Using Computers: Upholding Rights and Freedoms while Fighting Crime – Sunday, 18.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

The Ministry of Defense hopes that the use of computers will help better to cut down the names of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the military. This was expressed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, who said that the present census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than in previous years. “It is an annual census to find out the real number of soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.” There are some traditional elements in this process, even surprising ones – if one assumes that soldiers would be known, present, and listed at their command posts: “All soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists… the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense.”

Considering the results of a similar exercise in 2008, where – according to Mr. Cheam Yeap, a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People’s Party – the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police, for whom salaries were regularly paid out (to whom?), the new findings might again bring considerable savings to the national budget.
Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat added that there is confidence that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents.

The newly created Anti-Corruption Unit of the government will start with to collect about 100,000 declarations of assets, and this process is to be implemented before November 2010, “to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law.” Though the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all these documents, it has not been announced how this is going to happen practically. Even trusting the capacities of computer systems, it will be difficult to receive and file more than 1,000 asset declarations per day during the remaining days before November.

But the past week brought also a different reminder about the power of computer systems: Cambodian authorities began creating legislation against cyber crimes. “A workshop about the creation of legislation against cyber crimes was held on 13 July 2010 at the Council of Ministers, and government officials, officials of national and international organizations, and representatives of Internet Service Providers, of telecom companies, of technology companies, of publication institutions, and of other relevant fields participated in the workshop… The advancement of technology is a double-edged sword. It can make many things easier and provides abundant benefits for quick development. But it also creates opportunities for criminals to use it to commit various offenses.” This double reality was pointed out: that by now communication technology plays an ever growing role in society – but on the other hand, Cambodia is also experiencing similar problems and threat as they happen in other countries also, which can be a threat for security, economy, and the general and political life of a society.

This Cambodian workshop was held also to consider how other countries are dealing with this new world wide problem. The head of the Economic Crime Division of the Council of Europe, Mr. Alexander Seger, referred to the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime of 2001, which had been developed during four years before it was presented to the member states of the Council of Europe, but which is also open for other states to sign and to access, so that among the 47 countries which signed it, there are also non-European countries: Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States of America.

These preparatory efforts in Cambodia are considering the same range of criminal activities which happen also in other countries around the globe. “Cambodia has already experienced many problems that allow cyber criminals to commit offenses using such technology. There are many cases where all must pay attention, to prevent cheating on the Internet, to receive the inheritance from someone illegally, not to respond to electronic messages asking for passwords, or messages threatening someone, stealing of passwords, and the distribution of child pornography into computer systems, or the sending of spam mails.”

What is remarkable is the fact that the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime does not only point to the threats which can come from criminal use of the Internet, and to the need to protect society from them. Included in this document of 28 pages is also a warning that the need for criminal prosecution shall not violate fundamental rights of the citizens to be protected:

The member States of the Council of Europe and the other States signatory hereto,… Convinced of the need to pursue, as a matter of priority, a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cyber crime, inter alia, by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation;…

Mindful of the need to ensure a proper balance between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1950 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other applicable international human rights treaties, which reaffirm the right of everyone to hold opinions without interference, as well as the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and the rights concerning the respect for privacy;

Mindful also of the right to the protection of personal data, as conferred, for example, by the 1981 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;…

Have agreed as follows:

Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offenses under its domestic law, when committed intentionally…

followed by chapters on Illegal access, Illegal interception, Data and System interference, Misuse of devices, Computer-related forgery and fraud, Offenses related to child pornography and to infringements of copyright, etc.

When representatives of governments, of the business community, and of civil society – according to the multi-stakeholder principle introduced by the United Nations for dealing with questions of the present Information Society – met in June for an Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong, the issue of cyber security was also high on the agenda. While there was an emphasis on legal measures to assure the security and stability of the Internet, and on technical facilities to implement such controls, a group of civil society representatives from Southeast Asia made their common concern public in a 2010 Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance.

This Southeast Asian reflection starts with a references to the UN Summits for the Information Society of 2003 and 2005, especially with their Declaration of Principles, which the representatives of governments from around the globe had voted upon:

We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Building on this guideline, which had led to the setting up of the Internet Governance Forums, this civil society declaration says among others in a longer text:

Key Observations of the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum Roundtable in Hong Kong on 15-16 June 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

Critical issues of Internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on Internet governance policy:

Openness

Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that serves as a fundamental venue for one’s knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development. Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.

Access

The Internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with Internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on Internet governance. Proceedings at the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the Internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address the right to privacy and to civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed…

Today’s information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties…

The references of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime and of the Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance to human rights and freedoms, not only threatened by criminal action, but also by efforts to impose extensive control, are important reminders that security must be human security.

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Eight Companies Will Invest in Agro-Industry Crops on More than 50,000 Hectares of Land – Monday, 1.2.2010

Posted on 1 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: The Royal Government, represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, and representatives of eight companies signed, on 29 January 2010, contracts on agro-industry crop investment on more than 50,000 hectares of land. Most investments focus on rubber plantations in three northeastern provinces of Cambodia.

“The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Agriculture. The chief of the cabinet of the ministry, Mr. Hong Nareth, informed Rasmei Kampuchea, saying, ‘After the Minister of Agriculture had received the authorization from the head of the government, we organized this official contract signing ceremony.’ The 8 companies received economic concession land of more than 50,000 hectares for investment. Among the 8 companies, 1 company is from Malaysia, 1 from South Korea, 4 are from Vietnam, and 2 are local companies.

“Based on the contracts, he said that the Malaysian company will invest in agro-industry crops on more than 7,800 hectares of land in Mondolkiri. The South Korean company will invest to plant rubber trees on 6,600 hectares of land in Kratie. The companies from Vietnam will plant rubber trees and agro-industry crops, raise animals, and establish processing factories on 20,900 hectares of land in Kratie and Ratanakiri. Local companies will invest in rubber and agro-industry crops plantation on 16,900 hectares of land in Kratie.

