Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeng Kak Lake Area Withdraw – Thursday, 18.3.2010

Posted on 18 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“An official of a party having seats in the National Assembly said that some foreign companies that cooperate with the Shukaku Inc. company to develop the Boeng Kak lake area have withdrawn their stakes, because the development in the area involves forced evictions of citizens which might bring a bad reputation for their companies on the international level.

“The Shukaku Inc. company of Mr. Lao Meng Khin, a senator and husband of Ms. Chhoeung Sopheap, known as Yeay Phou, who are very close to Prime Minister Hun Sen, had received the right from the Cambodian government to develop the area with a 99 years contract, which resulted in criticism from national and international organizations and from Sam Rainsy Party officials, as the authorities forcedly evicted citizens from the area.

“A government official told Khmer Machas Srok that foreign companies did withdrew their stakes in the Shukaku Inc. company. But this official did not disclose the identities of the foreign companies. The official added that also the government suspended the development plan for the Boeng Kak Lake for a while.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and an active activist who assists Boeng Kak Lake residents, Mr. Son Chhay, said that he also got the information, and he welcomes it. He added that he does not oppose the development plan of the government, but he wants a transparent solution for the citizens.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that he received the information over two months ago, and government leaders knew the real story relating to the Shukaku Inc. company that is dredging sand to fill the Boeng Kak Lake by colluding with officials of the Phnom Penh Municipality, while citizens were forced and threatened to remove their houses and leave the area. These activities are cruel and unjust.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘They evicted citizens by force and cruelly to grab the land for the construction of buildings for the profit of their company, and there are many irregularities that the leaders knew and then blamed on others. The company might be stopped from filling the lake and evicting common citizens.’

“However, Mr. Son Chhay could not make sure whether the information is true or not. ‘But we hope that it would be good information for the Boeng Kak residents, if the leader know about the exploitation and the mistreatment of the residents in the area, and ordered to stop these activities.’ He totally supports this.

“Mr. Son Chhay continued to say that he will encourage the government to offer ownership to the residents of the Boeng Kak community where some of them have been living over ten years.

“In 2009, national and international organizations and leaders of the Sam Rainsy Party seriously condemned the authorities’ action to evict the Boeng Kak residents, offering them US$8,000 [per family] as compensation in exchange. Some citizens did not want to suffer violence from the authorities and decided to leave with tears.

“A senior economist said that big international companies with a good reputation worldwide do not want to invest millions of dollars in a country where transparent solutions have not been offered to citizens. The solutions for the Boeng Kak residents came with force and intimidation, and such activities were known publicly.

“The Boeng Kak region extends to more than 130 hectares and was a reservoir for the water in the center of Phnom Penh when there was heavy rain, so that the city did not get flooded.

“The Shukaku Inc. company is dredging sand from the river to fill the lake and it is already almost filled 100% at the time when the new information became available that foreign companies revoked their stakes.

“However, despite the information that two foreign companies have withdrawn, after related problems had been published in newspapers, it is seen that the sand dredging continues sometimes.

“Last year, Boeng Kak Lake residents gathered in front of a foreign embassy when it was assumed that persons with the nationality of that embassy had invested in the Shukaku Inc. company. Consequently, the protest made the investors take out their stakes for the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.

“Nevertheless, there is no public clarification from the Shukaku Inc. company and from officials of the government about the suspension of the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #437, 18.3.2010

  • 615 Drug Perpetrators Were Sent to the Courts in 2009 [according to the head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan]
  • Military Intercepted Seven Luxury Cars That Were Loaded with Kronhoung Wood, Following Officers’ Cars, to Pretend that They Are Part of the Officers Convoy [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2204, 18.3.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People: The Provision of Concession Land Seriously Affects Them
  • The British Embassy Organized a Debate about Climate Change [according to the Asian Development Bank report in 2009, the temperature will rise by about 4.8 Celsius in 2011, the level of the sea will rise by 8 millimeter within a decade, and the rice yield will drop by 50% in Southeast Asia]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Wants to Negotiate with [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [according to the Bangkok Post]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

  • Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeung Kak Lake Area Withdraw
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Called for a Reduction of Expenses for Those Accompanying Delegates Going Abroad [ some officials take several support staff and their wives with them – getting expenses covered for plane tickets, food, and hotels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6911, 18.3.2010

  • The Khmer Teachers Association Asked the Ministry of Education to Take Action against Female Students so that They Stop Wearing Short Skirts [the skirts should cover the knees]
  • Drug Criminals Intend to Use Cambodia as a Drug Production Place

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #133, 18.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister: The Cambodian Economy Will Grow by 5% in 2010 [saying that agricultural reform programs, foreign investment, and political stability can be factors contributing to growth in Cambodia]
  • 18 March 2010 Is the 40th Anniversary of the Coup [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] to Oust Samdech Euv [the former King]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5153, 18.3.2010

  • The United Nations Asked the Government Not to Provide Forest and Mountainous Land as Concessions to Companies [which affects ethnic minority people – request related to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Cambodia is a signatory]
  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party [the former Norodom Ranariddh Party] Will Unite [before the next elections]

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Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing – Tuesday, 9.3.2010

Posted on 10 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“Amnesty International said that cases of rape in Cambodia increased, and what is worse is that rape victims do not have sufficient access to receive justice, medical care and treatment, and consulting services. Amnesty International released a report on 8 March on the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day.

“In the 60-pages report, 30 victims between the ages of 10 and 40 years old recounted their experience of corruption and the discrimination suffered from the police and the courts, which prevent them from getting necessary services; and on the other hand, most perpetrators are not arrested and convicted by the courts.

“Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Ms. Donna Guest, stated that there is a lack of support for the victims, and the government must publicly take action against sexual violence, to show that there is no tolerance for such crimes, and to recognize the victims’ suffering. Amnesty International encouraged the government to promote education and to offer materials to police officials and especially policewomen, and to provide the necessary resources for them to professionally conduct timely investigations whenever there is an accusations.

