Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament – Saturday, 21.8.2010

Posted on 22 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: According to the first study by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, since the general elections in 1993, or within 17 years, only six ministers appeared at the parliament to clarify questions. But government officials explained that, based on the regulations, there clarifications can be given both directly and verbally, or through letters.

“Findings from the study were shown publicly in a press conference on 20 August 2010. The team leader of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, said that since 1993, probably only six ministers showed up to respond to questions of parliamentarians in the parliament. That means also that within one 3 years period there was only one minister making clarifications. Until now, the Prime Minister has never come to answer to questions from parliamentarians following Article 96 of the Constitution. It is different from other democratic countries where prime ministers and government members regularly appear to give clarifications in parliament.

Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the Chairman of the National Assembly.
The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person.

The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing.

The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received.

In case of verbal reply, the Chairman of the National Assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. If there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time-frame not exceeding one session.

The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the procedures for questioning and for inviting ministers to appear are difficult. Sometimes, only two months after a request letter was sent there is a response, and sometimes it takes even up to one year. Some ministers do not care about answering questions from parliamentarians.

“A parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, presented a study about government members who did not properly adhere to the principles of the Constitution, which set the rules for questioning and answering to questions of parliamentarians through letters, or straight and verbally.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that 132 letters with questions were sent to members of the government in 2009, but they responded to only 23%, or 39 letters, from Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. Within eight months of 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians submitted 47 letters to the government, but only 15 letters received a response.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘In 2009, we sent 24 letters to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and he responded to 13 letters. The Prime Minister answered more questions than others among the members of the government. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, received 21 letters from parliamentarians in 2009 and he replied to 9 letters, and in 2010, he received 8 letters and he responded to 2.’

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians sent 10 letters in 2009 and 2 more letters in 2010 to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Kim Kean Hor, but he did not respond at all. Also, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, did not respond to questions from parliamentarians.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that submitting letters to request clarifications and to invite members of the governments, including the head of the government, to appear to clarify questions from parliamentarians in the parliament itself allow the government time to defend itself and to present its achievements in the past. This also helps to encourages the government to work with responsibility. ‘We aim to strengthen the implementation of democracy and to consolidate national institutions.’

“Also, another statement was released by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians over the loss of their roles in the parliament of Cambodia. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians voiced strong concern about the possible disappearance of democracy in Cambodia, which is affecting national development and social tranquility more seriously.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians appeal to the ruling party to immediately check to fix all the limitations in order to appropriately implement the principles of multi-party democracy, as stated in the Constitution of 1993.

“Responding to the above mentioned concerns, a spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, said that to respond, there are two ways: responding by letter, or directly and verbally. So far, government officials frequently sent official letters, and sometimes they appeared directly in parliament to respond. He added that the government is formed by elections, and the Cambodian People’s Party, that won a massive support in the parliament, always rules the country following democracy and respecting the rights of the citizens, who are the voters. The government is not dictatorial or lawless. The government is on the right tract based on democracy. If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.

“A senior member of the Cambodian People’s Party and a long standing member of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party always obeys the laws and the Constitution since 1993. Also, [the president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin, often allows more Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians than those from the Cambodian People’s Party to express their opinions along with the participation of national and international organizations that carefully observe the proceedings.

“In addition, during the press conference in the morning of 20 August 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians announced that they have sent a letter to the US parliament and Senate to express their support for the United States of America adopting an amendment to financial legislation that requires US listed oil exploration companies operating in Cambodia to publicly disclose their expenditures and income. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians consider that this law helps to promote transparency in the investment and in the management of income from mines, and in the oil and gas sectors in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2333, 21.8.2010

  • Thailand Sent Letters to the Ten Members of ASEAN to Suggest How to Solve the Disputes with Cambodia Bilaterally
  • After an Electric Fault Occurred [producing toxic smoke] in the M.V Factory, 120 Workers Fainted [Kompong Chhnang]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7040, 21-22.8.2010

  • A Railroad Construction Company Asked the Authorities to Crack Down on the Stealing of Concrete Supports and of Iron Bars [Kampot]
  • The Ministry of Labor Warned It Will Take Legal Action against Companies with Irregularities in Sending Workers to Malaysia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Labor and 31 companies sending workers abroad]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3964, 21-22.8.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians and a Human Rights Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Expressed Regret over the Verdict against Chi Kraeng District Residents [nine citizens were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment over a land dispute, but they will serve only 17 months and the rest will be suspended – Siem Reap]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #36, 21.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet [Nguyễn Minh Triết]] Will Visit Cambodia [from 26 to 28 August 2010 in response to an invitation by the Khmer King]
  • Cambodia Does Not Accept a Bilateral Solution with Thailand [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Only One of the Students [countrywide] Gets an A Level, and 81.90% Passed [or 87,561 students among the 106,908 candidates passed the Grade 12 examinations]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

  • Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament
  • Ebony [2.377 cubic meters] and Wild Animals [about 166 kg, including snakes, big lizards, and turtles] Were Intercepted at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing [for export to Vietnam; no persons are yet caught – Kandal]
  • Scientific Evidence Shows that Chemicals Are Still Found in Food Sold at the Markets [affecting the health of the consumers – studies conducted by the Royal Academy]

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Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam – Tuesday, 17.11.2009

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 traveling back to Phnom Penh. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“According to a broadcast of a radio station based in Washington D.C. in the United States yesterday, about strong illegal logging of luxury wood in protected forested areas in a national park in Ratanakiri, bordering on Yuon [Vietnam], carried out by merchants colluding with some persons in the local authorities, an official, who asked not to be named, claimed there is collusion to open a Khmer-Yuon [Cambodian-Vietnamese] border crossing illegally to export luxury wood from Cambodia to be sold to Yuon merchants.

“According to this source, a Ratanakiri official, anonymly spoke about collusion to open an international crossing between the Ou Ya Dav district in Cambodia and a province’s district on the Yuon [Vietnamese] side of the border, during the first six months of 2009, leading to estimation that over 400 trucks transported trees, cut the Khmer natural forest, were transported by merchants and illegal business networks, to be sold to Yuon merchants who wait at the border.

“As an example of continuing loggings of luxury wood, a case was mentioned where merchants hired villagers to cut trees in Taveng district in Ratanakiri.

“The Phav village chief in Taveng Krom commune, Taveng district, Mr. Pel Hin, was quoted as saying that he noticed that merchants came to villages and hired poor villagers to cut valuable trees in the forest, and they then bought them from villagers. The village chief expressed concern about forest destruction, forests being resources of the state, and that the destruction might spread to the Vireakchey National Park, established by Royal Decree at the Kantuy Neak [dragon tail] region, bordering on Laos and on Yuon.

“The village chief said, ‘I am really concerned. When I attended some meetings, I told the meetings that there are companies buying and selling wood in my village.’

“The secretary of thhe Taveng Krom commune, Mr. Boeung, recognized that there are illegal loggings and then the transport of luxury wood, but he claimed that this had happened only during the last few months. He said, ‘I saw much luxury wood at Taveng Krom commune brought from Taveng Leu commune. Merchants brought it here to sell it.’

“The Taveng district’s military police chief, Mr. Keo Vichet, expressed regrets, as he has very few forces, and therefore he does not know such cases.

“However, according to direct monitoring by Radio Free Asia late last week in Phav village about illegal wood transactions, workers were seen transporting luxury wood; some had 10 cm by 15 cm width bars, 1 meter long, being transported from the village to the river, to be loaded in motor boats of merchants for exports.

“A worker said that he was hired by a local Chinese merchant in Vern Sai district, Nhok Thong, an illegal luxury wood merchant who hires poor villagers to enter to cut trees in the forest.

“The Taveng district governor, Mr. Kim Toeu, recognized that there are illegal wood businesses.

“Regarding this issue, Taveng Forestry Administration official in Ratanakiri recognized that there are such activities, involving merchants and some evil officials. He said about the loss of trees, ‘As for the activities and crimes in any specific district, those districts have to be responsible respectively.’

“Poor villagers from different villages, like Sieng Soy, Taveng Leu, Dambouk villages… have been contacted by merchants who have relations with some evil officials, using money to hire them to cut valuable trees in the forest and sell them to those merchants who go to buy trees in villages, such illegal activities happened repeatedly during recent months, as they are not afraid of the law.

