Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future – Monday, 15.2.2010

Posted on 15 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.

“According to a source from the Ministry of Interior, the Acid Control Committee of the Ministry of Interior organized a meeting on 12 February 2010, to discuss some resource documents to create a law for the control of battery acid, after many citizens had been victimized by acid, while some perpetrators have not been convicted for their offenses. This happens because acid is being sold openly without any proper control.

“This source added that the discussion was held with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Teng Savong, in the chair. Mr. Teng Savong said during the discussion that the Ministry has just received documents from various countries to be used as a basis for the discussion how to create an explicit acid control law. Meanwhile, he called on experts on the issue of acid to join in the preparation of a draft to create a law.

“Mr. Teng Savong said that the acid control law to be created relates to the checking, the uses, the distributions at markets as well as at other places, the storing, and the import and export of acid. Based on that source, that draft law follows a law from Bangladesh as the basis for further discussions.

“The Acid Control Committee discussions do not plan to deal with violence in the planned acid control law, and it is not intended to deal with criminal legislation in this draft.

“According to officials of the Ministry of Interior, the Acid Control Committee was formed by a decision of the Ministry of Interior dated 28 January 2010 and signed by the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, and there are 11 members from 11 ministries in the committee.

“The initiative to form an acid control law started after it was found that acid was available freely and openly, and that it had been used as a weapon for attacks, which resulted in many victims.

“It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.

“In the meantime, many citizens asked the authorities to prosecute acid attackers seriously so that such cases stop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2177, 14-15.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2177, 14-15.2.2010

  • Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future
  • Three Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan] Are Requesting Bail

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6884, 15.2.2010

  • There Are 300 to 400 People Visiting the Preah Vihear Temple Each Day during the Chinese New Year

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #111, 15.2.2010

  • An UNESCO Official [Mr. Jinnai Teruo] Said that the Documents Relating to the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [presented by the Cambodian government] Are Sufficient [he said so after the Cambodian government rejected a claim from Thailand that the documentation for the Preah Vihear Temple is not complete]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Is Seeking to Start Flight Connections with India, Russia, and some Arab Countries
  • An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5126, 14-15.2.2010

  • A River in the Northeast of Cambodia [the Sesan river] Is Drying Out [due to the damming of the flow of water by a hydro-electricity dam in Vietnam; some portions of the river can now be crossed walking]
  • Khmers in Kampuchea Krom [from Kampuchea Krom, now in the southern area of Vietnam] Can Air Their Voice through the National Radio of Cambodia [the Ministry of Information now allows the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community to broadcast educational programs and programs related to their culture through radio in Cambodia]
  • The Youngest Brother of Pol Pot [the head of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, Salot Nhep] Died [at the age of 84 from high blood pressure]
  • More Than Riel 1,000 Million [approx. US$240,000] Was Given to [40 Cambodian] Medal Winners [after the South East Asia Games in Laos]

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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

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Patterns to Guide Reforms – “Starfish” or “Spiders”? – Sunday, 17.1.2010

Posted on 18 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

Any regular observer of the media in Cambodia knows that in spite of all the positive developments, since 7 January 1997 (the end of the Khmer Rouge regime), since the time of the UNTAC administration 1992/1993, and since the establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia, there is a variety of different, sometimes opposing interpretations or observations of what has happened.

This is normal in any society. And for the political world of the Kingdom of Cambodia, this state of affairs is also confirmed to be appropriate by the Constitution which says in its Preamble:

“…to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory…”

This describes a process: “to restore” means that the goal is not yet reached. But how to reach it, when even the understanding of what is going on at present is so divergent?

From the past week, we present an example of such conflicting views:

11.1.2010:
Chea Mony: That Demonstrations and Strikes Decreased Does Not Mean that there Are Proper Working Conditions
…the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities…

Deum Ampil contacted the secretary of state [of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training], Mr. Oum Mean, to comment on the claim of the free trade union leader, but he did not make any comment, saying that he was fulfilling his mission in a province, and then shut off his mobile phone.

And a response:

12.1.2010:

An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be announced to the authorities in advance]

To have different views is not a surprise. But this poses the question about the methods to reach solutions. There are different models: to impose an intended goal to be reached – or to try to work out a consensus among those involved and affected. The Constitution clearly favors the latter method:

Article 35:

  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall be given the right to participated actively in the political , economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
  • Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State

Article 51:

  • The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
  • The Cambodian people are the masters of their country.
  • All powers belong to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
  • The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial powers shall be separated.

While it is clear who is the master of the country – the people – how this works out – through the National Assembly, the Royal Government, and the Judiciary – is an ongoing dynamic process which also includes differences and conflicts of opinion, as is normal in a pluralistic liberal democratic society.

It is interesting that more recent sociological research shows that in modern societies, there are more and more movements and events happening without central leadership at the top, but in a decentralized way, which makes it also more and more difficult to control them centrally.

A bestselling book in the USA analyzes such trends – co-authored by the former director of the National Cyber Security Center of the USA who is now president of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN – the organization that monitors and coordinates the highly decentralized operations of the Internet – under the title The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (originally it had been planned to be published as “The Decentralized Revolution”):

 Starfish and the Spider

The Starfish and the Spider

IT’S A STARFISH WORLD AND MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication – around ideologies like Al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

Source: The Starfish and the Spider, by Brafman and Beckstrom, Portfolio Hardcover (October 5, 2006), ISBN-10: 1591841437

Does this insight also have a meaning for the future of Cambodia? Will it move towards more and more centralized power – or will the decentralization and deconcentration process, operated as part of the administrative reforms, get more weight? A statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior from 2005 seems to aim at this for the structures of public administration, when he says:

“In this regard, the provincial/municipal governor is not the controller of commune/Sangkat. Rather, the provincial/municipal governor plays the role of a facilitator and coordinator to support communes/Sangkats.”

