Not to Discuss Means Not to Clarify – Sunday, 8.2.2009

Posted on 10 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

The week brought further challenges to publicly clarify how the whole of society can deal with difficult problems.

The human rights organization ADHOC had published a report, describing quite specifically cases from the year 2008, and saying that human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures or seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives,” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. – Probably not many people might have expected a full agreement with this statement from the side of the authorities. Still, the response from the head of the Human Rights Committee of the government is disappointing because of its very general nature: “I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.”

The failure to communicate mutually – the rejection to communicate – is even more painful to observe in relation to the recent report of the UK base organization Global Witness, ‘Country for Sale – How Cambodia’s elite has captured the country’s extractive industries,” about which we had mirrored sections from the Khmer press on Friday. This organization has accumulated information and experience in many countries, and is supported by private and public funds. They share their work with the international public on their website; they describe themselves with these words: “Global Witness works to increase transparency in the granting of mineral concessions, in the flow of revenues from oil and gas companies to governments, and in the trading of resources.”

Global Witness produced a 72 pages report with hundreds of details of information, most of it on the basis of describing legal provisions of the Kingdom of Cambodia, combined with facts which are available in published reports of the international companies involved, or are on the Internet. And in addition, Global Witness describes also in much detail which questions they raised – and to which of them they did, or they did not get responses. A careful reading of the study takes some hours, because of the many details documented. The document is full of surprises.

It is equally surprising, how quickly the study was rejected in a press release from Cambodian Embassy in London, accusing Global Witness “of pursuing a malicious campaign to try and discredit the country and its leaders. The Government is working hard to establish a sound and comprehensive framework governing the extractive industries. These will reflect best practice and be based on the principles of transparency and accountability.”

It is again surprising and indicative of the level of public information sharing, that a Secretary of State at the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, contradicts the Ambassador, when he is quoted to have said, “So far, no oil has yet been produced, we just known that there is oil. Therefore, we have not planned how to use it, because no oil has been extracted yet.”

The Cambodian Embassy in London – without addressing a single detail in the report, refutes it by a cynical graphic, calling it A collection of rubbish – with a picture showing the study already in a rubbish bin.

This spectacular picture does not only condemn the results of the studies of Global Witness to the rubbish bin, but throws away – unintentionally? – also the impressive list of laws and decrees of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which are all quoted and referenced in the study. Global Witness explains: “In the course of its investigation into Cambodia’s oil, gas and mining sectors, Global Witness obtained a number of key documents. Global Witness believes that it is important that these documents, which include key regulations for the extractive industries are easily available in the public domain.”

Legislation governing Cambodia’s oil sector

Primary legislation

  • Petroleum Regulations 1991
  • Royal Decree on the Formation of Cambodian National Petroleum Aithority

Secondary legislation

  • First amendment to the Regulations
  • Second amendment to the Regulations
  • Draft Model Petroleum Agreement

PSC [Production Sharing Contracts]

Global Witness understands that fees charged by the Cambodian Government in the PSCs vary depending on the contracting company. Global Witness has not been able to confirm whether any of the PSC holders entered into the form of contract laid out here in the draft model petroleum agreement, but understands that the draft is likely to have been used as a model for the final contracts.

 
Legislation governing Cambodia’s mining sector

RGC – Royal Government of Cambodia; MIME – Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy; MEF – Ministry of Economy and Finance;
Prakas – Decree

Mineral Resources Management and Exploration

  • 1996 Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management
  • Law on Protected Areas

Secondary legislation

  • MIME Circular 001
  • MIME Instruction Circular 002
  • MIME Prakas 340
  • Sub-decree 008
  • Sub-decree 113
    1994 Prakas on Protected Areas

The following are in Khmer:

  • MEF & MIME Prakas 006
  • MEF MIME Prakas Cost for Registration
  • MEF & MIME Prakas on Annual Land Lease
  • MEF & MIME Prakas on Mineral Royalty
  • MIME Prakas 011
  • MIME Prakas 340
  • MIME Prakas 1133 
  • MIME Prakas 942
  • MIME Prakas 1133
  • MIME Prakas 1192
  • RGC Decision 10
  • RGC Decision 20 
  • RGC Decision 43
  • RGC Draft Sub-decree on Defining Mining zone 
  • RGC Order 01
  • RGC Sub-decree 08
  • RGC Sub-decree 113
  • RGC Sub-decree on Conditions to Grant, extent & right transfer of Industry Mining License
  • RGC Sub-decree on Defining Authority and Role of mining officer
  • RGC Sub-decree on Suspension & revocation of mineral license

In spite of all the initial refusal to discuss details, it can only be hoped that a public dialogue, on the basis of existing laws and regulations – wherever including revisions by the legislative bodies of the country – can lead to a equitable and careful use of the riches of the nature.

