Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women” – Saturday, 7.3.2009

Posted on 11 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, drew the attention of the participants in the Women’s Day 8 March celebration, in the morning of 6 March 2009 at the Chaktomuk conference hall, to the different problems faced by women, by looking at the apparent conditions of women.

“Samdech said that when speaking of the investments for women, this does not refer to the small budget of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs [the full website of the Ministry – http://www.mwva.gov.kh – was not available at the time of the writing]. This means that investments in society include, as a part of such investments also a part for the benefit for women, because every achievement, such as most roads, schools, hospitals, and professional training centers provide advantages also for women. But there are other, separate measures and investments for women, such as legal protection and education for women, for which special investments are needed. Investments for women are also investment for the whole society. To say it simply: to help women is to help ourselves.

“Samdech Hun Sen noticed that recently, Cambodian social morality dropped dramatically and needs urgent actions to be restored and improved, where one action taken by the Cambodian government that is welcomed by women is the closure of gambling sites, as this leads to reduce domestic violence. Some other challenging problems for women is that the number of boys receiving education is higher than that of girls at the high school level of education and at the next higher level of education; the rate of girls dropping out from school is still high, many women are illiterate or have limited access to education, women still encounter obstacles in accessing health care, big gaps between the income of women and men still exist, few women participate in politics in the Royal Government or in private institutions. In addition, actions taken to punish sexual abuses, trafficking of women and children, actions against women’s exploitation and domestic violence are still limited.

“Samdech Dekchor considers these problems to be major concerns of the Royal Government and of all of us, which need to be solved in time.

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen instructed all relevant ministries to strengthen law enforcement, especially the laws to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, to prevent domestic violence, and to protect victims. This work needs urgent decisions, because recently, there were rapes together with cruel murders in some provinces and cities, where the relevant ministers and the local authorities must strengthen law enforcement, and they have the obligation to prevent and to eliminate the culture of violence, particularly violence against women and children, more efficiently, in order to implement the policies of the Royal Government, which is committed to protect the rights and benefits of the citizens and to promote their health and that of the whole society.

“During that occasion, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen fully supported the policies, strategies, and programs of the third term Neary Ratanak program of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the strategic plan for gender mainstreaming at all relevant ministries and institutions, to encourage the equal participation of women in politics with potential, effectiveness, equity, and justice.

Note:

The program Neary Ratanak – Women are precious jewels was initiated by Ms. Mu Sochua, while she was Minister of Women’s Affairs (1998-2004), as a program to promote gender equality. An old Cambodian proverb says, “Man are gold; women are a piece of cloth [if it gets stained, it can never be cleaned” – this is to be changed to “Men are gold. Women are precious jewels.”

“The present Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, presented the Third Neary Ratanak program as a five-year strategic plan, which includes: 1. Strategic plan to enhance women’s confidence to participate in the economy, to promote women to make decisions towards good governance, and to change social attitudes and behaviors, to combat violence against women, to reduce maternal mortality, and to promote the health of girls and women. 2. To monitor and report gender distribution in national policies. 3. To monitor and observe the development of gender indicators to be included in policy processes and in national programs, and in different sectors.

“During this year’s 8 March, the United Nations chose a topic about the equality between women and men, responsible for social work including taking care of those who contracted AIDS [actually, the UN slogan for the International Women’s Day for 2009 is Unite to End Violence against Women]. As for Cambodia, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs decided to choose a different topic: Women Involved in Developing Economy and Society.

Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi added that choosing this topic aims to strengthen the participation of women dedicated in 2009 toward the promotion of women’s involvement in the economy and in social task, where women cooperate actively, a key factor affecting the improvement of living conditions, general well being, the status of women, their roles, and the reduction of all types of discrimination against women, which leads to domestic violence, as well as efforts to change social attitudes, to improve social morality, women’s value, and the Khmer family structure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #133, 7.3.2009

  • The Government Warns It Will Revoke the Operational License of Daily Lotteries If They Are Not Obeying the Law
  • The Prime Minister Suggests to Organize Classical and Traditional Song Contests while Some Television Stations Almost Forgot Them
  • America Warns It Will Shoot Down North Korean Missiles

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #359, 7.3.2009

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian]: If There Had Not Been Struggles to Fight the Yuon [Vietnamese] Troops Which Had Invaded Cambodia [to topple the Khmer Rouge regime], There Would Not Have Been a Paris Peace Agreement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1891, 7.3.2009

