Disregarding or Facing Agreements in the Press? – Sunday, 22.8.2010

Posted on 23 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

The Mirror was created to mirror the Khmer language press – that is to focus on important dynamics in society, as they are reflected in the press. That includes also to observe when there seem to be discrepancies between different streams of reporting. And it includes also to observe what seems not to be reported in the Khmer language press, though one would expect it.

Monitoring what is going on includes also to observe the reaction to one’s own publication. The main website of The Mirror by now gets up to 10,000 visits per month (it started in January 2007 with zero – replacing the former edition printed on paper).

While observing this wide interest with satisfaction, it is also disappointing to see that some important pieces of information, related to the conflicts with Thailand, are regularly not reported in the Khmer press. If this impression is wrong, we would appreciate to be informed which publications and public documents in the Khmer press we missed. The Mirror does not have access to confidential information; what we use and quote is publicly available, especially on the Internet.

In response to careful, detailed documentations, where we asked for specific responses, if our documentation is deficient, so that we can correct and improve it, there was either no response – and the public debate continues as if it were not missing some important points – or I get mail saying just “You are completely wrong!” I do not mind to get such mail, if it points to where I am wrong – I appreciate corrections.

Therefore I am repeating here some essential points, and I will do so until they are receiving proper attention in the present situation of tensions.

I was utterly surprised, talking recently to a friend who is a regular reader: when I mentioned some of the facts which had been on The Mirror repeatedly, he had obviously missed them. He thought the controversies about the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage list were related to Thailand referring to maps drawn by Thailand, and therefore Thailand was denying that the whole area around the Temple of Preah Vihear was designated a World Heritage Site.

The contrary is true, according to the documents. Emphasis in the following sections is added during editing.

For Preah Vihear

From the Cambodian 2008 submission document, THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR – Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO), Edited by the Council of Ministers, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 2008:

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand… The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and constructive atmosphere to discuss ways and means of strengthening the neighborly cooperation for a further reach for long lasting cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand… The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An,…The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.

On 18 June 2008, a Joint Communique was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, including a map presented and signed by Mr. Var Kim Hong, the Head of the Cambodian Border Committee, which was – as far as we know – never presented in the media in Cambodia (again – any correction of this information is welcome), but it was repeatedly in The Mirror, including the Cambodian proposed map for the listing, the last time here. The text says the following:

1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.

2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.

3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;..”

This is the last public map, a Cambodian map, which was to “supersede” – that is: to replace – the formerly used Cambodian maps.

As a consequence, this was decided:

The World Heritage Committee,

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;…

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,…

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents: c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP [“revised graphic plan of the property”]; d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan)

All these points were to be implemented after convening this international coordinating committee, inviting the Government of Thailand and others, to work together and to present their results.

Questions:

– Why is the discussion in the Khmer media not referring to the official documents about the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, clearly limited in nature: “only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.” This is not based on a map unilaterally drawn by Thailand, but it relates to what the Cambodian side had officially brought to the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There is nothing to be discussed with Thailand.”

– Why are the Khmer media disregarding that there were – from the beginning – the following requests by the World Heritage Committee: “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand… [to provide the expected results] – a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone…” It has never been reported in the press that the Cambodian Government did invite the Thai Government according to this request by the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There are no buffer zones.”

Reading the documents, it seems that Thailand is not insisting on some unilaterally drawn Thai maps, but looks forward that the documented decisions of the World Heritage Committee be implemented.

For the Border

This is a different legal issue from the World Heritage Listing (though, of course, related).

In order to demarcate the border between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding “on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary” was concluded between the two countries in June 2000, long before the Preah Vihear World Heritage Listing was on the agenda of the relevant UNESCO committee. This Memorandum is related to the whole stretch of the border. That the whole length of the approximately 800 km border is to be demarcated shows that both sides agreed that this is not yet done – there is not yet mutually agreed border. Both sides agreed on this – otherwise they would not have signed this joint agreement.

While there is frequent reference to this Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 in the Khmer press, it was quite difficult to find it in Cambodia, also consulting with several persons from the media did not help. One e-mail request to a friend in Thailand immediately provided a source on the Internet.

But there is a noteworthy difference in the handling of the related task: While in Thailand, related government officials and agencies are accountable to the Thai National Assembly about what they do related to the border – the executive is monitored by the legislative – we are not aware that either the Cambodian National Assembly nor the Khmer press have requested similar information to monitor the activities of the Cambodian government officials and agencies involved. The different legal arrangements under the different constitutions of both countries result in different procedures.

Shortly after Prime Minister Hun Sen had made his conciliatory declaration about a win-win solution by mutual dialogue without a winner and a loser, several statements from various other sectors of the government were released, strongly blaming Thailand and calling for multilateral negotiations. The Prime Minister added his voice – but more recent news say that there still may be a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers soon in Brussels at an ASEN meeting.

Whatever the future will bring in terms of bilateral or multilateral meetings – the written submissions and the documented decisions will have to be faced. To continue to disregard them can hardly bring the solution where both sides win, the goal that Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as important for all.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Preah Vihear – Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Solution: “Dialogue, No Winning or Losing” – Sunday, 8.8.2010

Posted on 8 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

When The Mirror presented, as last Sunday’s issue, a series of quotes and excerpts from publicly available documents it was done with the hope that some quick negative conclusions – not based on available texts, either disregarding, or even contradicting them – can be avoided.

Some steps in time are clear and not contested, especially the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, stating that it …FINDS THAT THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR IS SITUATED IN TERRITORY UNDER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CAMBODIA.

Some other steps on the way are less well known widely, while they were also called into memory, for example some principles on which the World Heritage List is operated, as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. It is not about national interests, but about culture as “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.” The convention makes it clear that decisions about cultural world heritage do not make any judgment on the sovereignty and territory of States:

Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage… is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate. (Article 6.1).

The inclusion of a property situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction over which is claimed by more than one State, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute. (Article 11.3).

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention is concerned about World Heritage Sites, “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole,” not about the solution of border problems.

There are rules and decisions of the World Heritage Committee, and there are declarations on the way to the decision of 2008 when the Temple of Preah Vihear was listed as a World Heritage Site, together with decisions how to elaborate its management. Though a management plan, prepared by the Cambodian side, is to be discussed only by the next meeting of the World Heritage Committee in 2011, statements by Prime Minister Hun Sen, quoted in the Cambodia Daily on 5 August 2010, cleared the way into the future:


“Mr. Hun Sen said yesterday that dialogue was the way forward for the two countries. ‘We will use dialogue to solve the rest of the problem,’ he said. ‘I don’t want winning or losing – it is better that we have the win together in solving the problem.’”

Actually, there are two separate – but related – problems:

One problem is concerned with the management plan for Preah Vihear requested by the World Heritage Committee with its 2008 decision to list the Temple of Preah Vihear, where it:

Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;
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…

The other problem is related to the demarcation of the Cambodian-Thai border, for which both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2000. The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was quoted on 8 August 2010, to have said that “Thailand has no intention of revoking the border Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cambodia inked in 2000” – he said so in response to a “demonstration in the [Thai] capital yesterday demanding the Thai government to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding.” The same report says that “under the Memorandum of Understanding, Cambodia and Thailand need to consult each other if they want to carry out any activities in the disputed 4.6 sq km territory claimed by both countries near the Preah Vihear Temple.” It is not clear whether this Memorandum was published in the media in Cambodia – only the fact of its existence, not its content, has been referenced regularly in the press.

That these border problems also need to be addressed, was obviously agreed by both sides, as it is stated in the large Cambodian 2008 Submission Document, separating the two issues: the World Heritage inscription – and the border problems:

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand accompanied by a Thai delegation during their visit to Phnom Penh. The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support of the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For it part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple

The proposals of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has also in other situations worked successful for win-win results, solving complex problems, provide a clear way towards a solution for both problem, based on the existing common agreements.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Preah Vihear – Who Said What and Why – Sunday, 1.8.2010

Posted on 4 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

When the media in both countries – Cambodia and Thailand – quote various sources to make conflicting claims, it is again an occasion to try to mirror these sources and leave it to our readers to draw their conclusions.