As Monday, 9 February 2009, is a National Holiday, the Mirror will not publish translations from the press on this day.

There is a variety of interpretations of this important commemoration of Meakh Bochea: that Buddha, the Enlightened One, pronounced the principles of his teachings, summarized threefold: to do good, to abstain from doing bad, to keep a pure mind.

Without stepping back from time to time, from the daily conflicts, it may be impossible to come close to the three teachings.

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Cambodia Is Not on the List of 27 Countries Receiving Drugs Against the Drug Resistant Most Serious Tuberculosis of the World – Friday, 26.12.2008

Posted on 26 December 2008. Filed under: Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 592

“Phnom Penh: The director of th the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control said that Cambodia is excluded from a list of 27 countries of the world with cases of drug resistance related to the most serious tuberculosis, but there are 30 people dying quietly per day in this country.

“The director of the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, and an advisor of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mao Tan Ieng, telling state and private service providers during a workshop on Thursday morning that, according a new report of the World Health Organization, 27 countries of the world with high numbers of patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cambodia is not among those countries.

“He added, ‘Tuberculosis drug resistance is most devastating; it kills human quietly.’

“He went on to say that in Cambodia, there are between 1.2% and 1.3% of the patients that have drug-resistant tuberculosis, and around 5 to 6 people get infected by tuberculosis per day. At present, 50 to 60 patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis are receiving treatment, and there is still medicine left for curing 100 patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis. He said also that per year, Cambodia has between 400 and 500 patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis.

“He continued to say that drugs to treat a [normal] tuberculosis patient costs US$20 to US$30, while drugs for a drug resistant patient are US$5,000, when the drug is bought from specific organizations. If the national program and the government want to buy it from this chanel, they have to get the permission from the Green Light Committee in Geneva/Switzerland. If one buys from the outside, around US$30,000 are needed to be spent to buy drugs for a patient with drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Note:

As the article does not mention why Cambodia is not on the list of the Green Light Committee – whether it applied and was rejected, or whatever may be the reasons – we quote here from a document of this organization.

One point seems to be crucial: To receive Green Light Committee support, it is necessary to have a strict control of the procedures to apply the drugs – because otherwise the sickness will become more severe.

“SUMMARY

“Controlling multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is one of the six components of the WHO Stop TB strategy

“Although prevention must be the highest priority for TB control programs, many countries have patients with drug-resistant TB who must be treated too. Such countries should take specific measures to gradually incorporate appropriate strategies for treatment of this form of tuberculosis into their tuberculosis into their Misuse of second-line anti-TB drugs results in further resistance to these same second-line drugs, creating incurable forms of tuberculosis

“It is imperative that second-line anti-TB drugs are used wisely.

“The WHO Guidelines For The Programmatic Management Of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (hereinafter referred to as the Guidelines) provide recommendations for appropriate management of drug-resistant TB so as not to generate further drug resistance. To help programs develop and implement strategies for the management of drug-resistant TB, the Green-Light-Committee for Access to Second-line Anti-tuberculosis Drugs (Green Light Committee) was created by the WHO and its partners in January 2000.

“The Green Light Committee consists of six to seven experts in programmatic, scientific, clinical, and microbiological aspects of TB that serve the WHO in an advisory capacity. The Committee is responsible for reviewing applications,evaluating proposed projects,assisting applicants,monitoring approved projects, and contributing to the evidence base for the programmatic management of drug-resistant TB. Each individual and his/her alternate represent a leading public health institution active in TB control internationally. Each institution is allowed one vote, and the Green Light Committee freely consults outside experts as needed. All members are required to adhere to rules of conflict of interest and confidentiality and, thus, are recused for voting on
applications from projects with which they have or had a direct relation.”

“Treatment takes from 18 months to 2 years, while treating normal tuberculosis takes only 6 months.