“Those sources said also that many cubic meters of luxury wood were found, piled up at many places in areas near the Yuon border, in order to facilitate the transport in order to sell the wood to Yuon merchants who wait near the border crossing.

“The official of the province, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying that the illegal transport of wood is most actively done during the night. According to his estimation since June 2009, the luxury wood cut by hired poor villagers was loaded onto more than 400 trucks, to be transported for sale to Yuon merchants.

“They cannot understand why forest crimes destroying state resources still exist, even though Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised in 2001, with words like swearing an oath, that he would give up leading the government, if his government was not able to crack down on illegal logging and illegal transport starting from 1 January 2002.

“This seems difficult to understand, and observers notice that even Oknha Try Pheap, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, had been frequently accused by people in communities at different provinces, such as Pursat, of hiring poor people to cut valuable trees to be transported and sold to merchants from outside of the country.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #338, 17.11.2009

  • The Head of the Government Shook Hands for the First Time with President Obama in Singapore [both leaders agreed to intensify relations in order to promote economic and social development in Cambodia]
  • China Has Invested More Than US$6 Billion in Cambodia within 15 Years

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2100, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Troops at the Border Move towards Friendship [Thai army commanders had told the Khmer army commanders that they will be seek confrontation with the Cambodian troops]
  • Cambodia Has Received Investments Amounting to More Than US$1.5 Billion from Vietnam [in aviation, banking, oil, gas, agriculture, and tourism – according to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Tram Bac Ha]
  • UN Commissioner [Dr. Nafis Sadis]: Other Countries Should Learn from Cambodia about the Fight against AIDS [Cambodia reduced the occurence of AIDS from 2% in 1998 to 0.9% in 2006]
  • ASEAN-US Ties Become Closer with the Historic Summit [the USA promised to step up its cooperation with ASEAN, described as one of its important partners, to promote peace and security in the region]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #676, 17.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Fly from India to Cambodia on 19 October 2009 Crossing Siamese [Thai] Airspace, while Bangkok Prepared to Arrest Him

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

  • Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam
  • Protesters against the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [by 24 Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians and supporters] Marched in Front of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Residence [in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Considers Dissolving the Parliament to Hold New Elections while Yellow Shirt Demonstrators Are Accusing Thaksin Shinawatra as a Traitor, Selling National Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6807, 17.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Suspended Mr. Sam Rainsy Immunity over the Removal of Border Markers at Chantrea District [in Svay Rieng]
  • A M79 Shell Exploded among Yellow Shirt Demonstrators [government supporters], Injuring Twelve People [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #47, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodia Allowed a Thai Official to Meet the [Thai] Man Accused of Spying [by copying documents about the flight schedules of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be sent to Thailand] while There Is Still No Solution for the Diplomatic Disputes
  • Mr. Obama Stated that the United State and China Do Not Need to Be Adversaries [during their political history, they had been, but then got on with each other. They got on in some sectors, but not in all]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5049, 17.11.2009

  • Thailand Rejected Indonesia’s Role to Solve the Dispute with Cambodia
  • Cambodia Is Worried about Khmer Workers in Thailand, but the Thai Ambassador Said that There Is No Problem
  • Mr. Obama Encouraged Myanmar to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

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Japan Plans to Invest to Plant Trees in Cambodia – Monday, 16.11.2009

Posted on 18 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

“Phnom Penh: A high ranking official of the Japanese Embassy to Cambodia told the Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries that some Japanese big companies plan to invest in Cambodia to plant trees, and one company has already conducted a study for such an investment.

“This information was shared by the Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Kuroki Masafumi, when he met with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, in the evening of 12 November 2009. The chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hong Narith, told Rasmei Kampuchea on 13 November 2009, during the cordial meeting, that Mr. Masafumi told the minister that following the results from the first Mekong-Japan meeting in Japan recently, where the Action 63 projects, includes the Green Mekong project, had been mentioned, some big investment companies of Japan are interested in investing in tree plantations, and one company had already studied this in three provinces – Kompong Chhnang, Kampot, and Ratanakiri. The study was finished, and implementation will follow soon. The ambassador asked for support from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in this field.

“The chief of cabinet said that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries had expressed full support for this crucial project. Also, he said that there is no problem with land in Kompong Chhnang, as it is state land. In the meantime, the minister asked the ambassador to help attract investors to invest in manufacturing agricultural products for export, as there are not many investments in that sector.

“During the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries expressed his gratitude towards Japan for assisting Cambodia so far, also a lot in the field of agriculture. Practically, at present, Japan is creating an aquaculture development center in Sihanoukville, amounting US$10 million.

“A project of capacity building to monitor agricultural quality standards is very important for addressing food security, and for attracting other projects that help to deal with Cambodian agricultural market problems and to promote public health.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 15-16.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #3, 15-16.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Left Cambodia Safely while [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Failed to Get Him Arrested
  • US$11 Million Is Provided to the National Disaster Committee for Three Years [2009-2011; aid from the Japanese government, the European Union, and the World Bank]
  • The Director of a Water Filter Company Was Shot Dead by [anonymous] Gunmen [police concluded it is a case of rancor and seeks to arrest the perpetrators – Phnom Penh]
  • A Foreign [Swedish] Man Was Assaulted and Killed, and His Body Was Found in Kandal Stung District [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Kandal]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #20, 15-16.11.2009

  • Three Big Banks [the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia (BIDC), the Canadia Bank, and the Foreign Trade Bank] Joined to Provide US$33 Million in Loans to the Rural Development Bank for Paddy Rice Purchasing in 2009-2010
  • Cambodian and Laotian Deputy Prime Ministers [Mr. Hor Namhong and Mr. Thoung Loun Sisoulith] Had a Friendly Meeting to Talk about the Setting of Border Markers [both countries want to make the 121 temporary border markers already set – covering to 86% of the border, officially designated border markers]
  • A Cambodia Youth [Mr. Em Chanmakara] Won the Southeast Asian Awards for 2009 for Producing a Television Program with the Topic ‘Everybody Supports Children’
  • Because His Father Got Drunk [and committed domestic violence], a Son Attacked Him [together with two cousins] with a Knife with a Long Handle [and killed him – the son was arrested – Pursat]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #675, 16.11.2009

  • Some Businesspeople in Phnom Penh Live with Fear because [Phnom Penh police chief] Touch Naruth Is Incompetent [to prevent murder crimes against businesspeople]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #530, 15-16.11.2009

  • [The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Yim Sovann: Thaksin Shinawatra Has Nothing New to Say [about economic reforms for Cambodia, like the organizing of an investment atmosphere with competitors that obey the law]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6803, 16.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Rejected The Request [of the Sam Rainsy Party] to Delay the Meeting to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [to make way for the Svay Rieng Municipal Court to open an investigation regarding his participation in the removal of six temporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]
  • The Apsara Authority Removed More Than 600 Big and Small Buildings, Accusing Them of Violating the Angkor Resorts Area [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #46, 16.11.2009

  • The Cambodian Stock Market Building Will Be Opened on a Small Scale in Early 2010 [according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • Now Cambodia Should Be Included as a Member of APEC [a news source from Singapore said that Cambodia will become a member of APEC, if delaying measures by other members are not allowed]
  • ASEAN and the USA Asked Burma to Conduct Free Elections

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 15-16.11.2009

  • Japan Plans to Invest to Plant Trees in Cambodia
  • The Thai Embassy Is Worried about Security, but Cambodia Said It Should Not Worry about That [Cambodia will fulfill its obligation to protect the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh]
  • Embassy Delegation of the “ASEAN plus 3” [India and Australia] Who Came to Play Golf Were Warmly Welcomed at the Poipet Border Crossing
  • [Forty two] Cambodian Security Forces Set to Move to Fulfill a UN Mission [as peace keepers] to Chad and to the Republic of Central Africa

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Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law – Wednesday, 11.11.2009

Posted on 12 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

“Phnom Penh: A Source from the Thai News Agency (TNA) said on Tuesday that the Thai parliament decided to cancel a Cambodian-Thai memorandum of understanding, but senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia consider this as only a dream of people who do not know the law.

“According to a report from TNA published on Tuesday, 10 November 2009, the [Thai] parliament decided to terminate a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, signed in 2001. This decision was made after the Kingdom of Cambodia recently decided [by Prime Minister Hun Sen and a Royal decree] to appoint the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, as an economic adviser of the Royal Government and of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

TNA said that the Thai parliament decided to officially cancel the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Thai former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Surakiart Sathirathai, and the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, on 14 June 2001, though there has be no improvement at all within the eight years since it became valid.