“Speaking on behalf of the Royal Government, the Minister of Agriculture welcomed the investments by all investors that respond to the Royal Government’s needs. He considered the official decisions and deals at this time as mutual beneficial contributions and joint development efforts for Cambodia to reduce poverty, to create employment, and to transfer agro-industrial techniques to Cambodian people.

“The minister reminded all companies which have received the right to invest that they have to implement their activities according to the contracts. In the meantime, the ministry is ready to cooperate to ensure that the investment becomes successful.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5113-5114, 30-1.1-2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 1 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #401, 30.1.2010

  • Human Rights Watch Backs Prime Minister’s Warning to [army and navy] Generals [over their illegal actions and corruption]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2164-2165, 30-1.1-2.2010

  • An Armed Clash Broke Out at Point 532, Resulting in the Death of a Siamese [Thai] Soldier [Khmer soldiers claimed that Thai soldiers started shooting at Khmer soldiers first, when they tried to approach the Thai soldiers to ask why they came into Khmer territory]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Draft of an Anti-Corruption Law Has an Article about Property Declaration [all officials, such as military and police officials and politicians, are required to declare their property, otherwise they will be punished; but he did not predict when this law will be approved]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #593, 30.1.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Said It Decided to Dismiss the Police Official [a second lieutenant] Oung Dara Who Raped a Woman in a Karaoke Parlor [already in October 2009 in Phnom Penh, by now his whereabouts are not known]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6871-6872, 30-1.1-2.2010

  • A Siamese [Thai] Student Who Tried to Enter the Preah Vihear Temple at Noon [illegally] Was Held
  • Two Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller, Taking Away 500 Chi of Gold [approx. US$66,500] and Riel 4 Million [approx. US$930 – Phnom Penh]
  • Swiss Musicians Played Music to Entertain Prisoners [in Kampot; this event was organized by the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, LICADHO]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #101, 1.2.2010

  • The Start of a Car Manufacturing Company’s Operations [a branch of the Korean Hyundai Motor Company] Was Postponed [to be established in Koh Kong by the end of this year, as the construction had been affected by bad weather]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5113-5114, 30-1.1-2.2010

  • Eight Companies will Invest in Agro-Industry Crops on More Than 50,000 Hectares of Land
  • A Mother [who had high blood pressure] and Her Son [who had mental disorders] Jointly Committed Suicide [by hanging, as they could not find money to support their lives – Phnom Penh]
  • A Woman Was Arrested for Driving a Car and Killing a Motor-Taxi Driver by Causing an Accident, and Injuring Another Person Seriously [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1867, 1.2.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Encouraged [the Prime Minister] to Arrest Corrupt Senior Military Officials so that They Can Be Convicted

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Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies – Saturday, 9.1.2010

Posted on 9 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Mondolkiri: The Mondolkiri provincial authorities had decided to cancel the concessions of 50 companies that had planned to invest in agriculture in Mondolkiri, because those companies do not operate.

“According to different sources of information, some companies received economic concession land in Mondolkiri, but they do not develop anything following their contracts, and some cut trees and sold them, affecting the lives of the citizen. Therefore, the authorities decided to cancel the concession contracts of those companies.

“The new Mondolkiri provincial governor could not be reached for comment regarding this issue, because he had a meeting. The Mondolkiri deputy governor, Ms. Si Sokuntheary, could not be reached either, as she was busy. Anyway, according to a notification by the Mondolkiri authorities dated 4 January 2010 that Kampuchea Thmey received on 8 January 2010, the Mondolkiri authorities announced to cancel the concessions for land of 50 companies located in Mondolkiri. This was done by a letter dated 25 December 2009 of the Mondolkiri authorities canceling the legal validity of the concessions giving control over concession land by 53 companies. But 3 companies asked for a delay.

[…]

“The present notification of the authorities identified the three companies which had asked for a delay: the Heng Heang Siv Chanthou company, the Green Resources company, and the Agri-Resources company. The notification stressed that the canceling of 50 concessions became valid from the day it was signed. In the meantime, the authorities emphasized that they will not take responsibility for any companies that continue to operate, violating this notification, and the authorities informed the companies that really intend to invest there, to come to contact the Mondolkiri authorities.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 9 January 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1426, 8-9.1.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Is Concerned that War Could Break Out if the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Indicts More People

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #383, 9.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Approved the Draft of a Cambodian-Chinese Consular Agreement [to promote the free flow of trade]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

  • Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies
  • A Traffic Accident Killed Three People and Caused Two Motorbikes to Be Destroyed by Fire [a car hit the motorbikes – Svay Rieng]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #576, 9-11.1.2010

  • [Two] Families Victimized by Yuon [Vietnamese] Land Grabbing and Detained by the Khmer Authorities Asked for Intervention by the King [over the removal of border markers]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Agree to Let the Court Convict Him if the Arrested Farmers Are Released and Their Land Is Returned

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6853, 9-10.1.2010

  • A Strong Press Makes Democracy More Lively; as a Basis, Journalists Need to Have Knowledge about the Law and to Have Ethic Positions [according to a training course organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Vietnam Invited Mr. Obama to Pay an Official Visit [to attend the ASEAN summit in October 2010 in Hanoi]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5095, 9.1.2010

  • Three Companies [Si Chan Thun Development and Investment, Green Development, and Si Ngea Development] in Preah Vihear Are Late in Planting Rubber Trees after They Received the Right from the Ministry of Agriculture to Do so
  • The First Video Conference Cabinet Meeting Was Held Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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Civil Society Questions why the Government Releases the Anti-Corruption Draft Law so Late – Tuesday, 29.12.2009

Posted on 29 December 2009. Filed under: Week 645 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 645

“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.

“A point of this draft law likely aims at the director of an FM radio station who has lots of property, after he had received funds to support the station for nearly 10 years.

“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.

“Officials of non-government organizations said yesterday that keeping the long-awaited draft law on anti-corruption out of the public eye is at odds with the spirit of a law that has to call for openness and transparency.

“Though the Council of Ministers approved the draft law to combat corruption more than two weeks ago, the secrecy that surrounds the law makes it impossible to properly discuss and analyze it, NGO workers said.