  • Conference [at the Ministry of Interior]: Police Found That in One Year [2008], There Were More Than 10,000 People Jailed
  • A Customs Official Was Shoot with Many Bullets while He Was Sitting in a Park, Waiting for His Lover [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3705, 7.3.2009

  • The Plan to Abolish the National Congress [by Prime Minister Hun Sen], though It Is Defined in the Constitution, Leads to Criticism that It Is an Act of Elimination of Democracy

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4839, 7.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: “To See the Problems Faced by Women Is to See the Apparent Conditions of Women”
  • Women from Civil Society: Participation of Women in the Society Is Improving
  • Siem Reap Military Police Commander’s Daughter Is Kidnapped during the Day [kidnappers wanted the police to release one of their member who was arrested during the operation, in exchange for the release of the girl – there is no information about money paid]
  • Foreign Investment in Cambodia Is Worth US$11.47 Billion
  • Prison Officials Want Their Salaries to Be Raised and Their Rank Signs to Be Like Those of the Police
  • Thai Investors [from fifteen companies] Seek Markets to Sell Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Cambodia]

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

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Wednesday, 23.7.2008: The United Nations Asserts that Cambodia Is among the Least Developed Countries

Posted on 24 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Developing the country nearly 30 years by borrowing money from foreign countries and by receiving hundreds of millions of dollars each year, by 2008, Cambodia is still a country among forty nine countries that have very little development. According to a statement of the UN Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] on 18 July 2008, 49 countries were evaluated by the United Nations to be Least Developed Countries [The Least Developed Countries Report 2008, Growth, Poverty and the Terms of Development Partnership, full report: PDF, 197 pages, 1719Kb].

Among the 49 countries 10 countries are from Asia, 5 countries from the Pacific Ocean region, 1 country from the Caribbean, and 33 countries from Africa. Countries from Asia are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, and Yemen. The evaluation of the UN about trade and development are based on three criteria:

  • the first criterion is ‘low income’ of citizens, based on the average national income per capita during three years [2002-2004], and countries were added to this list if the figure is less than US$750;
  • the second criterion, it based on ‘human assets’, [based on indicators of nutrition, health (child mortality rate), school enrollment, and adult literacy rate]; and
  • the third criterion depends on the ‘economic vulnerability’ [based on indicators of natural shocks like instability of agricultural production; trade shocks like instability of exports of goods and services, exposure to shocks like strong dependency on agriculture, or merchandise export, or being affected by economic isolation].
  • “Cambodia has just waken up from war that had lasted many years, and receives about US$400 million to US$600 million every year. This does not cover loans from some countries, and national funds collected through taxes and through other means.

    “Previously, the Economic Institute of Cambodia and the World Bank had estimated that Cambodia loses each year at least US$300 million to US$500 million by corruption. Also Mr. Joseph Mussomeli, US ambassador to Cambodia, has criticized corruption in Cambodia, claiming that the Cambodian government has no clear policies to fight corruption; just to speak about this word a lot may make it sound beautiful without any effect. Also, Transparency International found that Cambodia is among the countries in the world having most serious corruption problems [Global corruption Report 2008].

    “Some economic observers and officials of civil society organizations agree with the data of UNCTAD, asserting that Cambodia is among the Least Developed Countries; this evaluation is in line with the real situation. It is true that the government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen owes much debt and received funds of hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but there is not much significant development. At present, 36% of Khmer citizens still live under the poverty line with Riel 4,000 [approx. US$0.98] per day, while many leaders and corrupt officials became millionaires and billionaires.

    “Economic observers and officials of civil society organizations in Cambodia said that hundreds of millions of dollars that the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, has received from foreign countries, and funds from the international community every year, are not spent to develop the country. A considerable part of that money has gone into the pockets of leaders and of corrupt officials which led to very little economic growth, and the benefits from that economic growth do not reach the poor, but it benefits corrupt officials who are partisans of powerful leaders. This creates an ever larger gap between the rich and the poor, and makes the nation to face a serious crisis.

    “An official, who asked that his name not be mentioned, said that strong corruption in the Ministry of Commerce, managed by Cham Prasidh, is one reason making Cambodian commerce not to grow as in neighboring countries, and the country has little development. Just to register a company, an investor has to spend much money to corrupt officials close to Cham Prasidh. Therefore, big foreign investors do not dare to come to invest in Cambodia, because they hate corruption. Another thing is that Cambodia has no anti-corruption law which meets international standards.

    “Some independent observers noticed that corruption and bureaucracy occurring strongly in important state institutions of Cambodia makes Cambodia to develop little, although the country owes nearly US$4 billion and has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community. State institutions ruined by corruption and bureaucracy are the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the Customs and Excise Department, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, and the Department of Economic Police of the Ministry of Interior. As for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection, managed by Men Samon, a member of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party, does nothing to observe, prevent, and eliminate corruption.