“The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, could not comment on the report of Amnesty International, saying that she had not yet seen the report. But she stressed that the government is also focusing on the prevention of violence against women. Regarding legal assistance for rape victims, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi said that the government granted Riel 100 million [approx. US$24,000] for such legal services. She acknowledged that the number of rape cases increased. But the figure may not correctly reflect the reality of what happened. It can be said that the police works more effectively than before, and that the increasing number of reported rape cases reflects alsothat the police is more active than before.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #428-429, 7-9.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Requests the Promotion of Four Generals to Become Four Star Generals [requesting the King to enact the promotions; they are the generals Sao Sokha, Chea Dara, Hing Bun Heang, and Nhek Huon]
  • A Woman Died from the Use of Skin Cream [Banteay Meanchey; recently, the Prime Minister had just warned about dangerous cosmetic products]
  • A/H1N1 Increased to 562 Cases by March 2010 [in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2196, 9.3.2010

  • A Fire Destroyed Hundreds of Houses in the Railway Block Region [Phnom Penh]
  • A One Star [navy] General Was Accused by the Family of a [10-year-old] Boy, Denouncing Him to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [for beating the boy cruelly – Sihanoukville – the reason for the beating is not mentioned, he just went to the boy’s school, called him out by his name, and beat him up]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #741, 8.3.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized that the Government Sells Some Military Units to Private Companies [Prime Minister Hun Sen had announced that 42 private commercial companies in Cambodia tied the knot with some Cambodian military units]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #620-621, 7-9.3.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Asked for a Delay for Him Not to Appear at the Court on 9 March 2010 [over a new complaint of the government relating to the allegation to have faked maps; as his client is not in the country]
  • [The president of the National Assembly of Vietnam] Nguyễn Minh Triết [Nguyen Minh Triet] Invited Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] to Visit Yuon [Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6902-6903, 8-9.3.2010

  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] Reaction in Response to the ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Saying that It Is the Interference into Cambodian Internal Affairs [the ASEAN Secretary General had said the the military exercise test-firing some 200 Russian-made Katyusha rockets 100 kilometers from the disputed border area of Preah Vihear; he said that this might cause instability in the region. But Prime Minister Hun Sen responded that the Secretary General’s comment is an interference into Cambodian internal affairs]
  • Anti-Corruption Draft Law: An Asset Declaration Is Obligatory for Officials Starting and Up from Those Nominated by a Sub-Decrees
  • An Old, Fatal Well, 10 Meters Deep, Took the Lives of Six Villagers [in one day, because they worked in it and did not have sufficient oxygen – Kompong Cham]

Note:

TodayOnline reports about the same affair as Koh Santepheap:

Hun Sen slams Asean Sec-Gen

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit out at the Asean Secretary-General, accusing him of “crazy work” for questioning a recent rocket drill.

“I think that his excellency Surin Pitsuwan is not suitable as ASEAN Secretary-General,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech, adding: “If you are stupid, don’t do it.”

He pointed out that other ASEAN leaders, including Thailand – with whom Cambodia has an ongoing border dispute – showed no concerns about the test.

Calling on Mr Surin, who is a Thai citizen, to retract his statement or face a confrontation when Asean leaders meet next month in Hanoi, he said: “You must make a correction … The rockets did not hit your head.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3826-3827, 8-9.3.2010

  • More Than 50,000 Tonnes of Remains of Bombs Dropped by B52s Are a New Instrument to Put Pressure on the United States of America to Consider Canceling the Debt of US$315 Million [that Cambodia owes the USA]
  • The Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Demands a Delay for the Discussion of the Anti-Corruption Draft Law, but Will Not Walk Out of the Parliament Meeting

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #125, 8.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Expressed by the ASEAN Secretary General Regarding the Launching of BM21 Rockets
  • Income from Tourism in 2009 Dropped by 2%, from an Amount of US$1.5 Billion [though tourist arrivals increased by 1.7% – according to the Ministry of Tourism]
  • Cambodia Will Send More Than 200 Troops of a Construction Unit to Chad [in April 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

  • Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing
  • The Human Rights Party Announced to Boycott a Meeting [of the National Assembly] to Approve an Anti-Corruption Draft Law [saying that parliamentarians do not have enough time to review the draft documents distributed on 5 March 2010, while the meeting will be held on 10 March 2010]

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Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.

“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.

“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.

“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.

“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.

“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.

“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.

“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.

“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.

“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
  • During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
  • In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010

  • People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
  • A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
  • Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010

  • Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

  • Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
  • Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010

  • The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]

    It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:

  1. “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
  2. “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
  3. “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”

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Khmers from Kampuchea Krom in Vietnam and Uighurs from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China – Sunday, 27.12.2009

Posted on 28 December 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

The following information is not saying that the situation of the Khmer people in Kampuchea Krom – now a part of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – and the situation of the Uighur people in the People’s Republic of China is the same. There are a lot of reasons to point to the differences – but still, there are similarities in spite of the many differences in history, culture, and politics.

A brief survey of both situations is presented her, because people from both regions have been in the press during the last week. But while people in Cambodia have general information about the history why Kampuchea Krom is not part of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which leads to an understandable immediate emotional relation – from Khmers to Khmers – there were hardly any reports in the Khmer press about the asylum seekers’ background. In one report they were even called “Chinese ethnic Uighurs” – on the other hand, it is not usual in the Khmer press to speak about “Vietnamese ethnic Khmers” when referring to Khmer people from Kampuchea Krom.

The following brief information is also not claiming to be a comprehensive description of the two complex fields under discussion. Information is collected in good faith – but where there may be important omissions or mistakes, we invite our readers always to come forward with their Comments in order to present a better picture – not only in this case, but in general.

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

The area of the lower Mekong Delta was inhabited by Khmers long before the arrival of the Vietnamese. In the 17th century, more and more Vietnamese people moved South, so that the Khmers in the Mekong Delta became a minority in their original environment. In 1623, King Chey Chettha II of Cambodia (1618-1628) allowed Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Trịnh-Nguyễn War [Trinh-Nguyen War] in Vietnam to settle in the area of Prey Nokor. In 1698, Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh [Nguyen Huu Canh] was sent by the Nguyen rulers of Huế [Hue] to set up Vietnamese administrative structures, separating the Mekong Delta from the rest of Cambodia. Cambodia had no energy to resist this gradual Vietnamization, because it used more of its energy for a conflicts with Thailand. By 1698, the area had a Vietnamese administration.