As ever, such a statement is always combined with the invitation to point out if the sources we quote are misquoted, or if there is an important reference missing. But it is not convincing to accuse the writer of this documentation simply to be wrong without showing substantive evidence, as happens sometimes. What follows is all based on publicly available documents. But as this case is complex, the following text is long; maybe a lot of confusion comes from not reading the texts. The pieces presented here were selected in the hope that some quick negative conclusions – not based on available texts, either disregarding, or even contradicting them – can be clarified. All this is written, to quote words from the final agreements negotiated by Senior Minister Sok An with representatives of Thailand and UNESCO before the decisive meeting of the World Heritage Committee in July 2008 – in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation – as it is stated in the final joint document before the 2008 decisions.

The Early History

Going back in history is often necessary to clarify facts. But their meaning may have changed over time. As a German, I know that there was a time when the Germans considered that Karl der Grosse, crowned in the year 800 – not long before the temple of Preah Vihear was started to be built – is at the beginning of our German history, while also the French considered Charlemagne as their’s. Actually, at his time, he ruled over large parts of western and central Europe, not over France or Germany as they exist now. But since the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman – a French with a good German name – took the initiative in 1950 to create again common political entities in Europe – the European Union – we have almost forgotten the old historical and emotional divides.

There is a long pre-history for the present history of the Preah Vihear conflicts. But for the discussion of the present situation, it may be enough to start in 1962, when the International Court of Justice in The Hague came to the conclusion that it …FINDS THAT THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR IS SITUATED IN TERRITORY UNDER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CAMBODIA.

Cambodian comments often go further back. Maybe this is not necessary, as the 1962 court ruling is not questioned by the political leadership of the governments of both sides, in spite of the fact that this is often disregarded or denied.

It is not surprising that some people, even some people with a wide group of supporters, have taken different positions. The present government of Thailand accepts the 1962 verdict. Whoever doubts this, should provide quotable evidence. Last week, after a group of Thai nationalists had demonstrated in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok on 27.7.2010, rejecting any discussion of the status of Preah Vihear by the World Heritage Committee, the Thai prime minister invited representatives of the People’s Alliance for Democracy – PAD, widely overlapping in membership with the “Yellow-Shirts” – to clarify where he does not agree, and where he agrees with them. “The PAD wanted an end to the Thai-Cambodia Memorandum of Understanding, because it ‘turned a Thai territory into a disputed territory.’ But Abhisit thought that the MOU turned a territory that Cambodia thought to belong to them, to become a disputed territory. The PAD wanted the government to boycott the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil, because attending the meeting would signify that Thailand accepted the listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site, and only disagreed with the temple’s management plan. But for the Thai prime minister, it is exactly the present management plan which he did not want to see accepted.

To disregard this point is obviously confusing, not clarifying, the state of affairs.

Or is it this way of interpreting the MOU – the Joint Communique – assumed to by the Thai prime minister’s one, also a reason why the media in Cambodia never published the Joint Communique (details further down), neither in Khmer nor in English? It is difficult to understand why such an important document, including a new Cambodian draws map, which was discussed in parliament in Thailand, was not – at that time or later – presented also to the Cambodian public.

The Preparations toward the Listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear

The inscription into the World Heritage List was first proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the UNESCO Director General on 10 October 2001. The necessary detailed documentation was submitted on 20 January 2006. The Cambodian Nomination File was considered by the next session of the World Heritage committee, meeting from 23 June to 2 July 2007 in Christchurch/New Zealand.

Some of the detailed discussions and decisions of the World Heritage Committee may be surprising, as they are very practically oriented, according to the purpose of the World Heritage List, as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. It is not about national interests, but about culture as “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”

Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage… is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate. (Article 6.1).

The inclusion of a property situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction over which is claimed by more than one State, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute. (Article 11.3).

Therefore the Draft Summary Record of the decisions from the 2007 meeting show that the concerns of the World Heritage Committee are of an eminently practical nature, as the purpose of any listings is to make the cultural heritage of the world easily accessible. The notes from the Committee show this clearly:

Having taken note of the willingness to collaborate for the safeguarding of the property of the Sacred Temple of Preah Vihear, expressed by the States Parties of Cambodia and Thailand in the framework of the meetings of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, Requests the State Party of Cambodia to implement, in close co-operation with the neighboring Government of Thailand, detailed arrangements for the conservation of the property, based on the principles expressed by the two States Parties at the 5th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, especially in respect of:

a) Joint management;
b) The continued open border;
c) Mine clearance;
d) Protection of the natural forest areas surrounding the property, especially of small areas where burning has been recently observed on the Cambodian territory.

The formal decision from 2007 states not details, but simply the procedure to be followed:


The State Party of Cambodia and the State Party of Thailand are in full agreement that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear has Outstanding Universal Value and must be inscribed on the World Heritage List as soon as possible.
Accordingly, Cambodia and Thailand agree that Cambodia will propose the site for formal inscription on the World Heritage List at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2008 with the active support of Thailand…
The World Heritage Committee, further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit a progress report to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2008.

As a result of the understanding achieved at the 2007 meeting, preparations for 2008 started, marked by a number of joint Cambodian-Thai agreements and declarations. They are all quoted in the very large 2008 Submission Document:





THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR
Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO)

Edited by the Council of Ministers

PHNOM PENH
JUNE 2008

This document, presented to the public in the name of the Council of Ministers, in English (later, before the World Heritage Committee Meeting, it was also made available in Arab, French, and Spanish), presents the positive common experiences on the way to the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying:

In a spirit of friendship, neighborliness and mutual understanding between the two countries, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand have been working together in recent months to strengthen dialogue and consultation in a number of areas of mutual interests. These fruitful developments focus in particular on inscribing the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR on the World Heritage List in 2008. Thailand has confirmed its decision, as expressed at the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch (New Zealand, 23 June to 2 July 2007), to support the inscription of the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

These confirmations were made:

1

Firstly, by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Samak Sundaravej, on the occasion of his visit to Phnom Penh on 3 and 4 March 2008 at the invitation of His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia

2

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand accompanied by a Thai delegation during their visit to Phnom Penh. The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

3

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and a Thai Delegation led by His Excellency Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in the presence of a number of UNESCO eminent members, led by Her Excellency the Deputy Director General of UNESCO for Culture, Mrs. Françoise RIVIERE. The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For it part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple

This wording became part of the JOINT COMMUNIQUE of 18 June 2008, a joint Cambodian-Thai-UNESCO declaration, the last common step towards the World Heritage Committee meeting on 8 July 2008.






JOINT COMMUNIQUE

On 22 May 2008, a meeting took place between H.E. Mr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia and H.E. Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, to continue their discussion regarding the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List. The meeting was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in the presence of Mrs. Françoise Rivière, Assistant Director General for Culture of UNESCO, Ambassador Francesco Caruso, Mr. Azedine Beschaouch, Mrs. Paola Leoncini Bartoli and Mr. Giovanni Boccardi. The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:


  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schema Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Center by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries; 6. The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand express their profound appreciation to the Director-General of UNESCO, H.E. Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, for his kind assistance in facilitating the process towards the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List.

Phnom Penh, 18 June 2008               Bangkok, 18 June 2008

For the Royal Government For the Government of the Kingdom

of Cambodia, of Thailand, (signed) (signed) Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers Paris, 18 June 2008 Representative of the UNESCO (signed) Assistant Director-General for Culture



Cambodian Joint Communique Map



There had been some final problems: The Cambodian side, represented by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Senior Minister in Charge of Border Affairs Var Kimhong – “in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation” – negotiated and made incisive decisions (having the former Cambodian map as well as graphic references, referring to the 1962 decisions “superseded” by the new Cambodian side map presented here, declaring that Cambodia “accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – all this without much discussion in the Cambodian public. On the other side, however, the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs was instructed by the Constitutional Court of Thailand that the government would need, for such decision, the authorization by the Thai parliament.

In spite of these last minute reservations, the World Heritage Committee declared the Temple of Preah Vihear a World Heritage site. Instead of peaceful continued cooperation, confrontation and violence followed.