“‘I think the key approach is transparency,’ said Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.

“‘I don’t know what the intent of keeping it secret is,’ he added.

“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.

“‘This is the proposed draft used internally by the government,’ Mr. Siphan said about the law, adding that he did not know when the draft would be forwarded to the Assembly for debate and passage into law.

“One of the only details of the anti-corruption law that has been made public on Friday is the fact that the staff of NGOs are required to disclose their personal assets. Under the law, NGO workers are defined as public servants, and side-by-side with officials who are paid by the government, they must disclose their assets.

“‘It is an obligation to do so, if you don’t do it, you are jailed,’ Mr. Siphan explained day-before-yesterday, adding that the law will take effect 60 days after being passed by the National Assembly.

“A political observer and the former head of the Center for Social Development, Ms. Chea Vannath, said that following the spirit of the anti-corruption law, the legislation should be available for public viewing and inspection, since it is such scrutiny which helps discourage and expose corruption. Keeping it confidential counters that principle, she said.

“‘If it is not transparent, it’s like you are fishing in the mud at nighttime,’ she said.

“‘How can you comment on the law without having a copy of the law?,’ she asked. ‘It’s a strange process.’

“‘The word “fighting corruption” equals transparency, openness, access to information,’ she added.

“Soeung Saroeun, senior operations and finance manager of the Cooperation Committee of Cambodia [CCC], a professional organization of NGOs, said his group has requested a copy of the anti-corruption legislation, but like others has yet to see it. Having not yet seen the draft law, Mr. Saroeun said the CCC could not comment. Nonetheless, he said questions remain about the draft law, particularly how it defined assets for NGO staffers.

‘”If we have to declare our assets, what do they mean by “assets”?’ he asked.

“NGO Forum Executive Director Chhith Sam Ath said he could not speak about the law until after reading it and consulting with other members in his umbrella group of non-government organizations.

“President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights Ou Virak echoed remarks that discussing the draft law was challenging, but he agreed that not only non-government officials should have to declare their assets.

“Mr. Virak said he had no problem listing NGO employees as ‘public servants’ and recommended more groups should also have to declare their assets.

‘”It’s a very positive step in the right direction,’ he said. ‘I personally welcome it.'” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #566, 29.12.2009; a major part had been published already by the Cambodia Daily on 28.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #373, 29.12.2009

  • The Asian Development Bank Provides US$65.2 Million for the Development of Four Provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake [there are projects to strengthen education by providing technical and vocational training, to develop small scale agriculture in the Tonle Sap area, and to develop the financial sector – US$30.7 million is provided by the ADB as loan and grant, US$19.1 million is from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and from the government of Finland, and $5.47 million is from the Cambodian government]
  • The Svay Rieng Court Rejects the Request of Mr. Sam Rainsy to Delay the Hearings to Wait for His Participation [over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers – Mr. Sam Rainsy is at present abroad]
  • The Prime Minister Warned Overloaded Vehicles [saying that if some companies still abuse the law, those companies must be shut down and their operations will be stopped]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2136, 29.12.2009

  • The National Assembly Approved the First Chapter of the Draft on Expropriation
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned not to Misuse the Surname ‘Hun’ to Intimidate People [he said so during a ‘Hun’ family party at the Intercontinental Hotel]
  • Pneumonia Is the Major Killer Disease that Kills Nearly 2,000 Cambodian Children Each Year

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #706, 29.12.2009

  • America Condemned Siam [Thailand] for Deporting 4,000 Hmong Ethnic People Back to Laos [and warned that the United States might halt military aid and the joint Golden Cobra military exercises with Thailand]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #566, 29.12.2009

  • Civil Society Questions why the Government Releases the Anti-Corruption Draft Law so Late

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6843, 29.12.2009

  • A Man Raped a Three-Year-Old Girl – He Was Arrested [Kompong Speu]
  • A Thai General [Mr. Panlop Pinmanee] Announced to Demonstrate Requesting to Dismiss [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [in late January or early February, if the people would be ready to fight for democracy]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #77, 29.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Denies to Permit the 7NG Company to Construct a Bridge [connecting from Areyaksatr to the Hun Sen Park, saying it would affect traffic in the city and contribute to environmental impacts on the surrounding areas, creating noise pollution]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5085, 29.12.2009

  • Maternal Rate of Dengue Fever Declined 50% [from 67 deaths in 2008 to only 36 in 2009], but the Patient Rate Increased [from 9,232 cases in 2008 to 11,625 cases in 2009]
  • Three Monks Were Defrocked and Sent to Be Rehabilitated because of Drug Addiction [Banteay Meanchey]
  • An Australian Man Was Robbed and Killed in Sihanoukville [perpetrators are not yet identified]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1843, 29.12.2009

  • Parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party Adopted First Chapter of the Expropriation Draft Law, while the Opposition Party Opposes

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China Provides Additional Aid and Loans of US$1.2 Billion to Develop the Cambodian Economy – Tuesday, 22.12.2009

Posted on 23 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“The government of the People’s Republic of China had decided to provide aid and loans of US$1.2 billion to Cambodia to foster economic and social development.

“The decision to provide aid and loans was made public in the evening of 21 December 2009, during a meeting between officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia led by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen and the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jinping [习近平], during his three day visit to Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spoke to journalists during a press conference, after the signing ceremony on 14 agreements, saying, ‘During this discussion, the Chinese government made public to provide aid and loans of US$1.2 billion to Cambodia, in addition to the US$930 million in loans that China has provided since 1992.’