But the process, documented in the independent news website K7, is dragging on – naturally – very long, some say too slowly – though moving into the right direction.

The vision of the starfish, the aspirations of the organized civil society, and “the people” tend, of course, to move sometimes faster, and further, and into directions that cannot be foreseen.

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China Provides Additional Aid and Loans of US$1.2 Billion to Develop the Cambodian Economy – Tuesday, 22.12.2009

Posted on 23 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“The government of the People’s Republic of China had decided to provide aid and loans of US$1.2 billion to Cambodia to foster economic and social development.

“The decision to provide aid and loans was made public in the evening of 21 December 2009, during a meeting between officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia led by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen and the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jinping [习近平], during his three day visit to Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spoke to journalists during a press conference, after the signing ceremony on 14 agreements, saying, ‘During this discussion, the Chinese government made public to provide aid and loans of US$1.2 billion to Cambodia, in addition to the US$930 million in loans that China has provided since 1992.’

“In the meantime, 14 agreements were signed by officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia and by officials of the Chinese government, in the presence of the Cambodian Prime Minister and the Chinese Vice President:

  1. Exchange note on the construction of a new office building for the Senate
  2. Exchange note on the restoration and conservation of a temple in Takeo
  3. Agreement about economic and technical cooperation with a grant of Yuan 50 Million [approx. US$7.3 million]
  4. Agreement about economic and technical cooperation with a loan of Yuan 50 Million [approx. US$7.3 million]
  5. Framework agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 57B
  6. Framework agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 59
  7. Agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 57B
  8. Agreement about a concession loan for the construction of National Road 59
  9. Agreement about a general loan for the use of favorable loans for buyers
  10. Framework agreement on the provision of communication equipment to the Ministry of Economy and Finance
  11. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers for infrastructure at the Kompong Trabaek River in Prey Veng
  12. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers at the project to construct the national road from Sen Monorum to Dac Dam in Mondolkiri
  13. Agreement about favorable loans for buyers at the project to construct power lines to distribute electricity to areas around Phnom Penh
  14. Agreement on transport and infrastructure cooperation

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that during that discussions the Chinese vice president raised some points, including the request to increase visits between leaders of the two countries, the promotion of the exchange of political experience, and cooperation to support more Chinese enterprises in Cambodia, and the request for cooperation in the region and internationally.

“Responding to the Chinese vice president, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said that Cambodia asked for the increase of visits at all institutional levels, like at city and at provincial levels, between both countries, and this request was agreed upon by China.

“Also, in the discussion, China promised to foster more tourism exchanges, and to continue to support Cambodia with funds, like though more loans for Cambodia. In the meantime, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen asked China to continue to create more exchange scholarships for Cambodian students to go to China.

“The Prime Minister also asked China to help to repair other temples in Cambodia, as there are many more needing preservation, and this request was welcomed by China. The head of the government stressed its position that Cambodia adheres to the One-China Policy, and the Royal Government expressed its gratitude towards China for continuing to support Cambodia, especially now China is also giving care and treating the illnesses of the former Khmer King Norodom Sihanouk.

“Also, China asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to clear unexploded ordnance in the areas where the railroad is to be constructed in Cambodia, and to provide warm cooperation for the Chinese officials in this work. Cambodia responded by agreeing and welcoming the requests of China.

“By now, China is the country that provides the most aid to Cambodia to developing the society and the economy, to reduce the poverty of Cambodian people, and Chinese aid has functioned successfully.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #367, 22.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #367, 22.12.2009

  • China Criticized America while America Criticized Cambodia over Deporting the Uighur People
  • China Provides Additional Aid and Loans of US$1.2 Billion to Develop the Cambodian Economy

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2130, 22.12.2009

  • [The Former Minister of Social Affairs of the Khmer Rouge Regime] Ieng Thirith Was Charged with Three Crimes [genocide, war crimes, and other crime, which consist of killings, torture, and harassment of religious persons]
  • The Cambodian-Russian Bilateral Trade Amounted to More Than US$30 Million within 9 Months for This Year
  • Cambodian Doctors Appeal to the People to Trust Cambodian Doctors [rather than traveling abroad to seek medical treatment that costs more money]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #701, 22.12.2009

  • The Authorities Must Identify the Wood Traders Who Hire Poor Citizens, to Enter Thai Territory [illegally] to Cut Trees and Are Victimized Continually [shot at by Thai soldiers]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #560, 22.12.2009

  • The US Department of State Condemned the Phnom Penh Government That Deported Uighur People to the Chinese Government
  • Two Thousands People Protested against Environment Officials Grabbing 5,000 Hectares of Land in Mondolkiri

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6837, 2.12.2009

  • A DK82 Shell Was Used as a School Bell, but It Exploded, Killing Three People and Injuring Three Others Seriously; It Was Fortunate that this Happened on a Sunday, when there Were no Students [Oddar Meanchey]