“The head of the National Border Committee, Senior Minister Va Kimhong, spoke during a press conference held in the morning of 10 November 2009 at the Council of Ministers, where he said that the Memorandum of Understanding was agreed upon between the Royal Governments of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia about the overlapping zones at the seabed of the two countries in 2001. He added that the aims of this 2001 Memorandum of Understanding are:

  1. To seek an agreement for a treaty about overlapping zones; and
  2. To explicitly demarcate the sea border between Cambodia and Thailand.

“The Senior Minister explained the cause how these overlapping emerged, saying that because Cambodia drew a line in 1972, while Thailand also designated its seabed in 1973, so this overlapping zones emerged. The government had sought to negotiate since 1970 and 1971 to find a solution at the region of the later overlapping zones. He went on to say, ‘In fact, we again started negotiations since 1995 with a Deputy Prime Minister as the head of the negotiations at that time, during the first term of the Royal Government, but the talks failed, and only in 1999, 2000, and 2001, there came a situation to sign that Memorandum of Understanding. Its major goal was to agree to develop those overlapping zones, as well as to clearly demarcate the sea border.’

“A Source from [the Thai well known newspaper] The Nation said that recently, yellow shirt demonstrators [supporters of the current Thai government] of the Thai People’s Alliance for Democracy had submitted 11 documents, detailing the agreement between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, asking their Royal Government to check, and to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding. On Tuesday, the parliament of the Kingdom of Thailand decided to send this request to cancel this Memorandum of Understanding into the parliament for discussion and approval.

“Responding to questions of journalists about the intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdoms of Cambodia and of Thailand, Senior Minister Va Kimhong said that this canceling is only a dream of a group of people who do not know the law, and if Thailand had people with knowledge about the law, it would have been impossible to decide as they did.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #333, 11.11.2009

  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia, and [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Welcomed Him with Most Friendly Greeting, as Gestures for an Eternal Friend
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Sent [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Letter to Three Samdechs [Samdech Hun Sen, Samdech Heng Samrin – the president of the National Assembly, and Samdech Chea Sim – the president of the Senate], related to the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [Mr. Sam Rainsy’s letter claimed there were irregularities when the border markers were set]
  • An Exclusive Rice Import Company from Singapore [“ALM”] Comes to Cooperate with the Golden Rice Association of Cambodia [to invest in rice cultivation in Cambodia for export to Singapore]
  • The Russian Government Is Considering to Cancel the US$1.5 Billion Debt That Cambodia Owes [according to high ranking officials of the National Assembly that have just returned from a visit to Russia which Mr. Heng Samrin led]
  • Typhoon Ketsana Caused a Loss of US$140 Million [there were 43 deaths, 67 serious injuries, and 22,800 families lost their homes – according to the National Disaster Management Committee]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2095, 11.11.2009

  • Thailand Decided to Cancel a Memorandum of Understanding, and Va Kimhong Said It Is an Action of People Who Do Not Know the Law
  • In one Week Indonesia Will Exhibit Its Products in Cambodia [at the Mondial Center in Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #672, 11.11.2009

  • Nine Types of Special Food Was Prepared to Welcome Thaksin Shinawatra, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Eternal Friend, when He Arrived in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #525, 11.11.2009

  • Only Now the Government Discovers that Many Appointments Did Not Create Any Tasks to Do, and Waste National Resources

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6802, 11.11.2009

  • The Thai Parliament Meeting Had Disputes and Disagreements during the Discussion about the Intention to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about [maritime] Borders
  • Cambodia Welcomes Thaksin Shinawatra, while the Thai Deputy Prime Minister Announced that There Is No Plan to Close the Cambodian-Thai Border Crossings
  • Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [a Burmese elected democracy leader] Might Be Released for the 2010 Elections [according to the general director of the Ministry of Interior of Burma, Mr. Min Lwin]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #43, 11.11.2009

  • Cambodian-Thai Relations Became Tenser when Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia; Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Said, “I Do Not Come Here to Help Cambodia against Thailand”
  • The Authorities Prevented [24] Students [from different universities in Phnom Penh and in Svay Rieng] to Visit the Border in Svay Rieng [at the point where Mr. Sam Rainsy was accused of removing border markers; they claimed they had received high-level officials’ order]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5044, 11.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra [and former Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat] Landed in Cambodia in His Own Plane, and He Will Stay in Cambodia Two to Three Days;
  • Reactions Were Expressed against the Presence of Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Human Rights Party claimed that the presence of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Cambodia does not help the government with anything, but it will step up further tension between the Cambodian and Thai governments; however, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed it will help Cambodia’s economy]
  • POSCO E&C [a leading construction company from South Korea] Inaugurated an Occupational Safety Section for the Construction of High Rise Buildings along the River [it plans to construct one 45-storey building and two 42-storey buildings behind the Russian Embassy along the Basak River, worth about US$300 million – Phnom Penh]

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Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia – Thursday, 22.10.2009

Posted on 23 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635

“The National Assembly has adopted a demonstration law limiting demonstrations to not more than 200 people. This law is considered by the opposition parties as a restriction of the power of the people in Cambodia. However, government representative claimed that this new law helps maintain social stability.

“During the session of the National Assembly yesterday, 21 October 2009, 76 parliamentarians out of 101 raised their hands to adopt this demonstration law, while the parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party and from the Human Rights Party did not.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy told reporters in the morning of 21 October 2009, ‘At present the government cares only about cracking down on demonstrations and wants to eliminate the right of citizens who have reasons to protest.’ The people will get angry and feel pain when they want to present what they demand, but cannot do it though their demands are right. The government does not solve the citizens needs, but wants to intercept their presention.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy stressed that the Sam Rainsy Party wants to organize the country rightly, to eliminate the root causes of demonstrations, but the government just eliminates the demonstrations. Regarding the law limiting the number of people to only 200 to participate in a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that it is a ban anticipating the expression of the power of the people in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘They do not want that large scale demonstrations can be held. If large scale demonstrations are held, the state fears the power of the people. People take power to control the country to serve the real benefit of the people, but not to serve the benefit of any dictatorial party or any dictators or their groups.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the Sam Rainsy Party does not support this law, as it has gaps which the state could use as a pretext to prevent people from demonstrating peacefully. It abolishes citizens’ right to express their opinions through peaceful demonstrations.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, spoke to journalists expressing the same view as Mr. Sam Rainsy: that this demonstration law banishes people’s power in Cambodia, especially when citizens want to demonstrate to demand that leaders resign from their positions. He said, ‘For example, citizens may want to demonstrate over politics… to demand that some leaders resign.’

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that in countries that practice democracy, people can hold demonstrations to demand that some leaders leave their positions – which is called people’s power. While in Cambodia, it is now to be assumed that the Ministry of Interior will not allow this kind of manifestation, using the reasoning that it might be against national security, or against safety and public order. These are pretexts that governments use to prevent the people from demonstrating. Mr. Kem Sokha said that also the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians do not support this law.

“When asked whether this law interdicts people’s power or not, Mr. Kem Sokha said, ‘Of course. We see the direction. After we heard the words of the parliamentarians of the ruling party, it seems that they are afraid of the power of the people.

“A democratic regime is a regime where power can be changed peacefully, and leaders are established through general elections. But if the elected leaders act against what they had promised, citizens can demonstrate for a change of power.

“An investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that limiting the number of people who can participate in a demonstration is not right for a country that practices democracy.

“This demonstration law also requires demonstration leaders to inform the authorities in advance, and Mr. Oum Sam Ath explained that the need to request for a permission, and this 5-days in advance, requires then to wait to see whether the demonstration is permitted or not – which is a new restriction, including the limitation of the number of demonstrators. This law is not according to the concept of democracy.

“However, a representative from the Ministry of Interior claimed during the session of the National Assembly since a few days ago that this law ensures social stability.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Nuth Sa An, said that the Ministry will ask the government to develop a policy how to publicize this law among the citizens.

“Though this law limits the number of people to 200 who can join a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that this is not acceptable, and the Sam Rainsy Party plans to hold big demonstrations in the future. Mr. Sam Rainsy said that a planned big demonstration – though a specific date has not yet been set – is a demonstration to assemble tens of thousands of citizens victimized by land disputes from the provinces and cities countrywide.