Before that, Prey Nokor had been the most important access to the sea for Cambodia. Under the name of Sài Gòn [Saigon], it became the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina.

In 1939, Jules Brevié as head of the French administration, draw a line on the map basically do delineate the maritime borders between Cochinchina and Cambodia, but this “Brevié Line” was also used, when Cambodia gained independence from France, to set the border between South Vietnam and Cambodia. Saigon became the capital of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1975, and in 1976, it was named Hồ Chí Minh City [Ho Chi Minh City]. And with it, the originally Khmer inhabited Mekong Delta became Vietnam.

According to Vietnamese statistics, now there are more than 1 million Khmer Krom in Vietnam.

The Uighurs [also Uygurs or Uigurs] in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region [新疆维吾尔自治区] “spans over 1.6 million sq. km and borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China’s largest natural gas-producing region. It administers most of Aksai Chin, a territory formally part of Kashmir’s Ladakh region over which India claims sovereignty since 1962.

“‘Xinjiang’ literally means ‘New Frontier,’ a name given [only as late as 1884] during the Qing Dynasty [清朝 – 1644 to 1912]. It is home to a number of different ethnic groups and major ethnic groups include Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz and Mongol [in the extreme North-West of present day China]. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, Sinkiang and East Turkestan…

“With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, and a succession of different peoples and empires vying for control over the territory, Xinjiang has been, and continues to be, a focal point of ethnic tensions well into the beginning of the 21st century.” [Main source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang]

The 13th century European-Venetian traveler to China, Marco Polo, described the region as Turkistan. One part of the vast “region became part of the Russian Empire in 1860, as Russian Turkestan [Туркестанский Край], later as the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, then split into the Kazakh SSR (Kazakhstan), Kyrgyz SSR (Kyrgyzstan), Tajik SSR (Tajikistan), Turkmen SSR (Turkmenistan) and Uzbek SSR (Uzbekistan). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these republics gained their independence.” [Main source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkestan]

The eastern section of the area, inhabited by Uighur speaking people – a Turkic language, related to the Turkish language and completely unrelated to Chinese – did not gain political independence, as it had become part of China in 1884, after China had conquered the region, established it as Xinjiang (“new frontier”) as a province; as the name shows, it was clearly identified as a newly acquired border region.

A rebellion in 1933 tried to gain independence by establishing the First East Turkistan Republic – only for a brief time.

Another rebellion in 1943 established the Second East Turkistan Republic, from 1944 to 1949. During this uprising, a brother of Mao Tse-Tung, Mao Ze-min, was killed. The Second East Turkistan Republic came to an end when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army entered the region, and it was renamed in 1955 as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. (As it was now part of the People’s Republic of China, it could also be used in 1964 to test the first Chinese nuclear explosion.)

Having been made a part of the People’s Republic of China, this opened also a steady stream of Han-Chinese immigrants into the Uighur region.

The fear of Uighurs to lose their social and economic role in their own region, including their cultural and religious identities – the Uighurs are traditionally Muslim – led to a series of violent clashes. In 1962, 60,000 people fled to the Soviet Union and were accepted as refugees, there were student demonstrations in the 1980ies, in 1990 there was an uprising that resulted in 50 people being killed. In 1997, 30 Uighurs were executed as suspected separatists.

The ethnic tensions, which also let to the establishment of an East Turkestan Independence Movement, saw a newly element added recently, relating to some international Islamist-fundamentalist terrorist movements. As the long history of the Uighur struggle to have their own identity respected shows, present day terrorist elements cannot be called to be the main problem of ethnic self determination – which does not necessarily mean political separation. But the problems became more complicated during the last conflicts in 2009: some Han Chinese voices in the Uighur region are reported to reject the policy of the state to accept a certain autonomy of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as discriminatory against non-Uighur – Chinese – immigrants.

Some officials of the Cambodian government claimed that the 20 Uighurs, who were forced to be sent to China were treated like this, because they were illegal immigrants who had not entered the country with proper documents. That is what hundreds of thousands of Cambodians did, who fled the country to Thailand during and after the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia.

Now there are 24 Khmer people from Kampuchea Krom who were deported from Thailand as illegal immigrants – but as a first step, the Poipet authorities rejected to provide shelter for them, as some seem originate from within the country. But not all. Six of them arrived now in Phnom Penh to seek assistance from the government and the UNHCR to receive Khmer nationality. In whatever way they came to Thailand and were sent to Cambodia – if they came from Kampuchea Krom, they are Vietnamese citizens (whether they carry identity papers or passports from where they came from or not). As they are Khmer, the Thai authorities could send these “illegals” to Cambodia, hoping they will get Cambodian citizenship and will not be repatriated to Vietnam.

The twenty Uighurs did not have such a place of origin to go to, they had fled their place of origin. There were no reports that they had been personally identified as having committed crimes – there were two children among them! – but they were sent to China.

But they were not “Chinese ethnic Uighurs” – unless we also call the six Khmer people asking for Cambodian nationality “Vietnamese.” And in both cases it is similarly difficult to see why one should – as some commentators say – “Just leave them to their government.” In both cases, the history, which they carry in their lives, is more complex than to be appropriately dealt with, using such simpleminded advice.

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Listening to Husband and Wife Who Live with AIDS in Siem Reap,Talking about Difficulties to Receive Life Extending Drugs – Saturday, 26.12.2009

Posted on 27 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“Siem Reap: A Husband and wife who live among more than 3,000 people who are also living with AIDS and are receiving life extending drugs in Siem Reap and in neighboring provinces, talked about their difficulties to receive life extending drugs at the Siem Reap referral hospital. Below is what they said:

1. Services Provided Depend on Salaries

“I and my wife received life extending drugs for free through the [French NGO] Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) since 2004 until mid 2008. After receiving these life extending drugs, I seemed to have gained hope to continue living, as I and my wife were cared for and we were offered non-discriminating services free of charge.

“But it is disappointing that after MSF had finished their term, the situation changed, as we continued to receive drugs and services from the Siem Reap referral hospital. More than 3,000 people have AIDS, including I and my wife, and we receive now services from state doctors.

