Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate – Wednesday, 18.8.2010

Posted on 19 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Local Unemployment urges more Khmer workers to migrate to find jobs in foreign countries, especially in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Siam [Thailand], and Taiwan. This makes many Khmer citizens to suffer from the exploitation of their labor, and lead to human rights abuses and forced labor, which make them to get sick and sometimes it leads to fatal sicknesses. In addition, sometimes Khmer workers who were domestic servants, have been mistreated and did not have sufficient nutrition, and the companies that sent them to work abroad, never cared about their living conditions.

“According to officials of a human rights organization, there are 26 licensed companies that are sending Khmer workers abroad, but there are also some unlicensed companies. Many Khmer workers abroad suffered from various abuses, and some of them died. When Khmer workers endured such misery or died abroad, the companies did not intervene to find justice for the victims, and also the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training did not help to find proper solutions, following the laws of Cambodia.

“Officials of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], said that they received information about four victimized women who asked for intervention to take them back from Malaysia in July 2010. Some were mistreated by not having enough food, some were beaten and even raped, and some were forced to work like cattle without a break. Those who work at factories were forced to work overtime, straining their working conditions, and violating the previous promises of companies in Cambodia, as the actual situation in Malaysia is quite different from the promises.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia said that from 2008 to 2010, they have received 92 complaints from Khmer workers abroad, and there were 130 victims. Some female workers who just returned from Malaysia said that they were mistreated by not having enough food, they were insulted and intimidated. This happened to them since they were sent to work as domestic servants in Malaysia. More than that, their passports were taken away, so that they had difficulties in finding outside assistance and to return to Cambodia, unless they were able to run to the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia.

“According to officials of the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility [CARAM] organization that monitors the situation of migrant workers, about 20,000 female workers are laboring in Malaysia, more than 200,000 in Siam [Thailand], about 9,000 in Korea, and many others in Arab countries, as well as in Japan and in Taiwan. The executive director of CARAM, Mr. Ya Navuth, said that poverty, unemployment, and the threatening global economic crisis force Khmer citizens to leave Cambodia to find jobs in other countries. More and more Khmer workers migrate abroad, though they already know that they will have to face many difficulties. Observers noticed that poverty, unemployment, and no land for farming are factors that make Cambodian citizens to take the risk to seek jobs abroad. These factors are the results of wrong policies of the government that does not contribute to broad economic growth, so that citizens can get jobs and earn an income to live properly. Formerly, the government banned citizens from migrating abroad – like to Thailand – but the government does not create jobs for a large section of the population, for people who are unemployed, so that they cannot earn their daily living.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia discovered that many Khmer workers suffered from abuses of their human rights and of violations of labor laws, and from being trafficked, but they did not gain much support from officials of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training under the administration of [Minster] Vong Soth. Contracts between workers and companies exist only on papers, while in reality companies both in Cambodia and abroad violate those contracts. In fact, the conditions set in the contracts are good, but at work at their destination, companies take away their passports , and worst of all, their difficulties do not receive caring attention from the companies at all.

“Officials of human right organizations watching over migrant workers noticed that by now, there is still no mechanism to address the difficulties of workers abroad by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, though it is reported that some companies forced Khmer workers to labor like slaves day and night. More than that, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training seems insensitive about the scandals of some companies, sending workers abroad, though those companies violate the labor law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2330, 18.8.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Gathered 23 Homeless People [and sent them to the Phnom Penh Social Center]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7037, 18.8.2010

  • Police Intercepted 245 Kg of Wildlife Meat to Be Exported to Vietnam [perpetrators have not yet been caught – Ratanakiri]
  • In 2010, There Were More Intercepted Cases of Human Trafficking Than Last Year [in the first six months of 2010, 104 suspects including 10 foreigners were detained and there were 269 victims]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

  • Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #33, 18.8.2010

  • Court Will Hear [the opposition party leader] Sam Rainsy’s Case on 8 September 2010 over a Charge of Disinformation
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the Citizens to Eat Pork Again, but They Must Cook It Well [recently, there was a breakout of blue ear diseases on pigs, which had led to the banning of pig imports from neighboring countries]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #239, 18.8.2010

  • The Government Promised to Cover 50% of the Risk of Loans in Agriculture – the government will cover 50% of the risk of loans by commercial banks providing loans for the expansion of rice production, so that Cambodian rice export can reach 1 million tonnes by 2015]
  • Four Vietnamese Citizens Were Tried for Illegally Operating Brothels [if they are found guilty, they will be sentenced to serve from two to three years in prison]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5279, 18.8.2010

  • Cambodia Sets 2015 as the Year When At Least One Million Tonne of Rice Is to be Exported [according to Prime Minister Hun Sen – that would be an 80-fold increase in 5 years !!!]
  • A Robber Shot Dead a Teacher to Rob His Motorbike in Stung Meanchey District [Phnom Penh]

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Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs – Friday, 9.7.2010

Posted on 10 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia accused the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, claiming that he acted beyond his role when he criticized the deportation of two Thai red-shirt activists on Monday 5 July 2010, and the Ministry warned that such comment from him might make the government reconsider his presence in Cambodia.

“On Wednesday, 7 July 2010, the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, spoke to local media, saying that the deportation of the two Thais are ‘political decisions’ which lack appropriate procedure.

“In a letter dated 8 July 2010, the Ministry reminded Mr. Peschoux that he has no right to make such a criticism, as it relates to decisions within the exclusive right of the Cambodian government. The letter ends with the following remark, ‘Any such activities in future will make the Royal Government of Cambodia to decide over his presence in Cambodia.’

“This letter is similar to one sent in March to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Broderick, which had warned to expell him from Cambodia for criticizing the process taken by the government for the adoption of the anti-corruption law.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 8 July 2010 that the letter was sent to Mr. Peschoux to alert him to respect a memorandum of understanding, signed on 1 January 2010 with the government. He added, ‘It does not mean that we want to expell him, but we just want to alert him.’

