More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens – Thursday, 19.8.2010

Posted on 20 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“The rich natural resources in Cambodia, especially gold, gems, and diamonds, attract the attention from foreign investors to invest in mining in Cambodia, and the leading companies are the OZ Company and Southern Gold company of Australia. Also, some Yuon [Vietnamese] companies that do not make their identity known, operating illegally on gold exploitation, siphoning national resources out from Cambodia.

“The Yuon press quoted the director of the Saigon Jewelry Company, the biggest gold company in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long [Nguyễn Thành Long], as having said that the company had shown its plan to the Yuon government to ask for permission to invest in factories in Cambodia and Laos. If this company earns the approval from the Yuon government or from the governments where it plans to invest, this company will establish gold manufacturing factories abroad not later than in late 2010.

“Yuon officials said that this company will start its production with the trademark SJC in Laos this year, investing in Laos first, before seeking to create factories and branches in Cambodia. Some other Yuon companies investing in gold trade, such as the Sacom Bank, the Agri-Bank, and the Hun Huang [? – phonetic], and have opened representative offices in Cambodia and are strengthening and expanding their business operations.

“Yuon investors see huge benefits from investments in Cambodia and in gold exploration in the northeast of Cambodia; they have sent skilled workers to come to conduct illegal exploitation with the backing from military officials or civil authorities. Gold deposits in the northeast of Cambodia are being exploited illegally by traders, not leading to national income.

“Recently, Yuon traders had sent a barge on the Sekong river to Siem Pang district in Stung Treng, loaded with gold filtering machines, in an attempt to conduct illegal gold exploitation. The local authorities blocked the barge for some time to clarify questions about legal documents, but they will likely let it go after an intervention from the provincial level.

“Also, citizens in the Veun Sai district in Ratanakiri are worrying about the impact on water quality in the Sesan river, as Chinese gold miners are drilling to explore gold ore on Pang Island. They said that the Chinese company has been operating for two months, employing more than 10 Khmer workers, using two machines for drilling, and disposing waste water into the Sesan river, from which citizens consume water for their daily living.

“Citizens complained that at present, the water in the Sesan river was dirty and can no longer be used, but the local authorities do not intervene. Pang Island in the Sesan river has an area of 200 meter in length and 100 meter in width, and there live Krueng ethnic minority tribespeople, who have settled there since long. Now they are seriously affected by the gold exploitation by the Chinese company Indochine Resources [a holding company for the Indochine Group, ‘the largest mineral concession holder in The Royal Kingdom of Cambodia’ – including Indochine Mining].

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry. Ratanakiri Department, said that the Ministry of Industry provided a license to Indochine Resources in November 2009, to explore metal ore on an area of 200 square kilometers. So far, no companies have been registered also to exploit resources. All are just conducting explorations, and any exploitation in the past was illegal.

“The exploitation means that a company can gain benefits from the ore, whereas exploration means just to drill to find ore samples for experiments, but some companies colluded with expert officials and the authorities in charge to conduct exploitation while they only have exploration rights, so they gain benefits without paying tax to the state on their profits. Such anarchy occurs at the northeast of Cambodia, and some officials and members of the authorities are happy to collect personal benefits from it.

“According to expert officials, in Ratanakiri more than 3,000 square kilometers, or 30% of the size of the province, have been contracted to 19 companies to conduct explorations. Those companies deal with quarries, or they are construction companies, sand companies, gems companies, granite companies, and metal companies etc., and 10 companies have not received exploitation license. Citizens complained that some activities of those companies violate the land they own, and there is also deforestation.

“Civil society officials often voiced concern relating to the issues that some mineral exploration companies do not obey the laws, and that the requirements from relevant ministries and the exploitation by some companies affect the environment and the living condition of citizens. Expert officials never take restrictive actions against these companies doing exploitation, though citizens from the region had reported about improper activities of those companies.

“Since private companies started anarchic mine exploration in Cambodia without any interception by expert officials, they have extracted almost everywhere underground mineral deposits, but so far, no money has been paid into the national budget. Officials of civil and international organizations frequently warned that the improper management of mineral resources might seriously damage Cambodia. Therefore, the government must create laws to carefully control mineral resources and income.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.15, #1452, 19-20.8.2010

  • Two Persons Were Killed by Lightning while They Were Transplanting Rice Seedlings [Sihanoukville]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.1, #2331, 19.8.2010

  • Four Workers Were Attacked with Acid – They Sustained Serious Burn over Their Bodies [it is suspected this attack was related to rancor or a triangle love story; the two perpetrators have not yet been found – Phnom Penh]
  • Turtles and Many Other Types of Wild Animals Were Intercepted by Wild Aid [cooperating with the military police of Siem Reap to raid two sites selling animals – pangolins, soft shell turtles, and snakes]
  • A Plane Crash in Thailand Killed Five High Ranking Officials of the Ministry of Environment

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7038, 19.8.2010

  • Mobile Custom Officials Intercepted Two Trucks Loaded with Ebony [about 40 cubic meters illegally cut; the owner of the wood is known, but officials asked not to provide names [officials asked for understanding from journalists that they cannot provide the names while the investigations go on – Prey Veng]
  • The Gold Mining Area in Ratanakiri Cracked Down On Last Month Starts Operating [illegally] Again

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

  • More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Criticized Corruption [over mining proceedings] of the Ministry of Industry, Which Led to the Canceling of the Kravanh Mountain Eco-Tourism Investment Project
  • At Least 145 Citizens Have Been Arrested [since 2008] over Land Disputes due to the Weak Court System [according to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #34, 19.8.2010