“It should be noted that people’s power exists in many countries in the world, like in the Philippines, in Siam [Thailand], and in Indonesia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 51:
The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 October 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1416, 22.10.2009

  • Three Korean Men Raped a Karaoke Parlor Woman in a Room while She Was Drunk [they were arrested – Siem Reap]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #317, 22.10.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Shows the Green Light to Receive [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra and He Prepared a Residence [in Cambodia] for Him as a Friend
  • The Number of People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Has Increased to 202 Cases, and the Number of Deaths Remain at Three
  • The Iranian Government Asked to Step Up Cooperation with Cambodia [especially between the parliaments of the two countries – according to the Iranian ambassador to Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2078, 22.10.2009

  • 143 Countries Promised to Support the Cambodian Candidacy as a Member of the World Heritage Committee
  • A House Was Burnt Down Completely because the Firefighter Trucks Did Not Come, though They Had Been Called [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

  • Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer edition], Vol.1, #31, 22.10.2009

  • The Civil Aviation Authorities Will Write a Letter to the Government to Permit Siem Reap Airways to Fly Again
  • Cambodia Cannot Sell Rice to the Philippines this Year [because there is high local demand after typhoon Ketsana hit Cambodia]
  • Burma Rejects Request [of ASEAN] to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5027, 22.10.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech [Hun Sen]: Mr. Thaksin Can Come to Cambodia Anytime He wants and I Prepare a House to Welcome Him
  • Exclusive Interview of Rasmei Kampuchea with the South Korean President, Lee Myung-Bak [he said ‘Samdech Hun Sen cares very much about the development of the Cambodian economy, and both of us have similar views and intentions on many problems;’ the investment by Korea in Cambodia increased 75 times within 12 years from 1997 to 2009; Mr. Lee Myung-Bak is a close friend of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and he had been nominated as advisor to Mr. Hun Sen in 2000]
  • Cambodia Reacts against some Thai Members of Parliament for Suggesting to Prevent Cambodia from Becoming a Member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1813, 22.10.2009

  • A Promise Was Made Again [by government officials from the Cambodian People’s Party] to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law by the Middle of Next Year

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During the Three Quarters of 2009 so Far, 61% of Rape Victim Were Underage Persons – Saturday, 10.10.2009

Posted on 11 October 2009. Filed under: Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

“Phnom Penh: The increasing number of rapes indicates that Khmer tradition is falling apart under the influence of bad foreign culture, spread through porn videos played at some coffee shops, and through drug abuse.

“Based on news from five local newspapers, Koh Santepheap, Rasmei Kampuchea, Kampuchea Thmey, The Phnom Penh Post, and The Cambodia Daily, information collected by End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia – ECPAT-Cambodia – shows in a Media Analysis of Rape, Trafficking for Sexual Purpose, Indecent Cases in Third Quarter 2009 [in Khmer] that there were 69 cases of rape involving 70 victims. To tally the numbers within the three quarters of 2009, there were 216 rape cases and 225 victims, where 137 of them, 61%, affected underage persons. It should be noted that an Australian woman, a tourist, also became a rape victim. [ECPAT-Cambodia is a member of the international network End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes – ECPAT International.]

“Compared to the corresponding period in 2008 with 211 cases, there were 5 cases more. The provinces and cities with a high number of rapes are Battambang with 43 cases, Phnom Penh 22 cases, Kompong Cham 19 cases, Kandal 18 cases, Pursat and Banteay Meanchey each 17 cases, Kompong Speu 12 cases, Takeo 11 cases, and the other cases in other provinces. There were 6 cases of rape-and-murder, where one young girl was raped by seven teenagers living in the same village and then murdered cruelly by cutting her throat and stabbing her several times.

“These inhuman acts were done by 261 suspects, among whom 20 were underage people. Most of the crimes were committed by Khmers, but there were also some cases involving others: 2 Koreans, 3 Vietnamese, 2 Thais, 1 Cambodian Muslim, and 1 case of a woman. Notably, gang rapes [where several teenagers raped one girl or woman] add up to 21 cases, where 2 to 7 perpetrators were involved in the gang-rape cases. There were 15 cases where both the victims and the suspects were underage people. As for the relations between the victims and the suspects, there were 103 cases where the victims were raped by their neighbors in the same villages, in 40 cases by family members and relatives, in 35 cases by people knowing each other, in 9 cases a boyfriend raped his girlfriend, and in 24 cases there is no report about the relationship. As for the law, 217 suspects were arrested, and 147 cases were sent to be solved by the counts, 56 cases were under further investigations by police, in 39 cases the suspects escaped, in 2 cases the suspects were released on bail, and 1 case was addressed out of the court system. There was only one case with a comparatively high verdict, in which the court indicted the suspect for rape, and the perpetrator then was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of Riel 4 million [approx. US$975].

“There were some factors reported which were involved frequently in rapes cases, where there were 69 cases where the perpetrators used special opportunities, 47 cases were planned, 22 cases involved drug abuse and alcohol, 6 cases resulted related to watching porn movies and pictures, and for other cases no such circumstances were reported. There were 65 cases resulting from a situation where the victim stayed alone, 35 cases where the victim trusted to go with the suspect, 32 cases happened where the victims were attacked while sleeping, and 20 cases happened while the victims went out for a walk at night.

“During this time, there were 5 cases of human trafficking victimizing 8 women and 5 underage girls, 1 person was 1 Vietnamese. Compared to the same period in 2008, there was a decline of 3 cases. There were 8 suspects, including 1 Chinese man, and 2 were women. Four of them were arrested, and 3 were sent to be prosecuted by the court. Two suspects were under police investigation, and one escaped. There were no reports about how the suspects were convicted by the courts. Places of human trafficking are the road from Takeo to Banteay Meanchey, the city of Phnom Penh, Pailin, and Battambang.

“Within the same period, there were 11 cases of producing child pornography, involving 12 victims, where 10 were girls between the ages of 5 and 17. Among the 12 victims, 2 were Vietnamese and 10 were Cambodian. Involved in these cases were 11 suspects from age 19 to age 68, and most of them are tourists from America, England, France, Japan, and Switzerland. Nine of them were arrested and convicted to serve 3 years in prison. Those cases occurred in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kandal.

“ECPAT-Cambodia noticed that there was a slight increase in the number of rapes, and a slight decrease in the number of human trafficking, based on the information in those newspapers. But the number of victims who were underage is alarmingly high. Also there were cases of extreme cruelty like gang rapes and murders, while the number of suspects that were prosecuted is low. Therefore ECPAT-Cambodia appeals to relevant organizations and institutions, especially to the Royal Government of Cambodia, to strengthen law enforcement by the courts and the police, and to make the related laws widely known to the citizens. All parents have to be very careful about the safety of their sons and daughters, especially when they are very young.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #67, 10-11.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #307, 10.10.2009

  • Radio Free Asia Dismissed [two more staff members:] Sam Borin and San Sovityak
  • The Cambodian Red Cross Has US$570,000 to Assist Citizens Suffering from the Flood
  • Robbers Armed with AK Rifles Robbed Jewelry [worth approx. US$2,000] and Injured a Man Seriously [Kompong Cham]
  • Eighty Countries Support the Cambodian Candidacy as Member of the World Heritage Committee [at the 35th UNESCO General Conference]

Note:

During the last meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in June 2009, the following countries were represented on the committee:

Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, United States of America.

While there are at present 851 sites registered in 141 countries, the World Heritage Committee can have only 21 members.

According to its rules, there cannot be only countries on the Committee which have registered World Heritage Sites, it is not the primary task of committee members to defend the cases of their countries. Countries which want to be on the committee have to offer their services, according to the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, to fulfill the following tasks:

“to work for harmonious synergy among the Organization’s three main legal instruments for cultural diversity:

  • the World Heritage Convention of 1972;
  • the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003; and
  • the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO in 2005.”