“Mr. Peschoux could not be reached for comment on 8 July 2010.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2296, 9.7.2010

  • Workers Will Receive a Minimum Salary of US$61 per Month from 1 October 2010 [before that, the minimum salary is US$50; the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, announced a plan to strike on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 to demand an increase of the minimum salary to US$70]
  • Because of Jealousy, a Man Killed His Wife by Cutting Her Throat [he was arrested – Pursat]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7003, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Is Open for Equity Ownership by Foreign Investments [according to the World Bank, Cambodia will allow foreign investors to take up to 100% of ownership in all sectors, except for electricity and the ports]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3927, 9.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Plans to Hold a Press Conference [about the courts and justice in Cambodia on 15 July 2010] a Day Ahead of the Deadline to Pay a Fine [for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs
  • Defense Lawyers [of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea] Asked [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] to Investigate Political Interference into the Affairs of the Tribunal [they said that the government is interfering to threaten the right of their client in judicial hearings; the government opposes to question government officials and investigations of other former Khmer Rouge leaders]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Decided to Detain the Second Wife of Oknha Khov Chily over the [failed] Murders [of the wife and a daughter of a Senior Minister of the Cambodian People’s Party, a former FUNCINPEC minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr. Sun Chanthol – Phnom Penh]
  • The Green Light Is Given for Marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the ban on marriages is lifted after the Cambodian government has organized a clear monitoring mechanism against fake marriages and human trafficking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5245, 9.7.2010

  • A Gay Man Was Killed and His Body Was Thrown Away at Kilometer 6 [of National Road 5, in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh; perpetrators are not yet identified]
  • Two People Died and Fifty Seven Others Are Having Severe Diarrhea [Svay Rieng]

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Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million – Wednesday, 7.7.2010

Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: A report of tourist statics shows that within five months of 2010, there were 1,054,821 international tourist arrivals in Cambodia, an increase by 11.53% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, and the arrivals from Vietnam had the highest number.

“The report was released by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, for Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on 29 June 2010, and it was then made available to journalists on 5 July 2010.

“The report says that, among the international tourist arrivals to Cambodia of more than one million, 552,523 tourists came to Cambodia by air (243,907 through the Phnom Penh International airport, and 308,616 through the Siem Reap airport), 409,349 tourists arrived on land, and 34,349 by ship. 58,743 tourists made one-day-return visits.

“Minister Thong Khon said that the 10 major tourism markets of origin for Cambodia within the first five months were:

  1. Vietnam: 175,937 tourists, an increase by 43.76%
  2. Korea: 125,455 tourists, an increase by 33.53%
  3. China: 74,558 tourists, an increase by 32.07%
  4. Japan: 67,658 tourists, an increase by 4.80%
  5. America: 65,472 tourists, a decrease by 5.43%
  6. England: 47,635 tourists, a decrease by 4.86%
  7. France: 46,600 tourists, a decrease by 0.51%
  8. Taiwan: 41,707 tourists, an increase by 41.82%
  9. Australia: 38,118 tourists, an increase by 11.05%
  10. Thailand: 36,995 tourists, a decrease by 13.83%

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the number of international tourists visiting the four priority tourism sites of Cambodia within these five months were:

  1. Siem Reap-Angkor: 565,803 tourists or 45.87% of the total tourist arrivals, increased by 26.63% compared to the same period in 2009.
  2. Phnom Penh: 489,018 or 39.65% of the total arrivals, increased by 11.9%
  3. Seashore regions: 81,459 tourists or 6.60% of the total arrivals decreased by 7.65%
  4. Eco-Tourism regions at the Northeast: 39,791 tourists or 3.23% increased by 91.28%

“Minister Thong Khon said that the number of national tourists visiting tourism resorts and regions countrywide within five months of 2010 were about 3.5 million, increased by 17% compared to the same period in 2009.

“Minister Thong Khon added that the number Cambodian tourists going abroad within five months of 2010 were 194,473, an increase by 14.86% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, where there were 339,698 Cambodian tourists going abroad, a decrease by 56.79% compared to 2008.

Note:
The numbers in the previous sentence do not tally – and this text does not provide any clue how to interpret the figures – giving percentages up to two digits behind the decimal point, so that any effort to speculate what the figures mean could, at the best, lead to some general statements, without pretending precision up to some hundredths of one per cent.
But we still try to mirror in The Mirror what is in the originals.

“The president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, Mr. Ang Kim Ieng, welcomed the increase of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia and said this is because the world is recovering from the economic crisis.

“Mr. Ang Kim Ieng added that even though Asian tourists to Cambodia, especially from Vietnam that stand on top of the list, who spend a short period of three days on average, spending less money than European tourists, it is still a positive sign for the tourism to Cambodia. Also, the current political stability and the good infrastructure of Cambodia, as well as the expansion of flights, help to attract tourists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2294, 7.7.2010

  • Municipal Court Ordered [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine within Ten Days [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen], otherwise she will be detained according to the law; Ms. Mu Sochua rejects to pay[as she considers the court decision not to have been just]
  • A Group of Japanese Investors Asked for Support from the Senate for Agricultural Investments in Cambodia [they began a pilot step by doing rice cultivation on 200 hectares in Battambang for rice export]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #787, 7.7.2010

  • Can the Decision of Ms. Mu Sochua to Allow Herself to Be Imprisoned Change the Judicial System in Cambodia, and Bring Help from the International Community?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7001, 7.7.2010

  • The Appeals Court Delayed Sam Rainsy’s Hearing [over the removal of border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; it was postponed as two prisoners involved in the case were not present]
  • Cambodia and Laos Connect a Fiber Cable Network [to expand highly effective communications]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3925, 7.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Recognize Any Border Demarcation That Leads to the Loss of [Cambodian] Territory to neighboring countries [especially to Vietnam, where recently some farmers lost their land because of the new settings]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #209, 7.7.2010

  • Cambodia Celebrated the Second Anniversary of the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [on 7 July 2010]
  • Four Forestry Department Higher Level Staff [accused of being involving in forestry crimes] in Koh Kong Were Released Temporarily [but they are still under court investigation; Prime Minister Hun Sen signed off on a letter sent by the Minister of Agriculture to the Koh Kong Court, requesting the temporary release of those forestry officials]
  • [The manager of a company said:] A South Korean Company, Korean Overseas Grains Investment and Development Corporation – KOGID – Plans to Spend US$7.35 Million to Buy Red Corn [from Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

  • Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million
  • The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Invest in Agriculture [to produce more rice and become a major rice export country like Vietnam]
  • Eight Khmer Citizens Liberated from India Arrived in Cambodia [they had been trafficked to India]
  • [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An: The Cambodian-Laotian Border Is No Longer a Problem [so far 88% of the border markers are set, along the border line of about 600 km]

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The Ministry of Industry Cooperates with JICA to Strengthen Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Cambodia – Wednesday, 23.6.2010

Posted on 25 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present still in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy cooperates with the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] with the intention to strengthen and to encourage the productivity development of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia.

