No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information – Monday, 29.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: In an attempt to play a better role as conveyor of messages from citizens to the Royal Government and from the Royal Government to citizens, the Club of Cambodian Journalists held the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia under the motto ‘Assessments by Editors of the Situation of Access to Information’ in the evening of 27 December 2008 at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information, Mr. Nov Sovatharo, chairing. This important forum was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation like the previous forums.

“There was an active discussion after four speakers – Mr. Puy Kea, a reporter of the Kyodo News Agency of Japan, Mr. Pen Bona, co-editor of Cambodge Soir, Mr. Net Phatra, representing the Phnom Penh Post, and Mr. Chea Sayna, the editor of Koh Santepheap – expressed their opinions related to easiness and difficulties related to ‘Access to Information and Problems Faced.’ At the end, the editors’ forum decided to release the following joint declaration:

Joint Declaration of the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia ‘Access to Information without Waiting for a Law about Access to Information’
27 December 2008
Himawari Hotel
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

All of us, 35 people (as seen in the attached list with our signatures [not included here]) editors, publishing both through newspapers and through radio and TV in Cambodia, met during the Fifth Editors’ Forum in Phnom Penh on 27 December 2008 to discuss and to assess the situation of access to information which we face in our professional work during the year, and to find solutions. Under the theme of ‘Access to Information and Different Problems Faced speakers raised problems, expressed views, and provided recommendations related to:

  • The situation of access to information for foreign news agencies in Cambodia
    • Access to information related to the Preah Vihear border disputes
    • Access to information at different provinces countrywide
    • Access to information at central level (in Phnom Penh, at ministries, at private companies)

    Then, the Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia discussed, in general, all points raised in the forum by the speakers and joined to assess the situation of access to information in Cambodia with high responsibility.

    Problems Identified Limiting Access to Information

    After discussions and assessments by the Fifth Editors’ Forum, the following problems are seen:

    1. Spokespersons or Public Relations Officials, or Information Officials: Many ministries and other state institutions, like the National Assembly, the Senate, as well as organizations and companies, do not have spokespersons or public relations officials, or information officials who professionally fulfill these tasks. This becomes a major obstacle against the flow of information for the general public, as guaranteed by the Constitution of 1993.
    2. Provision of Documents: In general, official documents are necessary, to be sure that a report and its information is made correctly, official documents are mostly not confidential documents, official documents have to be published by individual institutions and ministries that have to provide information to the public, and to publish about their own activities…, but often, such documents are not provided or prepared for publication and provided to journalists, not even their annual reports, and reports about the orientation of their work in the new year.
    3. Different Programs, Activities, and Meetings: Meetings that should be open are often declared to be internal and confidential affairs of the institutions, and journalists are asked to leave the meetings. At the same time, the work plans of the leaders of ministries and of other institutions are usually kept locked away in a drawer in the administration’s office, so that it sometimes seems that leaders of ministries are more secretive than the prime minister – and sometimes they do not seem to work.
    4. Announcements of Information: A small number of ministries announce information about some important events. But, regrettably, most ministries and institutions do not announce information, and some information is announced unexpectedly late.
    5. Regular Meetings and Press Conferences: In contrast to what is done in other modern countries, most ministries and institutions do not hold press conference or meet with journalists at all, although there were important and big problems to be explained and published. This makes the public to feel uninformed about the activities and the work of such ministries or institutions.
    6. Websites: Websites are one of the most important sources of information in this era of information technology. Most ministries and institutions have their own websites. This is an encouraging start. However, regrettably, most websites of ministries and of institutions are not kept updated with new information. Therefore, their websites cannot provide information and do not indicate where information can be found.

    Conclusion

    The weaknesses and gaps mentioned above are problems working against the access to information, and therefore the efficiency of different services, especially of public services, is questioned. Nevertheless, these problems can be addressed without waiting for a law about access to information. Corrections can be made through a change of behavior of some officials, and by a reorganization of the working structures at different institutions and ministries. The Royal Government has done a lot of work for people’s wellbeing and for national development, but the above shortages seems to swallow all achievements and accomplishments, when they are not shown to the public: to know, to hear, and to see. In the meantime, some facts in the social and economic life are ignored or are not solved in time, and consequently, everyone is a loser, both the Royal Government and the citizens.

