The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16% – Thursday, 22.7.2010

Posted on 23 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, the export and import of Cambodia increase by 16% in the first six months of this year, compared to last year.

Note:

We are unable to understand the meaning of the added up export and import figures, and the calculated combined percentage numbers for export and import together. The absolute figures, given separately for exports and for imports, are, of course, clear in their meaning, also the comparisons of present and of past years within exports and within imports, separately.
Any help to understand these combined “export and import sum and percentage” figures – via Comments – is appreciated.
Norbert Klein

“As said by experts, the commerce grows due to increasing global demand.

“Nevertheless, some experts warned that the economic recovery is in a delicate condition.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Chan Nora, said, ‘Commerce should be growing during this period as the global economy is recovering, while also the consumption of products increases. Especially, the Ministry of Commerce is trying to coordinate exports.

“Reports for the first six months show that imports increased by more than 18% to US$2,183 million this year, compared to the corresponding period last year with US$1,844 million.

“The exports increased by 13.14% to US$1,498 million. Compared to the same period last year, exports amounted to US$1,324 million, where 70% was related to garment products.

“The figures demonstrate that exports and imports in the first six months of 2010 increase by 16.19% to US$3,168 million compared to the same period last year.

“However, some observers noticed that the Cambodian economy is still facing dangers, as overall economic activity still drops, though the figures show an increase.

“The director of the Khov Chuly Group importing construction materials, Mr. Khov Phalaboth, said that even though there is progress in the real estate, agricultural, and industrial sectors, it seems too quick to say that the Cambodian economy has completely recovered. He said, ‘The economic downturn has not completely come to an end. Hazards remain. Typically, it is like recovering from sickness, but things might still get worse.’

“Mr. Chan Nora went on to say the increase in imports by Cambodia encourages an increase in exports. He said, ‘The local garment and textile sectors are doing better, causing also an increase in the demand for raw materials.’ The head of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, said, ‘The growth in commerce is really vigorous.’ He added that the increase in exports and imports is a measure of the economic growth of Cambodia. According to the National Bank of Cambodia, exports and imports dropped by about 17% from US$10,633 million in 2008 to only US$8,827 million in 2009.

“At present, the government is also looking into the future. Mr. Chan Nora said that the Ministry of Commerce is actively negotiating about the export of agricultural products to China, but the quality of local products is still an obstacle.

“He said, ‘We had asked people to send experts here to improve the quality of our products. We want to export our own manufactured products so as to get higher prices.’ He added that agricultural products are becoming important local products for export.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2307, 22.7.2010

  • The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch [about rights abuses and mistreatment of sex workers]
  • The Ministry of Justice Warned Court Officials and Clerks to Punish Them if They Act against Their Professional Standards [for example if clerks work as if they were in the position of judges or prosecutors]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3938, 22.7.2010

  • Sam Rainsy’s and Mu Sochua’s Cases [about the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, and about defamation] Could Come to an End through Internal Political Arrangements via the International Community [officials of the Sam Rainsy Party hope so]
  • 114 Families in the District of Kien Svay Accuse Some Officials of Grabbing 46 Hectare of Rice Fields [Kandal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #10, 22.7.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Chea Sim: Cambodia Develops Quickly because of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen’s] Governing [he said so during the 35th meeting of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Government Hopes that the United State of America Will Cancel the Debt of More Than US$300 Million [owed by Cambodia since the time of the Lon Nol government, said the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

  • The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16%
  • Five Khmer Fishermen Returned from Indonesia [after they had been detained there for almost one year; before they had been forced to work like slaves for nearly two years on a Thai fishing vessel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5256, 22.7.2010

  • Cambodia Prepares to Negotiate with Countries of the European Union to Lift Three Kinds of Visa Requirements [in diplomatic, official, and normal passports; the lift of visa requirements in diplomatic and official passports would help strengthen relations between the governments, and the lifting of visa requirements in normal passports would help to attract tourists between the countries]
  • The Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union [held from 19 to 21 July 2010 in Geneva] Called on All Parliament Leaders to Help to Avert Further Global Crises
  • The Department of Labor Issued an Official Letter to Suspend the Operation of the Champa Manpower Company [that did send workers to Malaysia; after this company was found holding workers, including underage girls, in a bad living environment]

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People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Monday, 14.6.2010

Posted on 15 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Phnom Penh: Human Rights activists said that many citizens who have land disputes and suffer from evictions without proper compensation plan to come from provinces and cities to protest and to express their difficulties to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, on Monday, 14 June 2010.

“The UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, is on a 10 days mission in Cambodia, starting from 8 June 2010. Mr. Surya did not intend to take up land disputes and the evictions of citizens as important topics to discuss them with the head of the Cambodian government. He mentioned only the judicial reform as the subject to be discussed, to find solutions during his third visit to Cambodia.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Uoch Leng, said that on 14 June 2010, many citizens who are victims of land disputes in several provinces and cities will come to protest in front of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia at House Number 4, Street 302, Boeng Keng Kang I commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh.

“This activist said that the protest aims to express the difficulties of citizens losing land due to the activities of the rich and of the powerful, and due to the provision of economic concession land to private companies, which affect and make citizens lose the land on which they depend for their lives.

“Mr. Uoch Leng added that on 14 June 2010, there will be citizens from the Kompong Tralach district in Kompong Chhnang, the Kandal Stung district from Kandal, the Chi Kraeng district from Siem Reap, the Romeas Haek district from Svay Rieng, the Thpong and Oral districts from Kompong Speu, and the Srae Ambel district from Koh Kong, citizens from the Boeng Kak Lake area in Phnom Penh, and some other citizens involved in land disputes.

“According to ADHOC, since early 2010, 42 citizens were jailed over land disputes at different provinces and cities. 187 citizens were accused by courts relating to land disputes with private companies, officials, and the rich, such as in Svay Rieng, Takeo, Siem Reap, Kampot, Preah Vihear, Kompong Thom, Kompong Speu, Battambang, and Oddar Meanchey.

“About 150,000 citizens have been evicted from their homes on the basis of not transparent decisions by the courts.

“Regarding the plan of citizens from different areas to protest, an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, considers that officials of some non-government organizations which tend towards the opposition, take the opportunity to benefit from the visit of Mr. Surya.

“Mr. Tith Sothea, an adviser of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, added that those organizations encourage the UN human rights Special Rapporteur to solve land disputes so that they can apply for more international funds for their own organizations.

“Mr. Tith Sothea said the government is conducting reforms on land disputes, and the concessions of many companies had been withdrawn by the Royal Government after it became obvious that there was no development. He added that the plan of citizens from provinces and cities to protest on Monday, 14 June 2010, is within their rights, and their demonstration will not be prohibited by the authorities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 June 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #107, 14-15.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Called on Workers [in the whole country] to Suspend Their Work on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 [to ask for an increase of their monthly salaries to at least US$70, and to demand that factory owners have to obey the labor law]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #503, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Authorities Allow 237 Families, Victimized by a Fire [at the railway block in Tuol Kork] to Settle on the Same Area [they will not be required to relocate to a new area – Phnom Penh]
  • About 100 Workers at the Seratic Garment Factory Fainted because of Inhaling Gas Leaking from some Pipes

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2274, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Supreme Court Ordered the [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay a Fine [roughly US$4,000 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The Ministry of Information Ordered to Stop the Broadcasting of the Program of [the director of a development and training organization, providing education about democracy via radio at FM 90 in Phnom Penh, FM 90.25 in Battambang, FM 88.5 in Kompong Thom, and FM 90.25 in Oddar Meanchey, who is also the president the League for Democracy Party – “Think Together – Decide Together – Act Together” – who is a [dissident] former Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Khem Veasna [claiming that the programs did not follow the principles set by the ministry, as the programs were often used for political propaganda]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6981, 14.6.2010

  • Within Three Months of this Year, Thai Products Imported to Cambodia Amounted to US$700 Million [and Cambodian products exported to Thailand were only about US$24 million]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3905, 14.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Denied that It Encourages Citizens Losing Land to Meet with the UN Human Rights Special Representative This Morning [there had been such accusations against ADHOC, but the accuser is not mentioned]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #192, 14.6.2010

  • [With more than 60,000 thumbprints attached] Citizens Victimized by Land Disputes Plan to Send a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Plans to Go to China at the End of June [for a medical checkup]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

  • People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • The Export of Cambodia to France Increased [to Euro 83 million or approx. US$100 million in 2009, compared to 2008, when it was Euro 82 million], while There Are More French Investments in Cambodia [amounting to more than Euro 90 million or approx. US$108 million – [no 2010 figures given here]]

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Different Challenges to Act? Different Conceptions of Communication? – Sunday, 29.3.2009

Posted on 30 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

Looking back at the end of a week to the past information carried, it is often difficult to understand easily what happened – or what not happened.