“The head of the Department of Industry of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Meng Sak Theara, said to Deum Ampil on 22 June 2010, that the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and JICA, an organization of experts experienced in the development of small and medium scale enterprises, is carrying out projects to promote the capacity and productivity of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia to be more competitive, and they are also publishing strategies that small and medium scales enterprises can use.

“He added, “The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and JICA, having experts in assisting the study of shortages and challenges of each enterprise, assigned an analyst to work out ways to be better able to engage in competition to increase productivity.

“He added also, ‘The Ministry is cooperating with JICA to fulfill two important tasks. First, to organize a work team to directly check factories and enterprises by choosing six companies to implement policies under the guidance of the Ministry and of JICA. The second task is to create different policies to promote productivity and competition.

“An advisor of JICA, Mr. Miyashita Yuichiro, talked on 22 June 2010 during the workshop about the experiences of Japan in encouraging the development of small and medium scale enterprises, and about the implementation of programs in Cambodia, saying that Japan always cares about and supports the Royal Government Cambodia, and at present, JICA is expanding its private sector activities in Cambodia, especially for the development of small and medium scale enterprises.

“He added that the collaboration between the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy and JICA will be able to guarantee the sustainable development of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia.

“An Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Heng Sokong, said that in 2009, hand made products of small and medium scale enterprises comprised up to 99.7%, while the macro enterprises contributed only 0.3% [among the 100%, the macro enterprises contribute only 0.3% of that total percentage in this field].” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #511, 23.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #511, 23.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Industry Cooperates with JICA to Strengthen Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2282, 23.6.2010

  • Sixty One Suspects [40 men and 21 women] related to Human Trafficking and Rape Were Brought to Courts in the First Six Months of 2010 [there were 140 victims, 26 were under the age of 15]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Plan to Check [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers in the Ponhea Kraek District this Morning [23 June 2010 in Kompong Cham, as they suspect that there is a loss of Cambodian territory to Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #688, 23.6.2010

  • Oknha Khit Meng and Oknha Sok Kong Are Excluded from the List of Persons to Declare Their Property as Required by the Anti-Corruption Law [because both of them do not hold any position in government]
  • The Fulbright Program Provides Scholarships to Seventeen Khmer Students to Further Their Education in the United States of America

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6989, 23.6.2010

  • Samdech Euv [the former King], Samdech Mae [the former Queen], and the King Make a Private Visit to Vietnam [from 22 to 25 June 2010]
  • Cambodia and France Signed an Agreement to Cooperate in Repairing the Ba Puon Temple [in Siem Reap, with a grant of Euro 480,000 or approx. US$589,000] and to Fight against Fake Medicine Products [with a grant of Euro 123,500 or approx. US$151,500]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3913, 23.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: Cambodia Should Change the Habit of Praising Itself and Should Stop Cursing International Organizations That Criticize Something in Cambodia [the Secretary General of the Council for Administrative Reform, Mr. Ngor Hongly, had praised that the Royal Government of Cambodia has determined that the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, and the national development plan are successful. The two strategies aim to enhance the macro-economy and the development with sustainability and equity, and poverty reduction. Mr. Son Chhay regarded this speech as boasting]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #199, 23.6.2010

  • Vietnam Wants to Establish Flights from Đà Lạt [Da Lat – a touristic area in southern Vietnam] to Angkor [in Siem Reap]
  • 257 Military Trucks Donated by China Arrived in Phnom Penh

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5231, 23.6.2010

  • Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation]
  • The German Ambassador [Mr. Frank Markus Mann] Would like to see Cambodia Returning to Normal Diplomatic Relations with Thailand

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The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing – Monday, 21.6.2010

Posted on 23 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Observers said that the sharp increase in the number of Cambodian migrant workers creates more problems for officials fighting against human trafficking. According to the report of the US Department of State released last week, Cambodia carried out positive measures last year to fight human trafficking, but some people called for attention to the fact that workers migrating to foreign countries for better job opportunities are also facing more problems.

“A legal advisor of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Mr. Manfred Hornung, said that his team has worked with about 60 migrant workers who had been trafficked and then sent back to Cambodia during the last 18 months. He said, ‘They experienced dangerous situations after they had fallen into trafficking.’

“He added that they tell similar stories. Because there are less job opportunities in the country, many workers were lured by local merchants with the promise to find them well-paid jobs in Thailand. They were then trafficked across the border. Before they were sold to work on fishing boats, they were locked up in guesthouses. When they started to understand what had happened, it was already too late.

“Mr. Hornung said, ‘Those workers were almost like slaves. Many of them said that they worked under difficult working condition, where some were even beaten and killed.’ He added, ‘In many cases, they experienced the bad fate of trafficked male migrant people, whose labor is being exploited.’

“An obvious difficulty is not to have an accurate number of people who fell into such exploitation. The World Bank estimates that there are about 350,000 Cambodian migrant workers abroad. Observers who work with the problems of migrant workers said that there is also a large number of unreported workers working abroad.

“Mr. Hornung added that the International Labor Organizations [ILO] estimates that between 250,000 to 300,000 young citizens of Cambodia want to enter the job market every year. If there is a shortage of jobs in the country, some of these young citizens are forced to seek jobs in foreign countries.