In addition, the members of the World Heritage Committee will have to work more on developing the following two fields:

  • “to develop the complementarity of science and culture, notably in the 80 sites which carry the twin labels of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program and World Heritage, and
  • to reinforce the link between biodiversity and cultural diversity.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2068, 10.10.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Powerful Who Protect Gangsters Must Be Punished
  • The Minister of Water Resources Considers Typhoon Ketsana as the Most Disastrous Ever for Cambodia [destroying infrastructure and crops]
  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections (COMFREL) Is Concerned that Relocated Citizens [in the context of clearing sites where they used to live, to make place for business and high rise housing developments] Do Not Have the Right to Register for the Elections
  • A Journalist and His 4-Year-Old Son Were Killed in a Traffic Accident [they were hit by another motorbike – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #506, 10.10.2009

  • [Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian] Mr. Cheam Yeap: An Anti-Corruption Law Could Not Be Created for Many Years, because the National Assembly and the Government Sent Its Drafts Back and Forth [but he said that it will be adopted within the first six months of 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #67, 10-11.10.2009

  • During the Three Quarters of 2009 so Far, 61% of Rape Victim Were Underage Persons
  • One Hundred More People Died in Landslides in the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5017, 10.10.2009

  • The Defamation Complaint of Samdech Hun Sen [against Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Will Be Heard Again on 28 October 2009
  • Siem Reap Town Became Like a Water Reservoir, after a Dam, Surrounding the Town, Had Been Built [improperly]
  • Nearly 2,000 Workers of the Tac Fat Factory Are Striking for Two Days with No Solution [after the factory had closed – Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Prosecuted Six People and Sent Them to Serve Six Years in Prison for Campaigning for [multi-party] Democracy
  • It Is Surprising! Obama Received the Nobel Peace Prize! [in 2009 for his hard effort to strengthen international diplomatic developments and cooperation among the people]

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Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak – Friday, 13.3.2009

Posted on 16 March 2009. Filed under: Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

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

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], there are at present more than 1,000 trade unions of workers, including factory trade unions, tourism industry trade unions, construction workers trade unions, and informal economic sector trade unions. However, even though there are many trade unions, their freedom is still limited, they face discrimination from union to union, like threats and restrictions of their freedom of expression.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said, ‘There are surely many trade unions, but many of them do not have members at garment factories. Nevertheless, the Cambodian Federation of Trade Unions with the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers as a member has done a lot of work to demand different, improved working conditions for garment workers, especially also demands for salaries.’

“Mr. Rong Chhun added ‘If all trade unions unite into one, demands by workers of trade unions will be stronger. As for now, there are two kinds of unions, among them only a small number of trade unions work for garment workers, while a large number of trade unions are created just to have names, but there are no members from the factories in those trade unions.’

“A high ranking official of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Cheat Khemara, said that most disputes in factories happen, because demands of some trade unions are against the labor law, like the rate of major salary changes of garment workers, or disputes erupt when factory owners could not solve problems since the demands are against the law. If garment workers till trust those who provoke them without checking the labor law, both garment workers and owners, their employers, will lose benefits and the production of the garment industry, known to be a major force that made it possible for the Cambodian economy to grow so far, drops also.

“Mr. Khemara went on to say, ‘Activities which are against the law, do not strengthen law enforcement, and are burdened with individual interests that are against the development of the national economy.’

“The president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘At present, there are many trade unions of workers, but they do not have much substance.’ She explained that trade unions are not strong, because most of them are not independent, and they are under political influence.

“It should be noted that trade unions are weak because they do not yet have developed mutual solidarity, and sometimes, there is infiltration and fractionalism imported from outside. Also, all demands by trade unions seem not to be strongly focused by factory owners and by the government. As for the freedom of expression as well as to march and to demonstrate on a large scale, these activities are barred.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Civil Society Recognizes that There Are Many Trade Unions of Workers, but They Are Weak
  • [Former commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Becomes [the tenth] Deputy Prime Minister, and [deputy national military police commander] Chhin Chanpor Becomes Deputy Commander of the Army [after the National Assembly provided a vote of confidence]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: An Advisor to [President of National Assembly and Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin Used a Weapon to Warn US Embassy Officials [the Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naruth, said that this person is identified, he works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this case was already been reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because the US Embassy lodged already a complaint]
  • The South Korean President [Mr. Lee Myung-Bak] Plans to Visit Cambodia in 2009
  • Pyongyang Will Launch a Satellite on 8 April 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1896, 13.3.2009

  • An Additional Punishment of 16 Years Imprisonment Was Added to Heng Pov, so that His Imprisonment Is Increased to 74 Years and 6 Months; His [five] Accomplices Received Additional 15 Years Imprisonment Each [for conspiracy to murder the commander of the National Military Police, Mr. Sao Sokha – based on an anonymous death threat letter]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #363, 13.3.2009

  • Documentary Movie about the Acid Attack on Ms. Tat Marina [known to have had an affair with a high ranking official] Was Shown in Geneva
  • [The big soccer betting company] CamboSix Demands US$12 Million from the Hole-in-Basket Government for Contract Violation [because their contract, valid until 2011, was canceled]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3710, 13.3.2009

  • Income from Garment Industry Declined by US$180 Million Compared to [January] 2008

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4844, 13.3.2009

  • The National Assembly Provided a Vote of Confidence for Ten New Members of the Royal Government [with 86 votes in favor among 87, and the opposition parties absent]
  • The National Election Committee Affirms Again that Only Four Parties Will Participate in the [District and Provincial/City] Council Elections [the Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and the Sam Rainsy Party]
  • There Are About 10 Mobile Phone Companies and More Than 4 Million Mobile Phones [according the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1671, 13-14.3.2009

  • Opposition Parties Boycott the Meeting of the National Assembly to Conduct a Vote of Confidence to Assign New Members of the Government

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Interview between Koh Santepheap and the Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, Regarding the International Women’s Day 8 March – Thursday, 5.3.2009

Posted on 9 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

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

Norbert Klein

“1. What is the meaning of 8 March?

“The International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day that women around the world celebrate to commemorate and welcome achievements obtained after struggling for the equality between men and women. These struggles took place during the 19th century in European countries [and the USA] while women in those countries were oppressed, exploited, and forced to be sex slaves. The United Nations celebrates this day and many counties mark it as a national holiday. As women in all continents, often separated by national borders, different races, and by different religions, cultures, economies, and political systems, gather to celebrate their day of commemoration, they can recall the traditions representing at least nine [reference not given for 90 year] decades of struggles for equality, justice, peace, and development.

Note:

It is remarkable how the present commemoration of this history, with early reference to the political struggle of women – initially women textile workers – for economic, political, and social emancipation of women, lost part of its memory, in some countries even turning into a Women’s Day celebration, where the political history is suppressed and replaced by a vague mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day.

The early history was clearly a history of political struggle [most data from the UN website mentioned above]:

  • 1909 – The Socialist Party of the USA organized the first National Woman’s Day which was observed across the United States on 28 February 1909.
  • 1910 – The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honor the movement for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal voting rights for women.
  • 1913-1914 – As part of the peace movement around the beginning of World War One, 1914-1918, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies to protest the war.
  • 1917: Aware of the sufferings of the war, women in Russia protested and organized strikes for “Bread and Peace” on 8 March – the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Four days later, the Russian head of stage, the Czar, abdicated, and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.
  • 1945 – The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men.
  • 1975 – International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day.
  • 1977 – Only then, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

Nowadays in Cambodia, the major part of the industrial work force, creating a considerable share of export earnings, are women textile workers. There is ample reason to remember a much earlier section of the social struggles of women. In 1836, the first big strike of women textile workers ever was organized in the USA – and this was in Lowell, Massachusetts. This is now a town of 105,000 people – about 40,000 of them being Cambodian immigrants. Lowell is the second largest “Cambodian” city in the USA, after Long Beach in California.

Are the Cambodian women in the textile industry, fighting for their rights, aware of this historical coincidence? Are the Cambodians in Lowell aware of the historical role of their city of Lowell in the struggle for equal rights for women and men, and of the situation of the women in the textile industry of Cambodia today?

This “Cambodian” US city was the place of the first massive strike of women in the world, The Lowell Mill Girls Go on Strike in 1836, when 1,200 to 1,500 girls walked in procession through the streets, singing their special song:

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I –
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh ! I cannot be a slave,
I will not be a slave,
For I’m so fond of liberty
That I cannot be a slave.

The reference to slavery was clearly a reference to their working condition – there is no reference in the records about the history of the International Women’s Day that the political struggles considered or included the situation of prostitution and the related sexual exploitation of women.

“2. How important is 8 March for Cambodian women?

“Cambodia marks the International Women’s Day of 8 March as a national holiday. To women, 8 March is very important. 8 March is the day when many women assemble to express their opinions, address issues, and discuss problems, in order to seek proper solutions. Also, accomplishments by women, and different achievements of work are presented.