“In the meantime, 14 agreements were signed by officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia and by officials of the Chinese government, in the presence of the Cambodian Prime Minister and the Chinese Vice President:

  1. Exchange note on the construction of a new office building for the Senate
  2. Exchange note on the restoration and conservation of a temple in Takeo
  3. Agreement about economic and technical cooperation with a grant of Yuan 50 Million [approx. US$7.3 million]
  4. Agreement about economic and technical cooperation with a loan of Yuan 50 Million [approx. US$7.3 million]
  5. Framework agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 57B
  6. Framework agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 59
  7. Agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 57B
  8. Agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 59
  9. Agreement about a general loan for the use of favorable loans for buyers
  10. Framework agreement on the provision of communication equipment to the Ministry of Economy and Finance
  11. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers for infrastructure at the Kompong Trabaek River in Prey Veng
  12. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers at the project to construct the national road from Sen Monorum to Dac Dam in Mondolkiri
  13. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers at the project to construct power lines to distribute electricity to areas around Phnom Penh
  14. Agreement on transport and infrastructure cooperation

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that during that discussions the Chinese vice president raised some points, including the request to increase visits between leaders of the two countries, the promotion of the exchange of political experience, and cooperation to support more Chinese enterprises in Cambodia, and the request for cooperation in the region and internationally.

“Responding to the Chinese vice president, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said that Cambodia asked for the increase of visits at all institutional levels, like at city and at provincial levels, between both countries, and this request was agreed upon by China.

“Also, in the discussion, China promised to foster more tourism exchanges, and to continue to support Cambodia with funds, like though more loans for Cambodia. In the meantime, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen asked China to continue to create more exchange scholarships for Cambodian students to go to China.

“The Prime Minister also asked China to help to repair other temples in Cambodia, as there are many more needing preservation, and this request was welcomed by China. The head of the government stressed its position that Cambodia adheres to the One-China Policy, and the Royal Government expressed its gratitude towards China for continuing to support Cambodia, especially now China is also giving care and treating the illnesses of the former Khmer King Norodom Sihanouk.

“Also, China asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to clear unexploded ordnance in the areas where the railroad is to be constructed in Cambodia, and to provide warm cooperation for the Chinese officials in this work. Cambodia responded by agreeing and welcoming the requests of China.

“By now, China is the country that provides the most aid to Cambodia to developing the society and the economy, to reduce the poverty of Cambodian people, and Chinese aid has functioned successfully.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #367, 22.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #367, 22.12.2009

  • China Criticized America while America Criticized Cambodia over Deporting the Uighur People
  • China Provides Additional Aid and Loans of US$1.2 Billion to Develop the Cambodian Economy

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2130, 22.12.2009

  • [The Former Minister of Social Affairs of the Khmer Rouge Regime] Ieng Thirith Was Charged with Three Crimes [genocide, war crimes, and other crime, which consist of killings, torture, and harassment of religious persons]
  • The Cambodian-Russian Bilateral Trade Amounted to More Than US$30 Million within 9 Months for This Year
  • Cambodian Doctors Appeal to the People to Trust Cambodian Doctors [rather than traveling abroad to seek medical treatment that costs more money]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #701, 22.12.2009

  • The Authorities Must Identify the Wood Traders Who Hire Poor Citizens, to Enter Thai Territory [illegally] to Cut Trees and Are Victimized Continually [shot at by Thai soldiers]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #560, 22.12.2009

  • The US Department of State Condemned the Phnom Penh Government That Deported Uighur People to the Chinese Government
  • Two Thousands People Protested against Environment Officials Grabbing 5,000 Hectares of Land in Mondolkiri

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6837, 2.12.2009

  • A DK82 Shell Was Used as a School Bell, but It Exploded, Killing Three People and Injuring Three Others Seriously; It Was Fortunate that this Happened on a Sunday, when there Were no Students [Oddar Meanchey]

Krong Long Vek, Vol.7, #165, 21.12.2009

  • A Non-Government Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)], Asked the Government to Stop Providing Concession Land [saying that it affects thousands of families of villagers in Cambodia]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #72, 22.12.2009

  • China Thanked Cambodia for Deporting the Uighur People
  • A Daughter Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Help Intervene to Free Her Father, Mr. Hang Chakra [saying that he fell ill in the Prey Sar prison; the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for disinformation over corruption of high ranking officials]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5079, 22.12.2009

  • Cambodia and China Signed 14 Exchange Notes and Agreements Covering US$1.2 Billion [no clarity about the relation of grant aid to repayable loans]; China Announced that Cambodia Is an Absolute Political Cooperation Partner of the Chinese Government
  • America Condemns Cambodia for Deporting Chinese Ethnic [Uighur] People [saying that it violates international law (the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, which Cambodia signed), warning that it might affect the ties between Cambodia and America]
  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: [the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Has to Come First to Serve His Time in Prison before Negotiating

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1838, 22.12.2009

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An Assigns [senior minister in charge of border affairs] Var Kimhong to Explain the Setting of Border Markers at the National Assembly on 24 December 2009

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The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Submitted a Funding Proposal for US$46 Million for 2010 and More Than US$47 Million for 2011 – Saturday, 19.12.2009

Posted on 20 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“Phnom Penh: An official of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal stated on 18 December 2009 that the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal decided to charge the former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, Khieu Samphan, with an additional crime, genocide, besides two previous charges: crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 [“The Geneva Conventions consist of four treaties and three additional protocols that set the standards in international law for humanitarian treatment of the victims of war”].

“The additional charge was made a day after the Khmer Rouge Tribunal sent Khieu Samphan to a hospital for a medical checkup and after his two comrades Ieng Sary and Nuon Chea were accused with the same charge on 17 December 2008.

“The head of Public Affairs Office of the tribunal, Mr. Reach Sambath, told Koh Santephea via phone on 18 December 2009 that the investigating judges decided to charge Khieu Samphan in addition with genocide.

“Regarding the judgment to sentence [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch to serve time in prison, no official date has been specified. But according to Mr. Reach Sambath, the tribunal will announce the judgment on Duch in early 2010, the date has not yet been set.

“Mr. Reach Sambath added that the investigating judges plan to finish the investigations for the Case 002 in the second week of January 2010. However, the tribunal has not yet specified the date for the hearing on this case. The Case 002 relates to four accused, who are in detention: Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith. All are old and have diferent illnesses.

“The hearings of Case 002 are planed to start in early 2010.