On Friday, we mirrored a report that in January 2009, there were 40 children under the age of six living with their parents in prisons. “The Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior is asking the Ministry of Economy and Finance to increase the monetary allowances for prisoners from Riel 1,500 [approx US$0.37] to Riel 2,800 [approx. US$0.69] per day, so that they can eat enough food.” And: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…”

An increase from US$0.37 to US$0.69 per day is an increase of US$0.32 per day per person, that is $12.80 for all 40 children per day; that is $384 per month. For all 40 children for one whole year, this upgrade would cost $4,604.

Here are some other figures to which we referred during the week, as they had appeared in The Mirror:

  • US$200,000 were donated by the Japanese Government to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • US$18 Million had been loaned to the Government, but the World Bank might withdraw them
  • US$7.07 million were spent for the Senate in 2008
  • US$12.6 million are provided to Cambodia by the World Bank to expand international trade
  • US$100 Million is a loan from the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group to expand a mobile phone network
  • US$35 million on loan from Japan for the construction of clean water production

And US$4,604? Of course all these other moneys were not designated to feed 40 children under six in prison, and the paperwork on the way from the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and then the search where, in the national budget to find US$4,604, also takes its time, while sorting out regulations.

But: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…” Who is in charge? Who cares? Who could even care to get things moving, without being in charge?

= = =

But there were other problems to be faced, and not only by 40 children, but by the whole nation.

Not many publications have a prestigious history like The Economist from London. It began publishing in 1843 and has continued as a weekly magazine until the present. In 2007, it had a world wide circulation of more than 1.3 million.

In addition to its publications, The Economist has also a research arm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and it is regularly organizing Economist Conferences around the world. Such a conference was held early this year also in Cambodia, on 16 February 2009 in Siem Reap, under the heading: Business Roundtable with the Government of Cambodia – On the verge of a breakthrough? [see The Mirror report in Rasmei Kampuchea of 13.2.2009] The Prime Minister was a keynote speaker at this conference. It was considered a special event that an Economist Conferences had been organized and was held in Cambodia. This had been announced:

Key issues to be discussed included:

  • In light of recent oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Thailand, what is the government doing to settle border claims with its neighbors?
  • With predictions that oil could start flowing by as early as 2011, how will the government manage Cambodia’s newfound wealth?
  • In evaluating the investment climate, are private equity firms being overly optimistic?
  • What new business opportunities are there for investment in Cambodia’s much needed infrastructure?
  • Given the recent boom in property development and construction, is greater regulation of the industry necessary and if so, what impact will this have on property investors?
  • How will Cambodia’s garment industry deal with greater competition from China and Vietnam? What is being done to boost efficiency in this important industry?
  • With a recession hitting the US, what is Cambodia doing to diversify its export markets?
  • How will the government offset growing inflation and an increase in commodity prices, particularly of oil?
  • Is Cambodia’s economy ready to move away from de facto “dollarization” to the Riel and what will this mean for business?

That this event was planned – as the many other Economist Conferences around the world – for high level business leaders, was obvious from the admission prices to participate in his one-day-only event:

US$ 990 Early Registration Fee (by 9 January 2009)
US$1,250 Standard Registration Fee
US$1,000 Corporate Network Members’ Fee

These high level conferences are prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is described on their own Internet website with the following ambitious words:

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world’s foremost provider of country, industry, and management analysis. Founded in 1946 when a director of intelligence was appointed to serve The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit is now a leading research and advisory firm with more than 40 offices worldwide. For over 60 years, the Economist Intelligence Unit has delivered vital business intelligence to influential decision-makers around the world. Our extensive international reach and unfettered independence make us the most trusted and valuable resource for international companies, financial institutions, universities, and government agencies.

The appreciation for the fact that Cambodia had been the site of an Economist Conference turned into hostility, after – on 19 March 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit published a 34 pages document: Manning the barricades – Who’s at risk as deepening economic distress foments social unrest?

In this document, the basic methodology of compiling the document is laid open, for three possibilities, asking If things feel bad now, how much worse could they get? – and it describes the third and worst possibility with the following words:

Failing confidence in the Dollar leads to its collapse, and the search for alternative safe-havens proves fruitless.
Economic upheaval sharply raises the risk of social unrest and violent protest. A Political Instability Index covering 165 countries, developed for this report, highlights the countries particularly vulnerable to political instability as a result of economic distress…

The political implications of the economic downturn, informed by the results of the Social and Political Unrest Index, are discussed at length in the second half of the report.

The full report, in both PDF and HTML format, is available online at http://www.eiu.com/special.

Putting a lot of detailed data from many countries through these procedures, which contain among others also terms developed by the Political Instability Task Force at the George Mason University in the USA, which elaborate also about further terms which we quote here:

Economic distress appears to be almost a necessary condition for serious instability, but it is not a sufficient one. There are many instances of declines in GDP per head that have not been followed by political instability. It is only when economic distress is accompanied by other, underlying or structural features of vulnerability that there is a high vulnerability to or risk of serious outbreaks of political and social unrest.

Defining political unrest

We define social and political unrest or upheaval as those events or developments that pose a serious extra-parliamentary or extra-institutional threat to governments or the existing political order. The events will almost invariably be accompanied by some violence as well as public disorder. These need not necessarily be successful in the sense that they end up toppling a government or regime. Even unsuccessful episodes result in turmoil and serious disruption. The assessment of what constitutes a “serious threat” still requires judgment and can be arbitrary, but this is a step forward from having no definition at all.

Political Instability Index

The overall index on a scale of 0 (no vulnerability) to 10 (highest vulnerability) has two component indexes—an index of underlying vulnerability and an economic distress index. The overall index is a simple average of the two component indexes. There are 15 indicators in all—12 for the underlying and 3 for the economic distress index.

As a result, a table is automatically calculated from the hundreds of data collected. We quote only the beginning of the resulting Political Instability Index of Rank, Country, and Score:













1

Zimbabwe8.8
2Chad8.5
3Congo Kinshasa8.2
4Cambodia8.0
4Sudan8.0
6Iraq7.9
7Cote d’Ivoire7.8
7Haiti7.8
7Pakistan7.8
7Zambia7.8
7Afghanistan7.8

Naturally, this ranking for Cambodia on Position 4 (from 165, with some countries sharing the same ranking number) was received with surprise, and even rejection. Considering the final results, it was quickly dismissed as a report supposedly produced with a hidden agenda against Cambodia. – More surprising is how the Cambodian embassy in England reacted against the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report, which misunderstands the report as made up of arbitrary statements targeting Cambodia – and therefore asking the Economist Intelligence Unit to “issue a retraction.” This is misunderstanding is obvious from the following excerpts of the letter of the Cambodian ambassador to the Economist Intelligence Unit:

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment with your latest report, “Manning the Barricades” in which you highlight Cambodia as one of the countries most at risk of suffering serious social unrest as a consequence of the on-going global financial crisis.

Your scaremongering allegations are highly dangerous as they could be construed as actively inciting unrest. They also happen to be a gross distortion and misrepresentation of Cambodia’s true position and there can be no justification for these claims.

May I suggest that it is insulting for you to claim that Cambodia is more politically unstable than the war-torn nations of Iraq and Afghanistan…

You also appear to have rather arrogantly dismissed any serious evidence which contradicts your own claims; not least that provided by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, who only in February 2009 addressed a Business Round Table event co-hosted by your own organisation.

You may recall that the Prime Minister used that occasion to record that Cambodia had just enjoyed a decade of blistering growth, more than doubling its per capita GDP between 1998 and 2007. He attributed this great success to political stability, forging deeper integration with the global trade and investment communities; and improved macro-economic management.

You also seem to have ignored Cambodia’s sizable oil and gas deposits, its wealth of natural resources as well as its growing reputation as a “must visit” tourist destination and as a center of enterprise and investment….”