    Appeal in a Situation that a Law about Access to Information Is Not Yet Adopted
    1. The Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia would like to ask all ministries and institutions to appoint information officials or public relations officials, or spokespersons, and to organize their work so that they can work professionally and can fulfill their different tasks, such as to provide documents, to provide data about the work and about their activities, and especially to be able to respond to questions from journalists.
    2. All ministries and institutions should hold press conferences or meet with journalists regularly, to provide information about their activities and about the work of their ministries and institutions, and they must be conducted at least once per month.
    3. In cases of emergency, all ministries and institutions should release timely information for publication for the sake of the public. The publication of timely information can sometimes avoid danger and damage.
    4. All ministries and institutions should create their own websites to provide information to the public. As for some ministries and institutions that already have their own websites, they have to update information on their websites every day when there is new information.
    5. The Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia will observe and assess the provision of information, and the Sixth Editors’ Forum, to be held again in 2009, will promote and strengthen the role of the Cambodian press in Cambodian society and in the international arena.

    Phnom Penh, 27 December 2008”
    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 29 December 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1832, 28-29.12.2008

    • Siem Reap Court Detains Three People, including a Journalist [of Sangkum Khmer], over a Land Dispute in Chi Kraeng District [for using violence against a real estate owner, and for provoking crimes, while residents said that they are arrested unjustly]
    • Pakistan and India Send Troops to their Border, Increasing Tension
    • China Sends Warships to the Gulf of Aden [to help fight Somali pirates]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #314, 28-30.12.2008

    • Secretary of State of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Tan Vanthara Appeared at a Gambling Site of the Phnom Penh Hotel
    • [Former military police officer] Chea Ratha Said Something about the Place Where She Is Hiding [she is living in a pagoda in a foreign country], Adding that She Is a Victim Regarding the Acid Attack [on the aunt of Ms. In Soklida, a well-known film star, with whom she had an affair]
    • [Former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Noppadon Pattama Will Raise the Preah Vihear Temple Problem, to Attack [new Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva [during the meeting of the Thai parliament]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #170, 28-29.12.2008

    • Dey Krahom Community Residents Face Eviction on 30 December 2008 [after the Chamkar Mon district office issued the last notice for the rest of 91 families (of 1274 families) at the Building Block area to leave by 30 December 2008]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    • No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information
    • Negotiation with Siam [Thailand] Is Still the Position for Border Issues and It Is the Most Appropriate Choice to Avoid War [said spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
    • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of the ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Start to Surround the Thai Parliament [to prevent the presentation of the policy statement by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]
    • Israel Attacked Hamas in Gaza Causing Many Deaths [as revenge for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel – at least 271 people were killed and more than 620 others were injured. – Status on 29.12.2008: 1 soldier and 3 civilians were killed in Israel; more that 310 persons were killed in Gaza, and hundreds wounded]
    • More Than 98,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq [since 2003]

    Meatophum, Vol.52, #716, 29-31.12.2008

    • If [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong Does Not Assign His Son, Whom Should He Assign? [he will appoint his son, Hor Monyrath, to be ambassador in Japan from 2009]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3651, 29.12.2008

    • The Spokesperson of the Government [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Said that If an Armed Clash Happens along the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border, Cambodia Would Need 20,000 Troops
    • Members of the European Parliament Prepare to Sue Yuon [Vietnamese] Airline [for preventing them, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca, to board a plane from Cambodia to Vietnam]
    • The Director of the Cambodia Mine Action Authority Was Removed from His Position Related to Corruption [over the collapse of financing for the mine-sniffing dog raising and breeding program – Mr. Sam Sotha was replaced by Mr. Chum Bunrong, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1336, 29.12.2008

    • The Public of the [Phnom Penh] City Welcomes that the Authorities Curb Down Illegal Motorbike Pawn Shops [because such places are said to increase robberies in the city – nearly 2,000 motorbikes were found, 70% do not have number plates or tax stickers]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4780, 28-29.12.2008