“8 March is not the only day concerned with women’s rights, though some opinions refer to it as if it were the only day that women can address exercising their rights. This idea is wrong. Women’s rights are human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 1, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…’ Thus, women’s rights and human rights have to be implemented every time, throughout the life of human beings. Like women worldwide do it, Cambodian women use 8 March as the day on which women struggle with the government to define the agenda of work and to raise questions about different policies to support the equality between men and women.

“3. Previously, what did you organization, the Open Institute, do, related to 8 March? What programs will the Open Institute organize this year for this day?

“In 2008, we organized discussions through electronic messages like Internet blogs, joint mailing list – like gender@lists.open.org.kh, a discussion forum via electronic messages – about women’s problems and gender awareness. We compiled a report “Observations on Women’s News Published,” it is accessible at http://women.open.org.kh/km/monitoring [only in Khmer], and this was done in cooperation with the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, government institutions, and local non-government organizations to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

“In 2009, the organization defined the topic ‘Women Involved in Developing the Economy and in Social Affairs’ and will organize some activities:

  1. Publish articles related to the International Women’s Day: The Women’s Program will cover news about activities of institutions and of organizations that do women-related work.
  2. Editorial: An editorial will be published focusing on the above topic.
  3. Cooperate with the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, government institutions, and local non-government organizations to celebrate the International Women’s Day.
  4. Discussions via communication refer to the Women’s Web Portal [only in Khmer] from 20 February to 13 March 2009 about the topic ‘Women Involved in Developing the Economy and in Social Affairs’ through Internet blogs, online forums, and joint mailing list, as well the issuing certificates of appreciation for certain participants. For detailed information please go to: http://women.open.org.kh/files/8%20March/Announcement [only in Khmer].
  5. Opinion poll on the Women’s Web Portal: ‘Did Women really involve themselves in developing the economy and in social affairs?’
  6. Sending messages by phone: ‘Promote Women by Using the Web Portal about Women’ http://women.open.org.kh

“4. Besides 8 March, what programs does the Open Institute have to help to promote women’s rights in Cambodian society?

“We organize:

Women’s Forum Meetings: They are conducted with the aim to coordinate discussions about different challenges of women regarding gender issues. The meetings provide opportunities for women to gather, and they promote cooperation among women’s institutions, the government, and relevant institutions, to find solutions for women’s issues, so that women’s conditions improve.

Workshops: Through these workshops, the findings and comments from the women’s forums will be published, and addressed to government institutions, women’s networks and organizations, the media, and the public, in order to look for joint solutions which support and encourage gender equality in Cambodia.

Discussions about communication means on the Women’s Web Portal: to encourage discussions about gender issues in Cambodia through:

  1. a joint Mailing List: gender@lists.open.org.kh [Khmer and English]
  2. blog: http://women.open.org.kh/km/blog [Khmer and English]
  3. online forum: http://women.open.org.kh/km/forum [mostly Khmer]

“These discussions offer opportunities to gender activists, experts in law, rights, and researchers, the media, and individuals, to meet via electronic means and to step up cooperation, and expand the culture of sharing information between institution and institution, and institutions and individuals.

“5. There is one point in the women’s program of the Open Institute focusing on the strengthening of the technological capacity of women in communication, and in information technology, for women. How important is this point?

“At present, technology, communication, and information technology advance dramatically in Cambodia, and news are crucial in strengthening women’s competence. Technology, communication, and information technology can be used for searching, receiving, and publishing news. Most women in the Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, are not encouraged to use present technology, communication, and information technology, making them not a major source of news and of knowledge.

“Technology, communication, and information technology are used to empower women, such as the provision of training and the enhancement of women’s competence to the challenges of the labor market. Through technology, communication, and information technology, they can form networks between women and men from community to community, and from person to person, engaging in communication without discriminating borders or between different races. Women can share their knowledge, their work experiences, successes, and problems with men, to prove that women are also involved in development tasks and in social development, and to make men understand more about the achievements and efforts of women, about different requirements between men and women due to their different sex which is defined biologically, and about challenges for women. This sharing contributes to reduce gender stereotypes, and to reduce discrimination against women gradually, so as to reach gender equality in all sectors.

“6. Regarding women’s work, how does the Open Institute cooperate with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and with civil society?

“Women and gender issues are international problems. Therefore, they need to be solved globally with the participation from all institutions and races. Likewise, the Open Institute has to cooperate also with other organizations and institutions to implement this task. Several organization have joined to build up women’s competence, encourage gender equality, bring together analysts and seek solutions for women’s issues, by cooperating with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Open Institute has participated as a member of the gender technical working team organized by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, with the participation by representatives from all ministries, from local and international organizations, and from United Nations Development Fund for Women.

“As a permanent member of the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Cambodia section, which is a network consisting of 70 organizations as members, the Open Institute plays an important role and fulfills important obligations, such as to publish news countrywide about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In addition, we are also involved in contributing some points to the concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Cambodia.

“7. In its strategic and operational plans, what did the Open Institute define as the basis to motivate Cambodian women to join in developing the nation?

“The encouragement of more women to join in developing the nation is a strategic plan of the organization, as stated in the aims of the organization: ‘To promote gender equality by ensuring that all program areas equally benefit women and men.’ Therefore, we have a program Women Empowerment for Social Change, by which we created successful cooperation between organizations working related to women and their rights, through the provision of information about rights, the provision of training about technology, and about communication and information technology. These things are to help build up capacity and skills for women, help women’s work become more efficient and more challenging in the labor market.

“In the meantime, we organize women’s forums which are held every two months, so that women from different institutions and with different skills meet each other to discuss issues and find out joint solutions for their issues. We organize also workshops to produce publications addressed to the public and to relevant institutions about the results of discussions during the forums, such as different findings and comments provided during the discussions, in order to look for different policies supporting the equality between men and women. When women earn support and have sufficient capacity, women will be confident and dedicate themselves more to the development of the economy and of the society.

“8. Based on your point of view, what are major challenges and obstacles against the promotion of women’s rights in Cambodian society?

“The major obstacle against the promotion of women’s rights is a general opinion in society toward women, and the context of a (Khmer) social structure with men as controllers, which values men more than women, and even though we have the Constitution and different laws protecting women’s rights, and the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, which sets the strategic goal to encourage gender equality, there are many other obstacles, such as the weak implementation of laws.

Note:

The Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, a basic policy paper presented by the Prime Minster in 2004, refers to GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT under 2.5 Other Cross-Cutting Programs, subsection 6. GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT.

“Especially, Prime Minister Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen also called on all institutions of the ministries for gender mainstreaming in all policies and programs. Thus, we see that by law, Khmer women are protected and valued. But the practical implementation is not what the law states.

“In Cambodian social structures, men lead almost all sectors, including the family. Most men are breadwinners and are considered to be the head of the family. Therefore, all decisions are mostly made by men. Because of this culture and society, women are not encouraged to go to school or to continue their education to higher levels, and are seldom offered opportunities for training like men. This leads most women to have lower education than men, and it hinders women to hold high positions.

“Hence, at the workplace, it is seen that most work is organized and decided by men, and most men are in dominating positions; as for women, they do lower class work, which leads to the situation that up to 70% of the total labor force are women. Though Khmer women have been eligible to vote and to stand as candidates in elections since 1955, the number of women involved in politics and in leadership positions is still limited. Women hold only about 14% of seats resulting from elections; and only 7% of women lead any institutions of the ministries. This reflects the imbalance of power between men and women. Furthermore, for society to acknowledge women’s achievements, women have to do twice of the men’s work at the workplace or in society; women and women’s work are not valued, and women’s leadership is not trusted. This factor makes women reluctant, and to have less self-confidence.

“9. Are there solutions for those challenges or obstacles?