“In the meantime, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, announced on 18 December 2009 that a proposal for funds for the tribunal, to support the process in 2010 and in 2011, was submitted to the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNKRT) and to partner countries of the Group of Interested States of the tribunal, during a meeting in New York this week. The presentation of the proposal was led by the acting head and the deputy acting head of the Administration of the tribunal, Mr. Tony Kranh and Mr. Knut Rosandhaug.

“The announcement went on to say that according to an estimation of the funds needed for this court for the process of hearings in the upcoming two years, the ECCC is requesting approval of the requested funds of US$46 million for 2010 and US$47.3 for 2011, where the international side of the ECCC needs US$34.5 million for 2010 and US$35.6 million for 2011, including reserve funds, while the Cambodian side needs US$11.5 million for 2010 and US$11.8 million for 2011, including reserve funds.

“The annual expenses might increase, because the ECCC has to conduct more activities which need full time work, and also because the trial chamber will start to work full time from mid 2010.

“The requested funds cover also expenses for the work of defense lawyers relating to other cases. The actual 2010 to 2011 funds of the ECCC will be announced publicly after they will have been approved by the partner countries of the ECCC.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6835, 19-20.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 19 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #366, 19-21.12.2009

  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaugsuban: Bangkok Will Restrict Its Position [for diplomatic ties] if Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Ignores the Conditions [to remove convicted and fugitive Mr. Thaksin’s position as economic advisor, refusing to honor extradition agreement]
  • Two Suspects Are Arrested over Acid Attack against TV9 Beauty Contestant Winner
  • Cambodia to Send 22 Uighur People Back to China [according to statements from Cambodian officials]
  • The Republic of Korea Grants the Ministry of Land Management US$2.5 Million [to create a map of the country and to develop a master plan for infrastructure, data, and geography in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2128, 19.12.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Charged [former Khmer Rouge leader] Khieu Samphan with an Additional Crime [genocide]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Vow to Strengthen Solidarity and to Finish Putting Border Markers by the End of 2012

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #, 19-21.12.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy: I Do Not Care about the Court That Serves the Ruling Party Only [he was sued by the Svay Rieng Municipal Court for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6835, 19-20.12.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Submitted a Funding Proposal for US$46 Million for 2010 and More Than US$47 Million for 2011
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s Younger Brother and Niece Entered Cambodia [to visit him]
  • More Than US$400 Million Is Needed for Clearing All Mines [on 600 km2] within Ten Years [according to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5077, 19.12.2009

  • Tourism Officials Forecasted that in 2009, the Tourist Arrivals Will Be More Than Two Millions [within 11 months of 2009, there were already 1.9 million arrivals, increasing by 2%]

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UNIFEM: Poverty Is Making Cambodia Become a Base for Human Trafficking – Thursday, 17.12.2009

Posted on 17 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“The International Migrants Day was marked with a promotional meeting on the Legal Protection for Household Servants, organized at the Himawari Hotel by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and by the Ministry of Labor in the evening of 16 December 2009.

“A press conference focused on migration and human trafficking that are happening because of many factors, leading to trafficking when people migrate. The vulnerability of groups of people who migrate to seek ways necessary for their [economic] survival, and of those who are trafficked, is much alike. But there are significant differences between migration and trafficking. Many people fail to clearly distinguish between migration and trafficking. Police or immigration officials often do not have the operational criteria to make the proper judgments to distinguish between victims of trafficking and migrants. As a result, those who are victims of trafficking as a result of different crimes are mistaken for migrants, and the latter are arrested and repatriated.

“According to a report of UNIFEM and of the Ministry of Labor during the 3rd meeting of a working group of relevant ministries about migration on 9 December 2008, some open questions among many problems need urgent action. They require some more clarification about the reasons leading to human trafficking, among those who fight against human trafficking in Cambodia.

“Cambodia is a country that sends and receives migrating workers. 89,000 workers migrated to Thailand and 11,000 to Malaysia. These are the major destinations of Cambodian workers, and Cambodia also receives a large number of migrant workers: 10,000 from Vietnam and 55,000 from China, among other countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.

“Cambodia is also used by criminals as a transit point for human trafficking to other countries, especially to the West.

“Even though there is no proof, networks of human trafficking in Asia are extending widely, relating from minor crimes to big organized crime networks. There is no clear estimation agreed upon globally to rightly reflect the number of people who are trafficked in Cambodia. It is difficult to have statistics because of the sensitivity and illegality of the trafficking business, and deficiencies relating to clear definitions of the word ‘trafficking.’

“According to the US Department of State, about 220,000 children and women were trafficked in Southeast Asia. ILO and the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor [IPEC] estimated that 80,000 children and women were trafficked to Thailand for sexual exploitation since 1990. The highest number relates to people from Burma, followed by those from the Province of Yunan in China, and from Laos. There are 500 to 1,000 Cambodian children being used as beggars in Thailand.

“According to figures from the Department of Labor, by 30 November 2009, 22,222 workers – 19,586 women and 2,636 men – migrated to Malaysia to work as household servants, and 14,308 workers – 4,717 men and 9,591 women – migrated to Thailand. This shows that most migrants are Cambodian women.

“Migration is a problem that can lead to human trafficking: the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation is a type of organized crime that is increasing, because traffickers can earn high returns and have low hazards. Thousands of women are being trafficked from Asia.