As far as we were able to monitor the Khmer media, the Joint Communique, and the appended map, were never published in the Cambodia press. Neither were the conditions published, which accompanied the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear. The Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, meeting from 2 to 10 July 2008 in Quebec/Canada, state the following (excerpts):


“The World Heritage Committee,


  1. Recalling Decision 31 COM 8B.24, which recognized ‘that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear is of great international significance and has Outstanding Universal Value on the basis of criteria (i), (iii) and (iv), and agreed in principle that it should be inscribed on the World Heritage List’,

  1. Recognizing that the Joint Communique signed on 18 June 2008 by the representatives of the Governments of Cambodia and Thailand, as well as by UNESCO, including its draft which was erroneously referred to as having been signed on 22 and 23 May 2008 in the document WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add.2, must be disregarded, following the decision of the Government of Thailand to suspend the effect of the Joint Communique, pursuant to the Thai Administrative Court’s interim injunction on this issue,

  1. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;

  1. 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,…

  1. Inscribes the Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, on the World Heritage List…

  1. 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;

  1. 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.

These requirements – to convene an international coordinating committee, to cooperate with the Thai government, to provide a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the Cambodian government – were, according to our monitoring of the press in Cambodia, never published, nor any information about the content of reports submitted by the Cambodian side. Quite to the contrary, and surprisingly, a highly placed spokesperson at the Cambodian Council of Ministers, distanced himself from the results achieved by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, claiming that “there is no buffer zone,” and ‘there is nothing to be negotiated with Thailand.”



After a year of tensions, confrontations, and occasional fighting, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Sevilla/Spain from 22 June to 30 June 2009, could not do much more than the following; it

Requests the State Party [of Cambodia] to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2010, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations by the Committee in its Decision 32 COM 8B.102 [2008 in Quebec/Canada], for the examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.” The decision 32 COM 8B.102 is the one which requests, as stated above, “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners…

In spite of these clear requests by the World Heritage Committee for cooperation, the Thai government declared, even some days before the recent meeting in Brazil, that they had not received any invitation to cooperate, nor information about the Cambodian submission. As a result, representatives of the Thai government, up to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, stated that Thailand could not accept a decision about a management plan, though Thailand would have had to be involved in its consideration, if previous recommendations of the World Heritage Committee would have been implemented.



On the other hand, there were various statements from the Cambodian side – quite different from the spirit of friendship and conciliation, which had been regularly invoked in former joint statements. The following is published especially because it is so different from the attitude in which Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Minister of the Council of Ministers, had brought forward the process toward the listing of Preah Vihear in 2008. Under the date 29.6.2010, the Spokesman & Deputy Director, Office of the Council of Ministers’ Press Department, distributed an opinion text widely to many members of the media, written by Pen Ngoeun, Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers – with the following qualifying note: “This article represents only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the PRU nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers. Considering the way of its distribution and the pubic positions of the author and of the person who distributed the text, and its timing, it seem to be worth while to quote some sections from it:



29 June 2010


OPINION
WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END:


Will it end one day, and soon enough, after 150 years of its happening? Cambodia had nothing to do with it.


Its source was the failure of Siam King Mong Kut and his ministers. Colonel F. Bernard, President of the French Commission for the delimitation of the French-Siamese border in virtue of the Convention of 13 February 1904 had made an observation about the Thais, which is worth remembered. He said: “the superiority of their self-esteem was the primary cause of their troubles and misfortune… He wrote in a book published in 1933, “L’Ecole des Diplomates, within the context of the Thai diplomacy during the reign of king Mong Kut of Thailand, the reign of King Ang Duong of Cambodia and the mission of M. de Montigny, the plenipotentiary of the French Emperor Napoleon III to the court of King Mong Kut. Colonel F. Bernard had mentioned as well that: “The ministers of Siam have had negotiated for a long time already with England and America; they have the intelligence and the ability of the Westerners, which obviously had made them to acquire that “superiority of their self-esteem” which is equated in recent times to “arrogance” and “condescension” which are the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with “former terrorist” turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides… In 1853 King Ang Duong of Cambodia wrote a letter to the French Emperor Napoleon III to express his friendship and solicit his support. The immediate consequence of which had been to stop the armies of Siam from marching at will into Cambodia to conquest and ravage the many provinces of Cambodia to the West and North, and to relieve Cambodia from paying tributes to Bangkok. Siam, now Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since…

The arrogance, the condescension, and the obstinacy which cause the failure of King Mong Kut and his ministers from executing the annexation policy by annihilating Cambodia and her people create an endless nostalgia that Thailand had never allowed itself to wake up and liberate itself from the bad dream of the hungry mad dog. Therefore, Thailand’s territorial ambition on Cambodian territories has become its grand design to be executed by the government of Thailand if any of such a government wishes to have a reasonable life span. From then on, Thailand has learn, acquired, and mastered the art of distortion of the facts, dissemination of misinformation and disinformation, the art of accusation, of denial with arrogance, condescension and obstinacy… In 1954, not even a mere one year after Cambodia acquired full independence from France, Thai armed forces occupied the Temple of Preah Vihear, to be ordered out by the international will, the LaHaye ICJ Judgments of 15 June 1962. Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List. Again, Thailand’s arrogance, condescension, and obstinacy were its primary troubles and misfortune. In 2008, the Temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed unanimously on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee…

And again, some sections of another opinion piece, from the same origin, distributed in the same way, on 13.7.2010:

Thailand plans to oppose a management plan for the Preah Vihear temple while overlapping territory nearby remains subject to dispute, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya says. Cambodia does not have “an overlapping territory” with Thailand. There was a claim by Thailand that uses the unilateral map in similar fashion as the Nazis (led by Hitler) and the Fascists (led by Mussolini) for the purpose sending troops to invade and occupy foreign territory.

One cannot be sure if this is an attack against Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, or whether Mr. Pen Ngoeun, though he is an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, a member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers, does not know that the documents, elaborated with great care by the Deputy Prime Minister, spell out in detail the buffer zones, otherwise referred to as overlapping territories, and it was the Cambodian side, that presented a map to “supersede” the formerly used maps, relating to the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice.

To make sure that Kasit does not bang his head too much against the wall from trying to come up with new innuendo, suggestion and speculation, here is a crude fact to chew: The Temple of Preah Vihear has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2008. Kasit need to pick up the WHC 32 COM 8B. 102 and read it… It is clear from a few sentences above, that Cambodia has implemented the requirements of the World Heritage Committee – WHC – and has conformed herself to the procedures set forth by the Committee. And NOT to leave the door wide open for speculation and mind twisting, Deputy permanent secretary for culture Somsuda Leyananija has the task to tell the truth, as to why… Let’s play the game, fair and square in conformity with the WHC rules and procedures.

It s reported that Cambodia had submitted a progress report to the World Heritage Secretariat, but two weeks before the meeting in Brazil, it had neither be distributed to the members of the committee, it had not been shared with Thailand – in spite of the recommendation by the World Heritage Committee that Cambodia should seek such cooperation – and its content had also not been made available to the public in Cambodia. None of the UNESCO and World Heritage Committee Press Releases, which describe in detail the many decisions taken recently in Brazil, make any reference to Preah Vihear. But the fact that the Cambodian report was forwarded again to next year’s meeting – similarly to what had been done also from 2009 to 2010 – is now reported in Cambodia as a big victory for Cambodia. Asked about his comment, the Thai prime minister said: “Please find out and read the resolution yourself.”

The official Cambodian side acted differently: within 4 hours, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers issued two long statements on 2.8.2010, a “Summary” about the Brazil session, mainly referencing questions of the conservation of the site without reference to any past action taken by the formerly requested joint international elaboration of plans, and some hours later a “Clarification,” stressing that “it was Cambodia who has achieved immense victory,” because the World Heritage Committee:

Takes note that the World Heritage Center has the documents submitted by the State Party;
Further welcomes the steps taken by the State Party towards the establishment of an international coordinating committee for the sustainable conservation of the Temple of Preah Vihear’
Decides to consider the documents submitted by the State Party at its 35th session in 2011.

These are the officially recorded successes. The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers adds, however, some remarks about a Thai “intoxication campaign” against the Cambodian management plan, a campaign which “was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments.” The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers presented its own arguments as follows:

On the contrary, the Thai intoxication campaigns’ spending of B10 millions with the dispatch of 50 delegates in order to oppose the management plan at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments against the World Heritage Centre Report of the two documents submitted by Cambodia. Moreover, Thailand has failed in its efforts to have the Temple inscribed by the two countries, and has failed in its efforts to have joint management of the Temple.