“The head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Bit Kimhong, recognized that many citizens are being trafficked into forced labor in different countries. But he said that the authorities are stepping up legal measures. He said, ‘The government created its strategies for 2010 to investigate border crossing crimes.’

“The human trafficking report of the US Department of State released last week shows that the number of prosecutions against perpetrators of human trafficking increased compared to before, so that Cambodia was removed from the Tier 2 Watch List of countries that are being assessed in their combat against human trafficking, which is not yet sufficient. From thirty six reported convictions, only one was not for sexual trafficking, which shows that there was not much done against labor related trafficking.

“The report says, ‘The trafficking of Cambodian citizens abroad increases and it needs to receive more attention from the authorities during the next years.’ It adds, ‘While there are more reports about Cambodian migrant workers who become victims due to trafficking, resulting from the exploitation of their labor in different countries, the government hardly prosecutes criminals and those companies which select workers involved in the trafficking of laborers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 21 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #509, 20-21.6.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People in Ratanakiri Criticized the Authorities for Unfairly Distributing Donations [like money, paddy rice seeds, rice, fertilizer, or vegetables; the poor people did not receive donations, but only families with medium livelihood conditions received donations]
  • President Obama Asked Burma to Release [Burmese elected leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2280, 20-21.6.2010

  • Within Half an Hour, There Were Two Traffic Accidents in the Meanchey District, Killing Two People and Injuring Three Others [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #686, 20-21.6.2010

  • Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6987, 21.6.2010

  • Diarrhea Raged in the Northeast: During Three Months, 902 People Were Treated Timely and 23 Others Died in Ratanakiri

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3911, 21.6.2010

  • Does [Phnom Penh Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Not Dare to Use Violence to Evict Yuons [Vietnamese] Living along the River in the Niroth Commune [Meanchey district, Phnom Penh] as He Did to Khmer Citizens Living in Temporary Shelters? [no details about the evicted Cambodians given, but in this case, the authorities ordered 70 Vietnamese fisher families living along the riverbank to move; now observers wait to see how the authorities will enforce it]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

  • The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing
  • Fifty Two Cambodian Deminers Left to Sudan Last Night [20 June 2010] [under the auspices of the United Nations]
  • More Than 400 [illegal] Khmer Workers Were Arrested by the Thai Authorities [late last week]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5229, 20-21.6.2010

  • The Khmer Authorities Prohibit Farmers from Doing Cultivation on the Fields Next to the Temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [while experts are doing the demarcation]
  • There Will Be a Military Exercise with More Than 1,000 Soldiers from [23] Different Countries in Cambodia in July 2010

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Civil Society: The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Not an Independent Institution and the Nomination of Officials Is Politically Oriented – Wednesday, 16.6.2010

Posted on 17 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Officials of some important civil society organizations in Cambodia do not trust that officials of the National Anti-Corruption Council, that held the first meeting at the Council of Ministers yesterday, can function properly, saying, ‘The National Anti-Corruption Council is not an independent institution, but it is politically oriented.

“The president of Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Thun Saray, said, ‘Civil society organizations do not think the institution is dependent, and as we had said before, this institution is composed of people appointed based on their political orientation.

“Also, the executive director of the Cambodia Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he could not say whether this newly created National Anti-Corruption Council can operate effectively to fight corruption.

“He noticed that the members of the council are persons with similar faces, adding, ‘It is just like the same car driven by the same drivers, but just it is painted with a new color to appear a bit nicer.’

“So far, both the Anti-Corruption Unit and the National Anti-Corruption Council do not seem to have earned the full support from the general public.

“Mr. Om Yentieng, becoming a member of the National Anti-Corruption Council automatically, as he has been nominated as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit last week, said that the eleven members of the National Anti-Corruption Council have now been appointed.

“A senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party thinks that Mr. Om Yentieng, nominated by the Prime Minister as the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, will not be able to work effectively.

“Answering journalists questions regarding the appointment of Mr. Om Yentieng as head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit by Mr. Hun Sen’s government, a Sam Rainsy party parliamentarian and spokesperson of the party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he does not believe there will be a change in the fight against corruption.

“Mr. Yim Sovann added, ‘I think that corruption will not decline when Mr. Om Yentieng is the head of the new Anti-Corruption Unit at the Council of Ministers.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann noticed that corruption has spread further, adding ‘I believe that there is no change in the fight against corruption.’

“It should be noted that, according to the anti-corruption law signed by the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia in March 2010, the National Anti-Corruption Council must have eleven members assigned by the National Assembly, the Senate, the King, the government, the National Audit Authority, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection, and the Human Rights Committee of the government.

“That law states that other duties of the council are to check the operations of the Anti-Corruption Unit, the investigators, and to report to Prime Minister Hun Sen to make final decisions.

“The president of ADHOC, Mr. Thun Saray, told reporters on Monday that civil society organizations will closely observe the activities of this institution.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #505, 16.6.2010

  • Cambodia for the First Time Will Have a National Arbitration Center to Solve Commercial Disputes [and to promote trust in the field of commerce – according to the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh]
  • The Medical Ship USNS Mercy [of the United States of America navy] Comes to Provide Free Treatment to Khmer Citizens

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2276, 16.6.2010

  • The National Anti-Corruption Council Is Established
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] His Excellency Hor Namhong Declared Victory in the Case with [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy in France [who accused Mr. Hor Namhong as having been involved in killing people during Khmer Rouge regime while he was in Boeng Trabaek prison; Mr. Hor Namhong demanded only Euro 1 or approx.US$1.25 as a symbolic compensation from Mr. Sam Rainsy]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #780, 16.6.2010

  • The US Department of State Upgraded Cambodia to the Tier 2 in the Fight of Human Trafficking and Excluded Cambodia from the Tier 2 Watch List [on human trafficking]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #682, 16.6.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6983, 16.6.2010

  • In a Horrific Tragedy, an Old Man and an Old Woman together with Their Son Were Murdered at Night [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #194, 16.6.2010