    “Independent observers noticed that also some important institutions and donor countries for Cambodia do not help Cambodia to eliminate corruption effectively. Clearly, Mr. Ian Porter and Ms. Nisha Agrawal, Country Director for Cambodia and [former] Cambodia Country Manager of the World Bank, seem to be sensitive about corruption, which absorbs even development funds of the World Bank. But even when corruption and bureaucracy in important state institutions of the Hun Sen’s government grew stronger, the World Bank provided more funds to Hun Sen’s government, although they knew that such funds do not provide advantages to Khmer poor citizens.

    “Analysts said that in order for Cambodia to develop soon, the Khmer citizens countrywide have to defeat corrupt leaders, who destroy and steal from the nation, through the election on 27 July 2008. This means that Khmer citizens countrywide have to vote to dismiss the Cambodian People’s Party from power, because the government led by the Cambodian People’s Party for many terms does not improve the national economy and does not make citizens to live with a richer livelihood. The new leader, that Khmer citizens have to choose, is Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party who is an economic expert and who is willing to serve the citizens’ and to protect the nation’s interests.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3519, 23.7.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 23 July 2008


    Areyathor, Vol.15, #1344, 23-24.7.2008

    • [UN Secretary-General] Mr. Ban Ki-Moon Asked Both Sides to Solve the Dispute Peacefully [on 21 July 2008]; Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Summoned [on 22 July 2008] the Ambassadors to Inform Them about the Thai Invasion into Khmer Sovereignty after Releasing a Statement [to inform Cambodian compatriots about the invasion by Thailand]


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1700, 23.7.2008

    • Sam Rainsy Party Supports a Letter of Samdech Dekcho Hun Sen to the Director-General of UNESCO [Mr. Koïchirô Matsuura – 松浦晃一郎]
    • Serbia Arrested Mr. Radovan Karadžić [on 21 July 2008 after he had been hiding himself eleven years – he is accused of having committed war crimes in Bosnia based on nationalism, especially to be responsible for the massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica [pronounced srɛbrɛnitsa] in July 1995]


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #56, 23.7.2008

    • The Royal Government of Cambodia Asked UNESCO [on 21 July 2008] to Take Action to Protect the World Heritage Site [because Thailand has sent troops armed with all kinds of weapons and tanks to the Prasat Pagoda which is near the Preah Vihear Temple]
    • The Royal Palace Provided Food and Materials [such as plastic sheets to be used as roofs for temporary camps], mosquito nets, and blankets] to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple [21 July 2008]
    • The European Community Deploys 130 Observers for the Election in Cambodia [to be held on 27 July 2008]
    • Women Should Not Get Affected by Having to Absorb the Smoke from Cigarette Smokers
    • Myanmar Needs US$1 Billion after the Nargis Tropical Cyclone


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3519, 23.7.2008

    • The United Nations Asserts that Cambodia Is among the Least Developed Countries
    • The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL * ) Criticized the Ruling Party for the Excessive Use of the Media
    • The Number of Tourists Coming through the Poipet Border Crossing Declines [by 20% to 30%]; Khmer Workers Return to the Country Gradually [some said that they come for the election, but some said that they are worried about the confrontation between Khmer and Thai troops which could escalate and would affect their security]

    * …during the last few weeks, ANFREL observers have noticed that most media: TVs, Radios and local Newspapers have not maintained as much professional conduct in their work as expected. Most have not been fair in broadcasting or writing the news of political parties equally. Information of candidates from ruling parties and opposition parties are quite imbalanced. Observers have requested the NEC to encourage more cooperation from all media to make the electoral environment more fair and democratic.


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4648, 23.7.2008

    • Cambodia Asked the UN Security Council to Solve the Problem of the Invasion by Thailand; the UN Security Council Will Hold a Meeting on 28 July 2008
    • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Mr. Khiev Samphan Has a New Lawyer [Mr. Sar Sovann, who is nine years younger than Khiev Samphan, 76]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3366, 23.7.2008

    • The Human Rights Party, with Kem Sokha as President, Knows since before the Elections that It Would Lose, and Declared that Unity [with other parties] Will Be Established after the Election [according to Mr. Keat Sokun, vice-president of the Human Rights Party, in a multi-party program organized by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections]
    • Kandal Is a Province That Has the Most Illegal Fishing [because this province has big rivers which allow fishery]

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

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