Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing – Tuesday, 9.3.2010

Posted on 10 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“Amnesty International said that cases of rape in Cambodia increased, and what is worse is that rape victims do not have sufficient access to receive justice, medical care and treatment, and consulting services. Amnesty International released a report on 8 March on the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day.

“In the 60-pages report, 30 victims between the ages of 10 and 40 years old recounted their experience of corruption and the discrimination suffered from the police and the courts, which prevent them from getting necessary services; and on the other hand, most perpetrators are not arrested and convicted by the courts.

“Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Ms. Donna Guest, stated that there is a lack of support for the victims, and the government must publicly take action against sexual violence, to show that there is no tolerance for such crimes, and to recognize the victims’ suffering. Amnesty International encouraged the government to promote education and to offer materials to police officials and especially policewomen, and to provide the necessary resources for them to professionally conduct timely investigations whenever there is an accusations.

“The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, could not comment on the report of Amnesty International, saying that she had not yet seen the report. But she stressed that the government is also focusing on the prevention of violence against women. Regarding legal assistance for rape victims, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi said that the government granted Riel 100 million [approx. US$24,000] for such legal services. She acknowledged that the number of rape cases increased. But the figure may not correctly reflect the reality of what happened. It can be said that the police works more effectively than before, and that the increasing number of reported rape cases reflects alsothat the police is more active than before.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #428-429, 7-9.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Requests the Promotion of Four Generals to Become Four Star Generals [requesting the King to enact the promotions; they are the generals Sao Sokha, Chea Dara, Hing Bun Heang, and Nhek Huon]
  • A Woman Died from the Use of Skin Cream [Banteay Meanchey; recently, the Prime Minister had just warned about dangerous cosmetic products]
  • A/H1N1 Increased to 562 Cases by March 2010 [in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2196, 9.3.2010

  • A Fire Destroyed Hundreds of Houses in the Railway Block Region [Phnom Penh]
  • A One Star [navy] General Was Accused by the Family of a [10-year-old] Boy, Denouncing Him to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [for beating the boy cruelly – Sihanoukville – the reason for the beating is not mentioned, he just went to the boy’s school, called him out by his name, and beat him up]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #741, 8.3.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized that the Government Sells Some Military Units to Private Companies [Prime Minister Hun Sen had announced that 42 private commercial companies in Cambodia tied the knot with some Cambodian military units]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #620-621, 7-9.3.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Asked for a Delay for Him Not to Appear at the Court on 9 March 2010 [over a new complaint of the government relating to the allegation to have faked maps; as his client is not in the country]
  • [The president of the National Assembly of Vietnam] Nguyễn Minh Triết [Nguyen Minh Triet] Invited Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] to Visit Yuon [Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6902-6903, 8-9.3.2010

  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] Reaction in Response to the ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Saying that It Is the Interference into Cambodian Internal Affairs [the ASEAN Secretary General had said the the military exercise test-firing some 200 Russian-made Katyusha rockets 100 kilometers from the disputed border area of Preah Vihear; he said that this might cause instability in the region. But Prime Minister Hun Sen responded that the Secretary General’s comment is an interference into Cambodian internal affairs]
  • Anti-Corruption Draft Law: An Asset Declaration Is Obligatory for Officials Starting and Up from Those Nominated by a Sub-Decrees
  • An Old, Fatal Well, 10 Meters Deep, Took the Lives of Six Villagers [in one day, because they worked in it and did not have sufficient oxygen – Kompong Cham]

Note:

TodayOnline reports about the same affair as Koh Santepheap:

Hun Sen slams Asean Sec-Gen

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit out at the Asean Secretary-General, accusing him of “crazy work” for questioning a recent rocket drill.

“I think that his excellency Surin Pitsuwan is not suitable as ASEAN Secretary-General,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech, adding: “If you are stupid, don’t do it.”

He pointed out that other ASEAN leaders, including Thailand – with whom Cambodia has an ongoing border dispute – showed no concerns about the test.

Calling on Mr Surin, who is a Thai citizen, to retract his statement or face a confrontation when Asean leaders meet next month in Hanoi, he said: “You must make a correction … The rockets did not hit your head.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3826-3827, 8-9.3.2010

  • More Than 50,000 Tonnes of Remains of Bombs Dropped by B52s Are a New Instrument to Put Pressure on the United States of America to Consider Canceling the Debt of US$315 Million [that Cambodia owes the USA]
  • The Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Demands a Delay for the Discussion of the Anti-Corruption Draft Law, but Will Not Walk Out of the Parliament Meeting

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #125, 8.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Expressed by the ASEAN Secretary General Regarding the Launching of BM21 Rockets
  • Income from Tourism in 2009 Dropped by 2%, from an Amount of US$1.5 Billion [though tourist arrivals increased by 1.7% – according to the Ministry of Tourism]
  • Cambodia Will Send More Than 200 Troops of a Construction Unit to Chad [in April 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

  • Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing
  • The Human Rights Party Announced to Boycott a Meeting [of the National Assembly] to Approve an Anti-Corruption Draft Law [saying that parliamentarians do not have enough time to review the draft documents distributed on 5 March 2010, while the meeting will be held on 10 March 2010]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Different Challenges to Act? Different Conceptions of Communication? – Sunday, 29.3.2009

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

= = =

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

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

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

Key issues to be discussed included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defining political unrest

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

Political Instability Index

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

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













1

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

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

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week’s reflection is much longer than usual.

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

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Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today – Tuesday 17.2.2009

Posted on 18 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“On 17 February 2009, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – ECCC – will hold a hearing for the cruel former Tuol Sleng Prison chief, Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, who is responsible for the death of 16,000 people.