The Press and Quick Reaction unit of the Office of Council of Ministers notes that the signing of the Compromise Decision 34 COM, 7B.66 by Cambodia, Thailand, and witnessed by the Chairperson for the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Brazil clearly affirmed the recognition by all parties concerned of the official documents concerning the Management Plan for the conservation and sustainable development at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, which had never been recognized previously.

It is obvious that the intoxication campaign by the Thai Government to lure the local and international public opinion has adversely damaged its own image and credit as an old saying which goes “If you fan the flame, you blow up the fire or As you sow, so shall you reap.”

To underline further the failure of the Thai Government, it must be stressed for the benefits of the public and international opinion that it is not like what the Thai Government claimed that it had succeeded to “postpone”the Management Plan to next year. In fact, the WHC final decision did not mention either about the terms Postpone – Defer or Delay but choose to use the wording Consider which means that the documents submitted by Cambodia, namely the Progress Report on the State of Conservation and Development of Preah Vihear and its Management Plan, were officially received by WHC and will consider it at the next session.

Much information is available – what will be the next steps? One journalist suggests that “facing reality” may be the only way out, and this includeds new open, mutual talking, again “in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation”

Part of the reality is also geography.

The Temple of Preah Vihear

The Temple of Preah Vihear

This picture provides a view over the Temple of Preah Vihear: 500 meters down, to the left, is the landscape of the Cambodian Province of Preah Vihear; the temple lies at a different level, high above the plain. Until mid 2008, it was easily accessible for thousands of tourists, approaching the Temple of Preah Vihear from the Thai side, on the right of the picture, from the Khao Pra Viharn National Park.

After all, a World Heritage Site is according, to the UNESCO World Heritage concept, “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”






Please recommend The Mirror
also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )

The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts – Wednesday, 30.6.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“The acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens. He said so on Tuesday 29 June 2010, after the secretariat of the National Assembly released an announcement on Monday 28 June 2010, that the National Assembly will hold an annual international conference in Kratie about the role of the parliament in encouraging and strengthening the development of the triangle zone.

“The announcement says that a conference between the Commissions on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly of Cambodia, Laos, and Yuon [Vietnam] will be organized for four days, starting from 6 July 2010, aiming to step up friendship and cooperation between countries that are good neighbors, and to participate more actively to jointly encourage friendship, solidarity, and cooperation in the border regions of the three countries.

“It is noticed that Cambodia and Laos would gain little benefit from the development of the triangle economic zone, while Yuon, the initiator, benefits most. The triangle economic zone might create big industrial factories where Yuon can create best productivity processes, with the production for sale in the region, while Cambodia and Laos cannot do the same.

“Mr. Kim Sophearith added that he supports the development plans of the government, but the development must be thoroughly studied to discover any bad impacts in advance, because both development or poverty alleviation will have its impacts on the economy in Cambodia, to progress as in neighboring countries.

“Analysts noticed that most development plans of the government by investments, from local or from foreign investors, frequently victimize Khmer citizens. Obviously, in Phnom Penh, thousands of poor families, or tens of thousands of people, had suffered misery from intimidation, violence, human rights violations, or were imprisoned by the authorities or by development companies, like in the case of Sambok Chab and in the case of Dei Krahom in the Bassak commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, where citizens were evicted from their settlements where they had been living for a long time, now moved to the suburbs of Phnom Penh, where there are no adequate utility system, no schools, and no hospitals.

“Citizens in the Boeng Kak area in the Tuol Kork district are also being victimized by the development plans of the Shukaku company which belongs to Yeay Phou, well-known as a businesswoman among many in Cambodia, who is close to high ranking officials of the ruling party. Some citizens said that they had been offered very few solutions from the state, and some did not receive any, because the state carried out expropriation legislation adopted by the National Assembly earlier in 2010.

“The Sam Rainsy Party considers that this law will affect many poor families when the state intends to develop an area and then requires citizens living in that area to leave, even without receiving any compensation. Also, the development in the northeast of Cambodia in Ratanakiri or in Mondolkiri had seriously affected many ethnic minority people and their communities, when the government provided concession land to local and to foreign companies for their development.

“At present, many ethnic minority people are losing the traditions handed down from their ancestors, because they do not have the land of their graves any longer, or the land for cultivation. In addition, in Kompong Thom, various families of veterans who died or are disabled were victimized by the provision of economic concession land to a Vietnamese company to plant rubber trees.

“Thus, can this not be considered as development based on the misery of Khmer citizens? Moneaksekar Khmer criticizes this intending to ask the government to look at the difficulties of the many Khmer citizens who have been jailed due to such developments, where the government does not think sufficiently of the benefits for poor people. Therefore, because of the bitter lessons and experiences mentioned above, when planning the development of the triangle zone of the three countries – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the Cambodian government must conduct thorough studies in advance about possible bad impacts on the environment and especially on the citizens in the region, as suggested by the acting spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kim Sophearith, who said that all development must be linked with the interest of the nation and of the citizens.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #517, 30.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister [Yim Chhay Ly], and the Senior Ministers [Chhay Thorn and Tao Seng Huor and two other officials] Are Infected with A/H1N1 [Swine Flu – according to the Ministry of Health]
  • The Ruling Party Condemns Those Who Block the Demarcation of the Border [while the opposition party says that it will continue to check the border demarcation in order to ensure transparency and independence]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2288, 30.6.2010

  • There Is No Bribery in the Demolition of Reservoirs around the Tonle Sap Lake [claimed the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor – it is said that some people who own reservoirs try to bribe officials so that their reservoirs are not demolished]
  • Burma Plans to Create Direct Flights to Cambodia [but has not specified the exact date]
  • Chemicals Are Still Applied on Food [to make it look fresh and to prevent the fly] Sold at Markets [which affect the health of eaters]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6995, 30.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Decided Not to Pay the Fine [approximately US$2,000] of Mu Sochua [for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen], while a Treasury Official Said that the Deadline for the Payment Is 1 July 2010
  • A Court Decided to Detain a Defrocked Monk in Prey Sar Prison, as there Were Pictures of 627 Beautiful Girls Found on a Memory Stick, Bathing [nude] in Holy Water, Whom He Had Filmed Secretly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3919, 30.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Development of the Triangle Economic Zone, but Suggested to the Government to Think of Some Bad Impacts

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #204, 30.6.2010

  • Thailand Released [ten] Cambodian Citizens [and two soldiers] Arrested [for crossing the border illegally]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: If I Was Afraid [of being jailed], I Would Not Have Sued the Prime Minister [she was aware of the possibility of losing the case against Prime Minister Hun Sen and of getting jailed, before she decided to sue him. Now she is required to pay a fine, but she will not pay it and rather get jailed, as she considers the verdict not to have provided justice]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5237, 30.6.2010

  • Inquiry: Violence against Women in 2009 Declined Much Compared to 2005 [according to a study about 3,040 citizens in 24 provinces and cities, the violence by husbands against wives declined from 64% in 2005 to 53% in 2009]
  • A Prince [the Duke of Gloucester] Who Is a Royal Family Member of the English Royalty Visits Siem Reap and the Banteay Chhmar Temple [to observe the repair of the temples by the Global Heritage Fund]
  • “Cultural Life in the City” Is the Theme of Cambodia during the World Exhibition in Shanghai [China]

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Free access to free flowing information – Sunday, 27.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

The Constitution of a country is its basic law – all other laws and regulations have to follow the guidelines of the Constitution. The Constitution is also a basic guideline for the citizens of a country, especially in a country where the Constitution declares (inscribed in the name of the people: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA” as its Preamble states): “Cambodian people are the masters of their own country,” living in the Kingdom of Cambodia that has adopted “a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism” as stated in its Article 51. The Constitution, written in 1993 by the elected representatives forming the first National Assembly of the newly established Kingdom of Cambodia, established a high and clear vision for the future after the troubled and violent decades of the past: “to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation.”

The Constitution lays out also clearly where the responsibility for the destiny of the nation is located: “All power belongs to the people.”

To fulfill the goals laid out is a daily challenge – not just to be celebrated on Constitution Day on 24 September every year, remembering the signing of the new Constitution on 24 September 1993 by King Sihanouk, and not only on the days every five years, when the members of the National Assembly are elected as the legislative power, with the authority over the creation of a new government, through which the people exercise their power.

To fulfill this challenge requires, among others, that the people can know what is going on in the country over which they are the masters: access to correct and transparent information is a fundamental condition for the Constitution to be alive.