It is extremely unfortunate that the result of an analysis of hundreds and hundreds of international data, which fully agree with the assessment of Cambodia’s economic growth during the last years, is not seen for what it says: that countries which had a high growth rate based on factors now being eroded by the international economic crisis, are facing a more serious danger of disrupting instability than countries which have been anyway politically instable, and economically at a low level. The Economist Intelligence Unit is not questioning past achievements – but it is sounding a warning that these achievements are now facing a most serious challenge, and therefore the new situation merits utmost attention.

This week’s reflection is much longer than usual.

It was written with the hope to improve communication between Cambodian and international voices, which is often mis-communication: while facts are presented with an invitation to rationally discuss them, they are emotionally dismissed. This is not useful, and ways have to be found to communicate better.

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Trade Unions Discuss Wages of Workers while Buying Orders Decreased to 40% – Tuesday 17.3.2009

Posted on 19 March 2009. Filed under: Week 604 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 604

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

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: Trade unions and the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies found that to live properly, wages of industrial workers, especially garment workers, should be between US$87 and US$113 per month excluding overtime wages.

“Nevertheless, during a discussion on 16 March 2009 at the Phnom Penh Hotel, supported by the [German] Friedrich Ebert Foundation, trade unions and the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies have not brought up any new measure to increase wages for workers, because of feeling threats from the global economic crisis.

“According to research conducted by the director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies since December 2008 until January 2009, by interviewing 353 garment workers (91% are female and 9% are male) from 47 factories around Phnom Penh: the average earning of a worker is US$79 per month from garment work, including the basic wage, additional wages according to production achievements, former wages, overtime payments, livelihood allowances, skills’ wage additionals, and various awards. But if overtime payment is not included, a worker earns only US$67 on average. As for their total expenses, both the expenses for daily necessities of a worker and their financial obligations (money to be sent to support their family), is US$72 per month on average, where US$57 (80%) are individual necessities (food and accommodation), and US$15 per month is to be sent home.

“As for the savings among workers interviewed, 81% have positive savings – that is US$10 per month can be saved – while 19% lack US$8 on average, because they earn low wages and do not work overtime, and their expenses are high, as they have to send much money to their home. This problem leads to the need for some support from their home, such as a supply of rice, fish, meat, or taking up additional loans.

“The director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies, Mr. Kang Chandararath, said that US$57 per month, or around US$1.90 per day, is available for daily necessities, and this is far less than the figure calculated by the National Institute of Statistics, which had estimated that for living in Phnom Penh, at least US$3 is necessary per day. According to the research, most workers, 85%, are not satisfied with their current wages, while 13% said that they are somewhat satisfied, and 3% said that they are satisfied.

“The president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union – C.CAWDU, Mr. Ath Thun, said regarding the wages of workers that he had gone to Hong Kong in China to attend a meeting, and he demanded that thorough research be done, and he submitted it as a request to the Royal Government. But the secretary-general of the National Industrial Federation Trade Union of Cambodia – NIFTUC, Mr. Kim Chansamnang, said that the wages of workers are still under discussions.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Oum Mean, said that he does not dismiss this research, but he would like to call on workers to understand the difficulties of Cambodia, which was and which is being affected by the global economic crisis – and the whole world is the market of Cambodia. When economies decline, they do not have much income, and their demand will decline, making their buying orders in Cambodia also to drop. If there are no buying orders, the factories have to close, and not just US$70 or US$80 will be lost, but there will be nothing.

“Mr. Oum Mean asked workers to stay calm until the situation gets better. The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, Mr. Van So Ieng, said that in just the two months of 2009, buying orders for Cambodia declined to 40%. As for the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, he said recently that 70 factories closed since the economic crisis erupted in August 2008, and this made more than 51,000 workers jobless. Aware of this hard situation, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, called on 24 February 2009, during a certificate awarding ceremony to graduates, on workers not to demonstrate or to strike, in order to avoid the closure of factories which would lead to job losses.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1899, 17.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #39, 17.3.2009

  • America: Airports and the Sea Are the Places where Drugs Come Out from Cambodia
  • [Former Phnom Penh Police chief] Criminal Heng Pov Will Be Sentenced on 24 March 2009 for Murdering the Editor-in-Chief of Koh Santepheap

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #140, 17.3.2009

  • Thieves Broke into [six] Gold Stalls in the Olympic Market and Took Away Gold Worth Half a Million Dollars [police have not yet identified the thieves]
  • Israel Plans to Invite the Cambodian Prime Minister to Make an Official Visit
  • A Storm Destroyed 34 Houses, Seriously Wounded Eight People, and Lightly Wounded Four [Banteay Meanchey]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1899, 17.3.2009

  • Trade Unions Discuss Wages of Workers while Buying Orders Decreased to 40%
  • [Deputy Prime Minister and secretary-general of Funcinpec] Nhek Bun Chhay Plans to Sue CTN TV Presenter [Soy Sopheap for defaming Funcinpec five times]; More Than 2,000 Funcinpec Members Prepare to Demonstrate in Front of the CTN Television Station
  • Video of [a karaoke singer who suffered an acid attack in 1999 because of an affair with a high ranking official] Tat Marina’s Life Shown in Switzerland on 8 March 2009 [International Women’s Rights Day] Now Reaches Cambodia [the video was delivered to a human rights organization to make copies and distribute them to journalists]
  • [Ousted prime minister] Thaksin Encourages People to Support the Puea Thai Party so that He Can Return

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6604, 17.3.2009

  • Former Japanese Ambassador [Imagawa Yukio] Visits Cambodia Regarding Various Developments
  • Germany Grants Euro 130,000 for the UN Inter Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region [UNIAP]
  • 69-Year-Old Man Raped 7-Year-Old Girl [he was arrested – Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #1713, 17.3.2009

  • Ieng Sary’s Lawyers Appeal against the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Order to Close Their Website – http://sites.google.com/site/iengsarydefence/
  • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party]: Hun Sen Government Faces Lack of Resources to Support Government Processes in 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4847, 17.3.2009

  • An Arrest Warrant Is Released for an Advisor of a Leader [not mentioning who] for Deceiving and Using Fake Documents

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1674, 17.3.2009

  • Head of the Biggest Hospital in Cambodia Goes to Receive Treatment in Singapore [the director of the Calmette Hospital, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Heng Taikry, suffered a stroke]
  • Opposition Party and a Civil Society Organization [the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO] Advise [CTN TV presenter and editor-in-chief of Deum Ampil] Soy Sopheap to Stick to Journalism [by stopping to use his position as a journalist to attack different political parties]

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Denials, Insults, and Rational Arguments – Sunday, 15.3.2009

Posted on 17 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, 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

It seems that some issues, which need to be clarified, do not find any solution – not only because they are controversial, but because it seem to happen frequently that issues raised are not discussed – the detailed facts and concerns they raised are disregarded, they are put aside by flat denial, not touching at the presented facts at all. Or instead of dealing with controversial facts, the “other party” is served with an insult – and it is up to the reader to consider whether the insult carries enough conviction to override the arguments, or whether an insult, instead of an argument, backfires on the party which refuses to engage in a rational discussion.

We will bring here some reminders, where it seems that facts and opinions had been presented, and the public received responses. Some seem to have intended to close further discussion – though the discussion continues anyway. In some cases we hope to lead to further open discussion – inviting to consider some aspects which are not widely shared, but may merit more attention. We let “both parties” speak.

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On 5 February 2009, the UK based organization Global Witness published a report entitled Country for Sale. The organization describes its general, global outreach, in the following way:

“Global Witness exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses. Global Witness was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its leading work on ‘conflict diamonds’ and awarded the 2007 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award, sponsored jointly by Washington DC based Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy magazine.”

The content of the study, presented on 72 pages with detailed references, is described by Global Witness as follows:

“Cambodia – one of the world’s poorest countries – could eventually earn enough from its oil, gas and minerals to become independent of foreign development aid. The report, Country for Sale, exposes for the first time how this future is being jeopardized by high-level corruption, nepotism and patronage in the allocation and management of these critical public assets.

Country for Sale details how rights to exploit oil and mineral resources have been allocated behind closed doors by a small number of powerbrokers surrounding the prime minister and other senior officials. The beneficiaries of many of these deals are members of the ruling elite or their family members. Meanwhile, the findings suggest that millions of dollars paid by oil and mining companies to secure access to these resources may be missing from the national accounts.”