  • An Armed Clash Broke Out at the Choam Sa Ngam Border Crossing Point while Troops [of Cambodia and of Thailand] Were Patrolling [there is no report of casualties – Oddar Meanchey]
  • Japan Grants Technical Aid worth More Than US$4 Million for Agricultural Development [to improve agricultural productivity and to promote markets for agricultural products at the west of the Tonle Sap lake through the technical support to the Departments of Agriculture of Battambang, Pursat, and Kompong Chhnang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.9, #240, 19.8.2010

  • ASEAN Begins Discussing about the Cambodian Request for an Intervention over the Khmer-Thai Border Disputes
  • Vietnam Strengthens Military Cooperation with Cambodia [Prime Minister Hun Sen had asked Vietnam during a visit by the Vietnamese Senior General Le Van Dong to help consolidate the defense sector of Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5280, 19.8.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Plans to Provide US$558 Million [cooperation financing] from 2011 and 2013 [to support poverty reduction, to promote rural development, to improve the economy and agriculture, to strengthen the capacity of human resources, and to develop the financial sector and the private sectors]
  • The DK Fund [established 1998 by a Korean who was orphaned and later received a scholarship to study in the USA] Chose Cambodia to Provide Scholarships for Poor Students for Ten Years [the DK Fund plans to create a vocational training center in Sihanoukville, and a health science university in Cambodia]

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.

Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Arrest of Journalists Is Worrying – Saturday, 14.8.2010

Posted on 16 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Phnom Penh: Recently, several journalists have been detained by the authorities while they were fulfilling their duties as journalists and following the ethics of journalists, but some others had them arrested because dishonest merchants and related authorities exaggerated some stories changing them from right to wrong.

“According to a statement from the League of Democratic Journalists, several journalists had been arrested recently, which is really worrying. For instance, on 20 July 2010, the editor-in-chief of Chhanteak Koun Khmer was arrested in Kompong Thom, and on 21 July 2010 the editor-in-chief of Rasmei Eysan was arrested in Prek Prosob district in Kratie. On 2 August 2010, the head of a Cambodia watchdog office in Memut district in Kompong Cham was also detained.

Note:

Some information about the work of Cambodian Journalists on professional ethics:

“Those journalists were arrested, because merchants involved in illegal business colluded with dishonest officials and tried to find pretexts to put blame on journalists who were performing their work, and some wicked officials who act against their duties and the regulations sought ways to arrest the journalists in order to hide these scandals. The distortion of stories by dishonest authorities leads to internal frictions. They turn their rancor against journalists, and this becomes a concern for the function of journalism.

“The rancor by the authorities towards journalists frequently victimizes journalists. Actually, at 20:30 on 12 August 2010, also a journalist of Kampuchea Thmey was detained for a night by Dankao district police over a minor traffic accident. This resulted from discrimination by police and their rancor against journalists.

“Journalists expressed dismay over such an action from police who acted against the law. All offenses must be dealt with according to the law but not just how some people think in their mind.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2327, 14.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2327, 14.8.2010

  • The Arrest of Journalists Is Worrying
  • Two Construction Workers Were Killed after a Dilapidated Building [left from the French colonial time, in Kampot] Collapsed on Them

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7034, 14-15.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Scholarships to 33 Khmer Students and Lecturers [to further their education and to give lectures in Europe; through the Erasmus Mundus Program for 2010 and 2011]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3958, 14-15.8.2010

  • An International Organization [Wildlife Alliance, based in Washington D.C] Voiced Concern over the Destruction of Natural Resources due to Mining at the Kravanh Mountain Area

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #30, 14.8.2010

  • Telecommunication in Cambodia Advances Strongly, but Prices of Mobile Phone Services Are Still High [by now, the number mobile phone users increased to 6,300,000 and the telecommunication sector contributes about US$40 million to the state budget each year]
  • The Worldwide Spreading of Swine Flu A/H1N1 Ends [claimed a representative of the World Health Organization]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5276, 14.8.2010

  • Cambodia Sent a Letter to ASEAN to Ask for Intervention over the Border Disputes with Thailand
  • Malaysia Wants to Import Rice from Cambodia [according to the Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia, Datuk Pengiran Mohd Hussein Mohd Tahir Nasruddin]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly – Saturday, 7.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: An opposition party parliamentarian asked the Minister of Labor, Mr. Vong Soth, to clarify questions at the session of the National Assembly on 12 August 2010, regarding the demand for a salary increase of workers and employees.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, wrote a letter on 5 August 2010 to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and to the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei, Heng Samrin, to suggest that the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, clarifies some irregularities at [the next meeting of] the National Assembly about the responsibility of the Ministry and the demands for a salary increase of workers and employees, as well as about the management and protection of workers abroad.

“Mr. Son Chhay’s letter says that the request for Mr. Vong Soth to appear at the National Assembly to clarify questions was made while looking at the actual situation that exists in the country, relating to the demand for a wage increase where the Royal Government has a duty to consider this and should not take any contrasting action.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in his letter that according to the labor law of 1997, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training has the authority to define the minimum wage for work in all sectors, but the limited wage of US$50 which was in force for many years without any increase is against an universal principle, where the minimum wages in the world are increasing by 5.7% each year, and if this figure is applied on the minimum wage of Khmer workers by taking only 5% within 10 years, Khmer workers could have received a minimum wage of at least US$85.50, and this amount is still low, compared with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, where food, electricity, travel, and rents are much cheaper than in our country.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that also a study by the Cambodia Institute of Development Study (CIDS) showed differences between the minimum wage and the income that workers can earn additionally by working overtime, and this can be confusing and it might be the cause for the slow reaction from the Ministry to define the annual minimum wage scale for Khmer workers. He thinks that the demand of a minimum salary of US$93 per month is an appropriate demand, but the Royal Government is slow in organizing the public administration and in applying some legal principles to provide good and trustworthy services. In order to attract foreign investors, the government should coordinate discussions to sett the minimum wage to US$85 from September 2010, and it must carry out a 5% increase every year, starting from January of the coming year.