“But in actual fact, we are not offered the same intensive services like before, starting from the point submitting the Patient’s Books to get queuing numbers to receive health counseling and blood examinations, for checking and for observations. These activities are offered with discrimination by the hospital’s service providers in a rude attitude.

“If we compare the wide gap between the present services to those provided by MSF, the present personnel does not speak responsibly, like saying, ‘State medics who earn Riel 100,000 to Riel 200,000 [approx. US$24 to 48] as their salaries, they provide services based on it. It is not like that organization’s medics who earn US$400 to US$500.’

2. A Money Number Is Quicker than a Queuing Number

“Every time I and my wife are to receive life extending drugs, we have to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. to submit our Patient’s Books in exchange for queuing numbers. I noticed that every time, even though we try to arrive early, we can hardly receive low queuing numbers to meet our doctors soon. We have to pass by an informal checkpoint (a group of people in charge of checking our books for the appointment dates). If I am not mistaken, they are not members of the staff of the state hospital. The purpose of this group is to make us feel bored if we have to wait for a long time, in order to extort money. This is really true, because once they talked to me, directly asking me and my wife to give them Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.40] to Riel 20,000, so that they will arrange for us to see the doctors soon, without following the sequence of the queuing numbers. Riel 10,000 is not much for the rich. But as it is known, we are people living with AIDS, before we could receive free life extending drugs, we had sold our property to have money for medical treatment, like for buying medicines from private hospitals, and we consulted also traditional medicine men. Finally, we decided to come to receive services from the state hospital, because we have almost no more money left, and we do not even have enough money to buy our daily food. How can we have money to pay for that group (that offers to disregard the queuing numbers)?

3.Having Money in a Vessel or Having a Blood Vessel

“When the date for a blood test came, I and my wife entered the room of a female doctor (short, short hair, and broad hips). Later on I knew she is Dr. Phary. Arriving in the room, I greeted and chatted with her for a short while, but after she checked my book, she did not start to do her work. She was busy talking on the phone with other persons. Then she went out and came in repeatedly, keeping me and my wife waiting for a long time in her room. When she came into the room again, other patients followed her to meet her. (Looking at their appearance and jewelry) I thought they are her important clients. They handed their books to the doctor, and I saw they had put Riel 20,000 in it. Because she saw the money, Dr. Phary became friendly towards them and started taking their blood, and they did not need to wait long like me. After that she told her clients, ‘Next time before you come, phone me first, and you do not need to take a queuing number…’ (people having money are welcome, I thought). Because we had been waiting already for a long time, I asked the doctor to now take my blood test. I said, ‘Is it because I do not have money though I came first? Why do you let me wait this way?’ She stared at me as if I were her enemy and started to take my wife’s blood first. For my turn, I did not expect she would mistreat me as a revenge, by injecting the needle many times, missing the blood vessel. Then I realized: having no money is having no blood vessel!

4. Examinations at the Private Parts

For such examinations, I just want to ask the hospital or the AIDS authorities to offer training also to women as counselors, so that female patients would not have to be examined by male counselors. When women need health examinations about AIDS, they have to meet male doctors in charge of women’s diseases. If there were female doctors in charge of women’s diseases, they would have different ethics as medics. But what this group said is immoral and improper for Khmer women.

“All in all, regarding the four points mentioned above, I want the provision of life extending drugs to be strengthened, so that it is smooth and not discriminating, and patients do not have to feel bored every time they go to receive drugs.

“I believe that they make it difficult for us to receive services from state hospitals, so as to create opportunities to do their private businesses (by directly contacting doctors, and using the informal group checking appointments).

“Above is a sad account of people living with AIDS, and the authorities, at all levels, working with AIDS patients, should consider this.

“Regarding the above account, after journalists of Rasmei Kampuchea had received the letter from a representative of people having AIDS, at 10:00 a.m. on 25 December 2009, we contacted the head of the Siem Reap referral hospital, Mr. Pen Phalkun, for a comment, and he responded that this case will have its effect for people having AIDS, and he emphasized that he would question those doctors before noon of 25 December 2009, before he would come to Phnom Penh on the same day.

“Mr. Pen Phalkun stressed that doctors are not allowed to extort money from people living with AIDS, or to take life extending drugs home. He will investigate this case further. He asked back, ‘Do you know the names of these doctors?’ If he knew names, he would take action immediately.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5083, 26.12.2009


Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 26 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #371, 26.12.2009

  • Illegal Logging Becomes Serious in Ratanakiri
  • Siamese [Thai] Leaders Denied Planning Coup in Cambodia and Want Indonesian President to Be Mediator
  • A 11-Year-Old Boy Is Charged of Raping a 7-Year-Old Girl [Poipet]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2134, 26.12.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Wants to Alone Take the Responsibility for the Removal of the Temporary Border Markers
  • In 2009, 37,000 of the 40,000 People WITH AIDS Receive Life Extending Drugs
  • A Woman Knocked Down the Pope on Christmas Day

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #564, 26.12.2009

  • What Is behind the Idea of [the president of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin to Shut off the Microphone to Stop [opposition party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay to Ask [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia] Mr. Var Kimhong Questions about Border Issues?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6841, 26-27.12.2009

  • More Than 2,000 People Marched to Demand to Postpone the Land Clearance [of 5,000 hectares by a company in Mondolkiri]
  • [Temporary] Records of Marriages, Births, and Deaths in the City in 2009 Show 4,500 Marriages, 12,068 Births, and 1,899 Deaths [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5083, 26.12.2009

  • Listening to Husband and Wife Who Live with AIDS in Siem Reap,Talking about Difficulties to Receive Life Extending Drugs
  • Thai Leaders Denied Planning War and Violence against Cambodia and against [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Vietnam Establishes a Large-Scale Fertilizer Factory in Cambodia [which can produce 500,000 tonnes of fertilizer each year, in Kien Svay, Kandal, at a cost of US$65 million]
  • China Granted US$3 Million to Create a Forest Park at the Bottom of the Koulen Mountains [Siem Reap]

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Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Come Together to Receive the Thai Spy Today – Monday 14.12.2009

Posted on 15 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“Phnom Penh: The Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and the Puea Thai Party president, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will come together to receive the Thai spy Siwarak Chothipong at the Prey Sar Prison today [13 December 2009]. This is according to a high ranking official of the Royal Government.