Among the details, Global witness says:

“Global Witness wrote to both Chevron and BHP Billiton in October 2008 to ask them to reveal any payments made to the Cambodian government or government officials. At the time of publication, Chevron had not responded. BHP Billiton however, did reply to say that BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi and the Cambodian Government have established a joint social development fund. The total contribution of BHP and Mitsubishi is to be US$2.5 million. BHP’s response stated: ‘BHP Billiton has never made a payment to a Cambodian Government official or representative and we reject any assertion that the payment under the minerals exploration agreement is, or the amounts contributed to the Social Development Projects Fund are, “tea money”.’ BHP also shared how much had been paid to the Cambodian government, adding: ‘In accordance with the terms of a minerals exploration agreement with the Cambodian government which granted BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi the right to explore for bauxite an amount of US$1 million was formally paid to the Cambodian government in September 2006.’”

The Cambodian Embassy in London responded to the publication of Country for Sale with a press release with a color graphic page, saying global witness – A Collection of Rubbish

“Reacting angrily to the report, the Ambassador of Cambodia in the UK, H.E. Nambora Hor, accused Global Witness of being poorly-managed and indulging in hugely-damaging smear campaigns. He called on the wide variety of international bodies which help fund Global Witness to demand an urgent review of its policies and activities. ‘It is naïve for Global Witness to imagine that Cambodia’s international donors are not fully aware of the way the Royal Cambodian Government’s conducts its affairs and its commitment to demonstrating the highest possible standards.’”

Details about this Social Development Projects Fund – who administers these huge amounts of money paid by some foreign companies, and for which purposes, and under whose public monitoring – are not known to the public.

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On 25 February 2009, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State published a 2008 Human Rights Report: Cambodia, part of the 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The 16,000 words report on Cambodia states initially:

“The government’s human rights record remained poor. Security forces committed extrajudicial killings and acted with impunity. Detainees were abused, often to extract confessions, and prison conditions were harsh. Human rights monitors reported arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detention, underscoring a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair trial. Land disputes and forced evictions were a continuing problem. The government restricted freedom of speech and the press and at times interfered with freedom of assembly. Corruption was endemic. Domestic violence and child abuse occurred, education of children was inadequate, and trafficking in women and children persisted. The government offered little assistance to persons with disabilities. Anti-union activity by employers and weak enforcement of labor laws continued, and child labor in the informal sector remained a problem.

On February 15, the government passed and promulgated a comprehensive Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation containing provisions criminalizing all forms of human trafficking. By year’s end the Cambodian National Police had arrested perpetrators in 48 trafficking-in-persons and related cases, and the courts had convicted at least 12 persons on trafficking-related charges.”

The Mirror had carried a related report from a Khmer language newspaper on 27 February 2009. On 14 March 2009, we carried a report from another Khmer newspaper, saying:

“The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia.”

But later, another Khmer newspaper reported in its 15/16 March 2009 edition: “The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – said that tens of thousands of families of Khmer citizens suffer human rights violations.” And reports in the Phnom Penh Post of 16 March 2009 show a 9 year old boy standing in the wreckage of his house – sixteen houses in the Rik Reay Community – “Happy Community” – were torn down, and the area is being fenced in. A teacher, living there, said he had received a death threat. “This mistreatment is to force us to agree to their compensation package,” he said. “I am now worried for my personal security because I heard a company staffer on the walkie-talkie saying they would kill me because I am a community leader. I want to tell you that if I die, it was not at the hands of anyone else but because I was murdered by the staff of Bassac Garden City.”

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On 12 March 2009, we carried the headline from a Khmer newspaper, reporting Dalai Lama: Tibet under Chinese Control Is Like Hell on the Earth. And in order to elaborate, we added a link to the original text of the March 10th Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama, where he says:

“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan people’s peaceful uprising against Communist China’s repression in Tibet. Since last March widespread peaceful protests have erupted across the whole of Tibet. Most of the participants were youths born and brought up after 1959, who have not seen or experienced a free Tibet. However, the fact that they were driven by a firm conviction to serve the cause of Tibet that has continued from generation to generation is indeed a matter of pride… We pay tribute and offer our prayers for all those who died, were tortured and suffered tremendous hardships, including during the crisis last year, for the cause of Tibet since our struggle began.

“Around 1949, Communist forces began to enter north-eastern and eastern Tibet (Kham and Amdo) and by 1950, more than 5000 Tibetan soldiers had been killed…

“Since the re-establishment of contacts in 2002, we have followed a policy of one official channel and one agenda and have held eight rounds of talks with the Chinese authorities. As a consequence, we presented a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, explaining how the conditions for national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution would be met by the full implementation of its laws on autonomy…

“We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Fulfilling the aspirations of the Tibetan people will enable China to achieve stability and unity. From our side, we are not making any demands based on history. Looking back at history, there is no country in the world today, including China, whose territorial status has remained forever unchanged, nor can it remain unchanged.”

But while the voice of the Dalai Lama receives wide attention in the international press, there is also another aspect of the history of Tibet, which is not addressed, but to which the People’s Daily Online refers: Dalai Lama’s utter distortion of Tibet history:

“The Dalai Lama also alleged at a gathering in India’s Dharamsala to mark his 50 years in exile that “these 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet.

“Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama has not only been on the wrong side of history, but also has got the history upside down. Miseries of ‘hell on earth’ and ‘untold suffering’ occurred nowhere but in the slavery Tibet symbolized by the Dalai Lama.

“Even from historical books written by Western scholars, people can draw the conclusion that Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama clique was a society of feudal serfdom that trampled human rights and easily reminded visitors of the dark age of medieval Europe.

“The feudal serfdom had truly brought ‘untold suffering and destruction’ to the serfs and slaves who accounted for 90 percent of the then population.

“The slavery in Tibet was just ‘hell on earth’ as Charles Bell, who lived in Lhasa as a British trade representative in the 1920s, observed that the Dalai Lama’s theocratic position enabled him to administer rewards and punishments as he wished. That was because he held absolute sway over both this life and the next of the serfs and coerced them with that power.

“In 1959, after the failed rebellion by the Dalai Lama and his followers, the central government of China carried out the long-delayed emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves in Tibet…

“But just as the rebellion by the Dalai Lama clique failed disgracefully 50 years ago, its fantasy of ‘Tibetan Independence’ is also doomed to failure, because of the firm opposition from the Chinese people, including the Tibetans in Tibet.”

But the Dalai Lama does not speak of Tibet’s independence, but of national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution, and this within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Both sides do not hear each other in detail to reach mutual understanding. It is easier to maintain an old antagonism than to find ways to a common understanding – a much more difficult task.

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On 13 March 2009, the Mirror carried an article “IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!” (with reference back to similar IMF statements which we had mirrored on 13 February 2009):

“The Cambodian economy is in a negative status… We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.”

Since many weeks, there were many voices echoing the IMF concerns, even more so, since the Prime Minister had publicly questioned that the international economic downturn – in the so called economically rich countries – has the same social effects in a country like Cambodia. His comparison of rich and poorer countries with elephants and sheep may turn out to be a clue not only to understand the differences, but also to find ways to mitigate the economic problems in Cambodia, in a way industrialized countries cannot do:

“Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.”

A foreign businessman, living in Cambodia, shared his appraisal on 12 March 2009, Putting It in Perspective:

“Now that the U. S. has shed 4.5 million jobs in the past 18 months alone and unemployment stands at 8.1 %, the conventional wisdom is that garment exports will go down substantially as the U. S. is the main market for Cambodia. The current figures appear to prove it, with a 27% decrease in exports for the month of February alone. Last December it was 30%…

“Likewise, tourist arrivals show a 2.9% reduction over the same month last year…

“According to the latest statistics the construction sector is holding sort of firm, although it was reported that some 3,000 to 5,000 jobs were lost there too.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen finds fault with all those predictions, saying that all those number are altogether not that important. What’s important is that people won’t go hungry in Cambodia. All those factory workers that lost their job can go back to their native village where they will find a rice paddy to cultivate, and a family that will take care of them…

“So the garment factory girls come back and find their wooden houses, a functioning family structure, and food to eat. They don’t have problems with heating or air conditioning… They wear simple clothes. There is one communal cell-phone which provides contact to the outside world. Yes, this is a simple life, and Westerners can only look on with widened eyes wondering how people can live like this. But let’s face it – this is reality, not only in Cambodia, but in most of South East Asia. And rural areas are exactly where the majority of the factory workers come from.