The media play an important role in facilitating the access to information. We had the headline this week “Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]” – an indication that there is still work to be done. Some time ago it was also decided that all Ministries shall have an official spokesperson, and there had also been special training events for persons taking on these new roles.

Unfortunately, the situation is often far away from the goal to be achieved. There are regular reports in the press, almost every week, that a reporter calling a Ministry to get some information is directed to a different person, and from there to a third person, and finally the answer is “no information available.” Or after being re-directed to several other sources, the caller ends up with the original contact. Or the called party hangs up as soon as they understand the call is from a journalist.

There are other cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand it, as it is only a partial answer to a public question.

A case of this type of a response is the elaborate response given in the National Assembly by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to an opposition request for clarification about “tea money” paid by foreign oil and mineral exploring companies, about which The Mirror carried a report in the Friday edition. There was, in response to the information given, some praise in the national and international press – but there was also frustration.

“In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.”

But there were no total figures given, no explanation why such payments were not reflected in past accounts of the national budget, and no information about the administration of the Social Fund – who is responsible, and according to which criteria; no NGO could get away with such vague information.

And there are cases where the information is clear – but it is difficult to understand the arguments used and not used.

The demarcation of national borders is an important affair, often loaded not only with practical, but also with emotional elements. Clear, transparent information can always help to defuse a tense situation. Why are then the Khmer authorities prohibiting farmers from doing cultivation on the fields next to the temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo, and people trying to visit the site to verify what is really going on were are prohibited from visiting? We did not find that the media were given the precise geographical coordinates, and detailed mapping reference – why only general reference to some border agreements?

Similarly, but even less transparent, is the argumentation in the following press report:

“An Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation].”

If the original map deposited at the United Nations does not have a grid, showing the geographical coordinates of Latitudes and Longitudes of the depicted locations – how is it possible to determine where the contested border posts are actually located? It is faking the map, if the claim is made that the original maps did contain the grid of geographical coordinates but it actually did not – but it is helping to clarify the situation, if the geographical coordinates of Northern Latitude and Eastern Longitude are later provided so that the place of the border line can be clearly shown. – The legal struggle against the grid on the map seems to criticize that clarifying information is provided, while not saying that the information provided is wrong – nor providing alternative information with the assertion what is right.

That the public handling of information and the access to it is crucial has been underlined again by the top UN officials on 3 May 2010 – marking the annual World Press Freedom Day – calling for the promoting of the universal right to publicly-held information as well as ensuring the safety of all those who work in the media, adding that “some journalists risk intimidation, detention and even their lives, simply for exercising their right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any media, and regardless of frontiers.” That is what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message for the World Press Freedom Day. It is a continuing challenge and a task not yet fulfilled.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing – Monday, 21.6.2010

Posted on 23 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Observers said that the sharp increase in the number of Cambodian migrant workers creates more problems for officials fighting against human trafficking. According to the report of the US Department of State released last week, Cambodia carried out positive measures last year to fight human trafficking, but some people called for attention to the fact that workers migrating to foreign countries for better job opportunities are also facing more problems.

“A legal advisor of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Mr. Manfred Hornung, said that his team has worked with about 60 migrant workers who had been trafficked and then sent back to Cambodia during the last 18 months. He said, ‘They experienced dangerous situations after they had fallen into trafficking.’

“He added that they tell similar stories. Because there are less job opportunities in the country, many workers were lured by local merchants with the promise to find them well-paid jobs in Thailand. They were then trafficked across the border. Before they were sold to work on fishing boats, they were locked up in guesthouses. When they started to understand what had happened, it was already too late.

“Mr. Hornung said, ‘Those workers were almost like slaves. Many of them said that they worked under difficult working condition, where some were even beaten and killed.’ He added, ‘In many cases, they experienced the bad fate of trafficked male migrant people, whose labor is being exploited.’

“An obvious difficulty is not to have an accurate number of people who fell into such exploitation. The World Bank estimates that there are about 350,000 Cambodian migrant workers abroad. Observers who work with the problems of migrant workers said that there is also a large number of unreported workers working abroad.

“Mr. Hornung added that the International Labor Organizations [ILO] estimates that between 250,000 to 300,000 young citizens of Cambodia want to enter the job market every year. If there is a shortage of jobs in the country, some of these young citizens are forced to seek jobs in foreign countries.

“The head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Bit Kimhong, recognized that many citizens are being trafficked into forced labor in different countries. But he said that the authorities are stepping up legal measures. He said, ‘The government created its strategies for 2010 to investigate border crossing crimes.’

“The human trafficking report of the US Department of State released last week shows that the number of prosecutions against perpetrators of human trafficking increased compared to before, so that Cambodia was removed from the Tier 2 Watch List of countries that are being assessed in their combat against human trafficking, which is not yet sufficient. From thirty six reported convictions, only one was not for sexual trafficking, which shows that there was not much done against labor related trafficking.

“The report says, ‘The trafficking of Cambodian citizens abroad increases and it needs to receive more attention from the authorities during the next years.’ It adds, ‘While there are more reports about Cambodian migrant workers who become victims due to trafficking, resulting from the exploitation of their labor in different countries, the government hardly prosecutes criminals and those companies which select workers involved in the trafficking of laborers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 21 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #509, 20-21.6.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People in Ratanakiri Criticized the Authorities for Unfairly Distributing Donations [like money, paddy rice seeds, rice, fertilizer, or vegetables; the poor people did not receive donations, but only families with medium livelihood conditions received donations]
  • President Obama Asked Burma to Release [Burmese elected leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2280, 20-21.6.2010

  • Within Half an Hour, There Were Two Traffic Accidents in the Meanchey District, Killing Two People and Injuring Three Others [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #686, 20-21.6.2010

  • Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6987, 21.6.2010

  • Diarrhea Raged in the Northeast: During Three Months, 902 People Were Treated Timely and 23 Others Died in Ratanakiri

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3911, 21.6.2010

  • Does [Phnom Penh Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Not Dare to Use Violence to Evict Yuons [Vietnamese] Living along the River in the Niroth Commune [Meanchey district, Phnom Penh] as He Did to Khmer Citizens Living in Temporary Shelters? [no details about the evicted Cambodians given, but in this case, the authorities ordered 70 Vietnamese fisher families living along the riverbank to move; now observers wait to see how the authorities will enforce it]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

  • The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing
  • Fifty Two Cambodian Deminers Left to Sudan Last Night [20 June 2010] [under the auspices of the United Nations]
  • More Than 400 [illegal] Khmer Workers Were Arrested by the Thai Authorities [late last week]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5229, 20-21.6.2010

  • The Khmer Authorities Prohibit Farmers from Doing Cultivation on the Fields Next to the Temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [while experts are doing the demarcation]
  • There Will Be a Military Exercise with More Than 1,000 Soldiers from [23] Different Countries in Cambodia in July 2010

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cambodia Prepares Commercial Law to Resolve Disputes Relating to Foreign Dumping Sales – Thursday, 20.5.2010

Posted on 21 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian government, through it’s Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with USAID, organized to draft legislation to resolve disputes relating to foreign dumping sales of products imported from neighboring countries.

“The anti-dumping draft consists of 6 chapters and 124 articles that have been written since 15 October 2009. This draft covers all requirements of the World Trade Organizations for carrying out measures against dumping, like measures to impose special tax compensations on dumping products, and other measures to protect local investors and products. The draft law designs all procedures and measures to enforce commercial resolutions to address the bad impact on the local industry that can result from dishonest trades and massive imports. This new law aims to support the development of competition and productivity.

“The head of the Department of International Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce, who participated in the discussions to create that law, Mr. Sok Sopheak, told reporters that this new law is drafted to protect the local industry and productivity, adding, ‘When foreign products are imported to Cambodia and are sold at dumping price levels (cheaper than local products), for example, if the [original] price of a product is US$5, but it is sold for US$4, local industry will collapse, and the importer can supply their products without end. Thus, to deal with such activity, we take counter-measures by prohibiting the import or we investigate and demand compensation.’

“Mr. Sok Sopheak went on to say, ‘So far, cement, pigs, and other products were affected by dumping sales from neighboring countries, and we have not had laws to open investigations or to take measures in response. We have not had accurate figures about dumping. We just received protests from pig raisers and producers of cement and of other products who claimed that they were affected.’