Krong Long Vek, Vol.7, #165, 21.12.2009

  • A Non-Government Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)], Asked the Government to Stop Providing Concession Land [saying that it affects thousands of families of villagers in Cambodia]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #72, 22.12.2009

  • China Thanked Cambodia for Deporting the Uighur People
  • A Daughter Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Help Intervene to Free Her Father, Mr. Hang Chakra [saying that he fell ill in the Prey Sar prison; the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for disinformation over corruption of high ranking officials]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5079, 22.12.2009

  • Cambodia and China Signed 14 Exchange Notes and Agreements Covering US$1.2 Billion [no clarity about the relation of grant aid to repayable loans]; China Announced that Cambodia Is an Absolute Political Cooperation Partner of the Chinese Government
  • America Condemns Cambodia for Deporting Chinese Ethnic [Uighur] People [saying that it violates international law (the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, which Cambodia signed), warning that it might affect the ties between Cambodia and America]
  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: [the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Has to Come First to Serve His Time in Prison before Negotiating

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1838, 22.12.2009

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An Assigns [senior minister in charge of border affairs] Var Kimhong to Explain the Setting of Border Markers at the National Assembly on 24 December 2009

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Cambodia Was Criticized from Different Sides over Human Rights Issues – Wednesday, 2.12.2009

Posted on 3 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“At the beginning of the UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday, 1 December 2009, Cambodia was criticized from different sides over human rights issues, including housing rights, attacks on its citizens, and injustice at the courts.

“Created in 2006, the Universal Periodic Reviews by this council checks the human rights practices of the 192 members states of the United Nations every four years in order to solve problems of human rights violations and to promote the respect of international human rights.

“A researcher of Amnesty International, Ms. Brittis Edman, said on Monday that she hopes that land ownership rights and housing issues will be the most important agenda items of the meeting in Switzerland.

“Ms. Edman wrote in her email, ‘It is the very important that forced evictions and housing rights are brought to be discussed and reflected in the report on the findings. It is also important that all the monitoring states call on their governments to approve and to strengthen laws that clearly ban forced evictions.’

“Most non-government organizations working on human rights, that were invited to express suggestions regarding human rights problems on the record of the government, presented notes to the UN Human Rights Council, using serious words against Cambodia.

“A submission by Human Rights Watch, an international organization, says, ‘While Cambodia had experienced strong economic growth since the UN-brokered elections in 1993, the government has treated respect for human rights as an obstacle, rather than an aid, to development.’

“This submission specifically addressed concerns about the lack of independence at the courts, intimidation against freedom of expression, forced evictions, and violence against women, among other problems.

“In contrast, the document submitted by the government to the council says, ‘The Royal Government guarantees rights and freedoms, and continues with its commitment to achieve the best human rights for Cambodian citizens.’ But it has provided little documented evidence about the achievements of those rights.

“Responding to criticism from international human rights organizations, the government frequently called to review any problems in the context of the history of the country that has just recovered from the Khmer Rouge regime and from civil war.

“The government documentation continues to say, ‘Any human rights assessment in Cambodia should be based on considerations about the previous situation, on the efforts made during the first stage following the Paris Peace Agreements [of 1991].’

“The deputy head of the Human Rights Committee of the Cambodia government, Mr. Mak Sambath, said on Monday that Cambodia will be presented during the Universal Periodic Review by members of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee Mr. Touch Khemarin and Mr. Ith Rady, who is an undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Justice.

“Mr. Mak Sambath said, ‘They have the ability to work on the task because they have worked a lot with the government and with civil society.

“He added that the independence of the courts, the freedom of expression, and violence against women, are issues expected to be presented during the review.

“Both the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Amnesty International said on Monday that they have representatives to present their cases.

“Not only the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Subedi, who had reported to see serious human rights violations in Cambodia, but also several other countries consider that Cambodia is under oppressive rule, though this country has international agreements about the respect of democracy, which includes the respect for human rights as a major point of policy.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1824, 2.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #351, 2.12.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Expressed the Accusation That There Is a [not named] Third Person Who Creates Trouble between the Leaders in Phnom Penh and in Bangkok [according to the Bangkok Post]
  • Cambodia Sends Representatives to Present the [Cambodian] Human Rights Situation to the United Nations
  • Two Cars Collided with One Another, Hitting Two Motor-taxi Drivers to Death, while They Were Sitting and Waiting for Clients [Phnom Penh]
  • Lecturers of the Royal University of Agriculture Strike [by not teaching the students who have paid tuition fees] because of not Transparent Actions of the Leadership [under corruption allegations; about 500 students protested]
  • Over 600 People [including government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and non-government organizations] Gathered to Mark the World AIDS Day [in Cambodia, there are 44,371 people infected with AIDS, and 92% of them receive medical treatment; 70% are orphaned children]
  • Cambodia and South Korea Signed an Agreement to Build a Building for the Cambodian Stock Market Worth US$6 Million

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2113, 2.12.2009

  • Four Khmer Citizens Carrying Drugs into Thai Territory Were Arrested by Thai Police and Sent to Court
  • Officials of the Ministry of Health Said Pregnant Women and Children Receive the A/H1N1 Vaccines First [Cambodia has received 300,000 doses of A/H1N1 vaccines from the World Health Organization]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6820, 2.12.2009