“So the fact that people can go back to their village is actually a boon for them. Yes, they are poor but they have to eat. And in this context let’s not look at the social problems, e.g. lack of health care and fundamental education. This is for another, hopefully not too far off, time.

“The Western alternative is no laughing matter. People losing their jobs, lose their homes, their savings along the line, their health care, practically their freedom. In my view it’s much more dire in the West. Recession hits people in the industrialized world much harder.”

Not all readers shared his appreciation of the Prime Minister’s perspective. He responded, “I like a good discussion with contrarian viewpoints, but they need to make sense.”

It is in this same spirit that this issue of the Mirror presents contrary and controversial views. We hope also for a good discussion – but the points put forward need to make sense. And this requires to research complex facts, and to engage in open, rational thinking.

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IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis! – Saturday, 14.3.2009

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

Note:

Apologies for the rough language – it is the policy of The Mirror to provide readers of the English translations a glimpse at the sometimes rough world of Khmer journalism as it is – as always, without endorsing opinions expressed, nor being able to verify the veracity of original statements.

“A representative of the International Monetary Fund, Mr. John Nelmes [IMF Resident Representative in Cambodia], had predicted that Cambodia would encounter the consequences of the global economic crisis, and it is necessary to be prepared in advance.

“However, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, became angry and shouted that the Cambodian economy cannot decline as predicted by this person or by that person.

“It should be remembered that the IMF had warned recently, ‘Cambodia is heading toward an economic downturn and the GDP will decline to a growth rate of only 0.5% this year, after there was rigid growth during one whole decade.’

“Moreover, Mr. John Nelmes emphasized again on Thursday [12 March 2009], ‘The Cambodian economy is in a negative status, such instability happens in the context of a bleak global economic atmosphere. We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.’

“Mr. John Nelmes added, ‘Any hope for next year’s economic growth in Cambodia is not clear, because we foresee only 3% growth for 2010, but it might change.’

“Mr. Nelmes went on to say, ‘The export data of some countries are terrible, and the US retail sellers will have negative growth rates this year. This is not a good omen for garment exports.’

“Mr. Nelmes continued to say that also the high inflation in 2008, and the rising price of the dollar make Cambodia to become a more expensive goal for tourism.

“He predicted that tourism, which had an annual growth rate of nearly 20% during three or four years, decreased to around only 5% in 2008, and might also encounter negative growth rates in 2009. The selling of cars and of motorbikes dropped now by 50%, [for cars] and it had been down by 20% at the end of 2008, compared to the twelve months of the previous year.

“The executive director of the ANZ Royal Bank, Mr. Stephen Higgins, said that Cambodia needs cheaper electricity and more roads to encourage broader commercial exchanges.

“Mr. Higgins added that while one kilowatt/hour of electricity costs around US$0.05 in Vietnam, in Cambodia it can cost up to US$0.18, which is much more expensive than in Vietnam. He went on to say that the cost of transportation of agricultural goods in Cambodia is four times more expensive than in Thailand, adding, ‘This is a big difficulty. If the government wants to spend its money, it should spend it on anything that promotes the productivity in the country.’ He continued to say that although the agricultural structure might get improved and likely earn additional income, employment opportunities will be less. More production in different other sectors besides the garment sector will absorb a growing number of the labor force. The garment sector was producing more than half of the industrial output of the country, while food production earned only about 10 percent.

“Also, Mr. Higgins looks forward to the promise that there will be a Commercial Court to solve commercial disputes, which is a key factor to encourage investors.

“He added that corruption is still another concern for investors – different anti-corruption laws and regulations could solve this situation. He said, ‘Everything to clear up corruption will have long-lasting results.’

“Recently, a parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘The government has to recognize the serious situation of Cambodia and must not conceal it. And the government must really support the budget package of around US$500 million [proposed by the Sam Rainsy Party] to encourage the economy.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party said so after the Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, who has no economic skills, had dismissed the predictions about the dramatic downturn of the economy of the country, which suffers the impacts of the global economic crisis.

“The Prime Minister, who boasts about his political achievements, claimed proudly to protect this bad face, saying , ‘Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.’

“Because of this persistence, without recognizing what is right or wrong, Hun Sen predicted the future of the economy in Cambodia himself, ‘Cambodia will have 6% GDP growth in 2009.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen chatted lightly, referring to America, Europe, Japan, and Korea as elephants. He added, ‘The global economic crisis in Asia in 1997 was like a sheep that fell dead on the elephants’ legs. But now, the elephants died and fell on sheep’s legs.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the government still hides the rate of economic changes, they will be hurt by it in turn.’ He added that the IMF might make only few mistakes in their forecasting, which is technical and it is not colored by politics.

“He went on to say, ‘The government should not mix politics with technical problems.’

“The Cambodian economic growth, predicted for 2009 after just two or three months, was nearly 5%. However, on Friday last week [6 March 2009], the IMF listed Cambodia among the countries facing an economic slowdown.

“The IMF predicted that Cambodia will have another 0.5% drop in economic growth, because of the global economic crisis, and the decline of tourism, and of the construction and the garment sectors.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #138, 13.3.2009

  • Cambodia Restricts to Climb to the Preah Vihear Temple, and a Siamese [Thai] Monk Is Arrested for Attempting to Climb to the Temple
  • The UN Drug and Crimes Office [in Cambodia] Hopes that [the former commander-in-chief, who has just been appointed as the 10th deputy prime minister in charge of drug administration] Mr. Ke Kim Yan Will Strongly Act to Combat Drugs
  • The Government Provides a Livelihood Allowance of Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5.00] per Month to Civil Servants
  • The Court Orders Police to Detain a Taiwanese Man and a Military Police Officer for International Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Security Companies Sign Agreements with the National Police Office to Promote Citizens’ Security
  • Japan, South Korea, and America Announce to Shoot Down a North Korean’s Satellite Launching

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1897, 14.3.2009

  • The National Election Committee Bars Foreign Passport Holders to Join the [district and provincial/city council] Election Campaign

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #364, 14.3.2009

  • IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6602, 14-15.3.2009

  • Senior Official of UNESCO [Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï] Promised to Work for a Sustainable Protection OF the Preah Vihear Temple [he said SO during his official visit to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man from Hong Kong Had 846 Gram of Heroin When He Wanted to Board a Plane [he was arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport]
  • The Iraqi Journalist Who Threw a Shoe at Mr. Bush Is Sentenced to Serve Three Years in Prison

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4845, 14.3.2009

  • The Minister of Labor [Mr. Vong Soth]: 99 Factories Are Closed, 78 Factories Are Opened, and 20,000 Unemployed Workers Are Seeking Jobs
  • Cambodian and America Look for Possibilities to Encourage Agricultural Production
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces to Allow the [national and international] Public to Attend [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Hearing [on 30 March 2009]
  • The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia
  • Vietnam Provides Documents and More Than 300 Photos Regarding the Khmer Rouge Regime

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

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The Use of Agricultural Chemical Pesticides Is Still Popular despite Knowing that They Are Dangerous – Friday, 13.2.2009

Posted on 14 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror

“Phnom Penh: Even though there are reminders from officials of the Ministry of Agriculture to be careful when using agricultural chemical pesticides, at present, many farmers at different places said that they still cannot give it up. Farmers in Kandal said that the use of agricultural chemical pesticides is still a crucial method that cannot be given up so that their crops provide good yields to meet the markets and their needs. In the meantime, experts found that there are up to 147 types of agricultural chemical pesticides sold on markets, and among them between 40 and 50 types strongly harm the health of consumers.

“Mr. Nob (name provided by the writer), 48, a farmer in a commune of Kandal S’ang district, said that so far, he still uses agricultural chemical pesticides, although he knows that they can affect his health and that of the consumers, because there is no choice.

“Kandal borders on Phnom Penh, and it is a province which supplies agricultural products, such as vegetables and fruits to the markets in Phnom Penh and in other provinces. Some districts along the lower Mekong and Basak rivers are also sources of vegetables.

“Mr. Nob is a farmer growing many kinds of crops, such as cabbage, salad, and [edible] Khatna flowers in his village, in order to supply them to the markets in Phnom Penh. The method he uses to take care of his crops until they provide yields is to use agricultural chemical pesticides that he can buy easily from different places in his locality.

