power is used instead of justice.

In view of these and many other, specifically identified cases, there is not much value in discussing, in the abstract, whether Cambodia is a country to be described as under a state of law – because the Constitution says so – or not; the call to strengthen and to ensure effective law enforcement is also not very useful, unless it is accompanied by analyzing why law enforcement is so weak, and therefore: how this might change.

When I am traveling in Phnom Penh – that is normally on the back seat of a motorcycle-taxi – and I question the drivers why they breaks traffic rules, there is almost always a similar answer, with references that “everybody does it, especially the big cars: some without license plates, speeding on the middle of the road or on the wrong side, driving on, even if the traffic light is red, etc. etc.” If the law is not seen to be enforced equally on all, irrespective of money or power, it is very difficult to see how a state of law can be achieved. It can be achieved only when the very same authorities enforcing it are also following the law themselves.

Scanning regularly through news media from other countries, there is one item which is mentioned more and more: How do the Cambodian authorities consider the role of law in their relations with the neighboring country of Thailand? The armed clash yesterday at the border invited again regional concerns. And one concern discussed in other ASEAN countries, which have a tradition of not interfering into internal affairs of other members, is the fact that this seems to be happening now with the appointment of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted for corruption but fugitive from Thailand, with an Interpol warrant, as an official adviser to the Cambodian government – disregarding the legal system of Thailand, and declaring a verdict for substantial financial corruption to be political. And by doing so importing – in spite of denials that this is not the intention – the political tensions of Thailand into Cambodia.

Several news items followed each other:

  • 14 January 2010: International media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again, even “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Mr. Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month.”
  • 15 January 2010: Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a legal adviser to Mr. Thaksin, said the plan for a visit had been canceled, but Mr. Thaksin would instead visit another country in Asia.
  • 17 January 2010: The Puea Thai Party chairperson Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyuth meets Mr. Thaksin in Brunei, it is said that Mr. Thaksin would return to Cambodia late in January, staying several days.
  • 19 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin canceled his visit to Cambodia – according to a Khmer newspaper.
  • 21 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin arrived in Cambodia for a brief visit – no press conference, no lecture as economic advisor – only a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen is reported.
  • 22 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin demanded to close the legal case to expropriate his property.
  • 25 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin is reported to have declared already on 18 January 2010 he may set up a government in exile depending on political developments.

Of course the main stage for all this is in Thailand themselves, where extremely difficult problems are being faced: a mix of politics and the law, and the question is still open what will be the outcome of the conflicting dynamics between the two.

After Mr. Thaksin was ousted by a bloodless military coup in 2006, his in-country assets were frozen; the Thai supreme court is scheduled to decide on 26 February 2010, whether these US$2.3 billion – 2,300,000,000 US dollar! – were gained by the misuse of power and corruption as prime minister and will go to the state, or whether they were gained from his salary as a police officer and later businessman and will be returned to him. In addition, Mr. Thaksin said that he still has about US$100 million available abroad.

The attorney-general of Thailand, Mr. Julasing Wasantasing, shared the dilemma and his approach in an interview yesterday, Saturday, in The Nation, where he said that it is increasingly difficult for Thailand’s justice system to function, as there are two powerful pressure groups – the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts – trying to enforce their will: “I have been told I have to listen to the people. But when the people are divided into two camps, which side should I listen to?” When the course of the law is not followed, but instead the actions of the police or of prosecutors and judges are defined not by the law, he said: “We should stop and start anew. If every case is influenced by the yellow or red colors, Thailand’s problem is never going to end.”

The attorney-general has also been criticized, from both camps, when they were not happy with decisions based on the law, and he expressed his concern that “legal cases here are being judged by the public not on their legal merit, but on perceived political significance.” He summed up his own position in these conflicts by quoting John Quincy Adams, a US lawyer, diplomat, and politician, and finally the 6th president of the USA from 1825 to 1829. This was at a time when the USA were still a weak country – a “developing country” as we might say today.

“I can never join with my voice in the toast which I see in the papers attributed to one of our gallant naval heroes. I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where our country might be in the wrong: ‘Let justice be done even if heaven should fall.’ My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.”

If this position would be taken also in view of the tensions between Cambodia and Thailand – not success for oneself is the goal, but justice even if it is for the other side – what a good future could be developed soon together!

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