“Regarding the above request, Kampuchea Thmey could not ask for comments from the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, as he said that he was far away, and then he turned off his phone.

“Relating to a wage increase for workers and employees, the Ministry of Labor had decided during a council meeting on 8 July 2010 to add US$11 to the previous wage [so the minimum wage was raised to US$61].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

  • A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7028, 7-8.8.2010

  • The Appeals Court of the Ubon Province of Siam [Thailand] Heard the Case of Sixteen Khmer Citizens [they had been tried already twice to be imprisoned for entering Thai territory to cut down trees illegally]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3952, 7-8.8.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Considers the Impounding of More Than Riel 4 Million [approx. US$ 950 per month] of Her Salary to Compensate Her Accuser as a Threat and Force, and She Continues to Demand Court Reforms [she lost in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation suit against her]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #24, 7.8.2010

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Cannot Wait for Long if Thailand Has No Will to Solve the Dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia
  • Diseased Red Pigs Are Still Imported through the Sampov Loun Border Crossing in Battambang [expert officials said that eating their meat can cause breast or uterus cancer]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5270, 7.8.2010

  • A Delegation of Former Vietnamese Experts in Cambodia [from 1979, after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime] Pay a Visit to Cambodia and Meet with Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • [Seven] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Associations [jointly] Stated that They Do Not Have Any Intention to Overthrow the Vietnamese Government [it is in response to the Deputy Minister of Security of Vietnam, who recently asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to help prevent Khmer Kampuchea Krom people from various problem actions, including hiring of private and public radios’ air time]
  • Within Four Years [2006 to 2009], the Cambodian Red Cross Was Able to Raise Nearly US$28 Million [donated by generous people and by international partners]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct an Elevated Road near the Lok Song Hospital [Preah Kosamak Hospital] in Late 2010 [at the junction between Road 271 and the Russian Federation Boulevard]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Creation of the European Union – Jointly Celebrated? – Sunday, 9.5.2010

Posted on 10 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

On Saturday, 8 May 2010, we carried a headline saying: The European Union and Cambodia Jointly Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Creation of the European Union. What does such a celebration mean? At least it is a sign of recognition: Cambodia and the European Union have mutual friendly relations, even cooperation beyond financial aid, like during the two days ASEM Conference on very practical, actual problems: Forests, Forest Governance and Timber Products Trade – Scenarios and Challenges for Europe and Asia, on 4 and 5 May 2010 in Phnom Penh, and the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting on 5 to 6 May 2010.

But even dealing with such practical questions as the handling of forest resources – how did it relate to the present campaign in Cambodia to crack down on the illegal cutting of luxury grade wood which has already identified 6,000 cubic meter of such wood, so that the authorities could confiscate it; but the question is raised in some papers that so far, the Oknhas – mostly rich businesspeople – behind this trade have not been touched, while low level operators are arrested. Have these international meetings and the joint celebration also led to exchanges about the basic values which were at the beginning of the European Union? Or which may motivate, beyond economic considerations, the further inner growth of ASEAN?

On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, Foreign Minister of France between 1948-1952, made a programmatic speech, a proposal, which led to the creation of the European Union. It has to be noted that this was exactly 5 years after the end of the Second World War, in which France had been among the victors against Germany. This speech initiated the end of the traditional, centuries old emotional distrust and enmity between France and Germany. To construct peace.

Declaration of 9 May 1950

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.

The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realized simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.

By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.

To promote the realization of the objectives defined, the French Government is ready to open negotiations on the following bases.

The task with which this common High Authority will be charged will be that of securing in the shortest possible time the modernization of production and the improvement of its quality; the supply of coal and steel on identical terms to the French and German markets, as well as to the markets of other member countries; the development in common of exports to other countries; the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries.

To achieve these objectives, starting from the very different conditions in which the production of member countries is at present situated, it is proposed that certain transitional measures should be instituted, such as the application of a production and investment plan, the establishment of compensating machinery for equating prices, and the creation of a restructuring fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The movement of coal and steel between member countries will immediately be freed from all customs duty, and will not be affected by differential transport rates. Conditions will gradually be created which will spontaneously provide for the more rational distribution of production at the highest level of productivity…

The essential principles and undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty signed between the States and submitted for the ratification of their parliaments. The negotiations required to settle details of applications will be undertaken with the help of an arbitrator appointed by common agreement. He will be entrusted with the task of seeing that the agreements reached conform with the principles laid down, and, in the event of a deadlock, he will decide what solution is to be adopted.

The common High Authority entrusted with the management of the scheme will be composed of independent persons appointed by the governments, giving equal representation. A chairman will be chosen by common agreement between the governments. The Authority’s decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and other member countries. Appropriate measures will be provided for means of appeal against the decisions of the Authority.

To understand the boldness of the proposal, against all historical experience, it is necessary to highlight this section:

“The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

“The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

The production of coal and steel – the basis for the economic strength and for the opposing military machineries – is to be taken away from the opposing national authorities and put under a common international administration, a common High Authority which is not working under the supervision of the different governments – but these governments have to work under a joint High Authority for the common good of their people, for the “the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries,” and in this way, “Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent,” working beyond its own narrow interests.

For 60 years, there has been no war in central Europe – because the coal and steel industry, the physical basis for a war machinery – was no more under full national sovereignty: “war between France and Germany became not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

During the past week, tensions at the border between Thailand and Cambodia flared up again: at the Ta Krabei Temple, and at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda.

What would happen, if both Cambodia and Thailand would give up claims on what sets them against each other – like Germany and France had been facing each other as not reconcilable enemies for ages, sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides to death – and consider and operate the historical heritage of both countries not for confrontation, but for cooperation?