“This official said that the information about the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will be hidden to some extent. But Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh arrived at Cambodia since yesterday morning on 13 December 2009.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey, as saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will really come to Cambodia to receive the Thai spy who will be released on Monday. But Mr. Khieu Kanharith did not specify the actual date, but just said that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will arrive on 12 or 13 December 2009. As soon as Mr. Thaksin arrives at Cambodia, he will go to meet the Thai spy in the Prey Sar Prison, to visit him with his mother.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that after Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has met the Thai man, he will meet with Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen on Monday. Then he will meet economists at the Ministry of Economy and Finance like before.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith stressed the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is not a secret, because he already became an important official of Cambodia. As an economic advisor, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra might do some work abroad to contact with investors to come to invest in Cambodia.

“As for the Thai government of Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, after receiving the information about Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that he comes to visit Cambodia again, he is seeking to send a diplomatic note again, asking Cambodia to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, according to AFP.

“Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva told this news agency that even though the previous request for extradition was rejected by the Cambodian government, his government will not give up sending a request again.

“A high raking official of Cambodia said that what we decided previously is not different from now, because Cambodia does not like twisting words like the Thai government. Thus, Cambodia will not care about any requests of the Thai government to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra.

“Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said on the Internet by Twitter on Saturday that he plans to visit three countries in Asia. He said the visit to those countries would take seven to eight days. But he did not specify those countries’ names.

“According to a high ranking official of the Council of Ministers, when Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra arrives, he will go to meet the Thai spy at the Prey Sar Prison at 4:30 p.m. on 13 December 2009, and that spy will be released from prison on 14 December 2009.

“The official added that the president of the Puea Thai Party, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will accompany Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra. According to the official, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra and Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh expressed their appreciation towards the head of the Cambodian government, especially King Norodom Sihamoni, who pardoned the Thai national.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2123, 13-14.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #361, 13-14.12.2009

  • Two Cooks Were Attacked [in two separate cases]; One Was Shot Dead and the Other One Was Stabbed into One of His Eyes [perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
  • Three People Died and Two Were Seriously Injured, in a Traffic Accident on National Road 5 [two cars cashed into each other – Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Women’s Affairs Celebrated the National Day against Human Trafficking on 12 December

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2123, 13-14.12.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Come to Receive the Thai Spy Today
  • An Official of the Ministry of Interior: The Sam Rainsy Party Can Visit, but Cannot Remove Border Markers [in Svay Rieng]
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong: This Year Cambodia Can Cultivate Much Paddy Rice, but there Is a Lack of Milling Machines to Mill Paddy Rice for Export

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #554, 13-14.12.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Seek Thumbprints from Citizens for Asking the King to Deliver Immunity to Mr. Sam Rainsy [his immunity was suspended for removing border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6830, 14.12.2009

  • The Court: Sam Rainsy and His Accomplices, Are Accused of Removing the Cambodian-Vietnam Temporary Border Markers, and Inciting [racial] Discrimination [Svay Rieng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #66, 14.12.2009

  • The Thai Spy Will Be Released This Morning under the Presidency of Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Police Arrested 968 Demonstrators in Copenhagen [among 30,000, for throwing bricks and breaking windows during demonstrations about global climate change – Denmark]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5072, 13-14.12.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Welcomes to Release [of the Thai engineer], but the Thai Opposition Party [Puea Thai Party], Asked Him and [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya to Thank [Prime Minister], Hun Sen
  • An Agricultural Official: In 2009 and 2010, Cambodia Will Have More Than Three Million Tonnes of Paddy Rice [compared to last year, there were also about three million tonnes]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1832, 14.12.2009

  • The FBI Report on the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1997 Was Released [it was quoted from The Cambodia Daily – 9/10/11 December 2009 – as saying, ‘Investigators believed in 1997 that they had uncovered evidence to implicate security forces loyal to the Cambodian People’s Party in the grenade attack on an opposition rally in Phnom Penh that year, which killed at least 16 people.’]

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United Nations International Human Rights Day – Thursday, 10.12.2009

Posted on 11 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

Message at the occasion of the United Nations International Human Rights Day, from the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations. Human Rights Day serves as a yearly landmark to remember the victories won in the long struggle to respect the dignity of all human beings. But its main purpose is to mobilize against major threats to human rights, namely poverty, discrimination, gender inequality, climate change and terrorism. “Embrace Diversity. End Discrimination” is the motto of this 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration.

This motto is particularly pertinent in the contemporary world that has become more diverse than ever before. Migration flows at national and international levels are increasing. Continuing economic hardship, armed conflicts and tensions between communities in all parts of the world have pushed thousands to abandon their homelands in search of a better future.

These movements deeply affect all societies. Our major challenge today is to promote harmonious relations among people of different ethnic origin, culture, religion or belief. Ignorance and fear, accentuated by the ongoing economic and financial crisis, is a fertile ground for discrimination and new prejudices to arise. We must not let this happen.

It is only through mutual respect, understanding, constructive dialogue and acceptance of the right to be different that we will diffuse tensions and build more peaceful multicultural societies.

The Durban Review Conference held earlier this year voiced a message of solidarity with all those who remain excluded, marginalized and discriminated. UNESCO is working actively to translate this message into fact because we are committed to the principles of non-discrimination and respect for cultural diversity.

Promoting exchange and dialogue among cultures counts among our top priorities. Dialogue alone will enable us to look beyond our differences and prejudices and to realize that we are united by many common dreams, aspirations and challenges.

Cultural or any other specificity must be aligned with respect for fundamental freedoms. When it comes to the full implementation of human rights, there can be no compromises. Respect for cultural diversity can never justify partial violation of human rights on the grounds of cultural relativism. This is why UNESCO attaches great importance to clarifying the notion of the right to take part in cultural life. It could mark an important step in protecting cultural diversity and lifting possible misconceptions. The other two rights within UNESCO’s mandate – the right to education and the right to freedom of opinion and expression – are instrumental to safeguard cultural diversity.

