ECPAT Cambodia: Rape of Women and Children Increased in 2009 to 322 Cases – Monday, 18.1.2010

Posted on 19 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“Phnom Penh: Rape is, according to the law, as a serious crime – perpetrators and colluders can be jailed up to 20 years and they will also be fined. How did the situation of rape change in 2009 in Cambodia?

“End Child Prostitution, Abuse, and Trafficking in Cambodia (ECPAT) published figures of rape, of sex trafficking, and of debauchery based on reports in five local newspapers: Koh Santepheap, Rasmei Kampuchea, Kampuchea Thmey, the Cambodia Daily, and the Phnom Penh Post-vp, where there were 322 cases of rape reported. The number increased by 16.77% compared to 2008, where there had been only 268 cases, and by 6.52% compared to 2007, where there had been 301 cases. The 332 cases victimized 337 persons, among whom 202 were underage girls and 2 were boys. Most of the victims were Khmers, but there were also Vietnamese, Cambodian Muslims, and Australians. It should be noted that gang rapes [when two or more men rape one girl] increased to 29 cases – in each case there were 2 to 7 perpetrators involved, and 5 victims were killed after they had been raped.

“ECPAT Cambodia added that these rape cases were committed by 381 perpetrators where one was a woman. Besides Khmer perpetrators, there were also Khmer Muslims, Thais, Vietnamese, and Koreans. 317 of them were arrested, and 235 were sent to courts. 47 escaped and 2 others were not arrested. Among all cases, 66 are still under further investigation by local authorities, in 2 cases the perpetrators were released, and 1 case was solved out of the court system. There were only 6 cases reported where perpetrators were convicted to serve 3 to 20 years in prison, and they were ordered to compensate the victims or the victim’s families with US$1,000 to US$2,500. If we look at the relation between perpetrators and underage victims, it is found that 143 children were raped by their neighbors or persons they know, 27 were raped by their fathers, step fathers, or adopted fathers, 16 were raped by other relatives, and 2 were raped by their teachers.

“The provinces and cities with most rape cases were Battambang with 61 cases, Phnom Penh with 42 cases, Kandal with 30 cases, Banteay Meanchey with 26 cases, Pursat with 25 cases, Kompong Cham with 24 cases, and Kompong Speu and Takeo both with 17 cases. Some factors were found triggering these cases, which include: perpetrators had easy opportunities [to commit rape], victims stayed or went somewhere alone with the perpetrators, or they attend celebrations at night, victims were asleep or having a bath, and in other cases the perpetrators were heavily drunk, or had prepared their plans in advance, or they had frequently watched pornographic movies.

“Based on the above figures, law enforcement by the relevant authorities, especially the courts, remained limited, as giving impunity to perpetrators continued, and this was also because the publication of laws by different relevant institutions was not yet done intensively, and there was carelessness of victims and of the victims’ parents.

“Also, there were 7 cases of sex trafficking (compared to 2008, there were 17 cases and 2007, there were 16 cases) which resulted in 11 victims where 7 of them were underage and one was Vietnamese. Those cases involved 15 perpetrators where 3 were women: 2 Koreans and 1 Chinese. 1 perpetrator was the victim’s friend, and the other was committed by an acquaintance. 13 of the perpetrators were arrested, 5 cases were sent to the courts, 1 escaped, and 2 other cases are under further investigations by the local authorities. Sex trafficking occurred in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Pailin, Takeo, and Banteay Meanchey. There are no report about how the perpetrators were prosecuted.

“In 2009, there were also 18 cases of debauchery with children, involving 24 victims. Among them, only 1 was not underage, 4 were boys, and 1 was Vietnamese. These cases were committed by 18 perpetrators, where 4 were Khmers, 3 French, 2 Canadians, 2 Americans, 1 English, 1 Swiss, 1 Thai, 1 Danish, 1 Israeli, and 1 Greek. Most of them were tourists, but there were also teachers among them, and a foreign monk. 17 of them were arrested and sent to court, and 1 escaped. There were 3 cases brought for hearings where the perpetrators were sentenced to serve 1 to 5 years in prison, and they were ordered to compensate the victims with US$1,000 to US$2,500. 9 of those cases happened in Phnom Penh, 2 cases in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Banteay Meanchey each, and 1 case in Battambang, Kandal, and Koh Kong.