“According to the National Tuberculosis Control Program, since the start of cooperation between state and private services from May 2005 up to the present, the program has been expanded to 11 provinces and cities covering 36 operational districts among the 77 districts of the 24 provinces and cities.

“Aiming at effient cooperation between the state and the private services to encourage research about and treatment for tuberculosis patients, Dr. Mao Tan Ieng said that in early December, Ms. Monica from the Green Light Committee in Geneva assessed the cooperation and found good results and some inactive program problems that need to be solved.

“An official of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) associated with the National Tuberculosis Control Program, Dr. Nishiyama, said that JICA supports the cooperation between state and private services that are cooperating to send suspected tuberculosis affected people to be checked and treated with public services of the state.

“He added, ‘Some patients go to discuss with private services, which have a very crucial role to find suspected people and send them to receive state services, so that all Cambodian citizens have good health.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, a pharmacist, Mr. Yim Yan, said that tuberculosis infection is very high hazard. Therefore, the Ministry of Health created a policy to link state and private services. He continued to say that we see progress which demands more efforts, and problems faced that we will solve in this workshop.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4778, 26.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 26 December 2008


Chakraval, Vol.16, #2837, 26.12.2008

  • Meanchey District Police Arrested 172 People Involved in Robberies and in Stealing Property [between January and December 2008 – Phnom Penh]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #101, 26-30.12.2008

  • Siam [Thailand] Asks to Change the Date of the ASEAN Summit Meeting [from 24-26 February 2009] to 13-15 March 2009
  • According to the Price at International Markets [one barrel of oil with 159 liters costs more than US$30], One Liter of Gasoline Should Cost Riel 2000 [approx. US$0.50, while now it costs around Riel 3,000, approx. US$0.75]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1830, 26.12.2008

  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators, Supporters of [ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra, Plan to Demonstrate on Sunday
  • Vietnamese Embassy Denies an Accusation by the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association [that Vietnamese Authorities barred two members of the European Parliament to board a plane to Vietnam]
  • People from More Than 500 Families in Changkrang Commune Rally to Protest at the [Kratie] Municipality over the Grabbing of Their Land by a Company [the Harmony Plantation Company]
  • Pope Benedict XVI Welcomes Christmas and Makes an Appeal for Helping Children Who Are Raped [in a small remark – but he dwelt extensively on the misuse of economic and political power, and the lack of dialogue to solve the problems summed up as “selfishness in economic crisis”]
  • Captain [Moussa Camara] Declares Himself President of Guinea after a Coup [after the death of President Lansana Conte]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #312, 26.12.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy: Cambodia Needs a Change of Leader and of Ways for Ruling to Develop the Country [he said so after Prime Minister Hun Sen recently announced his intention to be Cambodian prime minister also for the next terms]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #168, 26.12.2008

  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Reminds the Public of a Letter Published 15 Years Ago, Saying that His High Ranking Advisors Were Not Provided with Houses, Offices, and Cars [like government officers, although they demanded these things, because the nation was facing a difficult economic situation and the position of advisor to the King is just a honorary function – this letter is published again, after the King assigned more than 20 members of the royal families as his advisors]
  • Siam [Thailand] Sent Troops to Do Military Exercises During the Night, along the Border from Banteay Ampil to Anlong Veng District [Oddar Meanchey]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6535, 26.12.2008

  • Two Men Were Murdered; One Was Stabbed and the Other One Was Hit Three Times with an Axe in Thpong and Basedth Districts [in Kompong Speu – perpetrators are not yet found]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4778, 26.12.2008

  • Cambodia Is Not on the List of 27 Countries Receiving Drugs Against the Drug Resistant Most Serious Tuberculosis of the World
  • Cambodia and Malaysia Conclude a Memorandum of Understanding against Human Trafficking
  • Mongolia Steps Up Ties with Cambodia by Opening an Embassy [in Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Tourists Coming through the Poipet Border Crossing Point Increased Little in 2008 [compared to 2007 with 197,425 tourists, it increased only by 11.15% to the total number of 219,249 tourists]
  • [The Committee to Protect Journalist] A World Journalists Organization “The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1981. We promote press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal”] Condemns Thailand for Its Action against a [BBC] Reporter Who Is Considered to Have Insulted the King [the third criminal complaint was filed by a police lieutenant colonel in his personal capacity] because the reporter had written that the Royal Palace may have supported the yellow-shirt demonstrators, who oppose the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his group]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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