The 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures provides an ideal platform for promoting tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue among cultures. These values are the foundations of a new humanism, a universal vision rooted in a profound respect for human dignity, fundamental rights and the diversity of cultures. This vision compels each and every human being to feel an engaged sense of responsibility towards the other and the safeguarding of our planet.

Indeed, the hopes of the world are turned towards the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. It is our shared responsibility to make concrete commitments towards present and future generations, and to extend full assistance to all those who are directly affected by climate change. UNESCO will be actively engaged in the follow-up to this Summit, through initiatives that encompass education, culture and the sciences, in full respect of human rights.

Let us join forces to reaffirm our determination to make universal human rights a common standard of achievement for all, a reality for everyone.

Note:

The next regular publication of the Mirror, after the present public holiday, is planned for Friday, 11 December 2009.

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Royal Railway Workers Protest over Salaries, after the Royal Railways of Cambodia Have Been Contracted over to a Private Company – Wednesday, 18.11.2009

Posted on 19 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue for some days, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and then raveling back to Cambodia. I try to produce in time as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian government had signed an agreement to hand over the railway to the Toll Cambodia company to conduct the rail transportation operations for 30 years; the transport operations on the Cambodian railways as a public enterprise was terminated at the end of October 2009.

“The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, said that of the more than 1,000 railway staff and officials, only 670 are accepted by the company to continue working, while some of the others remain under the control of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

“An employee responsible for transport operations, Mr. Nguon Chan Hon, told Deum Ampil in anger, ‘Already 47 days have passed, but the company has not released the salaries of the workers; we do not cause any trouble, but we just want our salaries paid, because no one seems to responsible for it, after some were changed back from being on an autonomous enterprise, back to be under the state again.’ He added, ‘Development at the Royal Railways of Cambodia totally stopped, trains run at speeds of 40km/h down to 5km/h. What I tried to do all is lost.’

“A train driver, Mr. Nou Navy, said, ‘We do not want to trouble the leaders, but we want to ask about our salaries since October, and in November it is the 15th day. When the door is closed like this, we do not know the day set for the salaries to be paid. I met the head of accounting, and they said that a date has not yet been set, and we have to wait, because at present, there are four train lines operated: the Sokimex line, two coal train lines, and the Touk Meas line. A date cannot be specified yet, therefore you have to wait.’

“He added, ‘Even while it is a public workplace, it is not known where the specially designated money from the government, Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] has gone. We have received nothing since the day Samdech Hun Sen announced to designate some money. At present, I only earn a salary of Riel 116,000 [approx. U$29] per month, and I have been working as a train driver for 28 years. Other workers shouted annoyingly, ‘Even nobody is promoted to new positions, and nobody knows when the salaries will be paid; if there are promotions, this happens only to their partisans.’

“Another driver, Mr. Sam Yan, said, ‘I would like to ask the Royal Government to pay attention to the workers, because for many years, they earned Riel 60,000 to Riel 70,000 [US$15 to US$17] and the highest level is Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30], for people in leadership positions only. Therefore, you people on the higher levels, please help to check this, so that staff workers stay calm.’

“A train engine mechanic, Mr. Soy Sambath, said, ‘More than 20 years ago, when I entered to work here in 1979, 80% of the railway infrastructure was left undestroyed, but today, by this hour, it is zero. It has to be rebuilt again from zero to 100%; most of the land had been leased away, and there is not even the necessary money to pay the salaries for the workers. If the money received for leasing land, formerly belonging to the railway, would be made know to the workers, and the money would be offered to the workers for their salaries, they would be satisfied.’

“Another worked, a lathe mechanic, Ms. Sokhim, said, ‘During 1979 and 1980, when the country just woke up from war, the railways managed to earn profit, but now when the country has peace, things have disintegrated, and there have been frequent derailings and other train accidents.’

“[Royal Railways of Cambodia Director-General] Sokhom Pheakavanmony told Deum Ampil, ‘I had already received the report and they are justified to worry, because as we all know, since 15 November 2009, the Royal Government decided, announced through Decrees 163 and 164, to hand over the Royal Railways of Cambodia to the Toll Cambodia company. Normally, when a cooperation is terminated by such an immediate transfer, the workers did not get any information, making them think that they lost their salaries. But actually, it is not so. Their salaries are guaranteed by clear contracts from the Ministry as well as from the Royal Railways of Cambodia. Their salaries are not lost, but it is just because they did not receive any clear information.’ He added that soon they will get information, which can reach only 40% to 50% of them, as some staff do not stay in one place, and some workers stay at far away provinces, so time is needed to access the information. ‘Therefore, there is no problem, We solved it already and today, we have just finished discussing it.’ He went on to say ‘Railways are a public enterprise, controlled by the public enterprise law, and the management of staff is based on regulations… . Normally, it is like this, when the railways is handed over to a new company. There could be some struggle between different opinions, and the management must follow the decisions of the government.’

“The under-secretary of state in charge of the Royal Railways of Cambodia, Mr. Touch Chankosal, told Deum Ampil, ‘I did not know that the workers had protested.'” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #339, 18.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #339, 18.11.2009

  • Royal Railway Workers Protest over Salaries, after the Royal Railways of Cambodia Have Been Handed over to a Private Company
  • Civil Organizations and the Government Hold a Social Accountability Seminar [under the theme of working together for social accountability]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2001, 18.11.2009

  • Cambodia Has No Plan to Negotiate with Siam [Thailand] to Solve the Diplomatic Disputes [according to the spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #532, 18.11.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Brings the His Protest over the Suspension of His Immunity to the European Union Parliament and World Parliaments of the World
  • Thai Deputy Prime Minister Sutheb Thaugsuban Warned to Use the Airforce to Destroy [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra’s Plane if it Crosses Siamese [Thai] Airspace

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6808, 18.11.2009

  • The Koh Kong Authorities Prepare 30,000 Hectares of land for a Chinese Company [“Union Development”] to Develop [to construct hotels, casinos, golf courses, and tourist areas]
  • Punishment over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border]: [head of the National Border Committee] Va Kimhong: At the West There Is [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Who Does Not Recognize the Border, at the East There Is Sam Rainsy