Even the whole community of ASEAN would receive a new breath of life, if two member countries could make a step – probably smaller than the end of the bloody history between Germany and France – not just to forget past tensions, but to build an irreversible path into a common future. Like the unthinkable proposal Robert Schuman made 60 years ago. Was something similarly bold like this considered in the joint celebration of the creation of the European Union?

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties – Monday, 26.4.2010

Posted on 27 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: Recently, Mr. Mam Sonando announced to create a new club – called ‘Democrats’ Club’ – to monitor the negotiations towards unification between the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties. This is the goal of the club, according to the president of the Human Rights Party.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, continued to express the intention to unite with the Sam Rainsy Party in order to be victorious in the upcoming elections, though the Sam Rainsy has not responded. Recently, Mr. Kem Sokha said that Mr. Mam Sonando has created a ‘Democrats’ Club’ to monitor the negations between representatives of the Human Rights Party and of the Sam Rainsy Party, to see which party is willing to unite, or if nobody intends to unite.

“During a recent talk with activists of his party in Prey Veng, Mr. Kem Sokha stated that there had been negotiations between officials of the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties, but they did not lead to any agreement, as Sam Rainsy officials suspect that the Human Rights Party is demanding too many conditions that the Sam Rainsy Party could not accept, so that the process towards unification got stuck. Therefore, another group, called the Democrats’ Club, was now created to monitor the negotiations. This group aims to find out which party intends to unite, and which does not.

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that Mr. Mam Sonando created this group in order to monitor the process towards unification between the two parties. He said that he does not have any problems – if Sam Rainsy agrees, he will unite immediately. He stressed that his party wants to unite not because his party is weak, but to move together towards victory in the forthcoming elections.

“Mr. Kem Sokha went on to say that this move towards unity is not only for the parties that have seats in the National Assembly, but for all parties, even if they do not have any seats at present, as long as they want to unite with the Human Rights Party.

“Regarding Mr. Kem Sokha’s claim that Mr. Mam Sonando has created this Democrats’ Club to monitor the process towards unity between the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy parties, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach [the Director of Sombok Khmum Radio] Mr. Mam Sonando for comments, as his phone could not be reached on Saturday afternoon of 24 April 2010. Previously, Mr. Mam Sonando had announced that he would send a request to the Ministry of Interior to ask for the creation of a ‘Democrats’ Club for Uniting Democrats.’ Now it is not yet known how far these plans have been progressing, but according to a source, Mr. Mam Sonando has fulfilled all conditions to request the Ministry of Interior to recognize this organization.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #462, 25-26.4.2010

  • The United States of America [through the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley] Praised that Forestry Crimes Are Intercepted and the Remaining Resources in Cambodia Will Be Preserved
  • Rain, Wind, and Lightning Killed Two Boys and Made Three Houses to Collapse in Kompong Cham

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #102, 26-27.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Confederation Union Calls for Participation [from the general public, civil servants, teachers, and workers] to March to Celebrate the International Labor Day on 1 May 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2232, 25-26.4.2010

    Mam Sonando Creates Democrats’ Club to Monitor the Process of Unification between the Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Parties
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Begins Enlarging National Road 6A [leading from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap] to Reduce Traffic Congestion
  • Three Hundred People Protest as Police Does Not Arrest a Perpetrator, but Held a Man Who Tried to Help [sending an assault victim to hospital, but that assaulted man died on the way, and the helper was arrested by police – Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6939, 26.4.2010

  • Police Raided a Drug Abusing Place and Arrested 38 Young People – Children of the Rich [Phnom Penh]
  • Siam [Thailand] Released Seven Khmers to Cambodia through the Choam Sragam Border Crossing after Holding Them Two Years in Jail [for entering Thai territory to illegally cut trees]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3863, 26.4.2010

  • The Opposition Party Wants to See that the World Bank Investigation Is Successful [about the development of the Boeng Kak lake area] so as to Provide Justice to Residents of the Boeng Kak Lake Community

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #155, 26.4.2010

  • Boeng Kak Residents Call for the Provision of Land Titles as the Master Plan [for the development of the area] Has Been Approved [by the Phnom Penh municipal governor – but not been published; it will be sent for approval by the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • Three People Died in Svay Rieng [because of diarrhea; the local authorities blamed them for eating unhygienic food]
  • A Suspect Was Arrested for Carrying a 6-Year-Old Girl to a Rice Field while She Was Asleep, and then He Raped Her [Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5181, 26.4.2010

  • China, Japan, Korea, India, and the ASEAN Countries Will Join to Perform Shows of the Buddha’s Life in Siem Reap [from 25 to 29 April 2010 to celebrate Visakh Bochea]
  • Laotian Soldiers Killed a Khmer Citizen and Arrested Two Others [accusing them of entering their territory illegally to cut trees]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked for the Dissolution of the Parliament within 30 Days, while the Government Ordered the Military to Crack Down on Them [no ultimatum date given]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

“Copyright Enforcement Will Cost Jobs and Prevent Access to Education and Entertainment” – Sunday, 4.4.2010

Posted on 5 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

The past week brought quite a number of reports on the follow-up to the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on rampant illegal activities – especially deforestation – and on the sudden results of activities by the authorities, who before did not seem to know much about the warehouses of stored luxury grade wood, probably cut illegally. But now, in a couple of days, thousands of cubic meters of such wood is found. And there are questions considering the Prime Minister’s speech: “Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap [also] Considered Betraying the Nation?” And: “Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company Like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?” The next days and weeks and months will show more clearly if the present campaign is only a short-lived campaign, or if it is the beginning of some real change, that laws will be applied clearly, publicly, and strongly in future.

The Mirror carried a small headline on 1 April 2010 which also threatened stern legal action: “The Ministry of Information Released a Circular Prohibiting the Copying of Works of Authors Who Have the Copyright for Documents Being Copied” – the license of copy-shops which do this will be canceled, the Circular said, and they will be dealt with according to the law.