“ECPAT Cambodia noticed that rape in Cambodia continued to occur at a worrying and high level, and most victims were underage, especially in the case of rape. The number of cases brought to be heard at the courts was not so high, simply because of out of court arrangements. ECPAT Cambodia and other related organizations appealed to law enforcement institutions, especially to the police and to court officials, to strengthen and to ensure effective law enforcement. Education about the laws and other related topics should be extended. Also, parents should raise the notion of carefulness with their children, especially with underage girls and other vulnerable groups, not leaving them alone in whatever circumstances.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6860, 18.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 18 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #390, 17-18.1.2010

  • Rice Buyers from Europe Plan to Export 50,000 Tonnes of Cambodian Rice on the International Market
  • [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-Moon Will Visit Haiti, UN Seeks US$562 Million Aid

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2153, 17-18.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Sends Condolences and Donates US$50,000 for Earthquake Tragedy Victims in Haiti

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #582, 17-18.1.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Asked the Head of the Svay Rieng Court to Allow Them to Visit the [two] Khmer Farmer Victims [detained over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6860, 18.1.2010

  • ECPAT Cambodia: Rape of Women and Children Increased in 2009 to 322 Cases
  • Since 1996 and up to 2009, Japan Provided more than US$200 Million in Loans for the Sihanoukville Port Development
  • The Number of Earthquake Deaths in Haiti Might Reach 200,000

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #91, 18.1.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [Mr. Surya Subedi] Starts His Second Visit, Beginning This Monday [18.1.2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5102, 17-18.1.2010

  • Since [border] Disputes Started, Thai Soldiers Shot and Killed Eight Khmer Poor Citizens and Injured 20 [accusing them of cutting trees illegally in Thai territory]
  • A Car Loaded with Fish Crashed into a Motorbike, Killing Two People and Injuring One [Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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A Government Official Claimed Human Rights Violations Dropped, while Civil Society Found They Increased – Thursday, 14.1.2010

Posted on 15 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Mr. Om Yentieng, said that in 2009, human rights violations decreased compared with previous years, but civil society officials claimed they increased.

“Mr. Om Yentieng stated that the human rights conditions in Cambodia were better than in previous years. But he did not offer a percentage of the increase and of the decrease. He added that a better human rights situation exists in all sectors, because of a better understanding of the law by citizens. Also, the capacity of the authorities at most ministries and institutions did advance. He continued to say that the promotion of and the caring for human rights issues mentioned in the Rectangular Strategy are now in practice.

“Regarding this case, an investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, told Deum Ampil that in 2009, according to the findings of LICADHO, there were as many as 904 cases of human rights violation in 14 provinces and cities. He added that those cases consist of violations against general human rights, against women’s rights, and against children’s rights. Compared to 2008, there was an increase by 54 cases, as in 2008 there were only 846 cases. He went on to say that most violations of general human rights occurred all the time, including evictions, assaults, and murders. As for women and children, the number of rapes increased. He stressed that major problems, which led to the increase is that the court systems was not independent, and the understanding of the field still seems to remains limited. Therefore, the authorities frequently did compromise when there were offenses or crimes. Another point is that often perpetrators were not arrested for prosecution by the courts. There are other related problems that stimulated the increase of rapes against children and women, like foreign pornographic videos or drug abuse.

“He continued to say that there is more increase of violations in Phnom Penh than in other provinces. He said if human rights violations continues, it will contribute negatively to the situation of the whole nation. Moreover, foreign countries will see Cambodia as a country where sufficient actions are not taken against offenders.

“Also, an investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said that freedom of expression, impunity, land disputes, evictions, and different laws which relate to human rights in Cambodia are of concern. All civil society organizations notice that the freedom of expression is in a worrying situation, because some civil society officials were sued by government officials. The immunity of some parliamentarians was suspended, and they are indicted at the courts. As for impunity, he said that it is rising higher, and there is not yet an independent monitoring of the conditions. Mr. Om Yentieng said that he is pleased and welcomes talks about human rights issues in Cambodia, if anyone does not agree with his aforementioned claims.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #387, 14.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 14 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #387, 14.1.2010

  • A Government Official Claimed Human Rights Violations Dropped, while Civil Society Found They Increased
  • [Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Will Not [bilaterally] Meet [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya during the [ASEAN ministerial] Meeting in Vietnam

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2150, 14.1.2010

  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaugsuban Responded to Samdech Hun Sen that His Government Will Have a Very Long Life
  • The Ministry of Health Vows to Completely Eliminate Illegal Pharmacies and Their Branches and Clinics by March 2010

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #717, 14.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warned to Arrest Any Parliamentarians Who Are Addicted to Gambling

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #579, 14.1.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Orders an Investigation to Find the Place That Produces Shoes on which an Image of the Angkor Wat Temple Is Printed [considering it as in insult]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6857, 14.1.2010

  • Drunken Man Ended His Wife’s Life Cruelly in Front of Three Daughters [out of jealousy – making his five children become orphans; he was arrested – Kandal]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #89, 14.1.2010

  • Cambodia Condemned Thailand over a Shootout Which Killed Khmer Citizens at the Border
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Will Visit Cambodia in Late January while Red-Shirt Demonstrators [his supporters] Prepare to Demonstrate in Bangkok

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5099, 14.1.2010

  • The American Embassy Sponsored Training on Information Technology at the Ministry of Justice
  • A Terrible Earthquake Tragedy Occurred in Haiti [thousands of people died]

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