  • In One Year [from early 2009 to November] Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the special border protection unit], Shot and Killed 4 Khmer Citizens, Injured 3, and Jailed 96 at Oddar Meanchey Border Area
  • Two American Men Had Different Problems: One Was Arrested in Siem Reap for Shooting, and the Other Fainted and Died during the Night in Phnom Penh
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Encouraged the Asian Development Bank to Look at Cambodia’s Railway Problems
  • In 2008, Two Million People Died of AIDS [70% in the sub-Sahara region], and 2.7 Million Were Infected with HIV [according to UNAIDS and WHO]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #58, 2.12.2009

  • [The Australian company] OZ Minerals Hopes to Extract 2 Million Ounces of Gold by 2010 [in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5062, 2.12.2009

  • A Thai General: Phanlub Pinmani – phonetic -, a member of the Puea Thai Party, said the diplomatic] Dispute Might Lead to War
  • More Than 80 Pieces of Luxury Wood Had Been Hidden by Merchants in Kounmom District, but Were Intercepted [Ratanakiri]
  • Two Sand Dredging Workers Died because of Inhaling Chemicals and Lacking Oxygen [Koh Kong]
  • America Announces to Continue to Help Cambodia to Combat AIDS

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1824, 2.12.2009

  • Cambodia Was Criticized from Different Sides over Human Rights Issues

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The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ Increase – Tuesday, 1.12.2009

Posted on 2 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol.13, No.641

“Phnom Penh: Government officials and parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party explained in detail the regulations for setting of taxes on land and houses, and the increase of road taxes in 2010. This decision is part of the decisions for the national budget for 2010 which the National Assembly discussed and approved on Monday 30 November 2009.

“Defending the national budget draft for 2010, officially known as a financial management law for 2010, during the parliament session on Monday morning, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, said that the increase of road taxes and the collection of taxes for real estate including land, houses, buildings, and constructions are a measure to seek additional income while Cambodia is encountering an economic and financial crisis.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon added that measures of the government to create taxes on land and houses is not expected to bring in much here in Phnom Penh, because there are 180,000 houses from which only US$3 million to US$9 million can be made. This tax collection will surely be made from high ranking officials and rich people, but it does not have an impact like the tax rates of land and houses in foreign countries, where up to 1% of the total value is charged. In our country, it is only 0.1%. The government will use it to reduce the state support of resources to under national levels and to expand taxation culture which is a movement for direct tax income in the future.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon stressed that this new tax was created after proper studies, by an assessment committee, but it is not to frighten the people.

“This statement of the Minister of Economy and Finance is a defense and a response to the criticism of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians when the parliament begun discussing to approve a draft of the national budget for 2010.

“The total national budget for 2010, about US$2 billion, was criticized by the Sam Rainsy Party because of the increased expense allocated for national defense and security, which amounts to about US$274 million, while expenses allocated for agriculture and contributing to the development of the national economy were increased by only 5%.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians also opposed the policy to collect land and house taxes, and to augment road taxes from automobiles, which is proposed as a measure to increase income for state expense in 2010.

“Parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said during the parliament session that to augment road taxes and the collection of land and house taxes are strange moves and cannot be supported. Both the rich and the poor cannot cry during the economic crisis at present, because their houses and their land cannot be sold, and some even are indebted to banks.

“The parliamentarian Yim Sovann suggested that the government should try to be brave to collect other taxes, like from visits to the Angkor Wat Temples [contracted to a private company], from forest exploitation, from land contracted out as economic concession land, and to monitor the selling of state property, so that it becomes transparent. Doing so, the state will have increased income and does not need to collect taxes from houses and to increase the road tax.

“The National budget law for 2010 says that taxes will be collected from real estate such as land, houses, buildings, constructions, and others, with a value over Riel 100,000,000 [approx. US$25,000]. The tax will be collected annually at a rate of 0.1% of the total value of the real estate. But the tax excludes agricultural land, and land and buildings of the government, of communities, or individuals who serve religious or humanitarian activities. But houses for normal citizens must pay taxes.

“The budget law for 2010 foresees also an increase of taxes on means transportation including automobiles (road taxes):

  1. Vehicles with a power over 12 HP to 17 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125] each year, and after the 5th years, it is Riel 360,000 [approx. US$90].
  2. Cars with a power over 17 HP to 24 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 1,600,000 [approx. US$400], and after the 5th year, it is Riel 1,200,000 [approx. US$300].
  3. Cars with a power over 24 HP, like Lexus’ and Land Cruisers, had to pay only Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250] for road tax in the previous year, but next year, they will be charged Riel 2,000,000 [approx. US$500].
  4. As for passengers’, general transportation, and tourists’ cars with a power of 12 HP, and small motorbikes, their taxes are kept at the same level.