“We must have solution as a strategy and as a system, so that women can fully gain the benefits from laws and policies of the government, which contribute to change women’s conditions in Cambodia. To promote women’s rights, to encourage gender equality, and to encourage more participation by women in economy, politics, and society, the government – by cooperating with different partnership organizations and non-government organizations – must have, and strictly implement, the following policies:

  • Apply gender mainstreaming in all policies at national and sub-national levels
  • Strictly enforce different treaties and international covenants, for which Cambodia is also a signatory country, that are the basis to protect women’s rights
  • Provide opportunities for women to more regularly take part in discussions about drafts of different policies, about the division and management of resources, about projects in the national budget, and in different processes of decision making
  • Create systems for jobs and implement actual methods to encourage equal opportunities for men and women, and to encourage the provision of skills for women to work in enterprises by connecting different markets
  • Encourage insurance policies for safety at work, and establish a legal system which results in better salaries for women
    Encourage policies to fully empower women
  • Encourage girls to learn as much as possible and to study with the same high goals as boys. Doing so helps also to cut down migration, exploitation, and sexual slavery.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6593 on 4.3.2009, and #6594, on 5.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 March 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1889, 5.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: If the Cambodian People’s Party Loses the Elections, Thousands of Development Projects Might Be Halted
  • Owners of Micro-Finance Institutions Dismiss Sam Rainsy Party’s Parliamentarian [who had suggested to suspend or delay confiscating houses and land of farmers, while prices of agricultural products drop dramatically – they said that if they did, their institutions would not have money to repay foreign countries, and they claimed that 99% of citizens who had asked for loans can repay their debt]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.357, 5.3.2009

  • A Successor to Replace Mr. Yash Ghai [the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia], a Former Challenger of Strong Man Hun Sen, Is Found [Professor Surya Prasad Subedi, Nepali, is assigned as the new Special Representative in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6594, 5.3.2009

  • Interview between Koh Santepheap and the Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, Regarding the International Women’s Day 8 March
  • Four Political Parties [the Cambodian People’s Party, the Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party] Register on the Election List [to join district and provincial/city elections planed to be held on 17 May 2009]
  • The Authorities Crack Down on Internet Shops [running online video games] Which Addict Students
  • Australian Embassy Provides 15,000 Australian Dollars to the Special Olympics in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3703, 5.3.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Leaves to Tell the Inter-Parliamentary Union that the Khmer National Assembly Does Not Obey the Law and the Constitution [since it has not restored his immunity although he had paid a fine to the National Election Committee that had already withdrawn the complaint against him]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4837, 5.3.2009

  • Prime Minister Initiates to Eliminate the National Congress from the Constitution
  • Note:
    The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia established an annual event, which was never held.

    THE NATIONAL CONGRESS

    Article 147:

    The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.

    Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.

    Article 148:

    The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
    It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.

    Article 149

    The National Congress adopts recommendations to the Senate, the National Assembly, and to the Executive branch for reflection.
    The organization and operation of the National Congress shall be determined by law.

  • Because a Factory Owner Has Not Released Salaries for Five Months, Workers Ask for Help from Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] and from Her Excellency [Bun Rany Hun Sen – Kandal]
  • Cambodian Prime Minister Asks ASEAN to Play an Important Role in Bilateral Disputes in the Region
  • Banks in Cambodia Have Total Worth of More Than US$4 Billion

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The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with – Tuesday, 10.2.2009

Posted on 11 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to uphold the decision that the complaint of the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, the Brother Number 2 of the Khmer Rouge regime, will not be dealt with. This is based on a judgment by the deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on 5 February 2009. This judgment was published on Sunday.

“Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan, responsible for handling the case, told foreign defense lawyers of the former president of the Khmer Rouge National Assembly, that the complaint regarding corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will not be taken up to be settled.

“Yesterday, on Monday evening, 9 February 2009, Mr. Sok Kalyan clearly explained the decision, that the corruption allegations case will not be taken up, because the evidence does not state that a crime is imminent, and the perpetrators are not known.

“Deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan added that normally, when deciding to take up a case, a prosecutor decides to address a fact by pointing to individuals involved in a crime. But checking all evidence in the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, nothing indicates that a crime is imminent to happen in relation to the accusation about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Mr. Sok Kalyan added that another point is that the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers is a defamatioin complaint and does not point out why individuals are suspects in this corruption case. They say that it was just heard that there was corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but there is no document to prove the nature of what is called corruption. And it does not point out clearly to the individuals suspected of receiving bribes.

“This refusal to take up a corruption case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was made after the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had summoned Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers to question them, to defend their case one or two times, and he had planned to summon many other witnesses for questioning.

“Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said as a plaintiff that Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers are surprised that the Municipal Court decided not to take up the case. He had met with the deputy prosecutor, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on Wednesday [4 February 2009] morning, and he had been told that there were plans to question many other witnesses. However, within just 24 hours, this decision was reversed.

“Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers have not yet decided how to appeal this decision. Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said that the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea must think carefully, before they appeal, as they have two more months to present a complaint to the Appeals Court, to take up the corruption complaint at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be dealt with.

“However, finally Mr. Sok Kalyan concluded that the a decision not to work on this corruption complaint is possible because there is no imminent pressure. This is so, because the prosecutor checked the different procedures based on evidence, and there is no evidence proving an immediate danger of crimes being committed, as had been the original accusation.

“On 8 January 2009, the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, Mr. Michael Pestman, Mr. Victor Koppe, and the assistant lawyer Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, as plaintiffs, lodged a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. In the complaint the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea asked to clarify corruption allegations at the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. They claimed that corruption would affect the process of hearings of the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Talk about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal started in early 2007, when the Open Society Justice Initiative released a corruption report. But officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the Cambodian side, as well as government officials, denied it and considered this corruption scandal to be just a claim without a basis facts.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #10, 10.2.2008

  • Mr. Hun Sen Curses Critics Distorting Facts to Fall into the 800th Level of Hell [cursing civil society, non-governmental organizations, and opposition parties that criticize the Cambodian government, saying that it lets some local companies backed by powerful officials to use armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land and throw them out into the suburbs, and criticize that foreign aid for Cambodia is wasted, and corruption makes citizens poorer and poor, resulting in a big gap between the rich and the poor]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #114, 10-11.2.2009

  • Some Casinos Let Khmers Enter Which Is against the Prime Minister’s Order
    National Real Estate Appraisal Association of Cambodia Is Inaugurated under the Presidency of [Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1868-#1879, 8-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Denies that [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin Is in Koh Kong [as claimed by Bangkok Post]
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Calls on Monks to Attend the 2nd Anniversary Demonstration Celebration this Morning [to remember a demonstration held by Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Kleang province [now Sóc Trăng province] in Vietnam
  • A Bad Forest Fire at Southern Australia Killed 128 People [present estimate may be up to 230]
  • Russia Allows the United States of America to Transport Military Supplies through Russia to Afghanistan


Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #338, 10.2.2009

  • [1,055] Staff of the Railway Station Demand 20% Increase of Their Salaries Following Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Words [who had promised that their salaries would be increased]
  • The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia – NICFEC – and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMREL – Will Not Deploy Observers for the [district and provincial/city council] Elections on 17 May 2009 [they said that their organizations are facing financial problems, and COMFREL added that these indirect elections are useless]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #340, 8-10.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Summon Three-Star General Heng Hong to Question Him about Taking another Man’s Wife [in view of the new monogamy law]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6573-#6573, 9-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Recommends that the Production of Films Related to Monks Must Pass through the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and Samdech Sanghareach [the head of one of the two Buddhist Orders, in order to avoid problems]
  • 20 Universities from Britain Start to Exhibit together Their Information to the Education Sector in Cambodia
  • Many Bullets Were Shot in the Air to Threaten Citizens Not to Construct Houses; the Provincial Governor Issues Order to Arrest Five Soldiers [Preah Vihear]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3682-#3683, 9-10.2.2009

  • Ethnic Minority People in Bu Sra Commune, Pechr Chenda District, Mondolkiri, Prepare to Protest against the Khov Chily Company Again [over a land dispute – according to human rights officials]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

  • The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with
    Thailand Announces to Open the Border Crossing to the Preah Vihear Temple, while Cambodia Denies to Do the Same [the Cambodian government said what Thailand announced is just to reopen a Thai national park along the border near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Cambodian Embassy in Britain Reacts to the Global Witness Report [saying that it is stupid]
  • Japanese Investors Come to Study to Improve the Transportation Sector in Cambodia
  • A Thai Tourist Airline [Bangkok Airways] Offers Flights from Cambodia to Samui Island [in Thailand, starting from now until 30 June 2008]
  • Cambodia Confiscated Nearly One Kilogram of Heroin at the [Phnom Penh International] Airport [and a Taiwanese man was arrested]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3482, 8-9.2.2009

  • Around 200 Olympic Market Vendors Were Surprised when the [Thay Boonrong] Company Detained One of Their Representatives Yesterday [after vendors decided to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to ask for his intervention regarding the rising prices of vendors’ stalls in the market]

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Charge d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial – Tuesday, 3.2.2009

Posted on 4 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: The cooperation between the Cambodian government and the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia was broadened towards civil society, and the European Commission is an important development partner of the government. A reporter of Rasmei Kampuchea, Mr. Yin Leangkong, had an interview with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, to analyze these relations.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What improvements regarding relations of cooperation between the European Union [a political and economic union of 27 member states] and the Cambodian government do you see in recent years?