  • The Authorities Blocked Land Dispute Protesters [about 200 persons from different provinces and cities] to Hand Over a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King]: My Visit [at the end of June] to Vietnam Is Private [he said so, as he retired and does not enter into politics and does not handle diplomatic affairs; earlier on, the Sam Rainsy Party had asked him to mention the irregularities over the putting of border markers with Vietnam during his visit]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5225, 16.6.2010

  • The Staff Member of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister Accepted a Petition that Police Prevented from Being Carried to Samdech Hun Sen’s Residence [the petition was brought by about 200 land dispute protesters from different provinces and cities]
  • Delegations of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Met to Promote Good Governance in Public Affairs [Phnom Penh]

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The Economic Exploitation from Blood Donations Is Against the Moral of Medical Professionalism – Tuesday, 15.6.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Phnom Penh: A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health said that the exploitation from blood donations and from blood infusions is against the moral of medical professionalism and it must be avoided.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, Ms. Ouk Monna, said so during a World Blood Donors’ Day event, held on 14 June 2010 at the National Institute of Education, focusing on young donors with the slogan ‘New Blood for the World.’ ‘The economic exploitation from blood donations and blood injections is totally against the moral of medical professionalism, and such behavior must be avoided.’ She added, ‘The elimination of these activities can earn trust from the general public, and it will lead to receiving 100% voluntary blood donations from the Cambodian people.’

“She went on to say that like the focus says clearly, the Ministry of Health strongly supports the National Blood Transfusion Center to make more efforts in order to meet the safe, sufficient, and timely supply of blood as needed by patients at different hospitals. Safe blood donations are supportive services for the treatment and the care for patients, and they help to reduce the death rate of patients.

“Ms. Ouk Monna continued to say that in order to promote the provision of health services, the National Blood Transfusion Center must make broader publicity efforts about voluntarism to donate blood, so that citizens, including young people in the communities, as well as civil servants at different institutions, departments, and at the ministries gain knowledge about it and join to donate blood.

“According to a report from the National Blood Donation Center, in 2009 35,895 bags of blood were donated by volunteers from different families and from friends of patients, and about 51% of the donated blood was used in different hospitals in Phnom Penh, and the rest of 49% in hospitals in the provinces countrywide.

“The director of the National Blood Donation Center, Mr. Nhem Thuok said, ‘The national blood donation service is under the administration of the Ministry of Health and its key role is to implement a blood safety strategy policy where the major goal is to guarantee safe, sufficient, and timely blood donations in order to meet the demands of patients at public and private hospitals nationwide.’

“He added that since the reestablishment of blood donation services in 1991, the collection of blood donated by volunteers around the country keeps increasing, and it is in line with the improvement of the health infrastructure that leads to the growing use of blood. He went on to say that there are only 3 volunteers donating their blood among 1,000 people, a very low rate. According to a study, there will not be sufficient blood supplies unless 2 among 100 people donate their blood.

Ms. Dith Kimean, a volunteer blood donors, said, ‘The World Blood Donors Day does encourage and educate youth to do social work to help the society, especially also to save people’s lives through the voluntary donation of blood.’ She added that every year, millions of people in the world, including thousands of Cambodian people, need blood so that their lives can be saved after they had an accident or a sickness that makes them lose blood.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 15.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #504, 15.6.2010

  • The Economic Exploitation from Blood Donations Is Against the Moral of Medical Professionalism
  • The Judgment of the International Court in The Hague [of 15 June 1962, which decided that the Preah Vihear Temple is on Cambodian land] Is Commemorated [by officials of the Cambodian government, of non-government organizations, and of opposition party members] and They Call on Thailand to Withdraw Troops from Border Regions [the question of the borders between Cambodia and Thailand had not been finally resolved at that time].

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2275, 15.6.2010

  • Thirty One Families in the Andoung Trabaek Commune Were Shot at and Evicted from Their Homes [by forestry officials – Svay Rieng]
  • Three People Were Killed in a Traffic Accident on National Road 1 [when a motorbike struck a truck – Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #681, 15.6.2010

  • Putting the [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers Number 292, 293, 294, and 295 [in the Prey Tonle Commune, Banteay Meas district, Kampot] Makes Some Commune and Police Officials [from the Cambodian People’s Party and some other citizens] Lose Their Rice Fields to Yuon [Vietnam – this is the claim of a citizen who asked not to be named]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6982, 15.6.2010

  • [About eighty] Citizens [representing 136 families] from the Memut District Asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Solve a Land Dispute [of 250 hectares; two representatives were arrested and others were threatened that they will be arrested if they do not agree to remove their houses and give their thumb prints to deliver their land to another person]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3906, 15.6.2010

  • Citizens Victimized by Land Disputes Delivered a Petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia Quietly [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #193, 15.6.2010

  • [The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia] Subedi Promised to Take Land Disputes to the Government [after citizens from different provinces and cities victimized by land disputes gathered in front of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Phnom Penh to send him a petition]
  • Cambodia Was Praised [by the US Department of State] over the Fight against Human Trafficking [through the strengthening of law enforcement]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 15.6.2010

  • The Judgment of the International Court in The Hague [of 15 June 1962, which decided that the Preah Vihear Temple is on Cambodian land] Is Commemorated [by officials of the Cambodian government, of non-government organizations, and of opposition party members] and They Call on Thailand to Withdraw Troops from Border Regions [the question of the borders between Cambodia and Thailand was not finally resolved at that time]
  • Three People Were Killed because Stones Fell on Them [after there were lightnings] while They Were Taking Shelter from the Rain [in a cave – Kampot]

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It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia – Saturday, 22.5.2010

Posted on 23 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Earlier on, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had frequently demanded that the National Assembly should promote the use of the Riel, and now there is a plan by the government for the de-dollarization of the economy towards the use of the Riel in general, which is welcomed immediately by the opposition party.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, welcomed this plan on Friday, 21 May 2010, saying, ‘This is what we have demanded for a long time, to value our national currency and to prevent inflation by using the Riel.’ Mr. Yim Sovann told Moneaksekar Khmer, ‘During sessions of the parliament, I had often raised this issues of using the Riel in our Cambodian economy, to both enhance our national prestige and to promote the Riel in order to effectively maintain macro-economic stability.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said so after a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance had mentioned, during a meeting on 20 May 2010, a plan of the government to de-dollarize the economy by using the Riel, considering also economic and social observations of the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Hang Chuonarong said that Cambodia wants to de-dollarize towards the use of the Riel. However, the Secretary of State said, ‘We want to change, but we are not sure from which step to start.’