“It should be remembered that Khmer citizens from various provinces and cities in Cambodia, who are unemployed, migrate to neighboring countries or to some other countries, to seek income to support their families’ livelihood. Unemployment in Cambodia is a factor urging them to decide to migrate and to leave their homes to seek paid employment elsewhere.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1835, 17.12.2009

Note:

PRESS RELEASE:

In order to continue the celebration of International Migrant’s Day (IMD) 18 December CARAM Cambodia initiated its celebration since 2006 participated by more than one thousand people with rally and parade and it is a fourth anniversary of International Migrant’ s Day celebration for this year (2009) in Cambodia and 19th anniversary of IMD celebration around the world and it is an opportunity:

  • to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the development and well-being of so many countries in the world;
  • to demand an end to all forms of abuse and violence against migrants and their families and promote respect for their basic human rights;
  • to call on governments around the world to ratify the UN Convention on Migrant Workers;
  • to hold governments accountable with regards to the rights of migrants

A leading NGO-CARAM Cambodia will continue the celebration of International Migrant Day (IMD) 18 December 2009 in Cambodia with the following activities and objectives:

I. Radio Talk Show

  • Radio FM 106.5 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (18 December 2009);
  • Radio FM 102.5 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (18 December 2009);
  • Radio FM 93.75 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (18 December 2009);
  • Radio Free Asia from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (18 December 2009);
  • Radio FM 101.25 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (16 December 2009)

II. Press Conference: Was on 16 December 2009

III. Message Delivery through Mobile Phone on IMD Celebration 18 December 2009

CARAM Cambodia will send a message entitled “International Migrant’s Day (IMD)” celebration to many people as we can to celebrate International Migrant Day 18 December 2009.

IV. Objective of International Migrant’s Day (IMD) 2009

The following is the objectives of IMD celebration this year:

  1. Celebrate the fourth anniversary of IMD in Kingdom of Cambodia initiated by CARAM Cambodia in cooperation with National AIDS Authority, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MoLVT), local and international NGOs in Cambodia and participate in the celebration of 19th anniversary of International Migrant’s Day (IMD) around the world after UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and after almost a decade of governmental negotiations and relentless advocacy by migrant communities around the world.
  2. Advocate people with decision making power, policy makers and stakeholders to support migration issues so that policies, laws and regulations are reviewed and adopted so as to promote and protect migrant workers’ rights;
  3. Increase public awareness on safe migration in an enabling environment to empower migrant workers to mitigate impacts and vulnerabilities of migrant workers and members of their families.

V. Remarks:

Everybody is encouraged to join Radio Talk Show Program “Together Promoting and Protecting Migrant Workers’ Rights” through call in show to be held in the coming days as mentioned in the above program and please help to disseminate a message “International Migrant’s Day (IMD) to friends, colleagues or whomever you know for the celebration of International Migrant’s Day (IMD) 18 December 2009 in Cambodia and around the world.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 17 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1423, 17-18.12.2009

  • A 26-Year-Old Man Raped His 9-Year-Old Niece Nine Times [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #364, 17.12.2009

  • Amnesty International Asked Cambodia Not to Send [22] Uighur People Back to Their Country [the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China]
  • [Two] Robbers Used Only Three Minutes to Rob Gold and Money of More Than US$90,000 [and escaped safely; Phnom Penh]
  • A Drunken Man Rapped His Eight-Year-Old Daughter Twice [he was arrested – Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2126, 17.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Thaksin Would Have Died [or been imprisoning], if There Was No Transfer of Flight [not to fly across Thailand]
  • Hungary Plans to Provide US$50 Million Loan for the Development of Cambodia
  • World Mate Organization Donated US$3 Million to the Cambodia Red Cross for a Period of Ten Year

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #557, 17.12.2009

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay Said that the Prime Minister Released the Thai Spy [though the court claimed it had enough evidence to put him in jail], so he Should Release Also the Khmer People Imprisoned over Land Disputes [who were jailed unjustly when just they protested over land grabbing]
  • The Leader of Khmer Kampuchea Krom Asked Top Leaders of the Country to Raise Khmer Kampuchea Krom Issues for Discussion with Nong Duc Manh, [a secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam, during his official visit in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6833, 17.12.2009

  • In Cambodia Private Sector Provides Many Jobs Up to 90%
  • The International Labor Organization (ILO) Shown that Economic Crisis Continues to Affect Garment Industry, Making 70 Factories were Closed [in Cambodia and 70,000 workers lost their jobs]
  • Red-Shirt Groups Supporting [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Entered through the Poipet Border Crossing to Phnom Penh [to visit Mr. Thaksin]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #69, 17.12.2009

  • [The Former Khmer Rough top leaders], Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, Were Accused of More Crimes of Genocide against Chams [Cambodian Muslims] and Vietnamese
  • The Asian Development Bank Voted Officially to Provide US$42 Million Loan [to Cambodia] to Repair Railroad

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5075, 17.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Called Bangkok’s Comment over the Release of the Thai Spy Stupid [Thailand accused Cambodia of having no proper law by recording the spy’s conversation with the first secretary of the Thai Embassy via phone and said that the release is a farce; Prime Minister Hun Sen denied Cambodia recorded the conversation, but just has the note of the callings]
  • Mr. Thaksin Continues to Help Cambodia with Investment Sector and Tourism

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1835, 17.12.2009

  • UNIFEM: Poverty Is Making Cambodia Become a Base for Human Trafficking

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Mr. Ny Chakriya: The Provision of Land to Companies Is Pushing Citizens to Face Serious Problems – Wednesday, 16.12.2009

Posted on 17 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“Citizens from eight provincial and city associations met at the Sunway Hotel, to express their opinions about the loss of their land to businesspeople and to some powerful officials, including to private companies that have received concession land from the government.

“Representatives of citizens came to protest, and to express their concerns about land grabbing committed by businesspeople and by some powerful officials.

“The head of the investigating unit of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Ny Chakriya, said that in view of the provision of only small economic land concessions to citizens, it is found that in 2008, the government provided tens of thousands of hectares of land to private companies as economic concessions, where 225,090 hectares were provided to 71 private companies as economic concession land. The provision of many hectares of land by the government every year might lead to a lack of land for citizens in the future. Moreover, the provision of economic concession land to different companies, without caring about the impact on citizens, is a big problem, resulting in a situation where citizens, who own little land for cultivation, to have no land, because 80% of the citizens are farmers in rural areas.