“He said, ‘I must use them so that my crops grow well, and if I do not use them, worms will eat all the crops.’ According to his description, he and his villagers have so far not seen any official experts in agriculture coming to instruct them and to explain the impact of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides, and to start to produce natural poison or natural fertilizer, although nowadays, the Minister of Agriculture and some organizations are encouraging citizens to cut down on the use of agricultural poison or chemical fertilizers, saying one can change to natural fertilizer and natural methods of pest control.

“Responding to this problem, the Svay Prateal commune chief in S’ang, Kandal, Mr. Nuon Soeun, said that agricultural officials did never come to explain the impact of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer, but previously, there were organizations coming to help educate farmers some time, but the farmers seemed not interested in it. He added that natural pesticides are likely more difficult to produce and more tiring than to use chemical pesticides.

“He went on to say, ‘I also used to produce poison to prevent insects from destroying some types of crops, it takes half a month at least to find the resources and to mix them. As for chemical pesticides, I just go to the market to buy them, mix them with water, and apply it on crops; that’s all.’

“According to his experience, to produce natural poison to prevent insects, farmers need to find many different resources such as the bark of the Sdao tree, the poisonous fruit of the Sleng tree, and the poisonous bark of the Kantuot tree, and soak them in water that is then used to apply to the crops. He said that doing so is complicated and can make farmers get tired of it. According to information from him, among more than 3,000 families, most of them take up cropping, and up to 90% of them use agricultural chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizer.

“At present, the Ministry of Agriculture, especially the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, who always goes directly to different localities countrywide, appeals to farmers to change their habits from using agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer to using natural poison and natural fertilizer. The change, that the Ministry of Agriculture wants, is to ensure the health of the farmers themselves and also of the consumers; that is to care for the quality of soil and water – without any poison. Many hazards might happen because farmers use chemical pesticides without proper instruction from experts. Also, the ministry encourages its officials to go to educate farmers at their localities about these problems.

“The S’ang district governor, Mr. Khim Chankiri, and the director of the Kandal Agricultural Department, Mr. Bun Tuon Simona, denied what residents had mentioned: that expert officials never reach out to them to instruct them about the impact of chemical pesticides, and they said that these problems are what they actually are focusing on.

“Mr. Chankiri added that before, district officials went to instruct them about these problems, and moreover, the department had sent officials. He continued to say, ‘Most of them thought it was wasting their time, instead of working on cropping, but they did take part. This is why they said that there was never any official going to educate them regularly.’ As for Mr. Tuon Simona, he said that so far, the agricultural department went to educate them regularly about how to create natural fertilizer and many different measures to protect crops and prevent impacts of the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

“However, according to another farmer in another province and some other people, they said the same about the presence of agricultural officials. They said that they rarely saw agricultural officials going to meet farmers, except when there were ceremonies to accompany their higher officials. Actually, relating to this problem, obviously there should be more active outreach by experts than before, rather than pointing to the statements of higher officials. They often assume that lower officials are inactive for different reasons, or they create just project expenses about non existing tasks. Therefore, farmers cannot receive what the Minister wants.

“Regarding this problem, the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC], Dr. Yang Saing Koma, said that generally, the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer has become already a habit of the farmers. Thus, to change them, takes time and needs participation.

“He added, ‘If the use of chemical products has already become their habit, it is most difficult to change.’

“By now, there are hundreds of types of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer on the local markets – according to a study by the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture .

“The project coordinator of CEDAC, Mr. Keam Makarady said that in 2008, the center found there were up to 147 types of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer at the markets all over Cambodia, among which 53% were imported from Vietnam and 37% from Thailand. Among them, from 40 to 50 types can enter into vegetables and fruit, when pesticides are administered on them.

“He emphasized, ‘Talking about chemical substances, we found 147 types, but talking about commercial names of pesticides, there are up to 606 types.’

“According to the findings of the center in 2007, there were only 132 agricultural chemical pesticides on the market, and 472 commercial names. Therefore, within one year, all his increased greatly.

“He said that that those kinds of pesticides are harmful to the health of users, particularly farmers, who use and touch them directly.

“Based on Mr. Makarady words, those pesticides can directly affect farmers, for example they cause getting dizzy and having to vomit, they can damage the stomach and the bladder, cause skin diseases, and weaken the health. They indirectly affect also consumers who eat their products, especially chemical pesticides that can enter into vegetables and fruit.

“Relating to the use of agricultural chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizer, a farmer in Kandal, who grows banana, said (by not mentioning his name), that – in order to meet their demands – farmers use those chemical pesticides. He added that if they grow and their products depend only on the nature, farmers cannot harvest enough to meet the demands of the market.

“He emphasized, ‘After a banana tree loses its flowers, it takes three months for bananas to ripe. But if chemicals are applied, they can make it ripe within two months. Just apply chemicals one or two times, and small bananas grow really big, and they look as if they had been pumped up like a balloon.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4820, 13.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 February 2009

Cheat Khmer. Vol.1, #17, 13-15.2.2009

  • The International Monetary Fund – IMF – Warns about Serious Effects on the Cambodian Economy [if the government does not have proper measures to prevent the effects of the global economic slowdown]
  • The United Nations and the Ministry of Interior Join to Fight Torture

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1872, 13.2.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Still Supports [the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party and prime minister] Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [he said that the Cambodian People’s Party is still strong and has no internal splits, and that he still supports Mr. Hun Sen to be the prime ministerial candidate of the party]
  • More Than 40 Families Protest in Front of the Municipality with Accusations that Their Land Is Violated [Oddar Meanchey]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #341, 13.2.2009

  • The Opposition Parties Asks Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Explain the Global Witness Report and to Arrest the Perpetrators to Be Convicted

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #343, 13.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Orders the Council of Ministers, Administered by Sok An, to Take Action against [the former commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces recently removed] Ke Kim Yan according to the System of Laws [seizing all his machineries, and recalling all soldiers defending his land, to return to their barracks]
  • The Organization World Education Reminds [Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport] Im Sethy to Reinstate Mr. Sun Thun at His Previous Place [Mr. Sun Thun was removed from a high-school to teach at a lower-secondary school, accused of defaming government leaders during his teaching]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #202, 13.2.2009

  • Plan to Collect Taxes in 2009 Might Yield Up to US$500 Million [no figures for 2008 provided for comparison]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #63, .2.2009

  • Minister of Information [Khieu Kanharith] Asks the Region Marketing Director of the Voice of America [Mr. Neal Lavon] to Help Officials of the National Television [by sending them to receive training in the United States of America]
  • The Ministry of Interior Does Not Allow to Hold an Extraordinary Congress of the Norodom Ranariddh Party on 15 February 2009 [because the acting president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party did not legally give the right to Mr. Em Sitha, with his signature, indicating that he is the representative of the party]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3686, 13.2.2009

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Still Ban Khmers to Build a Pagoda Fence Near the Border in Kompong Cham’s Memut District [even though it is not in Vietnamese territory; the district governor, Mr. Chek Sa On, the person who signed the permission for the construction is also the person who came to prohibit it, said that it is a problem on the national level]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4820, 13.2.2009

  • The Use of Agricultural Chemical Pesticides Is Still Popular despite Knowing that They Are Dangerous
  • In Ten More Years the Cambodian Economy May Have a Stronger Competitive Position [according to a leading institution in organizing conferences]
  • Note (from the announcement):

    Economist Conferences

    Siem Reap, 16 February 2009

    Fees: US$990 Earlybird fee (register by 9 January 2009) – US$1,250 Standard fee

    Business Roundtable with the government of Cambodia – On the verge of a breakthrough?

    “His Excellency Prime Minister Hun Sen has confirmed his support and will deliver the opening keynote address at the event.

    …Cambodia’s prospects as both a tourist destination and a center for enterprise and investment – on paper at least – appear bright.

    …Cambodia will continue to struggle to reassure the international community that the political system itself is sound and fair… How the new government responds to stabilize the economy, and address pressing issues such as poverty and public-sector corruption, will have a significant bearing on the country’s attractiveness to foreign direct investment.