“However, 106 parliamentarians among 109, who were present during the session on Monday morning, raised their hand in favor of the overall content to accept the draft of the national budget for 2010 to be discussed and approved. The Parliament session continued until Monday afternoon, and the parliament plans to continue to discuss the national budget law, which consists of 6 chapters and 20 articles, on Tuesday morning.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #350, 1.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Ordered All State Institutions and Provincial Authorities to Review All Agreements with the Siamese [Thai] Government
  • More Than 40 Persons from Civil Society Organizations of Cambodia Will Attend the Geneva Meetings [on 1 December 2009, of the UN Human Rights Council, of the first Universal Periodic Review of human rights practices in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2112, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Considers [Thai prime minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva and [Thai foreign minister] Kasit Piromya as Evil Persons for Cambodia [but he proclaimed to support all Thai investors]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Warned Members of the Royal Family Who Speak Publicly Affecting the King’s health
  • The Odor of a Decaying Body of a Woman Was Found in the Forest, and It Is Assumed that it is a Case of Rape Murder [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #543, 1.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Got Angry with [the Thai Minster of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya after [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Rejected Negotiations to Restore Diplomatic Ties [as long as the convicted and fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is an official adviser to the Cambodian government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6819, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Agreements with Thailand Were Suspended, and Even Scholarships for Students Were also Suspended, so that Nobody will Owe Any Gratitude to Thailand
  • Illegal Loggings Still Exist without Any Effective Measures to Prevent Logging in Kompong Thom

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #57, 1.12.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Warned Thai Leaders Not to Look Down on Khmers, and He Suspended all Aid from the Government of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s Lawyer [Mr. Michael Pestman] Asked the Court to Investigate the Prime Minister for Political Interference [in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal; Mr. Pestman said that Mr. Hun Sen had told all witnesses not to cooperate with this tribunal, accusing Mr. Hun Sen of committing a criminal mistake, which seriously affects legal investigations by this court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Should Stop Finding Ways to Press Cambodia
  • The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ increase
  • A Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing One and Injuring Three [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1823, 1.12.2009

  • Vietnamese Garments with Cambodian Labels [“Made in Cambodia”] to Be Exported to America Are Found [to exploit the Cambodian export quote limits from Vietnam

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A 30 Years Commemoration – Civil Society in Cambodia – Sunday, 29.11.2009

Posted on 30 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

The past weak saw a special anniversary celebration, which is in no calendar of national events: 30 years since NGOs started to work in Cambodia. Nowadays, when the participation of NGOs – foreign and national – is assumed as a regular feature of life in society, it is surely not easy to understand the extraordinary nature that foreign NGOs came to Cambodia in 1979. At that time, the majority of UN member states considered the Cambodian government to be illegal. The so called “Western” countries and the People’s Republic of China agreed on the point that the Khmer Rouge representative continued to legally represent Cambodia at the United Nations until 1990. Seeing this agreement between these two world powers normally not much in agreement, many Third World countries went along with this understanding. Only the socialist countries (except China) and India established diplomatic relations with the government in Phnom Penh after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime. And US citizens, working in Cambodia, even if their salaries did not originate from the USA, had to pay “punitive taxes” in the USA.

30 Years NGOs in Cambodia Celebration

30 Years NGOs in Cambodia Celebration

Eva Mysliwiec, now the director of Youth Star Cambodia, who had came to Cambodia in May 1980, spoke at the commemoration, on behalf of the NGO Organizing Committee, about the three decades of NGO partnerships with the people and government of Cambodia, saying,

“It is very moving to look around this room and to see so many people who have contributed to the Cambodia in which we live today. How far we have come since 1979!

I remember well my arrival in May 1980, in a country devastated by war and genocide. I remember vividly my first meeting with Samdech HUN Sen who was then Foreign Minister and 28 years old.”

There were only five NGOs, who had dared to break the boycot of their home governments: the American Friends Service Committee, CIDSE, Church World Service, OXFAM, and World Vision – now, as the Prime Minister announced in his speech, there are 3,207 NGOs and associations, that is 1,933 NGOs and 1,274 other associations. Eva Mysliwiec continued:

“The core of NGO work was focused on massive relief, meeting health needs and restoring agricultural production in order to prevent famine. Because of the embargo imposed by the Western Community and with precious few resources, NGOs found themselves in a unique role where they had to provide massive infrastructure assistance as well… NGO work in the eighties spanned virtually every sector of Cambodian society and economy, from the restoration of urban and rural water supply, to the rehabilitation of infrastructure, the provision of basic agriculture, education and health inputs, etc. – the list is endless.”

But in spite of all this emphasis on practical actions, she said:

“In my view, the most valuable role the NGOs played in the eighties was solidarity: bearing
witness to the suffering of Cambodian people, bearing witness to the unearthing of mass graves, bearing witness to the continuing hardship caused by the embargo and isolation and especially bearing witness to the resilience, ingenuity and determination of people to rebuild their country. They created a bridge between Cambodian people and the people in countries whose governments did not recognize Cambodia.”

This history has to be remembered, when nowadays, sometimes the opinion is expressed that NGOs have one role only: “to provide humanitarian assistance” – quite different from the wide variety of activities NGOs are engaged with in other countries of the world.

All the more it was interesting that also the keynote speaker, Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS (“Promoting a worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens who are actively engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity” – with member organizations in 110 countries), described the fundamental task of civil society not just in terms of development or humanitarian project implementations, but located their role in the present situation, after the collapse of many schemes based on an free-market system, where human rights an democratic are more under threat than before.