“Mr. Ny Chakriya added that forced evictions, where citizens lose ownership of land, victimize them easily. In 2008, there were 25 evictions involving 526 families or 66,095 citizens, who were evicted by force and did not receive any care or solution from state institutions that just use the words that there it is development. Tens of thousands of poor citizens live with fear with the development policy of the government, that frequently issues notifications to evict citizens from a district, a villages, or from a whole area, where they live legally, according to the land law, to leave their houses and land, accusing those citizens of setting up illegal settlements on state land, claiming that the land was taken for development through concessions, sale, or by leasing it to private companies. When such things happened, they ordered hundreds of armed forces and workers to help protect those companies, by shooting and using machinery to remove the houses of citizens, and to hit and to jail them, offering them little compensation, and vacating them to live in new locations that are remote and insecure and lack infrastructure.

“In the meantime, ADHOC has released a statement about land issues, in regions where the citizens were accused and arrested, because the courts serve the interests of businesspeople and of companies. ADHOC voiced regret and concerns over land disputes, that are not solved in some provinces and cities by the authorities, making thousands of citizens to encounter problems, and resulting in family separations, as their representatives were continually accused and arrested over land disputes in Cambodia.

“The statement of ADHOC says that according to its note about unsolved land disputes, there are not less than 200 cases each year, and not less than 250 citizens were accused by provincial and city courts, which produced fake evidence to sentence them to go to jail for years. At least there are 150 representatives of citizens and land activists imprisoned each year. The accusations and arrests of those citizens result from the incompetence to solve land disputes by the authorities at all levels who are biased, and did not provide justice to citizens. They did this to serve the interests of businesspeople and of companies, where some officials back them in each case.

“It should be noted that land disputes have occurred continually in Cambodia relating to poor citizens facing businesspeople and some powerful officials, so that citizens were evicted by force, and evacuated from their houses, to grab their land for businesspeople and for companies.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1834, 16.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #363, 16.12.2009

  • The Cambodian Economy Is to Grow by 3% to 4% in 2010, [according to the 34th annual conference of the Federation of ASEAN Economics Associations in Phnom Penh]
  • The Director of the Sambok Khmum Radio [Mr. Mam Sonando] Said He Will Enter Politics Again [if the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party unite for the next term elections; he does not have the intention to form his own party]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2125, 16.12.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Injured 15 Persons of the Authorities at the Border [after a clash – but the Sam Rainsy Party denied this information]
  • The Cambodia-Vietnam Insurance Company Operates with Cambodian Angkor Air [in providing flight insurance]
  • Climate Negotiators in Race against Time [the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warns that negotiators face a race against time to prevent the meeting ending in failure, after developing nations staged a five-hour walk-out]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #556, 16.12.2009

  • World Bank: The Number of Poor People in Cambodia Increased by 3%, or More than 400,000, Adding to the Previous Number of Millions of People [because of the impact of the global economic crisis on the economy of Cambodia]
  • The Khmer Authorities’ Strange Procedures in Preventing Security for Mr. Thaksin in Cambodia [when he arrived at Phnom Penh to release the Thai spy, the Cambodian authorities allowed national and international journalists to take pictures and ask questiond without restrictions – but during his lecture on economics, his security was protected very strictly – journalists were not allowed to take pictures or even to listen to his lecture]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6832, 16.12.2009

  • A Beauty Contestant Winner Was Attacked with Acid to Destroy Her Beauty, [while she was in a hairdressing salon, by two unidentified men – Phnom Penh]
  • Twenty Four Kampuchea Krom People Seek Intervention from the Government to Live in Cambodia, after Thailand Sent Them Back

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #68, 16.12.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Promised to Develop the Cambodian Agriculture [by creating two model family farms], while Thailand Sets Conditions for Cambodia to End the Dispute [requesting to dismiss Mr. Thaksin as economic advisor and withdrawing the derogatory words insulting the Thai judicial system; but the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia said these conditions are nonsense]
  • China Warned the Refugee Organization [of the United Nations] in Cambodia Regarding [22] Uighur People [who are seeking asylum in Cambodia, saying, ‘It should not be a heaven for criminals’]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5074, 16.12.2009

  • The Chinese Company [KH Qinglong Mining Investment Group – phonetic] Presents an Investment Plan to Explore Minerals in Cambodia [on 2,000 square kilometers in Kampot and Preah Vihear]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra: Just by Exporting Rice Alone, Cambodia Could Earn US$1 Billion [he said during a meeting about agricultural development, at the government house, prepared by the Council for Development of Cambodia, suggesting to the Cambodian government to encourage the provision of loans to Khmer poor farmers to do cultivation, in order to maintain food security and especially to have surplus for export]
  • [About 400 people, including officials from the Ministry of Environment, representatives of civil society, and of other relevant institutions, students, and citizens:] Cambodia Demands that World Leaders Agree on a Fair-for-All Global Climate Agreement Soon

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1834, 16.12.2009

  • Mr. Ny Chakriya: The Provision of Land to Companies Is Pushing Citizens to Face Serious Problems

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How can the law be set aside? – Sunday, 13.12.2009

Posted on 15 December 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

The Mirror is, in principle, an instrument that tries to do what it’s name says: to mirror what is in the news – and a mirror sees everything. It is not selecting what to show and what not to show. This is a high goal for a press review – it cannot be realized in our publication in quantity; but in quality it has to try to reflect major trends, even if some of them contradict each other.

Since some weeks, and with increasing clarity, two different ways to refer to the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, can be observed:

  • The ousted former Thai prime minister, ousted by a military coup – compared to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar – his conviction for corruption is considered to be only a politically motivated move, he is considered as having created an economic model that assured him electoral victory, and therefore he is an appropriate adviser on economic affairs for the Cambodian political leadership and for Cambodia – and he is, after all, also an “eternal friend” of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
  • The fugitive former Thai prime minister was found guilty by the Thai Supreme Court and convicted to a two years prison sentence for corruption, helping his wife to buy an expensive piece of land in Bangkok, from public property into personal ownership, and way under the current market price. He had built up his telecommunications network to the strongest economic power outdoing other during his time in office. He therefore could afford to not only deposit a big fund for temporarily staying our of prison on bail, he could also afford to break his promise and lose this money – but he still is rich enough to travel around the world in a private jet aircraft, having achieved a (semi)permanent residence in exile in the financial center of Dubai.