“Officials of the Ministry of Commerce said that the anti-dumping draft will be discussed and finalized at relevant ministries and then sent to be approved at the Council of Ministers in late 2010. This law might then reach the National Assembly in mid 2011, and the teams responsible for drafting this law will try to finish it soon for the sake of the local community and of local producers.

“The head of the Cambodian Macro, Small, Medium Enterprise Project [MSME] of USAID that supported the creation of the draft about anti-dumping commercial resolutions, Mr. Curtis Hundley, said that in Cambodia, dumping of Vietnamese and Thai products has happened, bankrupting local producers. Vietnam and Thailand financially support their farmers, and they produce and export products in large quantities to Cambodia by using dumping prices that destroy the local industry and local products in Cambodia.

“Mr. Curtis added that Thailand and Vietnam exported products, such as pigs, fish, bricks, kiln products, cement, and coffee to Cambodia and sold them at dumping price levels. In 2007, Vietnam exported pigs to Cambodia that led to protests. At that time, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen ordered a halt of the import of pigs from Vietnam for eight months, until the problem had been addressed. In 2008, Thailand had local market problem and exported pigs to Laos and Cambodia, making Cambodian farmers abandon their pig raising because of the dumping imports – Thai pigs were sold at cheaper prices than Cambodian pigs. Therefore, this law will lead to commerce with equity, fairness, and honest competition in Cambodia so as to prevent the import of illegal products.

“The commercial anti-dumping draft law was the topic for discussions on 19 May 2010 between the team that drafted it, officials of the Ministry of Commerce, and foreign experts, to adjust the wording in some points.

“Thirty to forty local businesspeople will attend a one-day meeting to check and discuss the draft with scholars, experts, and legal people on 20 May 2010 at the Hotel Intercontinental.

“The discussion will invite active talks between the participants and small teams with members of the drafting team. That draft will play an important role in setting, analyzing, assessing, and reporting about problematic imports, raised by businesspeople working with experts.

“The meeting will also focus on considerations about different ways to adjust the language and wording of the draft to make it easy, considering which institutions should be in charge of commercial resolutions among the Cambodian authorities. The investigating authorities under the Ministry of Commerce can conduct inquiries on technicalities and recommend solutions through the setting of taxes or quota of the import of products from abroad.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5202, 20.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Agence Française de Développement [AFD] Wants to Stop Providing Aid, Changing to Provide Loans for Development [according to a meeting between the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, and the AFD’s Director of the Asian Department, Ms. Martha Stein Sochas

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #482, 20.5.2010

  • An Inhuman Man Raped His Three Daughters [ages between 6 and 11 years old] Fifteen Times [he was arrested – Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2253, 20.5.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Rejected the Request to Create a Border Demarcation Committee, presented by Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer [in order to check the setting of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng; the court claimed that the government already has a committee to conduct such affairs]
  • A Colonel Was Killed and Two Other Soldiers Were Seriously Injured in a Traffic Accident [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6960, 20.5.2010

  • The Persons Who Looked Down on the Angkor Wat Temple [by putting Angkor Wat place mats on the floor in front of toilets in a hotel] Made a Public Apology [one is from the Philippines, the other from Malaysia – Siem Reap]
  • The 145th World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Was Celebrated [displaying banners and letting fly balloons to promote the understanding about Internet access and other information and ICT technologies, contributing to social and economic development, and to reduce the gender gap – on 18 May 2010 in Phnom Penh] [Probably not mentioning why Cambodia is among the countries with the highest prices in the region]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3884, 20.5.2010

  • Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Will Appeal Later This Week against the Rejection by the Municipal Court of the Request to Create a [additional] Border Demarcation Committee

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #175, 20.5.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Suppressed [anti-government] Red Shirt Demonstrators Successfully but Left behind Turmoil in Bangkok [four other demonstrators and an Italian reporter were killed and 50 others were injured – and Red Shirt activists are supposed to be the arsonists of 35 major fires in Bangkok]
  • Villagers Having Land Disputes, Warn They Will Block a Portion of National Road 5 Today [to demand the provincial governor to solve the land dispute over 145 hectares with the KDC International company – Kompong Chhnang]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5202, 20.5.2010

  • Cambodia Prepares Commercial Law to Resolve Disputes Relating to Foreign Dumping Sales
  • Lightning Fatally Struck a Six-Months Pregnant Woman, and a Tropical Storm Destroyed 27 Houses and Killed Cattle in Svay Rieng

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Mr. Sam Rainsy Responded to Hun Sen, Saying the Cambodian Leader Himself Fakes Maps and Does Not Even Know Where the Country’s Border Is – Friday, 26.2.2010

Posted on 26 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“The war of words from the Cambodian Prime Minister, whose angry reaction is surprising, leads to questions among observers – when he blasted Mr. Sam Rainsy, his opponent and president of the biggest opposition party in Cambodia over border issues, it led to different reactions trying to clarify. Khmer people have questions, and national and international observers as well as diplomats want to know why the powerful Prime Minister of Cambodia cannot agree upon other ways to clarify things between Khmers and Khmers, but rather make accusations to have border documents faked.

“In a new interview with Radio Free Asia aired yesterday morning, Mr. Sam Rainsy, a parliamentarian from Cambodia and now in France to continue a mission struggling to protect the territorial integrity of Cambodia from loss, because of the improper setting of border markers, said he is doing it to respond to the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, who accused him of faking map documents of Cambodia.

“During the interview with Radio Free Asia on 25 February 2010, Mr. Sam Rainsy stressed, ‘I know that I have a clear basis for my arguments, unlike the current leader of Cambodia. I stand on the Khmer side in these border issues. We must express that we saw them (the neighboring countries) trying to create a new border that is wrong, and they want to absorb Khmer territory. Therefore, I stand on the Khmer side as a Khmer national, and I protect the territory.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy added, ‘Those who accused me that I am wrong and said that it is on Yuon [Vietnamese] territory [where the border markers stood] do not serve Khmer interests. Those people stand on the side of the Yuon.’

“He went on to clarify that his political struggle follows a model of major leaders of the country for the nation, which does not specify any time or place for its activities. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘…Where do we stand, and for what? Do not just say what the current leader said, accusing me that I, Sam Rainsy, fake mapping documents. He himself fakes maps. He himself does not even know where the maps and where the borders of the nation are.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted in anger, using serious words accusing Mr. Sam Rainsy, who had raised border issues at the East with Vietnam, to be a traitor. It is an accusation that observers from civil society and among diplomats described as ‘too extreme.’

“Mr. Hun Sen’s reaction in anger was described by observers and by Khmer citizens in general as a mood that cannot be controlled any longer, as he said, ‘Diplomats in Cambodia, please bring this map, supposedly published on the Internet, which the opposition party is referring to, to be reviewed and compared with the real map, then we will see what will happen.’ He also announced what can be understood as a preparation to take action to arrest Mr. Sam Rainsy, to be jailed – another surprising attitude, according to various observers.

“What the Prime Minister said, whether intentionally or unintentionally, intends to show the power he has over the legislative body of Cambodia, as he said, ‘The National Assembly needs not to be afraid, because we cannot answer unclear questions, because if the questions are unclear, the answers would be also unclear’ (Sic).

“That the Prime Minister gave a clarification instead of the National Assembly [to which Mr. Son Chhay had directed this questions], and ordered the National Assembly not to give any responses to the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, is against the law. Therefore, the fact that he said, ‘We cannot answer an unclear questions, because if the questions are unclear, the answers will also be unclear,’ makes the responses from the government representative, Mr. Var Kimhong, at the National Assembly also unclear, just as a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, who had asked the question, observed.

“Observers said that both Mr. Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen had shown an intention to review maps. Thus, the solution that the leader should provide, should not be to arrest Mr. Sam Rainsy and jail him, but they should find a third party of international standing to review the maps to bring this problem to an end.

“Analysts said that intention to have Mr. Hun Sen review the maps by diplomats, proposed by Mr. Sam Rainsy, reflects the impression that the diplomats probably view the Cambodia Prime Minister as an involved party, and assumes that they believe Mr. Sam Rainsy’s claim. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘Therefore, we take the documents and put them onto the only legal map of 1952, with a scale of 1:100,000, and it will be seen that in 1985, there was no invasion at the point where we visited.’