    • The Ministry of Interior Starts to Release Money instead of Rice to Police in 2009 [because of quality problems, late delivery, and loss of rice – instead of 1 kilogram of rice Riel 2,800 is paid – approx. US$0.70 – no information given how many kg in total are provided per month]
    • The Setting of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Markers Is Delayed until 2012 [the Cambodian-Vietnamese border of 1,270 km needs to be marked with 370 markers, worth more than US$15 million, and Vietnam is responsible for the whole expenses]

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    Amnesty International Asks the Supreme Court to Release Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun without Any Condition – Thursday, 25.12.2008

    Posted on 25 December 2008. Filed under: Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 595

    “On 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court plans to hold a hearing for two suspects who are accused murders who shot dead the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Vichea, on 22 January 2004 where the Appeals Court kept the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicting each of them to serve 20 years in prison.

    “In the meantime, Amnesty International released a statement asking the Supreme Court of Cambodia to release the two suspects, Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. While they are being held in prison, the real murderers and colluders are still free from being brought to be convicted according to the law regarding the murder of this trade union leader.

    “Amnesty International said in its statement that the Supreme Court must release the suspects Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun immediately. Both of them were arrested by the authorities a few days after Mr. Chea Vichea was killed by unidentified murderers in the morning of 22 January 2004 at a newspaper stall at the west of Wat Langka; the two suspects will be before the Supreme Court on 31 December 2008,after the Appeals Court upheld the conviction verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to send them to jail for 20 years, even though prosecutors had claimed that there was not enough evidence to convict both of them.

    “Amnesty International added that there was tortures to extort confessions from the suspects Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, intimidations of witnesses, and intervention of politics into the implementation of the law. Also, in the detention, there were illegal activities conducted against the two suspects. The Amnesty International suggests for independent investigations in order to bring the real murders to be convicted.

    “A researcher of the Amnesty International, Ms. Brittis Edman, said that confessions of the suspects Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were obtained by beating in detention by police, and the promise of awards was used to provide evidence for the court to sentence them to serve 20 years in jail unjustly.

    “She added that the two suspects, Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, withdrew their fake confessions and the court cannot considers their confessions as evidence to convict them because they were obtained by force.

    “Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopeak denied these accusations and said that the court has not rejected to continue investigations by the authorities, and the authorities wait to follow the court’s decision.

    “Local and UN human rights organizations in Cambodia went to conduct investigations in a village in Neak Loeang – where Bon Samnang’s girlfriend’s house is – during the Chinese New Year, and villagers asserted that Bon Samnang was at that happy time among them and with his girlfriend, and that he is not the murderer who shot Mr. Chea Vichea to death.

    “Also, the former King had said that Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun are not the murderers who killed Chea Vichea. Every year, officials of many human rights organizations regularly gather for a prayer according to Khmer tradition, like releasing birds and floating balloons, to give signs of the demand to the court to release the suspects Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, to be free like other Khmer citizens.

    “Mr. Chea Vichea’s younger brother, Mr. Chea Mony, had called on the court to release the suspects Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, saying that they were not the real murderers. A woman who was a newspaper seller at the west of Wat Langka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2008, had written to the Appeals Court from Bangkok in Siam [Thailand] before she left to a third country, after receiving the right to asylum, saying that she had seen the murderers clearly, and Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who are being detained, are not the real murders who killed Mr. Chea Vichea. But she could not say it immediately when the event had happened, because the police prohibited her from making a statement, and they made her to say what police planed for her to tell journalists and officials of national and international human rights organizations [before she fled abroad in fear].