When this regulation is implemented, it will affect many hundreds of businesses which are operating publicly all over town in Phnom Penh, and surely also in many other provincial centers. But not only these businesses and their employees will be affected – it will have a very deep, and negative, impact on many sectors of society: first of all on education.

We repeat here a part of a study which has been published on the website of the World Trade Organization – WTO – which predicts grave negative social consequences.

“The implementation of copyright law will affect education and other fields relating to human resource development. In a poor country such as Cambodia, books, CDs and VCDs with copyright simply cannot be afforded because they would be too expensive for the average citizen. Pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs as well as copied books, unlicensed films and even imitations of circus performances and pantomimes may soon cease to exist in Cambodia. With the majority of the population earning less than one dollar per day, the enforcement of copyright law would take away the livelihood of thousands, and cut off many from educational and entertainment materials.

[Boldface added by The Mirror]

Source

When Cambodia was accepted into the membership of the WTO in 2004, the enforcement of copyrights – after a period of transition – was part of the deal. Cambodia had applied for membership mainly to get easier access to the markets of other WTO member countries; there had been not so much public debate about what other changes would come. Now, many documents related to Cambodia are on the WTO website – with many points to be considered and to be arranged and applied.

A visit to any of the many copy-shops shows that a large section of their business probably falls under the newly announced prohibition. They will either have to stop producing a lot of educational and study materials – or see their business licenses being revoked and their shops closed. But, as the WTO study says: not only thousands of employees of copy-shops will lose their employment – the whole population will be affected, as the study says: it will cut off many from educational and entertainment materials, as the originals of what is being copied are all much more expensive than the copies available until now.

The protection of intellectual property is nowadays a very high priority of the USA and of other economically strong countries. Any new trade agreement – bilateral or multilateral – has to accommodate these interests. And this does not only relate to books, but – as pointed out in the study above – also to information on CDs and DVDs, for entertainment and for education, and for production by computers: computer software.

Many people and the media have been moved to accept the term “piracy” for copying books or computer programs without the agreement of the original authors. But this term is wrong: “Pirates” take something away, so that the original owner does not have it any more, and they do it violently – if there is resistance, they often kill. By accusing people who share copies to be “pirates,” the argument becomes an ethical one between legal owners – mostly strong – and underpaid teachers in a poor educational system who copy educational material for students who do not have the money to buy original books.

What is hardly known is an aspect of US history: in the 19th century, the USA copied British books and argued that the USA, as a developing country at that time, could not accept the British reservations against copying of material which the USA needed for its development.

With the consent of the author, Roberto Verzola, a researcher in the Philippines, a section of his study is shared here:

Towards a Political Economy of Information – Studies on the Information Economy

Part I. Information and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Chapter 3: U.S. Piracy in the 19th Century

Nineteenth century America was a major center of piracy. The principal target of U.S. pirates was the rich variety of British books and periodicals. The U.S. was a perennial headache among British authors and publishers, because foreign authors had no rights in America. American publishers and printers, led by Harpers of New York and Careys of Philadelphia, routinely violated British copyright and ‘reprinted a very wide range of British publications.’

James Barnes, who wrote an excellent book on this subject, said that the Americans were ‘suspicious about international copyright,’ and were afraid that recognizing international copyright meant ‘exploitation and domination of their book trade.’ Barnes noted that ‘as a young nation, the United States wanted the freedom to borrow literature as well as technology from any quarter of the globe, and it was not until 1891 that Congress finally recognized America’s literary independence by authorizing reciprocal copyright agreements with foreign powers.’

Barnes continued: ‘In 1831, an Act to Amend the Several Acts Respecting Copyrights was signed. It extended the copyright term from fourteen to twenty-eight years, with the option of renewal for an additional fourteen. If an author died, his widow or children could apply for the extension. For the first time, the law allowed musical compositions to be copyrighted. But not a word on international copyright. In fact, foreign authors were explicitly barred from protection, which in essence safeguarded reprints.’

Even the U.S. president at that time, John Quincy Adams, was himself ‘strongly opposed to international copyright.’em>

In 1837, Senator Henry Clay introduced a copyright bill before the U.S. Senate. Within days, ‘a flood of negative memorials reached Washington,’ and objections deluged both houses of Congress. The U.S. Senate’s Patent Committee rejected ‘the intention of the measure,’ its reasons sounding very much like the justification today of Third World countries for their liberal attitude towards intellectual property. The Committee’s reasons were:

  • A copyright agreement would promote higher book prices and smaller editions. The point was driven home by comparing the retail prices of new books in England and America, for it was universally acknowledged that English books were disproportionately more expensive.
  • A large portion of the U.S. publishers’ business ‘would be reduced perhaps as much as nine-tenths, certainly as much as three-fourths, if copyright be granted to foreign books.’
  • Copyright has never been regarded among nations as ‘property standing on the footing of wares or merchandise, or as a proper subject for national protection against foreign spoliation.’ Every government has always been left to make such regulations as it thinks proper, ‘with no right of complaint or interference by any other government.’
  • The U.S. reprinters advanced their own arguments for reprinting British publications without regard for international copyrights
  • They were making available to the American people cheap books which would otherwise be very costly if they had to compensate foreign authors. It was generally acknowledged that the low prices of American books would inevitably rise after the passage of a copyright treaty.
  • Access by the American printing industry to British works provided Americans with thousands of jobs.
  • Books are ‘unlike other commodities’; whereas it took the same amount of labor to create each new hat or boot, ‘the multiplication of copies of a book meant a saving on each additional facsimile.’

Several bills were introduced in 1870, 1871 and again in 1872, but they were all opposed by American publishers and the printing unions. And so it went. In the early 1880’s, the copyrights movement gained more strength, but not quite enough to overcome the more powerful forces that benefited from free and unrestricted access to foreign publications.