The Chargé d’Affaires: The relations between the European Union and the Cambodian government grew very well during these recent years, while we had significant economic and technical cooperation with the Cambodian government. Last year, we sent an observer mission to Cambodia in order to participate in observing the elections. Through the election observer mission of the European Union, we created some recommendations from the observations, and those recommendations were supported not only by civil society, but also by the Cambodian government and different opposition parties. Therefore, both groups – civil society and the Cambodian government – supported the position of the European Union regarding the elections.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What problems do you consider to be challenges between the European Commission and the Cambodian government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Being partners, we always worked together and discussed with one another, and also we provided aid to the Cambodian government. Actually, we are not always satisfied with all what the Cambodian government has done, but also, we do not think that all what the government has done is mostly wrong. Our position is to offer support to reform programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia. We also follow with interest the slow reform progress, which has not accomplished what we had hoped for, for example, the adoption of an anti-corruption law is very slow. But we know also that the Royal Government of Cambodia is making efforts to encourage this work to move ahead.

“The European Union is also concerned about the forced evictions by using such force. Like the recent Dey Krahom case, we discussed it also with the Royal Government of Cambodia to find solutions for this problem, and we will continue to meet and discuss eviction problems, and the guarantee of the rule of law in Cambodia.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Do you consider such evictions to be part of corruption in the government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: It is a difficult problem, and I cannot answer this question, but I would like to emphasize that what we want to see is the rule of law. It is known that the European Commission has assisted Cambodia in many different sectors. For instance, we help the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s proceedings, seeing that international standards of law have been established. We support also good governance in different sectors in Cambodia.

“Regarding the evictions, I am really concerned about the use of force in evictions, and we are concerned that there has to be support for the rule of law, leading to justice and fairness in compensations for the various families living there.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Together with the progress of this cooperation, the relations have also faced problems. What do you think can be done to make the cooperation between both sides smooth?

The Chargé d’Affaires: What is important is that we focus on bilateral discussions between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia. I would like to mention three significant events: First, last November, we had regular and official discussions about human rights, good governance, and democracy. Second, we will discuss cooperation between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia, to know what factors need to be improved. Third, we will provide support for different sectors through this cooperation, such as human rights, rural development, health, and education. In March, there will be a joint meeting between Cambodia and the European Commission, in order to further strengthen partnership, and make it smoother – which are the points for our eventual discussions.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Regarding the progress of democracy in Cambodia, do you think that Cambodia is on the right track?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Cambodia is on a track of reforms, and theses reforms are crucial. I would like to refer to the experience of Spain [the home country of Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]. From 1939 to 1975, this country was under the control of the Dictator Franco, and during that period, the court system was very corrupt. However, after he died, Spain undertook reforms towards a just court system and a new administration system, but it took many years to improve the situation. Likewise, Cambodia needs much time to achieve these high goals, and it might take a generation.

“It is important that these reforms are started from the schools. Teachers need better salaries, and judges have to earn higher salaries in order to crack down on corruption, and all of us have to start working together to weed out corruption.

Rasmei Kampuchea: According to your point of view, is Cambodia already on the right track towards those positive goals?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have sponsored and supported by funding programs for education through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. We do not grant monetary resources to build schools, but we support, both with funds and training, to expand the capability of education officials, like through accounting skill, financial management, and audits. As for the education sector in Cambodia, I can say that it is on the right track, and that is why we continue supporting this sector.

Rasmei Kampuchea: In May, Cambodia will hold provincial and city council elections. Has the Cambodian government requested funds or experts from the European Union?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have not received any request from the government, asking for funds for the elections. But after the general elections in July 2008, we provided two experts to help the National Election Committee technically – one person helps with the legal section, and the other one helps with the publishing system. This support is provided for six to eight months. As we knew, there is much work that we have to do as stated in reports of the election observer missions, in order to assure independence and trustworthiness of the National Election Committee.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Some people think that the provincial and city elections are useless. What do you think? Are they useful for the progress of democracy or not?

The Chargé d’Affaires: I cannot say whether they are useful or not, but what I think is that the European Union provides support for decentralization and deconcentration. Therefore, any work contributing to encourage decentralization and deconcentration is good.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Relating to Siem Reap Airlines which has been black-listed in the European Union since late 2008, what is its process?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We got a report in late 2008 from a direct assessment by a group of the International Civil Aviation Organization that came to assess different safety systems, and they released a report saying that the safety systems in Cambodia need improvements. The report was sent also to the Royal Government of Cambodia for consideration. In November 2008, the European Union held a meeting with the Cambodian government to hear responses to the problems found. According to reports from member countries, the European Union decided to put Siem Reap Airlines on a blacklist, so that flights are not allowed to Europe, and this company had to halt their activities until now. What we want to see is that there should be assurances from the Royal Government of Cambodia and from Siem Reap Airlines about their safety and security procedures, before we remove it from the blacklist.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #111, 3-4.2.2009

  • An Economist [the director of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Mr. Chan Sophal]: The Government Has to Prepare More Money to Encourage Local Products and to Export Goods
  • A Clay Grinding Machine Seizes [left] Hand of a Woman [a kiln worker – Siem Reap]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #333, 3.2.2009

  • Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party Form Alliance to Compete Together for Seats in the Future
  • 25 Houses Behind the Tuol Sangkae Electricity Power Station Were Destroyed [by fire – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1863, 3.2.2009

  • Construction of the Kbal Thnol Elevated Road Will Begin in April, at a Cost of US$6 Million [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Trainees Go to Japan to Study Human Resources Development in the Health Sector and in Medical Treatment Services
  • Mr. Obama Will Start Direct Negotiations with Iran and Syria

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #195, 3.2.2009

  • The National Bank Decreases the Bank Reserve Rate [from 16% to 12%] for Private Banks so that They Can Provide Loans to Reinvest in Real Estate

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #668, 3.2.2009

  • German [parliament] Delegation Wants to See Opposition Parties in Commissions of the National Assembly; [the chairperson of the parliamentary Commission on Economy, Finance, and Audits] Mr. Cheam Yeap: He Had Let Them to Join, but They Disagreed [as they have no responsibility for any commission – while the German delegation shared their experience that opposition parties also lead commissions so that all parties have to work together]
  • The 7NG Company Distributes Donations to Former Dey Krahom Residents [of 79 families who had recently agreed to receive a small house far away as compensation in Dangkao district after the eviction, and calls on the rest of 12 families to accept this also]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3677, 3.2.2009

  • 42 Court Officials [including the president of the Supreme Court, Mr. Dith Munty, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ouk Vithun] and 27 Generals Are Sent into Retirement
  • An English Television [Channel 4] Reported that Many Foreign Companies Are Seeking to Acquire Land in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

  • Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial
  • Cambodians Become Fisher Slaves in the Sea of Thailand [theguardianweekly global network published an article with the title Forced to Fish: Cambodia’s Sea Slaves]
  • Cambodia Will Demand Thailand in a Bangkok Meeting to Define a Specific Date to Put Preah Vihear Border Markers [though there is no mutual agreement where to put them]

  • Hungary Will Forgive 50% of the Loans given to Cambodia and Change the Remaining 50% into Grant Aid [no amounts mentioned]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks the Federal Republic of Germany to Assist in Legal and Court Reforms
  • The Government Closes the Sexy Apsara Paintings Website

    Note: It is an unclear situation, because the government has not issued a widely and publicly known banning order, and not all Internet service providers in Cambodia are blocking the site. – See the Mirror editorial from last Sunday here.]

  • 352 Species of Animals Are Found Living in the Region where the Kirirom 3 Hydro-Electric Dam Is to Be Built [there is concern that this plan will affect the shelter of the animals living in that 1,118 hectares of forest land]
  • Pictures of Carnivore and Herbivore Dinosaurs Found on Angkor and Bayon Walls

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3479, 3.2.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Government Rejects 15-Day Ultimatum [for the premier to resign] by Pro-[ousted former Thai Prime Minister]-Thaksin Red-Shirt Demonstrators

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