    “Heng Pov, who is the former Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief, now a prisoner convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to have been involved in many crimes, to serve more than 60 years in prison, is considered by officials of human rights organizations as an important witness to help Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun be free from the 20-year prison term conviction [because Heng Pov, who arrested the two suspected during his power, had said that both of them are not the real murderers]. Officials of human rights organizations ask the judges and prosecutors to allow the authorities of the government to call Heng Pov as a witness in the hearing of the Supreme Court, which is planned to happen on 31 December 2008 next week.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3648, 25.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 25 December 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1829, 25.12.2008

    • Awarding Ceremony for Three Cambodian Journalists Competing to Write ‘Reporting on Rural Development’ [Ms. Kang Kalyan from Cambodge Soir won the first price receiving US$700, followed by Mr. Tieng Mongkul from Sahakum Kien Svay winning $500, and Ing Chamroen from Cambodge Soir on the third rank winning US$300.
    • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya – กษิต ภิรมย์] Apologized [to all Thai citizens for what he said during a press conference: that the demonstration to occupy two airports was a happy event]
    • Brazil Buys Weapons from France Worth US$12,000,000,000


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #311, 25.12.2008

    • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Communities Condemn Hanoi [for preventing two members of the European Parliament to go to Vietnam]


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #167, 25.12.2008

    • Local Fuel Companies Reduce the Fuel Prices, but the Prices of t Goods at Markets Remain Unchanged


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6534, 25.12.2008

    • There Are More Than 600 Newspapers and Magazines and 18 Journalists’ Associations, but a Representative to ASEAN Has Not yet Been Found [according to the Ministry of Information]
    • US$1.4 Million Is Needed for the Organization of the District-Provincial and City Council Elections [which are planed to be held between 15 January 2009 and 15 June 2009]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3648, 25.12.2008

    • Amnesty International Asks the Supreme Court to Release Bon Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun without Any Condition
    • [Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister] Ieng Sary Has Serious Heath Problems [his legs swells] and He Was Sent to the Calmette Hospital, Causing More Serious Concern [that he might die before truth is revealed]
    • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Plans to Summon Six More Suspects to the Court [according to the international co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Robert Petit; however, a date was not mentioned]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4777, 25.12.2008

    • Hundreds of Logs [around 400 cubic meter] Cut and Piled up near a Rubber Plantation of a Military Officer in Ratanakiri [but his assistant said that the logs were cut for building two big bridges in Ratanakiri, as proposed by citizens; forestry officials have not yet taken action to seize the logs]
    • The Ministry of Interior Said that the Royal Government Has a Plan to Divide Russey Keo into Two Districts [because of the rapid growth of the number of citizens, its large size, administration management, and the rapid growth of development]
    • Vietnam Delivers [sixteen] Documentary Films Related to the Khmer Rouge Regime to the Documentation Center of Cambodia
    • Man with His Girlfriend Drove on a Motor Taxi and Hit a Parked Truck Loaded with Gravel, Causing Two Deaths and Inuring One [the motor-taxi driver and the woman died while the man was seriously injured – Sihanoukville]
    • North Korea Warns It Will Destroy South Korea to Ashes [it accuses South Korea of trying to create war]
    • Michael Jackson Has Lung Problems and His Left Eye Is Almost Blind

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    The Yuon Authorities Prohibit Vietnam Airlines to Pick Up European Parliament Members from Cambodia to Yuon [Vietnam] – Wednesday, 24.12.2008

    Posted on 25 December 2008. Filed under: Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 592

     
    “Vietnam Airlines and the Yuon [Vietnamese] authorities prevented two members of the European Parliament to travel by plane from Cambodia to Yuon yesterday, on 23 December 2008, under the pretext that there will be a huge demonstration by Yuon citizens in Hanoi against the presence of the two European Parliament members.

    “This prevention by the Yuon authorities happened when the two European Parliament members planned to meet parliament members and officials of the Hanoi government to talk about the demands for human rights and freedom for tribal Montagnards, and about the demands for full freedom of religious practices, and for the rights for Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and citizens, who are living in their homeland under the control and restrictions of their right by the Hanoi government, and about the demand for the release of Monk Tim Sakhan and five other Kampuchea Krom monks in Kleang [former Khmer name – now the Trăng Province of Vietnam] who are in jail.
     