In July 1891, the U.S. Congress adopted the Chace International Copyright Act of 1891, establishing a framework for bilateral copyright agreements based on reciprocity. While the act granted copyright to resident and nonresident authors for a period of 28 years, renewable for another 14.

In 1952, the U.S. joined the Universal Copyright Convention [and also, for reference: Universal Copyright Convention, as revised in 1971], but not the Berne Convention, which was considered the ‘premier instrument of international copyright.’ Under the Universal Copyright Convention, the U.S. retained such protectionist measures as the requirement of manufacture in the United States.

In the meantime, the U.S. had been exerting tremendous pressures against Third World governments to adopt strict intellectual property laws and to strengthen their enforcement. By the late 1980’s, a number of governments, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea in Asia, had finally succumbed to U.S. pressure.

And so in 1989, the U.S. finally and belatedly acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

All the former arguments of the USA and the actions of their government and parliamentary bodies sounds very familiar: these are the arguments from many developing countries today. It took the USA decades, until 1952 and 1989, to accept the conditions, which they now declare to be essential for international trade relations. Some social action groups, and some parliaments and governments try to stand up in the same way as the USA did in the 19th century.

But, as the study published on the WTO website says, there is ample fear that the results of copyright enforcement for Cambodian society at large may be very negative. Who is to blame, and who will have to bear the consequences? There are, of course, also efforts under way to have the whole concept and structures of copyright legislation fundamentally reconsidered, as it was developed under very different international conditions and mostly before modern information technology radically changed the possibilities of access to and sharing of information. It is up to society, and up to the governments caring for their societies, to get this process moving ahead.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse – Saturday, 3.4.2010

Posted on 4 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia is not surprised about the announcement of the US Department of State to suspend military aid for Cambodia. In the afternoon of 1 April 2010, during the daily press conference of the US Department of State in Washington, the spokesperson, Mr. Philip Crowley, announced the decision of the United States of America to suspend donating about 200 military trucks and trailers. According to Mr. Philip Crowley, the suspension was decided because Cambodia deported Uighurs, who had sought asylum in Cambodia, to the Beijing authorities in December 2009.

“The Spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘This aid suspension is not a problem. If they grant it, we say thanks for it. Anyway, the trucks are not new. They are used vehicles to be provided to others, to clean out their storage. But the United States of America should not take the case of the Uighurs as an excuse to put blame on Cambodia.’ He said so to journalists in the afternoon of 2 April 2010.

“The spokesperson of the government blamed the United States of America and the UNHCR for their slow work which had not led to any results to take the Uighurs out of Cambodia to a third country – and now they put the blame on the Cambodian government! Mr. Khieu Kanharith recalled, ‘When the Uighurs were hiding in Cambodia for over one month, the Cambodian authorities did not know this. The Chinese government did not know it either. But during this period, even the UN human rights office and some US organizations could not determine whether those Uighurs were political refugees or who they were. When they saw they could not handle this, they decided to announce it to journalists.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, considered the US statement as their own decision, and an affair of the United States of America. Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘Cambodia worked based on its rights and integrity.’

“During a previous meeting between Mr. Scott Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister had explained to him that the expulsion of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia was just implemented according to Cambodian immigration law.

Note:

“A State Department official tells The Cable that just before the Cambodian government sent the ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they face imprisonment or worse, there were a flurry of diplomatic efforts to try to convince the Cambodians to hold off. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even phoned Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to urge him to rethink the decision, the official said, but to no avail.”

[source]

“The deportation of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia in December 2009 is a sensitive case for the US administration. The US Department of State reacted since the beginning and used serious words. Washington even said that the decision of Cambodia to deport the Uighurs to the Beijing authorities will affect the relations between the United States of America and Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Cambodian government claimed that there is still no visible effect on the Cambodian-US ties due to the suspension of military aid.

“The spokesperson of the US Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. John Johnson, said that the latest announcement by the US Department of States is only related to military assistance. It is a suspension without a specific time-line. He said, ‘This is a special and worrying case. But the United States of America will continue to cooperate with Cambodia in other fields.’ According to this spokesperson, the US military aid provided to Cambodia since 2006 amounted to about US$6 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #451, 3.4.2010

  • About US$248 Million Were Wasted due to Traffic Accidents in 2009 [according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport]
  • 309 Families from Chhlong District Protested against Land Grabbing by the Kastim Company [for prohibiting them to do farming on the land that they have been cultivating for a long time – Kratie]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2218, 3.4.2010

  • The United States of America Suspends the Donation of 200 Military Trucks to Cambodia
  • In 2009 1,717 Citizens Died from Land Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [7,022 were seriously injured; there were 12,535 accidents – according to Handicap International Belgium]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summoned Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time for Questioning [over the accusation of using fake maps to document border cases, and for disinformation – he is required to appear at the court on 20 April 2010]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Expressed Regrets that the United States of America Cut Military Aid to Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6925, 3-4.4.2010

  • More Than 100 Persons Are under Arrest for Forestry Crimes [including powerful persons and wood traders – according to Mr. Ty Sokun, Director, Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries]
  • [Pailin Governor] Ea Chhean Sued the Pailin Forestry Chief for Colluding with Wood Traders Who Organized to Cut Trees of Some Mountains from Top to Foot
  • Four Forestry Officials Were Removed form Their Positions, and the Municipal Court Issued Arrest Warrants for Four Other Wood Traders [over illegal wood trading – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The United States of America Temporarily Suspends Military Assistance, Straining the Military Ties between Both Countries Again

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

  • Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse
  • Phnom Penh: Laying Culverts Is More Important Than Constructing Roads [because the culvert system left from the past is almost totally ruined, which results in floods in the city]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators – Tuesday, 30.3.2010

Posted on 31 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“When the new demonstration law of Cambodia, adopted by the National Assembly in 2009, was published on Monday 29 March 2010 at the Sunway Hotel through a workshop at national level by the Ministry of Interior, officials of civil society organizations said that this new law is more difficult than the previous one.