    Key issues to be discussed include:

    • In light of recent oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Thailand, what is the government doing to settle border claims with its neighbors?
    • With predictions that oil could start flowing by as early as 2011, how will the government manage Cambodia’s newfound wealth?
    • In evaluating the investment climate, are private equity firms being overly optimistic?
    • What new business opportunities are there for investment in Cambodia’s much needed infrastructure?
    • Given the recent boom in property development and construction, is greater regulation of the industry necessary and if so, what impact will this have on property investors?
    • How will Cambodia’s garment industry deal with greater competition from China and Vietnam? What is being done to boost efficiency in this important industry?
    • With a recession hitting the US, what is Cambodia doing to diversify its export markets?
    • How will the government offset growing inflation and an increase in commodity prices, particularly of oil?
    • Is Cambodia’s economy ready to move away from de facto ‘dollarization’ to the riel and what will this mean for business?”
  • The UN World Food Program Will Grant US$25 Million for Project Implementations in Cambodia
  • The Economic Policy Committee Asks the Government Four Points in order to Reduce Taxes to Help the Garment Sector [the four measures are: 1. Reducing burdens of taxes, and other expenses. 2. Improving commerce, especially garment export. 3.Commercial financing, and 4. Improving professional relations and responsibility by all sides in the frame of law]
  • Leaders of Different Religions from 16 Countries Meet in Cambodia [they are from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, England, India, Italy, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Uganda, United State of America, and Vietnam]
  • The Financial Crisis Makes Cambodia to Loose US$676 Million, and 44,600 Workers to Loose Employment

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3484, 13.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Prohibits Rohingya Refugees to Enter Siam [Thailand]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Thursday, 24.7.2008: Develop Jobs and Provide Vocational Training to Reduce Poverty

Posted on 25 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Phnom Penh: In order to help the citizens from poverty, strategies of the government have to emphasize the provision of jobs which promote productivity and increase family income – this means that jobs and work are important ways to free the citizens from poverty.

“During the third terms (2003 to 2007) of the Cambodian government led by Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, work and vocational training have significantly contributed to develop the national economy and to alleviate poverty of the citizens.

“The labor market is very broad and complicated, covering from work at small villages to work at big enterprises, with workers of different races. Nowadays, Cambodia’s main labor force reserve is in rural areas, so we should not overlook the need of our citizens who need the most basic and simple skills to improve the livelihood of their families.

“According to a report of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, in 2004, the agricultural sector used up to 60% of the total labor force, but this sector contributed only 32% to the GDP. This showed that agricultural productivity was still low, so that citizens working in this sector earned low incomes.

“Mr. Chea Sophoan, secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said recently in an intervention during a national conference about the improvement of the life of citizens through different accomplishments – implementing the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government from 2004 to 2007 – that as a result of training and other activities, the number of trainees in the technical and in the vocational sectors increased steadily, in 2005 there were 27,894; in 2006 there were 47,987; and in 2007 there were 88,367.

“In 2006, the number of students studying for university degrees was 94,310, where 92% studied skills related to the service sector, 5% studied related to the industrial sector, and 3% studied agriculture. As for students who studied in vocational technical schools (for ‘associate degrees’), the number was 16,912, equal to only 15%. So the supply of new members of the labor force did not responded to the needs of the labor market.

“At the same time when addressing problems in the agricultural sector, as seen above, also the garment sector faces problems.

“At the time when Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization [January 2007], quota for the export of garments came to an end.

“Barriers put up by the United States and by the European Community against garment imports from the People’s Republic of China will expire on 1 January 2009.

“The Generalized System of Preferences [GSP – a system under which industrialized countries grant trade preferences to developing countries] of the United States will continue until 2010.

“The economy of the United States is declining.

“The above factors provide the starting point for the competition of the Cambodian garment industry.

“Based on recent studies, the production efficiency is very low – around only 30% to 40% – but Cambodia should have reached the level of 60% to 70%. The increase in productivity is an important factor to bring success in international competition.

“Generally speaking, the quality and the level of education of the labor force are still low. Studies about the labor market show that the development of capacity and of skills of the labor force are an important factor to increase productivity, increase family income, and reduce poverty.

“To find adequate jobs for young people and to provide the labor market with a labor force that has enough capacity and skills requires to develop a realistic vocational and technical education system as a priority that cannot be disregarded.

“It should be noted that previously, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training had set certain policy goals: 1. To provide services for those who seek jobs at private enterprises and institutions, and 2. To contribute to create more jobs, to reduce unemployment, and to increase income.

“It is therefore important to assist in training basic skills for citizens in rural areas. Such training not only helps to improve the livelihood of poor citizens, but it also provides opportunities for them to continually promote their levels of knowledge and skills through training, organized from low to higher levels, and the levels move up steadily. Vocational and technical educational systems are the second provider of an opportunity for young people who had lost the possibility for general studies when they were children in the general education system [from grade 1 to grade 12]. To help change the social situation of poor people is an important factor to gain social stability, and this could also bring harmony into the Kingdom of Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4649, 24.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 July 2008


Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #16, 24-25.7.2008

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Eldest Son [Hun Manet] Was Assigned to a Position in the National Committee on Counter-Terrorism [with the rank of captain, by sub-decree #75, dated 29 January 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1701, 24.7.2008

  • Price of Fuel and Khmer Riel Remain Stable in July 2008 [fuel is Riel 5,750 per liter, and Riel 4,160 is equal to US$1.-]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #205, 24.7.2008

  • The Complaint of Cambodia Is Not Yet Included in the July Agenda of the UN Security Council; Giovanni Boccardi, Chief, World Heritage Committee, Asia/Pacific Unit, Said That They Cannot Intervene in a Border Dispute
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asked the National Assembly [on 22 July 2008] to Consider the Joint Communique between [Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers] Sok An and [former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Nappadon Pattama to Be Invalid
  • Khmer Troops Have Sent Weapons to the Disputed Region to Fight Air Force Planes and to Fight Tanks
  • The Cambodian Confederation of Unions [on 23 July 2008] Called All Taxi Drivers and Bus Companies to Keep Prices of Transportation Normal during the Traveling Period [of workers] to Vote

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #57, 24.7.2008

  • A Very Well-Known Pharmaceutical Company [P.P.M] in Cambodia Calls for the Use of Local Medicines [because most of Cambodian people prefer medicines imported from foreign countries]
  • The UN Considers the Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand as a Hot Agenda


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4649, 24.7.2008

  • Develop Jobs and Provide Vocational Training to Reduce Poverty
  • The UN Will Hold a Meeting on Thursday Morning about the Preah Vihear Dispute
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: Cambodia Takes a High Moral Stand to Solve the Border Issue [by depending on international regulations as policy]
  • An Indian Rice Millionaire [who is a close friend of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan] Has Asked to Buy 100,000 Tonnes of Rice per Year from Banteay Meanchey [according to Ung Ouen, Banteay Meanchey governor]
  • Son Killed Father Using a Sickle to Cut His Throat [because his father often caused domestic violence, Prey Chhor, Kompong Cham]
  • A US General [General Norton Schwartz] Warned Russia about Basing Nuclear Weapons Capable Bombers in Cuba [22 July 2008]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3367, 24.7.2008

  • The Second Negotiation of ASEAN about the Khmer-Siam [Thailand] Disputed Region Failed [23 July 2008]
  • There Are Nearly 90,000 National, International, and Political Observers for the Election [on 27 July 2008]

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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Friday, 18.7.2008: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia Issued a Statement to Address the Impunity of Murderers and Attempts to Murder Journalists

Posted on 19 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 569

“On 16 July 2008, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] in Cambodia issued an official statement with the title ‘The Murder of Khim Sambo, a Journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and of His Son’ on 11 July 2008. This statement has raised, in many paragraphs, the issues of press freedom, and of impunity for criminals. It started by sharing sadness as follows:

“The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia expresses its concerns and sadness about the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his son, Khat Sarinpheata, on 11 July 2008 in the center of Phnom Penh. The OHCHR would like to share sad condolences with the family, friends, and colleges of the victims, and would like to join with others to express our sadness about their death with all who mourn together.

“While it is too early to decide whether his murder is related to articles that he had written, there is a certain context, raising the suspicion that ‘His work might be a reason for his murder.’

“Mr. Khim Sambo was an experienced journalist working with Moneaksekar Khmer which is oriented towards the Sam Rainsy Party, which is in the opposition.

“OHCHR stressed the following in the statement:

“By not thinking about the reasons for this murder, one could not influence the public view that causes fear of politics among the citizens and in their feelings. Therefore, it is very important that the authorities of the government investigate this case soon, fully, and dependably, and bring the criminals to be sentenced to the court, to resolve all doubts about this murder. Such action would be an assurance, better than anything else in the context of impunity, which still continues for the murderers of journalists in the past, with the impression that criminals are above the law, and journalists are not protected.