“There is the same insight like what the opposition party had said, that only the use of the Cambodian currency can help Cambodia to maintain economic stability and its prestige. A millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Kong Triv, stated in support of the initiative that Cambodia should use the Riel to show its integrity at the international arena.

“Anyway, this initiative was intensively debated on Thursday, 20 May 2010. Most participants wanted Cambodia to take effective actions to ensure the use of its currency. For years, Cambodia had been criticized for allowing the free use of foreign currencies, including the US Dollar, which is being lively traded in the markets of Cambodia – and that devalues the Riel.

“Mr. Yim Sovann said that dollar notes are used for buying and selling, including even such simple daily vegetable products like water convolvulus, and this partly devalues its own currency – something no other countries do as Cambodia does. Neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam established their central banks for exchanging foreign currencies into their countries’ currencies. Everywhere in Yuon [Vietnam], the Dong is used. He added that tourists as well as investors exchange Dollar notes or their countries’ currencies when they leave Cambodia [for Thailand of Vietnam].

“As for foreign currencies used in Cambodia, it is not only the US Dollar. In some provinces of Cambodia bordering Siam [Thailand] and Yuon, their currencies are also invading . For example, if one want to go to Bavet in Svay Rieng or to Phnom Din district in Takeo, one needs to exchange Riels and Dollars for Dongs in advance. And if one wants to go to Oddar Meanchey or to Koh Kong, one needs to exchange money to have Thai Baht, because at those places, Riel notes are not used in general, and some common vendors do not even know Khmer Riel notes well.

“The most important problem is that earlier on as well as recently, it had been reported that the Koh Kong Water Supply and Electricity Authority – exclusively controlled by a local millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Ly Yong Phat, known to hold a Siamese identification card – officially decided to order the citizens in the town to settle their electricity bills with Thai Baht. This seems to show to have indirectly cut-off the province of Koh Kong from Cambodia and attached it to Siam.

“This bad decision, that leads to the devaluation of one’s own currency, seems to be a part of the devaluation of the national identity, and it is seen to originate from the Cambodian government itself, as most bidding and expense-income projects of the state are settled by using US Dollars rather than Riels. Therefore, the Cambodian People’s Party government has to be awake and stop devaluing its own currency. If it prints Riel notes, but does not use them broadly in the country, it is useless to print them and to waste national resources on it. In fact, it is not a good practice when a nation does not support its own country, but values the currencies of other nations.

“At present, the Riel of Cambodia is not used broadly to settle the account of important products – which is very dangerous for Cambodia. Thus, the government should reconsider the demands mentioned above by the opposition party and in a timely way introduce new strategies to guarantee the potential of the Riel in the markets.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #484, 22.5.2010

  • Cambodia Supports a Statement of Vietnam That Expresses Concern about the Situation in Siam [Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is among the Twenty Countries around the World to Receive [direct agricultural] Aid from the United States of America
  • [Oknha] Mong Riththy: Collecting Taxes for Pigs Imported from Neighboring Countries Will Help Farmers [each year Cambodia loses US$146 million on imported pigs]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2255, 22.5.2010

  • Wood Trading Still Continues Strongly in Oddar Meanchey
  • According to Latest Information, 85 Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai Government] Died and 1,898 Were Injured
  • Agricultural Officials Encourage Citizens to Grow Foreign Grass [it contains higher nutrition than local grass]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6962, 22-23.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Asked for a Reduction of Wood Consumption, but Suggested the Use of Iron and Cement Instead in Order to Reduce Logging
  • The Koh Kong Town Runs Out of Clean Water as the Water Reservoir Dries Up Due to the Too Hot Weather
  • Mr. Philippe Gréciano [professor at the university of Grenoble in France, who has also worked at the international genocide court it Rwanda] Is Appointed as Defense Lawyer of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

  • It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5204, 22.5.2010

  • Five People Trafficking Humans across the Border Were Arrested and Seventeen Victims Were Freed [Sampov Loun district, Battambang]
  • The Destructions in Bangkok Amounts to US$1.5 Billion

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Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign – Thursday, 6.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party had expressed their concerns before, that the non-transparent management of the rich natural resources of Cambodia, as well as corruption, make citizens – the owners of those important resources – become poor, so that they cannot receive the benefits from the present anarchic exploitations of natural resources.

“Officials from 16 countries met in Phnom Penh for two days, on 4 and 5 May 2010, to discuss about the control of forestry resources and the trade of forestry products. Cambodian high ranking officials welcomed and chaired the discussion meetings to step up effective controls on forest resources. Asian and European officials came from Burma, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Siam [Thailand], the United States of America, and Yuon [Vietnam], to discuss how to promote forestry exploitation that follows legal standards.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä, the Director of Directorate G – Sustainable Development and Integration – in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, said that forestry trading is an important sector that boosts economic growth in Asian and European countries, and forestry products have significantly and enormously contributed to development of the economies of Asian and European countries. It is stressed that forestry products are essential for a national economy.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä said that good management of forestry resource will help prevent forestry destructions in any country, though forests can provide substantial national income. Cambodia used to export forestry products to some countries such as the former Soviet Union. But since Cambodia introduced reforms in 2001, the export of [unprocessed] forestry products abroad was halted [but illegal export continued].

“The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia, Mr. Chan Sarun, who was also present at the discussions, said that people from the countries that attend the meeting can jointly create plans to strengthen forestry management and legislation. ‘We can create joint planning to improve forestry control and to strength fundamental laws, as well as cut down illegal forestry productions.’

“Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore.