“A senior investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, spoke to journalists after the workshop, saying that the limitation of the number of people to participate in a demonstration or in a strike, limited to 200, is too tight, because at each factory there are thousands of workers.

“Nevertheless, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, stressed that for all demonstrations, there must be letters sent to inform the Ministry of Interior in advance, so that it can take measures for security and protection. He added that any group of persons that want to demonstrate must write a letter to their municipal authorities, where the demonstration is to happen, five days before the event, and the number of people allowed to join in a demonstration is only 200.

“Another point that is seen as a threat against those who intend to demonstrate is that the new non-violent demonstration law requires at least three representatives to attach their photos and addresses with the proposed letters. Regarding this point, civil society organization officials said that this makes it probably difficult for those who suffer from injustice or disagree with something to decide to stand as representatives, because those who were targeted in a demonstration can use tricks to put the blame on the leaders of demonstrations. They can be arrested easily as their names, photos, and addresses have already been attached to the papers to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.

“Mr. Chan Soveth thinks that this new demonstration law imposes more difficult conditions for demonstrators and strikers than that of 1991. The law of 1991 also required to submit request letters to get a permission for a demonstration, but it did not limit the number of people who could participate. Also, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association [Mr. Rong Chhun], who frequently appears in demonstrations, said that most articles of the new demonstration law inhibit demonstrators from acting freely. The Constitution, the basic law of the country, clearly states that Khmer citizens have ample rights to enter politics, to demonstrate, to strike, or to assemble.

“Many people are aware that these statements exist only on the paper where the Constitution is printed. Some of those who dare [with reference to the Constitution] to demonstrate when they are not satisfied with the situation in a company, or with actions of the government, have been cruelly confronted by armed forces, when the authorities dispatched them arguing that this is done for public security reasons. Some non-government organization officials say that – because government officials in charge do not have the courage to address problems by meeting protesting citizens face-to-face – they use violent measures to suppress the citizens who act based on the Constitution. Furthermore, because the government is afraid it may get a bad reputation because of demonstrations, it decided to rather violate democratic policy.

“It is natural that people compare the actual situation of different countries implementing democratic principles, like Cambodia and Siam [Thailand]. At present, tens of thousands of red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are all over Bangkok and are shouting their slogans freely to demand the dissolution of the parliament, and of the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva, but the armed forces did not harass them. That means that the demonstrators are allowed to express their opinions as they like. This indicates that the democratic space in Siam is wide, and citizens who oppose the government have sufficient rights to express their intentions and their positions toward their government – this is much different compared with Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #447, 30.3.2010

  • Mr. Sar Kheng Asked for Understanding for the Non-Violent Demonstration Law, while Civil Society Is Not So Satisfied with It
  • More Than 10,000 Citizens in Kompong Speu Received A/H1N1 Vaccine Injections

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2214, 30.3.2010

  • An Amleang Commune Counselor and Another Villager [representatives of the Amleang Commune residents] Were Released from Temporary Detention [they were arrested for having been in a crowd that burned down the on-site office of Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company over a land dispute]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #639, 30.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Asked the Supreme Court to Delay Her Hearing until after 17 April 2010 [over a defamation court case, initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen against her, as she is in the USA and cannot appear on 7 April 2010 as summoned by the Supreme Court]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6921, 30.3.2010

  • The Minister of Industry Launched the Construction Site of the A Tai River Hydro-Electric Dam [which will generate 246 megawatts; it might cost about US$540 million, to be invested by a Chinese company, and it is expected to be operating by 2014 – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

  • The [Kompong Speu] Court Must Punish the Brigadier General Who Shot a Citizen [in the head], Wounding Him Seriously [just because of a minor driving mistake]
  • The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #141, 30.3.2010

  • About 3,000 Cubic Meter of Wood Were Seized [the head of the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ty Sokun, said that about 100 loggers, including powerful people and traders, will have to face legal actions after the authorities found that they store illegally cut wood]
  • The Malaysian Petronas Petroleum Company Will Withdraw Its Investments from Cambodia [to develop petroleum resources] Next Month [it is the second company, after Shell, that withdrew in 2007 – no reason given]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5163, 30.3.2010

  • A Man Was Convicted to Serve Fifteen Years in Prison and a Woman to Twenty Years for Trafficking People to Be Prostitutes in Malaysia
  • Bangkok: Negotiations Failed [to achieve the protesters’ goal, as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva declined to dissolve the parliament immediately as demanded by the red shirt groups, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] – and Gun Fire and Bomb Explosion Continue to Be Heard

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Another Thunderstorm – or the Start of a Climate Change – Sunday, 28.3.2010

Posted on 29 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

When we wrote, one week ago, about the raid on the Tuek Thla market, where military uniforms, but also many kinds of handguns and ammunition are sold, we mentioned also a cynical voice – “everyone knows this problem” as one paper wrote – as this was not the first such raid. And in the past, after a short time, the illegal trade used to come back. It had been reported that “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them.” There were no reports that persons in the military, who had supplied these materials illegally, were punished.

The Prime Minister had warned, in a different context, “Police and military chiefs had better leave their positions if they do not dare to crack down on brothels and gambling sites, being afraid of interventions.” He was aware that persons ‘higher up’ scare lower level officials so that they do not do their duty. But these ‘higher up’ were hardly touched. The ambiguities were addressed in a headline, “The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders – The persons who were arrested are mostly workers handling the wood on the trucks and the truck drivers.” So the old discrepancy between the law, and its enforcement, seemed to continue.

But the past week brought changes.

There had been reports of convoys transporting illegally cut wood, being shielded by cars of high ranking military officers. Now it was reported from Oddar Meanchey that high level military leaders had not only found illegally cut wood, but had confiscated thirteen cars – obviously a massive operation.

