“The Right to Know” and to Participate – Sunday, 23.5.2010

Posted on 24 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

The Mirror frequently reports about the difficulty of journalists to get information about public concerns when they contact officials at different ministries, even when there are spokespersons appointed. It happens from time to time that these officials refer to others, and the referred persons again to others – and a question remains unanswered, or with different conflicting responses. The most recent such case relates to the more than US$25 million, paid by foreign companies – and it is difficult to know where and according to which procedures they were used or are still kept.

Now it is reported that also the Prime Minister has such problems: it is reported that he warned army commanders to report in detail about the border situation, neither to exaggerate, nor to understate the reality. The media can only welcome such a statement by the Prime Minister, as it may help to clarify the need to have reliable information provided by those who have it – in this case those in charge of leadership of the military at the border.

There were other – related and unrelated problems – in the reports during the last months. On the one hand there is support for the soldiers who are charged with keeping a dangerous situation of border tensions under control – while higher level political discussions between Cambodia and Thailand, which could lead to a final solution of the border problems, do not progress. So there is emotional support for the troops. On the other hand there were many more reports of illegal logging also from the northern border region, since there is more military stationed there.

That the Prime Minister called on the troops to protect the forest and the land in the areas of their bases may be understood in this context – but it does not relate only to the northern border region. Since larger private enterprises started to sponsor and financially support specific military units, there were also reports in the media that up to 150 soldiers have been deployed to protect the preparations for a sugar production entity against the people who claim that this happens on their land. What is the meaning of the Prime Minister’s words – “the troops should protect the forest and the land in the areas of their bases” – in such a situation?

International and national news during the week covered extensively the escalating tensions in Thailand, and the final, violent confrontations between the – initially – peaceful protesters and the military, which led, at the end, to the loss of the life of many people. More than 35 buildings were set on fire after the leadership of the Red Shirts had declared an end of the confrontation; in one building alone, the dead bodies of 10 persons were now found, who had been killed by the fire.

The discussions to come to a common understanding about what happened is controversial – when a solution was closer as ever during these weeks, and then everything turned around negatively. The following is a quote from a Most Viewed report and analysis in the Bangkok Post from three days before the final violence, from 16.5.2010, moved by the concern that the situation was heading toward a bloody conflict. Such reports stands also under the warning of the Prime Minister: to try to find the reality – “neither to exaggerate, nor to understate” – however difficult this is, step by step.

…The military coup in 2006 wrongly overthrew the then democratically elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. That was no democracy.

The coup council handed the power back to the people in 2007. The People Power Party (PPP) won the following election. That was democracy.

The PPP was banned by the Constitution Court for electoral irregularities and the parliament the democratically elected representatives of Thailand voted the Democrats into power. That was democracy.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) argue against the Democrat-led coalition government’s legitimacy and protest for the government to step down and call a general election.

That was democracy.

And the UDD had won.

The goals of the UDD from the very start: They wanted a House dissolution. They will have one in September. They wanted a general election. They will have one on Nov 14. All within seven months and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s term actually ends in January 2012, a year and a half from now.

They should be dancing in the streets, celebrating victory. Then we can all go to the voting booth in November. Peace and democracy. But no.

The truth has revealed itself. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is simply using democracy as a front in the interests of dictatorship. Refusing the peaceful compromise, forsaking the democratic process, continuing to harm the country for the interests of one man, Thaksin Shinawatra, fighting against security forces of the rightful democratic government of Thailand – that’s an uprising, it’s a rebellion.

It’s criminal. That is not democracy.

If you disagree with me and think the UDD is in the right, then let me simplify it: The next time you’re pulled over by the law in a traffic stop, you should just burn tires, shoot slingshots at the cop and call him a dictator…

Here’s Thaksin’s dilemma. Peace and the democratic process don’t guarantee his return to power…

Accepting the compromise is a loss of face and may even make Prime Minister Abhisit look good in the eyes of the people, for biting the bullet and extending his hand. Thaksin Shinawatra can no longer rely on the voting booths. He can no longer rely on the democratic process. The UDD has used democracy as a tool – manipulated and exploited it to return Thaksin to power. Now that they are no longer confident that the democratic process will serve their interests, the UDD has transformed itself from a democratic movement into an uprising, a rebellion, a criminal organization.

It’s worth repeating: They wanted a House dissolution. They have one in September. They wanted a general election. They have one on Nov 14. That’s democracy. Instead, they flushed democracy down the toilet…

The UDD is screaming: ”Now! Now! Now! Prime Minister resign now!” Thaksin Shinawatra is crying: ”Me! Me! Me! I want my power back!” That’s not democracy…

And when there’s a rebellion, the government must put down the rebellion. Otherwise, we have anarchy. The law must be swift, severe and certain – any student of criminology can tell you that.