“Ebony, Thnong, and Beng are most wanted luxury grade woods to produce furniture in some countries, and most illegal exports from Cambodia are of these kinds of wood. Most luxury grade wood confiscated was found in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Kratie. The destinations for its export are known to be China and Yuon, where millions of cubic meters are needed.

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees.

Global Witness said in a statement early April 2010, ‘The idea that Ty Sokhun has been removed from his post because of a failure to crack down on illegal logging is laughable.’ The organization thinks that to tolerate Mr. Ty Sokun after 15 years of forestry crimes originating from his office shows that the past spreading of forestry crimes seems to be forgotten.

Note – From the text of the Global Witness statement:

Sacking of Cambodia’s forest chief unconvincing as move against illegal logging

Press Release – 7.4.2010

Global Witness today welcomed the removal from his post of the Director General of Cambodia’s Forest Administration, Ty Sokhun, but warned that much more needed to be done to guarantee the survival of the country’s remaining forests and the fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s other natural resources for the benefit of the many not the few.

Global Witness’s 2007 report, Cambodia’s Family Trees, documented how Ty Sokhun and the Ministry of Agriculture Director, Chan Sarun, sold off 500 or more jobs in the Forest Administration. The report also revealed that Ty Sokhun’s father-in-law was a key member of Cambodia’s biggest illegal logging syndicate.

“Ty Sokhun’s reign as Cambodia’s forest chief was a disaster for Cambodia’s forests”, said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. “On his watch we saw Cambodia’s forests shrink dramatically, largely due to illegal or ill-managed logging operations. It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen says he sacked Ty Sokhun because he had no confidence in his ability to crack down on illegal logging but Global Witness questions why it has taken so long to act…

Taylor: “Ty Sokhun was not the only one responsible for the destruction of Cambodia’s forests. Our investigations have proven the complicity of officials and elites at the highest levels, including members of the Prime Minister’s own family. If Hun Sen genuinely wants closure on the destruction of Cambodia’s forests, he should commission a full independent enquiry into what has happened, publish the findings and punish the perpetrators.”

“At the occasion of the change of head of the Forestry Administration and the appointment of Mr. Chheng Kimson it was seen that some high ranking officials such as [Minister of Agriculture] Mr. Chan Sarun were spared to be called to account for their wrongdoings by the head of the Cambodian government, while in fact Mr. Chan Sarun and Mr. Ty Sokun are the most important persons responsible for forestry crimes for years. This way of suppressing illegal wood trading makes international donors to think that Cambodia does it just to satisfy them to get aid, while the Cambodian government is not really willing to intercept illegal wood trading. [[see also The Mirror of 7.4.2010]]

Note – from a historical Global Witness statement from December 2004

Resign or be sacked

Press Release – 3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honourable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterised the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” However, according to the ADB so many people, companies, institutions and countries were responsible for the fiasco that no one should be made accountable. Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted. Yet as recently as April 2004 the Independent Forest Sector Review referred to “high levels of institutionalised corruption.” Still, no one is being held to account.

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.”

Good governance is at the core of the new “Rectangular Strategy,” of the third legislature of the National Assembly, but the government has been talking tough on corruption and doing nothing for years, as has the donor community. At the 1996 CG meeting, then First Prime Minister H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia was committed to “implement appropriate measures,” to amongst other things “effectively combat corruption.” More recently at the 2001 CG the ADB’s Urooj Malik “respectfully urged” the Royal Government “to move forward with the finalization of legislation on Anti-corruption…”. The donors then pledged US$ 615 million, US$ 115 million more than the Cambodian government had actually asked for. In 2002 “the adoption of a new Anti-Corruption Law” was, according to the World Bank, by now “of particular and most urgent importance.” The donors pledged US$ 635 million.

“The Cambodian government must find the whole CG process absolutely hilarious. Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and each year the donors give them more money.” said Buckrell.

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” During Monday’s CG, the donors must hold the entire government to account for their failure to put anti-corruption rhetoric into practice. The donors should insist on rapid enactment of an effective Anti-Corruption law and a register of business interests for politicians, officers in the military, and senior officials.

“Dismissing the Director of the Forest Administration is an absolute minimum first step any donor really interested in Cambodia’s development should expect from a government committed to reform and addressing corruption,” said Global Witness Director, Simon Taylor. “Our recent report, Taking a Cut, provides a number of other key minimum steps we would expect the Cambodian Government to undertake to clean up its act. Some years ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that his Premiership depended on his success in delivering improvements in the forestry sector. By any standards, he has thus far failed. The challenge is now to the donors and the Prime Minister to deliver.”

“According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the trade in forestry products with markets in Asian countries, North America, and the European Union in 2001 amounted to about US$140 billion, while in 1999, it had been less than that. A report about the fight against illegal forestry crimes of the World Bank, from 2006, showed that the forest destructions in the world siphoned off more than US$10 billion each year.

“A well known opposition party leader in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, had said that corruption leads to the devastation of natural resources of Cambodia. He said that if there were a proper and transparent management of those resources, Cambodia were able to earn huge amounts of money for national construction and for some important infrastructure developments to serve the needs of the citizens.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy recalled that the exploitation of national resources does so far not contribute proper benefits for the nation and for poor citizens, due to corruption. If there were an accurate management, Cambodia could find sufficient income without depending on foreign aid or loans, as the government does at present.