    “At 12:40 p.m. on 23 December 2008, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca, members of the European Parliament, arrived at the Phnom Penh International Airport to get into a plane of Vietnam Airlines to Saigon. But before they got into the plane, they had to wait for a period of time and then, Vietnam Airlines gave them a letter which is not from the Vietnamese government, but it is a letter of a Vietnamese travel agency, the Vungtau Intourco Hanoi saying, ‘According to a request by the Vietnamese Embassy in Rome in Italy, regarding the visas proposed for permission to travel to Vietnam from 18 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca have to show documents about their work program for their visit to Vietnam, according to Vietnamese laws about visas to enter Vietnam.
     
    “Vietnam Airlines added that it could not contact the European Parliament members [who were traveling] to ask for their work program in Vietnam, according the Vietnamese law; therefore, Vietnam Airlines notified them that the company cannot allow them to board he plane to Vietnam.
     
    “Mr. Marco Perduca told journalists in a press conference at a park in front of the Hotel Le Royal in the afternoon of 23 December 2008. According to information he got from the Italian Embassy in Hanoi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam delivered the information that there are letters of Vietnamese citizens opposing the presence of both of them. That is the reason why the Vietnamese government is worried that it cannot protect the security for them and the Vietnamese government suggested both of them not to travel to Vietnam.
     
    “Mr. Marco Perduca went on to say that both of them come to visit Cambodia and after that, they will move to Vietnam for an unofficial visit. In Cambodia, he met Khmer Kampuchea Krom communities and monks on Sunday of 21 December 2008, and he met also members of the National Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party. They will continue their travel to Vietnam to meet government officials as well as members of the Vietnamese parliament. They will visit Khmer Kampuchea Krom communities, members of the Catholic church, and Montagnards, and will demand the release of five Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks who are being jailed, and demand to send Monk Tim Sakhan to be sent back to Cambodia and to release a 90-year-old man, a religious leader, who is being held in his home. He added that according to officials of the Italian Embassy in Hanoi, their visas have not yet been canceled, and parliament members and government officials of Vietnam are prepared to greet them. It is strange what happened at the Phnom Penh International Airport of Cambodia, preventing them to get on the plane to fly to Vietnam.
     
    “Mr. Marco Panella said that it is a simple thing that two of them want to travel to Vietnam to meet with government officials and parliament members of Vietnam, but they could not even get into the plane. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy told that there is no change and the visas to Vietnam are still valid. As for the information that there will be demonstration against them when arriving Vietnam, he said that it is an honor if Vietnamese citizens hold demonstration against them and that the Vietnamese authorities cannot protect both of their lives.
     
    “Mr. Marco Panella continued to say that the European Parliament members aim to demand the Vietnamese government for rights and freedoms for Montagnards, for Catholics, and for Khmer Kampuchea Krom citizens and demand the release of five Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks, including Yen Toun, Ly Soeung, Kim Moeun, Thach Soeun, and Theun, who are jailed by the Vietnamese authorities in Kleang province [now Trăng Province of Vietnam] in 2007 as well as to send Monk Tim Sakhan back to Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3647, 24.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 24 December 2008


    Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #100, 24-26.12.2008

    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: Creating an Expert Group to Limit Fuel Prices Is Better Than the Prime Minister’s Begging [to fuel companies to reduce fuel prices]


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1828, 24.12.2008

    • The Prices of Fuel Stay Still after an Appeal by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [gasoline is around Riel 3,100 per liter, corresponding to approx. US$0.77]
    • The Manager and the Owner of Mikado Club Who Have a Website to Sell Cambodian Woman’s Sex Services Were Apprehended [they are still detained in order to conduct further investigations]
    • The Ministry of Environment Encourages the Media to Publish Environmental Problems in Detail


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #166, 24.12.2008

    • Tourists Guide Groups Support the Adoption of a Tourism Law to Be Applied in Cambodia for the Cities and Provinces


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6533, 24.12.2008

    • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Goes to Preah Vihear; Military Officials Reject War Rumor
    • New Thai Government Held a Swearing-in Ceremony [with 36 members]


    Mate Neak, Vol.1, #15, 24-30.12.2008

    • Income of the Naga Casino Increased [the biggest casino in Cambodia released figure for six months of 2008, showing that the its income increased by 26%, compared to the same period last year, corresponding to US$25.5 million]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3647, 24.12.2008