“In Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and Asia authoritarian governments are being permitted to crack down with impunity on civil society and media freedoms through new, draconian legislative and fiscal controls if they control access to energy resources, investment or markets… Funding for defending these rights, for strengthening civil society architecture and for building solidarity across civil society groups is also much harder to come by as donor resources are stretched by increasing domestic needs and by more immediate humanitarian needs…

“The possibilities of mounting a coherent challenge to the economic paradigm of market fundamentalism and the patent inequity of the institutions of global governance have never been greater. For the first time in history peoples from Michigan to Manila, Madrid to Mali, and Mumbai to Moscow can share the realization that the root causes of their individual problems, and hence their interests, are in fact, identical. From slums to forests, fishing communities to assembly-lines, indigenous peoples to suburbia – the people we so often refer to as ‘ordinary’ are increasingly aware of the connectedness of their causes. It’s up to us as civil society to provide the means for them to mobilize in solidarity with each other. We have unprecedented access to the information, networks and technologies that permit us to support their struggles against tyranny and injustice…

“Speaking in Moscow a few months ago, Barack Obama affirmed that ‘meeting these challenges requires a vibrant civil society; the freedom of people to live as they choose, to speak their minds, to organize peacefully and to have a say in how they are governed; a free press to report the truth; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; a government that’s accountable and transparent.’

“We know from experience that active citizenship is the only antidote to this takeover of governance and that investing in the creation, nurturing and protection of civil society rights is the only vaccine. We know, or ought to, that empowering people to defend their own freedoms to exist, engage and express is not only the most sustainable development strategy but the only morally defensible one…

“Despite, or rather because of, our lack of hierarchical command and control structures, our diversity and belief in values-led approaches, civil society is better equipped to grasp, respond to, and evolve collective solutions that require a fundamental shift in world-view than either governments or businesses. And possibly better at displaying the humility required to build the cross-sectoral partnerships without which we cannot possibly resolve these crises…

“Doing so will take more than a business as usual approach from us. It will take each of us as individuals, organizations and alliances setting aside our egos, our brands, our narrow self-interests and our differences to come together in unprecedented levels of collaboration and genuine partnership that focuses on amplifying the voices of those least heard, and of finding common cause across boundaries of nationality, geography and thematic interest.

“If we can aspire to that ideal, we may, just may, address the stupendous challenges before us and even realize the goals you have all dedicated your lives to, whether you approach that goal through the lens of volunteerism or human rights, faith or secularism, charity or human rights – the overarching goal of civil society in all its forms – a world based on equity and justice.”

Such a challenge to reflect, to consider a clear fundamental orientation for the day-to-day work of civil society is important. And it is equally important that civil society communicates clearly to the other sectors of society its claims and commitments. It is important to see what the suggested orientation is: “to struggle against tyranny and injustice, and for equality.”

The address of the Prime Minister dealt, according to reports, a lot with the planned NGO Law. There is some apprehension among the NGO community, because a current draft is not available for public discussion in the community.

Some examples given, why an NGO Law is important – like to prevent terrorist acts planned under the cover of NGOs – were widely not seen as convincing: the intended terrorist attack against the British Embassy had been stopped in time, and the Indonesian terrorist Hambali was arrested – both without an NGO law.

The following reported concern of the Prime Minister is surprising. There are detailed and elaborate forms from the Council for the Development of Cambodia – CDC – where NGOs have to describe source of funding and work plans – on the national level and in the provinces – which serve exactly this purpose since many years ago, though the Prime Minister said now:

“The Royal Government wants to know where NGOs get the money from and how they use it for what. ‘Just this they do not want to tell.’”

Here are obviously some misunderstandings about administrative processes involved. In addition, most donors, providing financial resources to NGO, have requirements for professional auditing, and the results are not secret. Compared to the recent calls by the Prime Minister to curb multiple remuneration payments to government advisers, combined with the repeated calls by the Prime Minister to economize gasoline usage by a better control on the use of public vehicles, allows the assumption that the handling of finance in the NGO world is comparatively well organized and transparent.

What is important, therefore, is the clear statement of the Prime Minister, that the NGO Law will not interfere with the normal activities of NGO: “I guarantee that it is not an action to restrict the freedom of NGOs, please believe me.” Should lower level authorities try to act differently, civil society can appeal to this public promise of the Prime Minister.

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Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non Government Organizations – Wednesday, 25.11.2009

Posted on 25 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: Pointing to the importance to create a law about non-government organizations (NGOs) being drafted by the government, the Cambodian Prime Minister said on 24 November 2009 that previous problems caused by some NGOs encourage the government to create a law on organizations of different kinds, in order to ensure their proper operation, but this law will not affect the freedom of the NGOs.

“Examples raised by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen during the 30th anniversary celebration of the partnership between NGOs and Cambodia, were of an organization which had been prosecuted in the United State regarding the adoption of children from Cambodia, which finally became human trafficking, and of another organization that sheltered under an NGO some years ago and had taken the British Embassy as its target for a terrorist attack, but this plan was suppressed in time by the government. [The terrorist] Hambali left Cambodia and was later arrested in Thailand, after the attack on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘These examples do not imply that the Royal Government is suspecting other organizations that are implementing good activities of participating in terrorism, but please do not forget that some organizations are doing bad things.’ Therefore, we need a law to control NGOs. He stressed, ‘I guarantee that it is not an action to restrict the freedom of NGOs, please believe me.’

“During the 1980s there were just less than 30 NGOs in Cambodia. But by 2009, there are 3,207 NGOs and associations, where 1,933 are NGOs and 1,274 are associations, that is why Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen observed that Cambodia is a heaven for NGOs that carry out different activities.