“The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that the improper management of the national budget, especially the collection of income from the exploitations of natural resources without transparency and without following the laws of control, make Cambodia lose its benefits. Mr. Yim Sovann suggests that the government should create effective laws to control the natural resources and to ensure that income from the exploitation of natural resources is not lost to corruption.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 6 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.17, #1438, 6.5.2010

  • Sweden Plans to Establish an Embassy in Cambodia [no exact date specified]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #470, 6.5.2010

  • A 30-Year-Old Woman Was Attacked with Acid over a Suspected Love Affair [the perpetrators are not yet arrested – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2241, 6.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Met with the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense [Mr. Shimba Kazuya [防衛副大臣 榛葉賀津也], discussing about bilateral and regional cooperation]
  • Jointly Stepping Up the Fight against Human Trafficking
  • A Workshop about the Results from a Consultation to Cooperate Implementing the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women Was Held [Ms. Chim Manavy, the director of the Open Institute: priorities and strategies to achieve the same goals together cooperating between civil society organizations and institutions of the government, to effectively implement the action plan, had been discussed and set up, including Information and Communication Technology as a means to promote gender equality and to empower women, as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #648, 6.5.2010

  • Journalists Publish a Declaration on Freedom of Information, Demanding that the Government Creates a Law about the Right to Know Soon [the government is drafting this law without open participation of journalists’ associations]
  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Norodom Sihanouk and Siamese [Thai] King Sent Each Other Good Wishes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6948, 6.5.2010

  • Nearly 100,000 Hectares of Economic Concession Land in Kompong Thom Are Delivered to Twenty One Companies for Growing Agro-Industrial Crops
  • A Woman Was Raped and Killed and a Few Hours Later, the Perpetrator Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • A Statement by Cambodian Journalists Published on the World Press Freedom Day Suggests that “The Right to Know Must Be Guaranteed for Cambodian Citizens by the Government”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

  • Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #165, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Claimed Again that the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Is on Khmer Territory [while Thailand claimed it is on Thai territory. – Actually, it is on territory declared by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Joint Communique on 18 June 2008, signed together with UNESCO and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a “buffer zone” not claimed by Cambodia in the context of the World Heritage Site designation plans]
  • [More than 100] Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protested in Front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC – to oppose the submission of a Master Plan for the development of the area from the Municipality to the CDC, but officials said that the Master Plan has not yet been delivered to the CDC – but people have already been evicted before the plan was accepted]
  • The Minister of Finance of Indonesia [Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati] Receives the Top Position in the World Bank [as its Managing Director]
  • Cambodia Railway Station Is Starting with New Life because of Continuing Investment [it is now controlled by the Toll Royal Railways; the whole Cambodian railway system is being repaired under US$141,1 million aid and credits from the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and OPEC]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5190, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Imports Fuel Amounting to US$450 Million Each Year [according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce]
  • 199 Pieces of Ebony [loaded on a boat] Prepared to Be Imported to Vietnam, Were Seized on the High Sea [Kampot]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter – Thursday, 22.4.2010

Posted on 23 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced strict anti-terrorism policies, as terrorism is not only a problem of Cambodia but of the whole world. The head of the Royal Government considers terrorism as the cruelest specter that must be eradicated.

“During the inauguration in the morning of 21 April 2010, of the secretariat of the National Counterterrorism Committee which cost more than US$1.6 million and took nearly one year to construct, at a military airbase, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said that terrorism is a global issue that must be suppressed so that it does not cause instability for people and for whole societies.

“He said, ‘Our war on terrorism is part of the current global war on terrorism, and even though Cambodia is not a target of terrorist attacks, we must not miss to see any possible situation. If we are apathetic or careless, the country might become a safe shelter for terrorists.’

“It should be noted that the National Counterterrorism Committee is headed by the Prime Minister, and Mr. Om Yentieng is the deputy head who leads the forces of the unit by cooperating with other mixed forces to crack down on possible terrorism in Cambodia, as terrorists might take Cambodia as a basis to hide themselves and to attack other governments, or to commit illegal activities like human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“Samdech Hun Sen stressed, ‘The Royal Government of Cambodia regards terrorism as the most brutal crime in human history, as it can destroy social and political stability and cost human lives among people of all races and of every age group, and it can occur at any place in any region and any country and on the international and intercontinental levels.’

“Also, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia mentioned the strategies for the eradication of terrorism which he had developed himself, to achieve a successful crackdown on possible terrorism in three steps. Nevertheless, the head of the Royal Government said that though special anti-terrorism forces have been created, there must be cooperation with other forces, such as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the police, the military police, as well as with the citizens.

“Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that it is essential to be ready to fight terrorism in order to guarantee the safety for one’s own people as well as for people of other countries.

“It should be remembered that Cambodia and its partner countries had cooperated to arrest a notorious terrorist, Hambali, who was behind the attack on Bali in Indonesia that killed hundreds of people.

“Also, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, General Dr. Hun Manet, is the commander of the special forces and the head of the Anti-Terrorism Department of the National Counterterrorism Committee.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter
  • A Dutch Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Three Boys [Sihanoukville]
  • Cambodia Prepares to Send a Delegation to East Timor to Study the Potential for Rice Export [according to a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the East Timor President, Mr. José Ramos-Horta – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2228-2229, 21-22.4.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Extremists Plan to Uproot Border Posts on 2 and 3 May 2010 [at the Ta Moan Touch Temple]
  • The Maternal Mortality Rate in Cambodia Drops [according to The Lancet magazine, there were 266 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, while the national census of Cambodia had reported as many as 461 maternal deaths in 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6936, 22.4.2010

  • Last Year a Woman Was Killed by a Lightning, and This Year Her Husband Was Shot Dead, Leaving Six Daughters as Orphans [perpetrator is not yet identified – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3860, 22.4.2010

  • The Reform of Democracy Does Not Only Depend on Words, but the Government Must Show Real Political Will [said the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Do Not Trust [Cambodian People’s Party Senator] Oknha Ly Yong Phat Who Promised Again and Again to Solve Land Disputes with the Amleang Commune Residents

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 22.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Says the Kingdom Is Ready to Fight Terror
  • Smoke from the Eruption of a Volcano in Europe [in Iceland] Affects Tourism in Cambodia [the bookings of hotel rooms and the time of staying in Cambodia have been reduced by 10% to 15%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5178, 22.4.2010

  • 207 Cases of Forestry Crimes Were Sent to the Courts [more than 5,000 cubic meter of woods have been confiscated]
  • Another Person in Cambodia Dies from Bird Flue [H5N1], in Prey Veng
  • An Elephant Protection Ranger from Cambodia [Mr. Tuy Sereivathana] Wins the Golden Environmental Prize for 2010 and Receives More Than US$100,000 [from the Goldman Environmental Foundation for his efforts to help protect Asian elephants from being slaughtered by humans and for helping to teach farmers to prevent elephants from destroying their crops]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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