“The murder on a journalist is a denial of the basic right of the freedom of expression. A murder during the parliamentary election campaign towards the 27 July 2008 throws a shadow on the election campaign, where there had not yet been any serious violations so far, compared to previous elections. This murder not only destroyed the victim’s family, friends, and colleges, but it also destroyed newspapers, the journalists’ community, rights and freedoms of expression, and it destroyed as well the possibility of a proper participation by opposition parties in Cambodia.

“The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia recently noticed that violations against journalists had decreased significantly, compared to the 1990ies. More disputes with journalists are now solved by the courts, but regrettably, activities from criminals still continue stronger than the use of civil courts actions against destructive activities. This murder causes fear that journalists become shooting targets for murderers again.

“It is indispensable to secure the right to freedom of expression, based on the Constitution, where the authorities protect the journalists from violence; but defamation cases have been approached through criminal lawsuits rather than through civil court actions. The freedom of expression for anyone, to be used peacefully and freely, contributes to publicly discuss concerns in society – this is a key condition to develop a democratic environment.

“The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia is ready to cooperate with the Ministry of Information and other relevant institutions as well as with other concerned people to find what should be done to strengthen, to promote, and to protect the peaceful implementation of the rights of the freedom of expression and of press freedom, that are recognized by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“Information background: Impunity – murders and attempt of murders of journalists in the past:

“The murder of Mr. Khim Sambo is similar to eight other murders and attempts of murder of journalists in Cambodia since 1994 – in all cases the criminals still continue to live happily with impunity. Those cases are:

“Mr. Nuon Chan, editor-in-chief of Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, was shot dead by two people riding on a motorcycle in Phnom Penh on 7 September 1994.

“Mr. Sao Chandara, a journalist of Koh Santepheap, was shot dead on 8 December 1994 in Kompong Cham. A military official was sued, but not sentenced, and he was free from any punishment. The Appeals Court decided to file an appeal against this decision to absolve him from punishment, but the appeal was not filed at the Supreme Court.

“Mr. Ek Mongkol, a reporter of Radio FM 90 MHz, was shot with many bullets while he was driving along a road in the center of Phnom Penh on 21 October 1995. He survived the shooting.

“Mr. Thun Bunly, editor-in-chief of Udom Katte Khmer was shot dead by two people ridding on a motorcycle in Phnom Penh on 18 May 1996. Half an hour before he was murdered, he told a friend that he was worried about his safety. In 1995, he had been accused and sentenced twice on accusations of publishing many articles criticizing the Royal Government.

“Mr. Leng Sam Ang, editor-in-chief of Kumnit Koun Khmer, was hit and shot by police on 2 January 1997. He survived the attack.

“Mr. Michael Senior, a freelance photographer who was originally Khmer, was shot dead by soldiers when he attempted to take pictures of many soldiers who were stealing goods in a market in Phnom Penh on 8 July 1997.

Additional Background Information

Tragedy in Cambodia hits home – A 23-year-old Canadian was among those killed in last months fighting in Cambodia

PORT MOODY, British Columbia/Canada — Cambodia’s tragedy was brought home when a 23-year-old Cambodian, adopted and raised by a Port Moody couple, was killed July 8 1997. Michael Senior ran afoul of rampaging soldiers in Phnom Penh.

A memorial service was held 12 July 1997 at Peter and Judy Seniors’ place of worship, Hillside Community Church in Coquitlam, when family members spoke about Michael and several representatives of the Cambodian community shared their thoughts about the crisis in Cambodia.

“Michael had just gone out of his apartment,” explains his father. “He had a still camera. He saw some soldiers looting stores, and started taking pictures. One of the soldiers shot him in the leg.

“His wife heard the shot, and came out. He was speaking in Cambodian, telling the soldiers he was sorry for taking the pictures. He and his wife started begging for mercy. The soldiers shot him in front of his wife, and she had to run for her life.”

“We had her flown out of there the next day,” says Judy Senior. Srey-Pov Senior and her daughter Nina, nine months, arrived in Canada soon afterward and met Michael’s parents for the first time. The family attended a Cambodian memorial service 26 July 1997 at Fraserview Alliance Church in Vancouver. “It would be dangerous for Srey-Pov to go back,” Judy says. “We’re hoping she’ll be able to stay in Canada.”

“Mr. Thong Uy Pang, editor-in-chief of Koh Santepheap was shot in Phnom Penh on 8 June 1998, but he survived the injury. Last year two grenades were thrown into this newspaper’s office.

“Mr. Chuo Chetharith, reporter of Radio Ta Prum was shot dead when he arrived at his workplace, by two people riding on a motorcycle, on 18 October 2003.

“Meanwhile, three other journalists died from violence, cases that have not been solved – Mr. Tou Chhom Mongkol, editor-in-chief of Antarakum died on 11 June 1994; Mr. Pich Em, technician of National Television of Cambodia in Sihanoukville, died on 5 May 1997; and Mr. Ou Sareoun, a journalist of Samleng Reas Khmer was also killed.

“The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Charge of Human Rights in Cambodia agreed with analysts that impunity is the one major barrier which destroys the rule of law in Cambodia. In most cases when journalists were shot dead, the authorities always said that investigations are being continued, or are not yet finished, or have achieved little results. As a consequence – according to the OHCHR, no criminals have been brought to court to be punished for these crimes.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3362, 18.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 18 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1696, 18.7.2008

  • Cambodia and Thailand Wait for a Result of Negotiations on 21 July 2008
  • Konrad Adenauer Foundation Was Asked to Continue to Help Cambodia [it uses Khmer human resources for 90% of its work to develop the country; this request was made during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mr. Wolfgang Meyer, representative of the organization, finishing his mission in Cambodia]
  • Korea International Cooperation Agency – KOICA – Helps to Construct More than 14 km of a Road in Chea Lea and Sambour Communes, Batheay District [Kompong Cham]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #201, 18.7.2008

  • Khmer Soldiers from Two Regions [Battambang and Siem Reap] Are Sent to the Disputed Area; More Thai Para Soldiers Are Also Added


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #52, 18.7.2008

  • Nearly 500 Thai Soldiers Continued to Come into Khmer Land at the Preah Vihear Temple Region
  • Civil Society Organizations Call to Stop Violence during Election Campaign
  • Export of Garments Increase in 2008 [according to Mr. Mean Sophea from the Garment Export Department of the Ministry of Commerce, there is a 5% increase during the period of six months in 2008, and it will continue to rise up to 10% by the end of this year]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6400, 18.7.2008

  • [Khmer] Fishery Official Was Shot Dead [by Vietnamese navy] and Another Official Has Been Arrested in [the Khmer] Sea when They Stopped an [illegal] Yuon [Vietnamese] Fishing Boat [then the Vietnamese navy intervened there was shooting – 17 July 2008 – Kampot]
  • Thailand Continues Increasing Troops; Thai Protesters Who Tried to March to the Preah Vihear Temple Were Blocked by [Thai] Pro-Government Personnel [17 July 2008 – Sisaket Province]
  • [14-year-old] Girl Disappeared, Five Days Later Her Body Was Found in the Jungle; She Had Been Raped and Killed by Breaking Her Neck [Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3515, 18.7.2008

  • If the Accused Can Talk to Each Other in Detention, It Might Affect the Investigation at the Khmer Rough Tribunal [but a co-lawyer of the former Khmer Rouge leader Mr. Nuon Chea, Mr. Son Arun, said recently that if the court would allow the five accused to sit and talk to each other two or three times per week, it might improve their health and help to release their stress and their hopelessness, so that this special court might finish the process with more success]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4644, 18.7.2008

  • Thailand Still Builds Up Its Troops at the Border; [Thai Prime Minister] Samak: The Three Thai People [who entered Cambodia] Are Provokers; the Thai Army Commander-in-Chief [Anupong Paochinda] Orders Troops to Come Close to Borders; Thailand Mine Action Center [TMAC] Clears Mines Unilaterally
  • Cambodian Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Asked Thai Prime Minister [Samak Sundaravej] to Withdraw Troops from the Region at a Khmer Pagoda [through a letter dated on 17 July 2008]
  • MIG Masters Investment Group Co., Ltd [a Chinese company] Plans to Invest in Public Bus Transportation Sector in Phnom Penh


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3362, 18.7.2008

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia Issued a Statement to Address the Impunity of Murderers and Attempts to Murder Journalists

Have a look at the last editorial – The struggle towards openness and access to information happens in many places – and it may help to mutually learn from other experiences.

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