He wielded power in 2003, during the anti-Thai riots which resulted in the ransacking of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and the destruction of other Thai property; later it was estimated that US$ 56 million went up in smoke during on night. But it was he who threatened the Cambodian Prime Minister to dispatch Thai paratroopers to Phnom Penh immediately, if the Cambodian government would not start to take action against the rioters within one hour. – Now again he wields power from exile, by successfully appealing to Prime Minister Hun Sen to pardon a Thai citizen accused to have been acting as a spy and convicted to 7 years in prison – most media describe that he did not appeal to the King who has the power to pardon, though the King finally granted the pardon. And this within three days – violating past practice that pardons for persons convicted to prison will only be granted after the prisoner has served at least two thirds of the time in prison – but in this case, only about 1% of the time had been served. No explanation has been given to the public why the Cambodian government is violating the history of it’s own practice.

The Thai government is, of course, obliged to try to implement verdicts of the Thai Constitutional Court, and therefore said it would request again for his extradition, but the Cambodian foreign ministry spokesperson Mr. Koy Kuong said such a demand would be “just a waste of time.” After all, Prime Minister Hun Sen had also said to consider the preset Thai government illegitimate, as it was formed on the basis of coalition agreements and not as a result of a direct popular vote. No wonder that the Thai government and other international observers ask how this can be reconciled with the traditional ASEAN practice of not interfering in the internal political structure of a member country.

A Cambodian Anti-Corruption Draft Law – still kept secret from the public, but already forwarded to the Assembly – has already passed the Cabinet in the morning of 11 December 2009. What will it’s provisions be? It was argued, since October 1993, when a draft first had reached the National Assembly, that an Anti-Corruption law cannot be operated without a new Penal Code. Now, there is a Penal Code.

One may try to imagine what the Cambodian governments reaction would be if another member state of ASEAN, like for example Malaysia, would entertain intensive communication with a major Cambodian opposition party in Cambodia, trying to change Cambodian court decisions

Nobody can hope for a solution by simply combining some arguments from both sides, like saying: “Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the criminal convicted by the Thai high court for personal embezzlement, the adviser of the Cambodian government, is now commenting on what a new Anti-Corruption Law should contain. And which kind of violations of laws for personal gain, which kinds of misuse of high level power should be excluded from corruption investigation, when they have been committed by highly placed persons…”

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Cambodia Spends About US$20 Million Each Year on Pesticides – Saturday, 12.12.2009

Posted on 12 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

“Phnom Penh: A secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Om Kimsea, said recently that according to a study, each year about 3,200,000 liters of pesticides are used, corresponding to about US$20 million, and 57% of those pesticides are applied to vegetables.

“Mr. Om Kimsea added that in agriculture, chemicals like anorganic fertilizer and agricultural pesticides are one of the most well known means farmers use due to their effectiveness. However, if those chemicals do not conform to proper technical standards [or if they are not used properly!!!], they might be hazardous to human health, to animals, and to the environment.

“Regarding this issue, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries is trying to find all necessary measures to deal with this complex problem.

“Mr. Om Kimsea went on to say that the Ministry has created a mixed program for crop management for training farmers in the skills to manage crops to grow well and to provide high yields by considering the sustainability of the production, its economic efficiency, and the protection of the citizens’ wellbeing and of the environment, aiming to guarantee food security and food safety. He continued to say that this program focuses on reducing the use of chemicals, especially of agricultural pesticides in agriculture, in order to boost sustainable agricultural practices. Besides, the Ministry cooperates with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Industry, and other relevant institutions regarding agricultural pesticides, their security, and the wellbeing of the citizens. He added that the Ministry works also with non-government organizations, national and international, to encourage the implementation of work related to this sector, to function efficiently and to improve gradually.

“He said that in the meantime, the Ministry is carefully checking international laws, such as the codes of procedures about the distribution and use of agricultural pesticides, like the Rotterdam Convention about chemicals and agricultural pesticides in international trade, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, in order to regularize and to expand the checking on trade and the use of agricultural pesticides in Cambodia.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2122, 12.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #360, 12.12.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Sent 24 Khmers from Kampuchea Krom to Cambodia [through the Poipet border crossing], and They Ask the Head of the Government for Asylum
  • A Greek Man Was Sentenced to Serve 5 Years in Prison for Debauchery with a Child [Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai ousted fugitive former prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra: I Want to Return to the Country to Serve the People, but I Do Not Want to Be Prime Minister [he stated, via live television, to his supporters, red-shirt demonstrators]
  • In America 10,000 People Died of A/H1N1 [and there are worldwide (?) more than 50 million cases of people infected with A/H1N1]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2122, 12.12.2009

  • Cambodia Spends About US$20 Million Each Year on Pesticides
  • The Anti-Corruption Draft Law Has Already Passed the Cabinet in the Morning of 11 December 2009 [the draft has been discussed and approved during a cabinet meeting and will be sent to the National Assembly]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #553, 12.12.2009

  • A Khmer Court Sentenced a Siamese [Thai] Spy to Seven Years in Prison, but Will Release Him in Less Than Seven Days
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Citizens Celebrated the 61st International Human Rights Day in Phnom Penh [mentioning difficulties as well as the desperate need for human rights respect for Khmer Kampuchea Krom people who are at home in Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6829, 12-13.12.2009

  • The Cambodian King Pardoned a Thai Convict; the Puea Thai Party Demands [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya and First Secretary of the Thai Embassy [in Cambodia] to Resign
  • Japan Granted US$170,880 to Three Provincial Departments of Education, Youth, and Sports

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5071, 12.12.2009

  • The Cambodian King Granted a Pardon for a Thai [alleged spy] Engineer; on Monday, He Will Be Released
  • Seeking Snails at a Ditch, Two Sisters [9 and 10 years old] Drowned [Kompong Thom]
  • A Taiwanese Boyfriend and Girlfriend Were Detained for Bringing Heroin for Their Friends in the Prey Sar Prison [Phnom Penh]

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