“The claim about the practicality of an NGO law was made, while an NGO law is being drafted carefully by the Royal Government; some NGOs expressed the fear that the Royal Government will exercise prohibitive controls over NGOs through that law. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘I am aware that some NGOs that have acted correctly, and they do not care too much about this law, but some organizations protested loudly, and I wonder why they claim to promote the rule of law, but they want to act without a law.’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen added, ‘Anyway, we will neither restrict the freedom to creat NGOs, nor take away the funding of NGOs.’ He added that some NGOs demand that the government has to be transparent, providing information, but they themselves do not have such transparency. The Royal Government wants to know where NGOs get the money from and how they use it for what. ‘Just this they do not want to tell, but they oppose the government. The Royal Government also wants to know how much capital is from government, from development partners, and from NGOs, so that we can know the total amount of capital to allocate each year in each sector, where at present, we do not control it and we are not aware of how many activities are contributed by NGOs. This point creates difficulties for macro management or other relevant tasks.’ Samdech went on to say that sometimes, there are some overlapping activities of NGOs, and what is more problematic is that some NGOs had expressed their voice absolutely in the same way as opposition parties. Such organizations protest more than others, because they feel afraid, just because the laws in Cambodia do not allow political parties to receive funds from foreign donors.

“Samdech continued to say that in the first stage of law enforcement on NGOs, there will be difficulties. Anyway, the Royal Government will make it function smoothly.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #3, 345.11.2009

  • A Man Entered a House to Rape a 14-Year Old Girl when Her Parents Were Not at Home [the man was arrested – Battambang]
  • The Laotian Prime Minister Will Arrive in Cambodia This Morning [to visit Cambodia officially on 25 and 26 November 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2107, 25.11.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Claimed that the Non-Government Organizations Law Will Not Block the Freedom of Non-Government Organizations
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Did Not Take Office by Robbing Power from Others like it Happened in a Neighboring Country [claimed Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Three Top Drug Smugglers Were Arrested by Military Police in Takhmao [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #538, 25.11.2009

  • If [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Closes the Border, It Does Not Cause Any Trouble for [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, but for Khmer Citizens [who earn their living at those border crossings; but Prime Minister Hun Sen still announced his firm opinion that Cambodia does not care about the warning from Thailand to maybe close the border]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6814, 25.11.2009

  • Samdech Deckhor Hun Sen: Now It Should Be Time to Create a Law about Non-Government Organizations and Associations
  • The Former Singaporean Prime Minister [Mr. Goh Chok Tong, now a senior minister] Visited Cambodia [to study the current situation, especially different measures that Cambodia has been taking to deal with the global financial crisis and other future problems]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #25, 53.11.2009

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Asked to Jail [Tuol Sleng former prison chief] Duch for a Long Period [for the torture and murder of many people]
  • Oddar Meanchey Villagers [of 36 families] Sleep on the Ground opposite the National Assembly [they escaped from arrest by the Oddar Meanchey authorities over land disputes with Oknha and senator Ly Yong Phat]
  • Netherlands Wants to Invest in Solar Power [in Cambodia, worth US$300 million]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1477, 25.11.2009

  • Fire in Boeng Salang Commune Destroyed Two Houses and a Car, and Other Property Was Totally Burnt [the fire was caused by an electric fault – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5056, 25.11.2009

  • Drug Smugglers Shot Police in Response, Killing One Policeman and Seriously Injuring Two Others [two suspects, husband and wife, were arrested – Phnom Prek, Battambang]
  • Thai Former Prime Minister Mr. Samak Sundaravej Died of [liver] Cancer [both disputing countries, Cambodia and Thailand, expressed condolences over his death]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1819, 25.11.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Position is Upheld [by the Appeals Court] over [the president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Mr. Moueng Son’s Case [the court sentenced him to jail for two years for disinformation, over his comment about fixing of lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple]

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16-Day Campaign to Promote Gender Equality to Combat Violence against Women and Children – Tuesday, 24.11.2009

Posted on 25 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“In order to promote gender equity and the empowerment of women, and to reduce all forms of violence against women and against children, and to increase the percentage of citizens with a clearer awareness about violence, the Open Institute held a women’s forum under the topic: ‘Best Practice of ICT Use to Combat Violence against Women and Children.’

25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Open Institute will participate in an international campaign ‘Reclaiming Information and Communication Technology to End Violence against Women’ focusing on all activities considered as violence against women and children which come from a wrong attitude and lead to crimes. This campaign will take place until 10 December 2009, which is the International Human Rights Day.

“The executive director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, told Deum Ampil that the Open Institute is an organization working on the use of Information and Communication Technology to contribute to development of equality between men and women. She added that the Women’s Program of the Open Institute, in cooperation with the Association for Progressive Communication, will organize some activities to participate in the 16 days campaign under the topic: ‘Take Control of Technology to End Violence against Women’ [a collaborative campaign to use Information and Communication Technology like mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, e-mail, and pod casts to promote the end of violence against women]. She went on to say that this campaign is going to be organized with the goal to publish the campaign to contribute to ending violence through the use of Information and Communication Technology in women’s organizations, by users of Information and Communication Technology, and the public in Cambodia, to raise awareness about the different forms of violence against women, as well as to address how important the use of Information and Communication Technology can be [to combat violence against women]. She went on to say that to learn about a rich collection of information about laws, rights, gender, and other documents regarding development, on can visit the Women’s Web Portal at the following Internet address: http://women.open.org.kh/; also articles and short texts related to women’s affairs can be sent to a discussion list at the following address: gender@lists.open.org.kh .