“Ahead of this hearing, a former senior Khmer Rouge military commander, Meas Mut, known as a son-in-law of the deceased [former Khmer Rouge military leader “the butcher”] Ta Mok, claimed that to call additional people to the court will lead to instability in Cambodia. However, some observers said that Prime Minister Hun Sen, head of the current government created by a package vote, will not let political instability to happen because of hearings of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Recently, the former chief of the Division 164 of the Khmer Rouge, Meas Mut, said that he used to control 20,000 troops of the Division 164 as well as 50,000 women and children at the Southwest Region. Meas Mut said late last week that he knew nothing about planned investigations of additional suspects besides the five people already detained in the special detention center of the tribunal, waiting for hearings over crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Nevertheless, when asked about possible hearings of additional former Khmer Rouge leaders, Meas Mut said that “it will make Cambodia fall into instability again.” But Meas Mut did not give any details of how instability might occur. This retired military advisor said that he would appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal if he is accused. Meas Mut, who lives in Samlot in Battambang, seemed not worried about accusation by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“It should be noted that in a book published in 2001 with the title “Seven Candidates for Prosecution,” written by Stephen Heder and Brian Tittemore, Meas Mut is considered to be an important suspect for the tribunal’s investigations, because there is evidence that Meas Mut sent some of his troops to the atrocious S-21 detention center in Phnom Penh during a time of internal purges in the Cambodian Communist Party. But Meas Mut denied two weeks ago that any of his troops were sent to the S-21 detention center, and he said there were no deaths of starvation and of diseases, while historians claim that it led to the deaths of more than 2 million people during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“Reacting to what Meas Mut said above, Khmer citizens living in Samlot, the last basis of Khmer Rouge forces, said that the arrest of Meas Mut will not cause instability to the nation. Some agree with this claim, because at present the leadership structure of the Khmer Rouge no longer exists. Therefore, they cannot gather forces to create social instability or to struggle in the forest as before.

“Besides warning about political instability, the former senior Khmer Rouge military commander Meas Mut said that he was ready to testify to the tribunal, and that he will not flee form prosecution. Ta Mok’s son-in-law pointed out, ‘I have nowhere to hide myself besides my home.’ Regarding the above problem, observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s process criticized Meas Mut’s claims as not worth for general consideration.

“Officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that the first hearing of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, will happen on 17 February 2009 without further delay. But what is of concern is that the ECCC allows very few witnesses to attend that hearing, even though there are hundreds of people who applied to be civil plaintiffs. This makes those who filed to be civil plaintiffs disappointed, and they have little trust in Duch’s hearing.

“Non-government organizations that observe the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that few witnesses take part to put burden on the accused. This is not very good, because it might affect the seriousness of the punishment of the accused perpetrator. Therefore, the ECCC should allow many witnesses to attend the hearing on 17 February 2009, event though the ECCC does not allow all of them to question the accused. Important witnesses of Duch’s hearing are people such as former prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison, [the painter] Mr. Van Nath and Mr. Chum Mei, and they should be permitted to question Duch about crimes of killing people that he committed.

“Independent observers said that the first hearing of Duch on 17 February 2009 is a crucial step towards the hearings of the four other accused in the special detention center of the tribunal. The next person to be heard is expected to be the former president of the national assembly and Brother Number 2 of the killing field regime, Nuon Chea. Thus, if Duch’s hearing proceeds smoothly, hearings of other Khmer Rouge leaders might also continue smoothly without any obstacles. This is a problem that the United Nations and the Cambodian government should consider in order to help that the hearing of Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, goes smoothly, so that the national and international opinions trust the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, plagued by a strong burden of corruption [allegations] again.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #19, 17.2.2009

  • A Former Child in the Tuol Sleng Prison [Mr. Noung Changphal] and a [Khmer] Cameraman of the Vietnamese Troops [Mr. Ho Vanntei] Provide Evidences to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #117, 17.2.2009

  • A Tragedy in a Family Contracting AIDS: A Man Hangs His [three-year-old] Son before He Hangs Himself [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1875, 17.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Global Witness’s Report Is Stupid
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – and the Cambodian National Research Organization]: If One Party Cares Only about Its Own Interest, It Will Not Last Long
  • [Many] Cambodian Civil Society Organizations Study the Process to Establish an ASEAN Human Rights Body
  • [Venezuelan president] Mr. Chaves Wins Bid to Abolish Presidential Limits on Number of Re-Elections

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6580, 17.2.2009

  • National Television Will Broadcast the First Hearing of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, also known as Duch] Live
    Impacts Are Short-Lasting; Samdech Dekchor: The Real Economic Motivation Is to Encourage Investments in Agriculture

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Demands that the Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Remove More Than 550 Spies from Pagodas in Kampuchea Krom

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4823, 17.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Convicted Three Dey Krahom Villagers [to serve 18 months in prison and to pay Riel 2 million, corresponding to approx. US$490, on the accusation of assaulting and of destroying property of the 7NG Company]
  • Siamese [Thai] Para Soldiers Shot at Six Khmer Villagers Picking Mushrooms; Two of Them Were Abducted [Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen Asks for Controls to Prevent Obscene Activities
  • 2009: The Ministry of Public Work and Transport Makes 157 Officials Retire
  • A Man Tied Two [six-year-old] Girls Together and Raped Them One after the Other [the man was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3486, 17.2.2009

  • Olympic Market Vendors Become Calm as the [Thai Boon Rong] Company Announces to Reduce the Stall Prices

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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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