Krong Long Vek, Vol.7, #164, 18.11.2009

  • Flooded Mangrove Forest in Siem Reap Is Being Destroyed by Evil Merchants

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #48, 18.11.2009

  • Japan Plans to Provide Nearly US$2 Million to Strengthen Tourism [in Cambodia, through a road traffic safety project from 2010 to 2013]
  • Cambodia and the Philippines Will Start Direct Flights between the Two Countries [in 2010 – according to the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]
  • The United Nations Delivered an Award to the Head of the Cambodian Red Cross [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Ms. Bun Rany, for her successful leadership in fighting against AIDS and HIV, and in reducing discrimination against people infected with AIDS]
  • Three Wheel Motorbikes [Tuk-Tuk or Romorque Motos] Are Free from Fines for a While [until the end of 2009 for not having number plates]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5050, 18.11.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Hopes that the Thai Man Suspected of Spying Will Be Released, but Cambodia Said It Depends on the Courts
  • Police Solve the Murder Case at the Tay Tay Restaurant [where a police official was shot dead; four suspects have been arrested, but the chief perpetrator is not identified yet – Phnom Penh]

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The Government Cuts Salaries of Advisers – Tuesday, 10.11.2009

Posted on 11 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: According to a circular of the Royal Government, the government decided to cut the salaries of all newly and continually appointed advisers who earn high salaries, advisers to high ranking officials, to receive only the normal amount in order to save state resources.

“The circular signed by the Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, on 27 October 2009, said that the Royal Government instructed all ministries and institutions to reorganize salaries for all advisers who have been offered equivalent positions, starting from under secretary of state upwards, to earn only the normal salaries of their current main positions.

“In the circular, the government noticed that previously, the Royal Government has nominated some officials as personal advisors of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, of deputy prime ministers, or of the Royal Government of Cambodia… by providing them with equivalent positions besides their current positions, and those officials situations are administered so that they earn salaries through their new, additional positions an additional higher amount than they continue to get already in their current positions. The circular added that the current economy, which is encountering difficulties due to the impact from the global economic crisis, requires the government to take measure to save state resources, and therefore, it is necessary to cut the salaries of those advisers, so that all receive normal salaries.

“According to an informed source, there are at least 30 to 40 officials continually appointed as advisers of high ranking officials at each ministry. Some have only a position as head of an office, or deputy head of a department, or as head of a department, but they have also been nominated as advisors with positions equivalent to an under-secretary of state, or as secretary of state. Some ministers even hold also positions as senior ministers. Through such appointments, those officials receive also salaries from those new, additional positions, for example: an under-secretary of state receives a salary of about Riel 1.04 million [approx. US$260], and a minister Riel 1.5 million [approx. US$375]. Now, the Royal Government changes this so as to save state resources.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #332, 10.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Show Up for the First Time in Cambodia after He Has Been Named Adviser [he plans to give a lecture to 300 economists on 12 November 2009]
  • Economists: Siam [Thailand] Will Experience Great Loss if It Tries to Close Border Crossing with Cambodia [because Thai exports to Cambodia amounted US$2 billion in 2008, while Cambodian exports was only US$90 million]
  • The Khmer King Will Go to Japan in 2010 [following an invitation of the Japanese emperor to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cambodian-Japanese friendship; and the Japanese Prime Minister invited also Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, General Hun Manet, to visit Japan]
  • China Provides US$10 Billion in Loans to Africa

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2093-2094, 8-10.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodian-Thai Dispute Is a Dispute between [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [but not between nation and nation]
  • ASEAN Friends Are Worried about the Cambodian-Thai Diplomatic Dispute [the ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, appealed to both countries to be patient and to address the dispute peacefully]
  • Construction Workers Demand Legal Protection through Legislation on Working Conditions [some workers working at present at various construction sites have not been provided with health and safety protection]
  • A Man Infected His Wife with AIDS Who Then Died, but He then Raped His Eldest Daughter, Infecting Her with AIDS Also [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A 14-Year-Old Boy Rapped a 4-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Kandal]
  • Germany Celebrated the [20th] Anniversary of the Breakdown of the Berlin Wall [on 9 November 2009]

 
Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #670-671, 9-10.11.2009

  • Cambodia Celebrated the 56th Independence Day Anniversary [on 9 November 2009] while the [Director General of National Police] Hok Lundy’s Family [on 8 November 2009] Celebrated the One-Year Ceremony of His Death [in a helicopter crash]
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Withdrawal of Some Troops from Preah Vihear, as Thaksin Shinawatra Plans to Come to Cambodia on 12 November 2009

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 9.11.2009

  • A Parliamentarian [from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay] Asked [the president of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin to Create a Special Committee for Khmer Border Affairs

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6800-6801, 9-10.11.2009

  • The 56th National Independence Day Anniversary is Celebrated during the Era of the Second Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive at Cambodia on 12 November; Samdech Dekchor: If Thailand Closes Border Crossing, Cambodia Will Announce to Stop Importing Thai Products [Mr. Thaksin arrived already on 9.11.2009 in a private jet at the Phnom Penh Air Force Base]
  • Result from the Mekong-Japan Summit [in Tokyo]: Japan Continues to Help to Develop Sihanoukville Port and to Construct Neak Loeang Bridge [in Prey Veng, on the way to Vietnam]
  • The Garment Sector, Which Depends Much on Export, Declined by 24.5% due to the Economic Crisis [60,000 workers lost their jobs – according to the Ministry of Commerce]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #41-42, 9-10.11.2009

  • The Opposition Party Asked the Government to Explain the Tense Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand at the National Assembly
  • Cambodia Will Receive A/H1N1 Vaccines at the End of This Year [from the World Health Organization]
  • Cambodia Is a Place where Freedom of All Religions Is Freely Practiced without Discrimination [according to the 2009 assessment report of the US Department of State; 93% of the Khmer citizens adhere to Buddhism, 500,000 to 700,000 citizens adhere to Islam, and more than 282,000 adhere to Christianity]
  • The Demand of Energy [from coal, natural, gas, fosil fuel, and oil] Increases by 3.7% Each Year [from 2005 to 2030; according to the Asian Development Bank and APEC, the demand of energy of Cambodia will increase from 4.8 million tonnes in 2015 to 12 million tonnes in 2030; at present, only 20% of the Cambodian families have access to public electricity]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5042-5043, 8-10.11.2009

  • The Government Cuts the Salaries of Advisers
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Will Arrive in Cambodia Today as Thailand Warned to Take More Serious Actions
  • Japan Pledged to Provide US$5.5 Billion [in loans and grant aid] to the Mekong River Countries [to save them from the impacts of the global economic crisis]
  • Three Suspects Were Arrested for Kidnapping a Boy for US$3,000 [Kratie]
  • The Number of Deaths Worldwide by the A/H1N1 Flu Has Increased to 6,000

.