“He described the geography of the Khmer territory in the Samraung commune, Chantrea, Svay Rieng , saying that in 1985, there was no such loss, and what was set later as the border with Vietnam overlaps the demarcation in the map of 1952, which means that territory was lost later on, and Mr. Sam Rainsy claimed it resulted from the improper use of maps and the faking of mapping documents by the border committees of the two countries, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“Different from the accusation made by Prime Minister Hun Sen and by the head of the Cambodian Border Committee, Mr. Var Kimhong, saying that Mr. Sam Rainsy used faked maps, therefore the government will sue Mr. Sam Rainsy again, Mr. Sam Rainsy explained his position, that he works with the help of technical groups for mapping, and national and international experts, specialized computer experts using modern technical devices, including satellites, and his statement, that the review of the border area in Svay Rieng had shown a loss of Cambodian territory, is based on their findings.

“This reminded an observer to recall a notice by Dr. Mathews Verghese, a Singaporean scholar, who used to be the Singaporean Ambassador to Cambodia some years ago. Mr. Verghese wrote in The Straits Times of Singapore in 2004 that the border line of Cambodia with neighboring countries is moving into Cambodian territory.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said that he will continue his struggle abroad, like what Samdech Norodom Sihanouk did during the period of his struggles, but he will not come to Cambodia to be jailed by Yuon [Vietnam]. If there would not have been a struggle, there would not have been the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC], nor elections. He will follow this model, saying, ‘I use my influence. What I can do is to help until justice is given to Cambodia and to the Khmer people who are victims.'” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1882, 26-28.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 26 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #420, 26.2.2010

  • A New Initiative Was Announced to Tackle the Impact of Climate Change in Cambodia [Cambodia received US$8.9 million from the UN, the European Union, and Denmark, to launch the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance to fight global warming]
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Though Cambodia Faces Many Major Problems, Including Aggression by Siam [Thailand], Cambodia Is Still Stable
  • The European Union Granted US$25 Million for Agriculture and Food Security in Cambodia [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2187, 26.2.2010

  • A French Electricity Engineer Was Convicted to Serve Seven Years in Prison and Then to Be Deported from Cambodia [for buying child prostitution – Phnom Penh]
  • [The United States of] America Issued New Forms for Visa Applications to [the United States of] America [for non-immigrant visas, using the newly developed DS-160 web based application forms, starting from 1 March 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6894, 26.2.2010

  • Knot-Tieing Ceremony between Armed Forces and State Institutions and Civil Society Was Organized [state institutions, the authorities, and companies can voluntarily assist specific units of the Armed Forces with funds, food, or materials, to contribute to reducing difficulties of military units and to strengthening national unity. – But it was reported that there were also companies listed as supporters, where the leadership did not know how they got onto the list; having a policy not to support the military did also not prevent a company to be publicly listed as a supporter.]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Discipline Must Be Strictly Implemented [if police officials commit wrongdoings], and the Use of Positions and Power to Commit Wrong Act Is Completely Prohibited [he said during a convention of the Ministry of Interior]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov, Convicted to Serve 94 Years in Prison, Was Brought to Court over a Bribery Case of US$40,000 relating to the Release of a Women Who Had Been Accused of Smuggling Drugs [he is accused to have been involved in a bribery case – he may have taken a bribe from the woman accused as a drug smuggler – for which he might receive an additional conviction if found guilty]
  • Japan Granted US$275,439 for Maternal and Infant Health Services

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3818, 26.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Appeals [against the conviction by the Svay Rieng court to jail him two years for removing border markers] as the Government Prepares to Sue Him in Two More Cases This Morning [for faking public documents and for disinformation over border issues]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #120, 26.2.2010

  • Cambodia and Vietnam Step Up Setting Border Markers amid Strong Criticism [eight border markers will be posted along the border in Ratanakiri]
  • More Prisons Are Established while the Number of Prisoners Keeps Increasing [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, said that the prisons countrywide can house 8,000 prisoners only, but by 2009, there had already been 13,325 prisoners]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5136, 26.2.2010

  • “Tivea 06” [nickname of a police official] Was Sent to Court after He Was Found Putting Drugs into Beer [poisoning five police, where one of them died – Phnom Penh]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Suggested to introduce Direct Flights from Indonesia to Cambodia [to boost tourism]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1882, 26-28.2.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Responded to Hun Sen, Saying the Cambodian Leader Himself Fakes Maps and Does Not Even Know Where the Country’s Border Is

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

A Parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party Rejected the Reports of COMFREL and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union – Friday, 12.2.2010

Posted on 13 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Phnom Penh: A parliamentarian and high ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party voiced his strong reaction by totally rejecting a report of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections (COMFREL) on Thursday 11 February 2010, and of an announcement by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) over the suspension of the immunity of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“The parliamentarian from Prey Veng and chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party won the through the [2008] elections as many as 90 seats, more than two thirds of the total of 123 seats. Under this situation, leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party do not commit any wrongdoings, because it could affect the confidence of citizens who are voters or party members.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap added that he would like to announce, instead, what the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly did, saying, ‘As a parliamentarian, what we did (suspended the immunity of Sam Rainsy Party’s parliamentarians) was based on the law. The suspension or the withdrawal of the immunity is not an important matter. We just put off their raincoats (the immunity) to let them get soaked like others, and to let the court question and work on them. The National Assembly has the obligation to obey the law. Though the immunity of parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party was suspended, they can attend meetings and retain the necessary rights to vote on laws and to receive their salary like the other parliamentarians.’

“He went on to say that the reports of COMFREL and of the IPU, which criticized that the National Assembly’s records in this term are worse than in the previous terms, and that the suspension of the immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians was not done based on the law… claim unnecessary concerns which contrasts the reality. ‘As the National Assembly, we adhere to and implement the laws of Cambodia.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap stressed that both the government and the National Assembly are not worried, because what they have done complied with the Cambodian law.

“The reaction of the parliamentarian from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party was made a day after COMFREL had issued a report on 10 February 2010 which says that democracy in Cambodia is being affected, because the Cambodian People’s Party caused the freedom of expression and the discussions in the National Assembly to diminish. Also, criticism of the suspension of the immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians in three cases – of Mr. Sam Rainsy, of Ms. Mu Sochua, and of Mr. Ho Van – was easily made but was not based on the law.

“Meanwhile, the IPU criticized, on 10 February 2010, that the suspension of the immunity of the three Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians did not go through careful discussions and reviews beforehand. The IPU added that it will put this issue on the agenda of the 122nd meeting in April and May 2010.

“Regarding the suspension of the immunity, [the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr Ho Van appealed to the president of the National Assembly to give him back his immunity, because the judgment of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court dated 2 February 2010 decided to lift the accusation against him, over his assumed defamation against 22 senior military officials, and it has been sent to the president of the National Assembly.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap said that the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly led by Samdech Heng Samrin will organize a meeting very soon to install the immunity back to Mr. Ho Van, after the National Assembly had received information about the judgment and his request earlier this week.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5124, 12.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 12 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #412, 12-18.2.2010

  • A Son of General Chea Man [Region 4 military commander] Continues Wood Trading though the Prime Minister Had Warned Against It
  • 5,000 Grilled Pigs Are Needed during the Traditional Chinese New Year Festival [on 14 February 2010 in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2175, 12.2.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected a Siamese [Thai] Declaration that the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple [as a world heritage site] Is Not Yet Finished [as Cambodia has not fully met the management plan for the temple as required by UNESCO]
  • Forty Three People Were Injured when a Car Overturned Driving Downhill [Sihanoukville]

Note:

The claim that the Cambodian government has fully met the requirements of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is surprising for the interested public, as it has only been reported that a Cambodian report was submitted before 1 February 2010 to the World Heritage Committee, while there is no report how the following requirements, from the UNESCO minutes, have been fulfilled – and the Thai government publicly claims that they do not know the Cambodian report – though the Thai government should have been involved – according to the UNESCO minutes.

Of special interest are the following points of the UNESCO minutes:

  • “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.”

These points touch on matters where “the participation of the Government of Thailand” seems to be required, according to the UNESCO minutes, as the border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand has not yet been accomplished.

Further details are in the lower section of The Mirror of 7 February 2010.