    • The Yuon Authorities Prohibit Vietnam Airlines to Pick Up European Parliament Members from Cambodia to Yuon [Vietnam]
    • US Embassy Official [Mr. John Johnson] Said that Robberies on Foreigners Increased
    • [Former Prime Minister and Human Rights Party Vice-President] Pen Sovann: If Hun Sen Is Strong, Let the National Television Publish the “2 December” Documentary Film That I Have [reacting against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent criticism, for Mr. Pen Sovann had written in a recently published book “Autobiography of Pen Sovann and the Fundamental Reason of Cambodia’s History,” that he was the Father of “2 December 1978” – the date of the creation of the National United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea (NUFNSK) – and that Prime Minister Hun Sen was really his follower during the early days of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea – 1979–1989; Pen Sovann was deposed and arrested 1981 and imprisoned in Vietnam for 11 years]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4776, 24.12.2008

    • Because the Road Was Too Dusty Making It Impossible to See, a Car Collided with a Truck, Resulting in Two Deaths and Seven Injured People [Thma Puok, Banteay Meanchey]
    • Man Hit His Wife After Childbirth to Death [the man escaped, leaving his children – Prey Veng]
    • The Puea Thai Party [พรรคเพื่อไทย] Demands Removal of the New Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya, because he was involved with the People’s Alliance for Democracy demonstrators, who occupied two airports and he said that it was a happy organization; if he is not removed, the Phua Thai Party groups will demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok]
    • China Provides Nearly US$19 Billion to Taiwan [to create warmer ties between both territories]

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    Friday, 25.7.2008: European Union Delegation Comes to Study Combating Sex Tourism in Cambodia

    Posted on 26 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

    “Phnom Penh: To increase the understanding of common problems and to contribute to combat sex tourists in Cambodia efficiently is the goal of a European Union delegation, led by Mr. Jules Maaten and Ms. Sarah Ludford, that came to Cambodia.

    “In the afternoon of 23 July 2008, the European Union delegation discussed and studied some problems regarding combating sex tourism in Cambodia with senior officials of Acting for Women in Distressing Situations [AFESIP] in Phnom Penh, as well as with some national and international journalists.

    “Ms. Mam Somaly, director of AFESIP and of the Somaly Mam Foundation, said that governments of western countries should open their eyes to see the activities of their citizens who have committed crimes outside of their own countries. Frequently, they pretend to be tourists, or sometimes to be staff of humanitarian organizations in Cambodia, to find opportunities to rape children. There are more children being abused sexually by these crimes than the number of cases that come under the crack-down by the authorities.

    “Ms. Mam Somaly said, ‘In Cambodia, the Royal Government has improved the situation markedly to curb down trafficking by creating legislation against trafficking, and by creating national structures of cooperation against trafficking.’ However, the Royal Government has to do more, especially to strengthen procedures against trafficking and legislation beyond what has already been achieved.

    “It should be remembered that Ms. Mam Somaly has saved 4,000 children from sexual slavery during the last decades. She created AFESIP to provide consultation and rehabilitation for victims in several centers in Cambodia, in Thailand, in Laos, and in Vietnam. Recently, she has been supported by friends who are famous stars, business people, lawyers, and other generous people, to create the Somaly Mam Foundation, which aims to eliminate the root causes of human trafficking by launching broad public campaigns, to struggle with public opinion about issues relating to human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in the country, in the region, and internationally.

    “Mr. Jules Maaten, the European Union delegation leader and a member of the European parliament from the Netherlands, said that Cambodia has become an important location for criminals to rape children; since some years, many children have been used as sex slaves for tourists from western countries, and for the staff of some humanitarian organizations. ‘Now, we have to open our eyes to see this situation and to take actions against this modern form of slavery.’

    “Ms. Sarah Ludford, a member of the European Parliament from London, pointed to the fact that criminals have often escaped from detention and from punishment, because of incompetent police to bring those criminals to court for punishment. Arrested suspects often bribe their way out of the country and flee to their home countries. Only one out of five cases leads to a conviction, and only 3% of the suspects have been convicted after being accused of raping children.