The Prime Minister is reported to have said, in a meeting of the cabinet, that forestry crimes have to be considered as acts of national betrayal, an opinion, which – though with other words – is very similar to the concerns expressed in former studies on deforestation in Cambodia by Global Witness and others.

In one paper we read, “All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal.”

In the meantime, such statements were followed by a series of reports from different provinces, that more and more storehouses for wood were found.

  • On 22 March 2010, authorities in Kompong Cham checked seven different storehouses for wood. It is reported that the seven storehouses store more than 2,000 pieces of luxury wood, and the traders had prepared it to be transported to Vietnam. “During checking everything, all the owners were able to flee.”
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Cracked Down On a Big Storehouse of Luxury Wood in Chrouy Chongva [Phnom Penh] That Stores Various Goods, and They Seized 427 Pieces of Wood
  • A Strong Campaign Continues after an Illegal Storehouse for Wood of Oknha Ang Try, the [Owner-]Director of the Tiger Beer Company, Was Intercepted [almost 1,000 cubic meters of wood were found – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted a Third Wood Storehouse, Seizing 523 Pieces of Wood [about 15 cubic meters] and 66 Round Poles

There are different opinions, why all these warehouses with huge amounts of cut wood pieces awaiting export had not been found earlier on. But the more important question is, what will happen next: will all the suspects – including the Oknhas Sok Kong (the head of the Sokimex conglomerate) and Oknha Lao Meng Khin (a director of the Pheapimex Group, involved in the filling of the Beong Kak Lake, and also involved in the taking over of the historical Renakse Hotel and now most recently also of the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals) – be investigated in a transparent way?

It will not be only interesting, but it may be a decisive new start to see, if those persons, being suspected to have betrayed the nation, will be cleared from the suspicion, or will again only be “educated” – as if they would not have known that there was illegal deforestation and illegal trade – or if there will be any real punishment meted out by the courts for those who were involved in massive illegal operations, which the Prime Minister denounced strongly.

This will show if the present thunderstorm, which the Prime Minister’s words has created at a strength never seen before, will have introduced a climate change, or, after the storm has calmed down, things will continue as they used to, like after every storm at the Tuek Thla market.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans – Monday, 22.3.2010

Posted on 23 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia sent a diplomatic note to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea on 5 March 2010, informing the embassy that the Cambodian government decided to suspend the licensing of marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Rasmei Kampuchea, saying that the Phnom Penh government made this decision after the authorities arrested a female matchmaker who took 25 Khmer women at the end of 2009 to be sold to marry South Korean men, and on 3 March 2010, court sentenced the woman to serve 10 years in prison for trafficking these women.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, ‘It is just a temporary suspension, but not a permanent one. We do so only with South Korea. We need to review the procedures in order to curb trafficking more effectively.’

“In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia had already once decided to suspend the right of Khmer citizens to marry foreigners. At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Khmer citizens, who planned to get married with foreigners, to directly contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but not to contact matchmakers or brokers. That was a new measure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to prevent possible human trafficking.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added that he did know when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lift the suspension of the right of Cambodian citizens to marry South Koreans.

“The Korean news agency Yonhap had reported that the number of Cambodian women getting married with Korean men had doubled in 2009, compared with 2008. It reported that in 2008, there were 551 marriages, but in 2009, the number rose to 1,372.

Yonhap quoted an official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia as saying that the decision of the Cambodian government applied only for marriages with persons of Korean nationality, because – among all marriages between Khmers (women) and foreign men, 60% were with Korean men, and most marriages were arranged through matchmakers.

“The official of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia told Yonhap that the Korean Embassy will try to encourage the Cambodian government to think that marriages with Korean men are not human trafficking, adding that most Khmer women [in Korea] are successful in their lives being married in Korea.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #440, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Information from The Nation Which Said that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is in Siem Reap to Give Orders [to his supporters, the] Red-Shirt Groups [to demonstrate in Thailand]
  • Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam Will Increase to US$7 Billion by 2015 [or about US$1 billion to US$2 billion each year; according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)]

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #99, 22-23.3.2010

  • In 2009, Fifty Nine Cambodian Millionaires Were Appointed as Oknhas

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2207, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Warned the United Nations Team [in Cambodia] to Stop Interfering with Internal Affairs of Cambodia [pointing to the statement of the UN team relating to the procedure of the handling of the anti-corruption law]
  • A Tragedy Occurred in a Traffic Accident Where Six Cars Hit Each Other, Killing Three People and Injuring Eight Others Seriously [Kompong Speu]
  • Twenty Five Percent of the Cambodian Citizens Have Hypertension [according to the head of the Cambodian Medical Association, Dr. Khuon Pichet]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #632, 21-22.3.2010

  • The Members of an European Union Delegates Said that the Presence of Mr. Sam Rainsy in Cambodia [for the elections] Is Very Important [to reflect democracy in Cambodia; they will make efforts to encourage the Cambodian government to permit Mr. Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6914, 22.3.2010

  • Officials of the European Union Assessed that Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia Are at an Acceptable Level
  • Generals Led Armed Forces to Control Cutting of Luxury Wood, and Seized Cut Wood along the Dangrek Mountains [about 400 cubic meters of wood and thirteen cars were confiscated – Oddar Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3838, 22.3.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Municipal Court Allowed Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit Two Persons Jailed over the Border Issue

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 22.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance Summoned 60 Real Estate Companies to Discuss the Application for Licenses [so far, only 10 companies had applied for licenses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5156, 21-22.3.2010

  • Cambodia Suspends Marriage Licenses with South Koreans

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1888, 22.3.2010

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarians Plan to Visit [two] Farmers Jailed [for two years] for Uprooting Border Markers [Svay Rieng]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...