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #734, 12.2.2010

  • Kratie Military Police Threatened to Shoot the Representatives of the Authorities Who Intercepted Trucks Loaded with Illegally Cut Wood [heading to Vietnam; finally, with a further intervention from the provincial authorities, forestry administration officials could seize those trucks, but the military police officials who threatened them were not punished]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #604, 12.2.2010

  • Google Told Cambodia to Send Mapping Document to the Tele Atlas Company to Change the Khmer-Siamese Border Data
  • The Amount of [garment and textile] Exports Is US$2.8 Billion and the Amount of Salaries Paid to [more than 300,000 textile and garment] Workers Is Only US$27 Million per Year [according to an official of the Ministry of Labor, a worker gets about US$60 per month, and if they work additional hours, they get US$100 to US$120 per month]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6882, 12.2.2010

  • China Wants to Invest to Plant Rubber Trees on 60,000 Hectares of Land in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the Chinese Ambassador]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3810, 12-17.2.2010

  • The Freedom of Expression Became Restricted and the Not-Independent Courts Become Tools Used for Mistreating Opposition Party Activists [according to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, Mr. Surya Subedi – it is said that after his visit to Cambodia from 18 to 30 January 2010, he brought the bad human rights condition in Cambodia to the attention of the UN secretary general.]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #110, 12.2.2010

  • Thai Troops Are Conducting War Exercises, while Cambodian Troops Are on Alert [at the border]
  • [The former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Asked to be transferred to House Arrest Rather Than to Be Jailed in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5124, 12.2.2010

  • A Parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party Rejected Reports of COMFREL and the Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Traffic Accidents Killed 138 People in January 2010 [countrywide; the number of deaths increased by 34 compared to the corresponding period in 2009]
  • About US$4 Million [from development partners and USAID] Is Planned to Be Spent for A/H1N1 Vaccine Campaign [such as on training, transportation, and project planning]

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers – Friday, 25.12.2009

Posted on 26 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“Mr. Var Kimhong, the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia, led a delegation to clarify border issues at the National Assembly on 24 December 2009. During the clarification, which took more than three hours, Mr. Var Kimhong did not answer the questions of the parliamentarian Son Chhay, who represented the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“His questions, laid out on eight pages, with attached documents and photos, reports, and videos about the Khmer farmers who lost many rice fields because of the way in which border markers were set, were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong, and during more than three hours of his clarification in the National Assembly, he read also border reports from nearly 100 years ago, so that even some parliamentarians did not understand what was going on. What about the citizens?

“Mr. Son Chhay asked the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, to clarify issues regarding the border demarcation with Vietnam, which resulted in the fact that some Khmer farmers lost their rice fields, and he inquired about the experts in this work, and about materials used for the demarcation. There are still many other questions, like the case that even when there was no agreement yet between Yuon [Vietnam] and Cambodia, they came already to construct roads and unilaterally put border markers, like at the Dac Dang point.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said that Cambodia has qualified experts and proper materials, which had cost tens of thousands of dollars when it was bought, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the demarcation and setting of border markers does not just depend only on Yuon or Thai materials.

“Spending almost two hours from 8:40 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong gave clarifications which did not touch the specific questions of Mr. Son Chhay that had been raised during the meeting, as those questions were rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Son Chhay reminded Mr. Var Kimhong to answer the questions which had been raised, ‘What His Excellency is talking is still a problem. We listen to you, but you do not answer the questions at all. Please answer the questions.’ Mr. Son Chhay’s reminder was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin, who rang the bell and turned the microphone of the speaker off.

“Mr. Var Kimhong could not control his feelings and angrily attacked Mr. Son Chhay, as Mr. Son Chhay had asked him not to waste time giving answers not related to the questions. However, Mr. Var Kimhong considered his descriptions as proper answers.

“At about 11:10 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong finished his clarifications, and the National Assembly immediately closed the meeting and did not allow any parliamentarians to continue to ask any questions.

“After leaving the National Assembly, Mr. Son Chhay held a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept Mr. Var Kimhong’s clarifications, and he still has the plan to ask for government representatives to provide clarifications next time.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that Mr. Var Kimhong did not respond to many points, like the case that some Khmer farmers in Chantrea district lost their rice fields, because of the way border markers were set, such as the border markers number 152, 184, 185, 186, and 187.

“As for Mr. Var Kimhong, he claimed that Cambodia has qualified border experts who studied everything before setting those border markers. Mr. Son Chhay said that during the setting of some border markers, like numbers 184 and 185, villagers said they only saw Yuon [Vietnamese] soldiers and border officials, while the Cambodia side had only one police officer at some border markers, and only one representative of the authorities at some others.

“Yesterday morning, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians took Video CDs and documents, together with many questions, to the National Assembly, to show slides to the parliamentarians and to the Khmer citizens. But Mr. Heng Samrin said that the National Assembly has little time, and the permanent committee could not approve the request of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“Because the questions were not answered, Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept what was said as clarifications. He said, ‘The government representative came to give answers to details which we had not asked in our questions. We had sent an official request… what he answered was something different.

“Also, Mr. Son Chhay’s the questions about some border issues with Siam [Thailand] and about the report of Mr. Ke Kim Yan [the former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief] were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong. Regarding this, Mr. Son Chhay asked him to answer directly to the questions. But he was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said, before he made his clarifications, that border issues are sensitive. His clarifications seemed not to be clear relating to the point where border markers were set, or how the locations were copied from the map, based on documents that Cambodia deposited at the United Nations in 1964, and sometimes he said the places depend on a treaty of 1985, and an additional treaty of 2005. This additional treaty of 2005 was approved by the National Assembly, by the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party and from Funcinpec, led by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, but all Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians did not approve it.

“All in all, Mr. Var Kimhong did not give answers to the problem of Khmer farmers in Chantrea district in Svay Rieng, because of the border demarcation with Yuon, but he just claimed that Cambodia loses some territory at some places, and also Vietnam loses some territory at other places – as these issues are left from the time of French rule.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #370, 25.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned some Officials Who Want to Become Five-Star-Generals [Prime Minister Hun Sen said the 5-star-general appointments, some days ago reported in Rasmei Kampuchea, is a special case, for only him, Mr. Heng Samrin, and Mr. Chea Sim. He warned others not to try to find ways to also become 5-star-generals. The US military had, throughout its history, only 9 five-star-generals; at present, no US military person holds this high rank]
  • Environmental Experts [of the Wildlife Alliance] Asked the Government Not to Provide Too Much Economic Concession Land

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2133, 25.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: This Year Cambodia Has More Than Two Million Tonnes of Rice for Export
  • The Opposition Party Does Not Accept the Clarifications Provided over the Border Issues

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

  • Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked Not to Discuss the Draft Law on Expropriations Yet [during forced evictions and frequent land disputes, the country is not ready for expropriations]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asked the Khmer Authorities to Stop Intimidating Farmers Who Lost Their Rice Fields due to Yuon [Vietnamese] Border Violations

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6840, 25.12.2009

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Luxury Wood [worth millions of dollars] Were Found in the Khmer-Yuon Buffer Zone [between the provinces of Ratanakiri and Gia Lai]
  • The Murderer Who Used a Cleaver to Kill a [14-year-old] Girl to Rob Valuables Is a Woman [she was arrested – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #75, 25.12.2009

  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Accused the Thai Government of Planning a Coup in Cambodia [preparing to create war with Cambodia – Anything like that was strongly denied by the Thai government]
  • Six Khmer Kampuchea Krom People among 24 [sent to Cambodia by the Thai authorities] Arrived in Phnom Penh [to seek assistance from the government and the UNHCR to receive Khmer nationality]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5082, 25.12.2009

  • The Minister of Health Announced to Stop Allowing Clinics to Sell Medicines
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Rewards US$15,900 for Athletes Who Won Medals at the South East Asian Games [in Laos; Cambodia won 40 medals, in total there where 3 gold medal winners who received US$500 each; 10 silver medal winners received US$300 each; and 27 bronze medal winners received US$200 each; US$1,000 is given to coaches; and US$5,000 for the football team]

Note:

Accordiing to the Cambodia Daily of 25.12.2009, in addition to the rewards from the municipal governor, “the government will pay out some $200,000 in reward money for the 40 medals the country’s athletes and coaches brought home” – though the timing is not yet decided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. As one official explained: “Just one dossier must go through 61 desks before reaching the minister. It is a relay like a snail.”

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1841, 25-27.12.2009

  • [The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Wants the Government to Expel Yuon [Vietnamese] Immigrants from Cambodia

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...