I will be departing Phnom Penh in the evening of 10 November 2009 to
participate in the UN Internet Govenrnance Forum in Sharm-el-Sheikh in
Egypt.

Apologies ahead of time – there will be some delays in the
publications, while I travel and are busy in a different time zone.

Norbert Klein – editor of the Mirror

.

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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Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women” – Saturday, 7.3.2009

Posted on 11 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, drew the attention of the participants in the Women’s Day 8 March celebration, in the morning of 6 March 2009 at the Chaktomuk conference hall, to the different problems faced by women, by looking at the apparent conditions of women.

“Samdech said that when speaking of the investments for women, this does not refer to the small budget of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs [the full website of the Ministry – http://www.mwva.gov.kh – was not available at the time of the writing]. This means that investments in society include, as a part of such investments also a part for the benefit for women, because every achievement, such as most roads, schools, hospitals, and professional training centers provide advantages also for women. But there are other, separate measures and investments for women, such as legal protection and education for women, for which special investments are needed. Investments for women are also investment for the whole society. To say it simply: to help women is to help ourselves.

“Samdech Hun Sen noticed that recently, Cambodian social morality dropped dramatically and needs urgent actions to be restored and improved, where one action taken by the Cambodian government that is welcomed by women is the closure of gambling sites, as this leads to reduce domestic violence. Some other challenging problems for women is that the number of boys receiving education is higher than that of girls at the high school level of education and at the next higher level of education; the rate of girls dropping out from school is still high, many women are illiterate or have limited access to education, women still encounter obstacles in accessing health care, big gaps between the income of women and men still exist, few women participate in politics in the Royal Government or in private institutions. In addition, actions taken to punish sexual abuses, trafficking of women and children, actions against women’s exploitation and domestic violence are still limited.

“Samdech Dekchor considers these problems to be major concerns of the Royal Government and of all of us, which need to be solved in time.

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen instructed all relevant ministries to strengthen law enforcement, especially the laws to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, to prevent domestic violence, and to protect victims. This work needs urgent decisions, because recently, there were rapes together with cruel murders in some provinces and cities, where the relevant ministers and the local authorities must strengthen law enforcement, and they have the obligation to prevent and to eliminate the culture of violence, particularly violence against women and children, more efficiently, in order to implement the policies of the Royal Government, which is committed to protect the rights and benefits of the citizens and to promote their health and that of the whole society.

“During that occasion, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen fully supported the policies, strategies, and programs of the third term Neary Ratanak program of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the strategic plan for gender mainstreaming at all relevant ministries and institutions, to encourage the equal participation of women in politics with potential, effectiveness, equity, and justice.

Note:

The program Neary Ratanak – Women are precious jewels was initiated by Ms. Mu Sochua, while she was Minister of Women’s Affairs (1998-2004), as a program to promote gender equality. An old Cambodian proverb says, “Man are gold; women are a piece of cloth [if it gets stained, it can never be cleaned” – this is to be changed to “Men are gold. Women are precious jewels.”

“The present Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, presented the Third Neary Ratanak program as a five-year strategic plan, which includes: 1. Strategic plan to enhance women’s confidence to participate in the economy, to promote women to make decisions towards good governance, and to change social attitudes and behaviors, to combat violence against women, to reduce maternal mortality, and to promote the health of girls and women. 2. To monitor and report gender distribution in national policies. 3. To monitor and observe the development of gender indicators to be included in policy processes and in national programs, and in different sectors.

“During this year’s 8 March, the United Nations chose a topic about the equality between women and men, responsible for social work including taking care of those who contracted AIDS [actually, the UN slogan for the International Women’s Day for 2009 is Unite to End Violence against Women]. As for Cambodia, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs decided to choose a different topic: Women Involved in Developing Economy and Society.

Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi added that choosing this topic aims to strengthen the participation of women dedicated in 2009 toward the promotion of women’s involvement in the economy and in social task, where women cooperate actively, a key factor affecting the improvement of living conditions, general well being, the status of women, their roles, and the reduction of all types of discrimination against women, which leads to domestic violence, as well as efforts to change social attitudes, to improve social morality, women’s value, and the Khmer family structure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #133, 7.3.2009

  • The Government Warns It Will Revoke the Operational License of Daily Lotteries If They Are Not Obeying the Law
  • The Prime Minister Suggests to Organize Classical and Traditional Song Contests while Some Television Stations Almost Forgot Them
  • America Warns It Will Shoot Down North Korean Missiles

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #359, 7.3.2009

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian]: If There Had Not Been Struggles to Fight the Yuon [Vietnamese] Troops Which Had Invaded Cambodia [to topple the Khmer Rouge regime], There Would Not Have Been a Paris Peace Agreement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1891, 7.3.2009

  • Conference [at the Ministry of Interior]: Police Found That in One Year [2008], There Were More Than 10,000 People Jailed
  • A Customs Official Was Shoot with Many Bullets while He Was Sitting in a Park, Waiting for His Lover [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3705, 7.3.2009

  • The Plan to Abolish the National Congress [by Prime Minister Hun Sen], though It Is Defined in the Constitution, Leads to Criticism that It Is an Act of Elimination of Democracy

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women”
  • Women from Civil Society: Participation of Women in the Society Is Improving
  • Siem Reap Military Police Commander’s Daughter Is Kidnapped during the Day [kidnappers wanted the police to release one of their member who was arrested during the operation, in exchange for the release of the girl – there is no information about money paid]
  • Foreign Investment in Cambodia Is Worth US$11.47 Billion
  • Prison Officials Want Their Salaries to Be Raised and Their Rank Signs to Be Like Those of the Police
  • Thai Investors [from fifteen companies] Seek Markets to Sell Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Cambodia]

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

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