    “After the discussion, Ms. Mam Somaly and the European Union delegation agreed with three requests: 1. Members of the member states of the European Union should work towards a stronger role for the police of the European Union to be authorized and to receive the means to train police officials, prosecutors, and judges about child sex trafficking and exploitation. 2. The European Union should pay more attention and exchange information with third countries, to exchange data to help identify suspects for prosecution. 3. The European Union should include information about sentences of sex tourists as well as of criminals who are not citizens of the European Union into the [European] Schengen data information system.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1702, 25.7.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 25 July 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1702, 25.7.2008

    • European Union Delegation Comes to Study Combating Sex Tourism in Cambodia
    • Nearly 1,000 [Garment] Workers of Chhang Leang Factory at Stung Meanchey Do Not Have Days Off to Go to Vote [this led to a protest on 24 July 2008]


    Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #616, 25.7.2008

    • Siam [Thai] King Promotes the Honor of Samak Sundaravej while There Is Dispute with Cambodia [no specific proof given]; Siamese Troops Still Continue to Invade the Border


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #206, 25.7.2008

    • Siam [Thailand] Rejected to Solve the Dispute through ASEAN or through the UN

    Note:
    Singapore’s Foreign Minister and at present ASEAN Chair said Thursday [24.7.2008] a border dispute that recently flared between Thailand and Cambodia should never have become a problem, and it was unnecessary to take it to the U.N. Security Council.

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #58, 25.7.2008

    • Cambodia Has Suspended Its Complaint to the UN and Waits for New Results from Negotiations [28 July 2008 in Siem Reap, after the Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej called Prime Minister Hun Sen at 4:30 p.m. Thursday]
    • Some Political Parties [Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, and Human Rights Party] Show National Unity Regarding the Dispute with Thailand
    • Handicap International Belgium Comments on Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [the head of the organization, Mr. Bruno Leclercq, said that traffic safety problems are complicated; there were 27,500 victims, and 17,000 vehicles were involved in 2007. In Cambodia there are more than four people killed every day. Looking at the first two months of 2008, the numbers were again higher]
    • The Sale and Drinking of Alcohol Is Prohibited One Day before [and on the election day of 27 July 2008 – according to an instruction by the Phnom Penh Municipality]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6406, 25.7.2008

    • More Razor Wire Is Added to Protect the [Preah Vihear] Temple; [Minister of Defense] Tea Banh: We Absolutely Defend the Preah Vihear Temple to Belong to Khmer; [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: Thailand Has to Know that Now Thailand Is Violating [Cambodia] and Is Becoming a Country that Violates International Laws
    • Border Police Post 911 Destroyed a Thai Camera Put Secretly by Thai Soldiers to Observe Khmer Activities [Poipet]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3521, 25.7.2008

    • Sam Rainsy Parliamentarians [on 24 July 2008] Asked International Observers to Prevent Tricks to Forge or Change Ballots by Officials of the Cambodian People’s Party who are with the National Election Committee


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4650, 25.7.2008

    • Six to Ten Companies [including Sokimex of Oknha Sok Kong and the ACLEDA Bank] Will Cooperate to Establish a Stock Market [in 2009]
    • Strong Earthquake [6.8 on the Richter scale] Attacked Japan [injuring 16 people seriously – 24 July 2008]
    • Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York Will Grant US$500 Million [to stop people around the world smoking cigarettes; according to the World Health Organization, tobacco will kill already 1 billion people in the 21st century]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3368, 25.7.2008

    • Ms. Condoleezza Rice Expressed Concern and Suggested a Peaceful Solution for the Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand [24 July 2008 in a security conference of ASEAN, held in Singapore; she said Cambodia should not send the dispute to the UN Security council and should settle it bilaterally]


    Note:

    Among the regular UN Security Council members only France considers that the UN should discuss this issue – all others suggest bilateral discussion on the basis of existing documents.

    Click here – and have a look at the last editorial – The Cambodian-Thai border crisis develops while the Khmer public is not aware what the Cambodian government representatives had agreed upon, to get the Preah Vihear Temple listed as a World Heritage Site, on a most narrowly defined piece of land.

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