“It should be noted that the history of the campaign to use Information and Communication Technology to end violence against women dates back in the Association for Progressive Communication since 2006, and it is used as base material in many countries of the world.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #344, 24.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #344, 24.11.2009

  • 16-Day Campaign to Promote Gender Equality to Combat Violence against Women and Children
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon Asked America to Cancel the Debt Cambodia Owes [of more than US$300 million since the time of the Khmer Republic regime – 1970-1975]
  • [Three] Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller Couple in Lvea Em District, Took 5 Chi of Gold Away [approx. US$690], and Assaulted the Husband Seriously [with a hammer on his head; then they escaped – Kandal]
  • Russian Investors and the Odessa Bank of the Ukraine Are Interested in Investment in Cambodia [in mineral resources, energy, agriculture, and tourism]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2106, 24.11.2009

  • Lawyers and Government Officials: The Cambodian-Thai Relation Broke Down due to [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government [that used the Khmer Preah Vihear Temple for its policy – according to a forum held on 23 November 2009 in Phnom Penh]
  • A Christian Church’s Teacher Was Detained for Raping a 9-Year-Old Female Pupil Three Times in a Toilet [Phnom Penh]
  • Three More Houses Were Destroyed by Fire in Svay Pak Commune because of Electric Faults [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #537, 24.11.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] High Ranking Official from the Ministry of Defense [who came to Cambodia] Requested Bail for the Siamese Man [accused of spying] or to Extradite Him to His Home Country

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #537, 24.11.2009

  • The Information that Cambodia Will Have an Anti-Corruption Law Soon Is Welcomed [by the Sam Rainsy Party and by the political observer, Ms. Chea Vannath]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: The Management of Natural Resources in Cambodia Is Not Good, because the Parliament Dominated by the Ruling Party Is Poor in Checking and Monitoring

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6813, 24.11.2009

  • Japan Grants US$12 Million to Cambodia to Clear Mines and to Assist Mine Victims
  • The Government Rejected a Thai Spokesperson’s Accusation that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Daughter Plans to Control Stocks of the Cambodia Air Traffic Service
  • A Terrible Man Raped His Sister-in-Law and Stabbed Her to Death, then He Was Arrested [Koh Kong]

Meatophoum, Vol.53, #752, 27-28.11.2009

  • Former US President [Mr. Jimmy Carter] Announced to Build 6,000 Houses for Khmer Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #52, 24.11.2009

  • The Authorities Destroyed [18] Sites Producing Mreah Prov Oil [from a large softwood tree, used as an ingredient to produce ecstasy] at the Kravanh Mountain Range Area in Pursat [the sites are controlled by Vietnamese experts who moved to Cambodia after Vietnam banned such products in 1999; however, it is not known how many people are responsible for those sites]
  • 180 [Cambodian] Delegates and Athletes Will Attend the [25th] South East Asian Games in Laos

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5055, 24.11.2009

  • The Hearings of [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Arrive at the Last Stage [lawyers from both sides were offered time to give their final conclusion about the case, and the judgment is expected to be made early next year]
  • The Seoul Women’s University of Korea Grants 20 Scholarship to 20 Cambodian Female Students Each Year [to study there]
  • The Son of the Owner of the Fishing Lot 18 Shot a Worker Fishing there to Death [the perpetrator escaped – Kandal]

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Independence Day – Monday, 9.11.2009

Posted on 10 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

National holidays are not all the same. We are just behind the Water Festival which brings big crowds from the provinces to the capital city for several days. This year, 391 boats had been registered to participate in the boat racing, and 6,500 police were prepared to keep things organized and safe.

And there were special health concerns – more than in other years, because of the danger of A/H1N1 virus infections, and the Communicable Disease Control Department of Ministry of Health had prepared 500,000 leaflets with information and advice how to protect oneself from this disease – “covering up cough and wash hands among others” – as well as, as every year, from HIV/AIDS, for which the Population Service International’s 1,000 volunteers were to distribute 250,000 condoms during the three days of the Water Festival.

A big, traditional event where up to a million people from all provinces participate.

Quite different: Independence Day. Everybody knows the Independence Monument, the landmark at the crossing or the Norodom and the Sihanouk Boulevards. But Independence Day? Talking to people, one gets the understandable impression that this is an “official” holiday for people in public office and politics, but as for real life, it is something from the distant past.

“Cambodian Independence day today? That is just another holiday. Not bad.”

But it is interesting that Cambodians abroad also celebrate it – like the Cambodian community in Lowell in the USA, and a group of Cambodian students in Japan:

“Gathering the Cambodian community at our university for an Independence Day Celebration! Cheers to all Cambodians! Cheers for the independence of Cambodia from French colonization!”

Distance changes the perspective with which one sees things, and even fosters closeness.

We close with the text from a foreign newspaper – the Manila Bulletin from the Philippines – sending not only formal congratulations for the day, but being interested in and recapitulating Cambodian relations in a friendly way:

Kingdom of Cambodia National Day

The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates its National Day on 9 November, Monday. On this day in 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk declared the country’s independence from French colonial rule.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Cambodia were formally established in 1957.

Although our relations were affected by the Khmer rouge regime in 1975, the Philippines and Cambodia have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the reopening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999. The two countries have concluded agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation.

Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004 and attended the inaugural East Asia Summit in 2005.

Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, and Russia. As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure needs.

We congratulate the people and government of the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni, and H. E. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and its Embassy in the Philippines led by Ambassador In May, on the occasion of their National Day.

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