It didn’t have to come to this. It shouldn’t have come to this. But here we are on the brink of anarchy because of the pride, greed and vengefulness of one man, and of the indecisiveness, uncertainty and lack of leadership of another.

One day later, on 17.5.2010, the Bangkok Post wrote that Red leaders all miscalculated and are losing. Instead of accepting the proposals of the government,

“they promptly replied with more demands to the government…

The hardliners in the UDD wanted to corner Mr. Abhisit with more conditions, while the moderate camp led by Mr. Veera Musikhapong tried in vain to convince the others to stop the rally by accepting the prime minister’s proposal…

If only they had agreed to disperse the protest after Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban reported to the Department of Special Investigation last week, they would have emerged as the winner of the political standoff. The leaders could have told the demonstrators that they successfully forced the prime minister to call an early poll.
In fact, the offer by Mr Abhisit was the best ever since the red shirts converged on the capital in mid-March…

The hard core members miscalculated that they could press for more from the prime minister after seeing him show signs of compromise…

The UDD has come up with new calls for Mr Abhisit to immediately quit and not lead the interim government while waiting for the new elections to take place…

The only condition for the prime minister is to immediately end the rally with no more bargains. It would not have turned out this way had the UDD leaders not made the wrong move.

In December 2005, Prime Minister Hun Sen had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution. Nobody can hope that the continuing confrontations related to land conflicts remain mostly solved against the people who have lived and worked on the land for years. This is not only a political concern which the Prime Minister raised in 2005; also many agro-economists consider big agro-business less productive economically – and socially.

The public, the citizens, need to know and be involved, when basic future policy is developed. Obviously, part of the rural population in Thailand felt that they were kept out, and not listened to. Their peaceful protest was not listened to in time, and got finally beyond control.

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China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia – Friday, 19.3.2010

Posted on 20 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.

“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.

“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.

“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.

“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.

“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular’s declared Mission is Freedom to access today’s world for people in emerging markets].

Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, http://www.mobitel.com.kh/ offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone http://www.mfone.com.kh/ with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.

“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’

“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.

“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.

“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

  • China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Talked about the Loss of Territory to Vietnam Again, but Government Officials Rejected It
  • While a Family Was Eating Dinner Together, They Were Attacked by a Grenade, Killing Two Children and Injuring Eleven Other Persons [a suspect, who had a conflict with the family, was arrested – Kompong Cham]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2205, 19.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Told the Great King [Norodom Sihanouk] that His Map [that he had used earlier] Is Right
  • The Construction Site of the Phnom Penh Sugar Cane Factory Was Burnt Down by [nearly 600] Residents of the Amleang Commune [accusing the company of violating their land – Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #630, 19.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Want the European Community to Provide More Aid to Cambodia, but We Also Want the National Assembly to Play an Important Role [to review the implementation of laws by the government – he said so after a meeting with a delegation from the European Union]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6912, 19.3.2010

  • The Authorities Announced that Karaoke Parlors and Nightclubs Have to Shut by Midnight [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 19.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Condemned the Coup of 18 March 1970 by [field marshal] Lon Nol [saying that if there had been no such a coup, there would have been no destruction of Cambodia – Note: It was on 18 March 1970 that the National Assembly instituted the National Assembly President Cheng Heng as acting chief of state by a vote of 89 to 3, while Prince Sihanouk was in Moscow; on 24 March he called, now in China, for armed resistance against the new government arrangements in Phnom Penh]
  • Two Separate Land Conflicts in Kompong Speu Led to Violence Which Resulted in 14 Police Officers and 12 Other Citizens Being Injured [in one case, the authorities tried to evict citizens who lost a complaint against the Meng Keth company, and in another, citizens clashed with the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5154, 19.3.2010

  • [70 km of] National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Was Inaugurated [Ratanakiri]
  • Chevron Contributed Almost US$200,000 to Help Educate Poor Fishery Communities about Health and Micro Finance
  • Germany Donated [20] Computers Worth More Than US$30,000 to the National Assembly of Cambodia

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Why Do They Not Simply Compare the Maps Publicly? A Question to Both Sides – Sunday, 7.3.2010

Posted on 8 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

Apologies for the delay – there was no Internet connection available the day before. – Norbert Klein

After France had established its colonial presence in a region which was then known as “Indochina” – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the governments of France and of Siam – since 1932 called Thailand – started to exchange opinions about how to clearly defining a borderline between the territories under French and under Thai control, where no borderline had been defined before. For a certain region, without much population and remote from all political centers, they agreed that the border should follow the watershed. But as the French military had more modern equipment for land measuring and mapping, it was agreed that the French would do the surveying and then report to the government of Siam. The French side produced their draft maps and reports in 1904 and 1907, but in one region – in the area of the Preah Vihear temple ruins – their borderline did not follow the watershed line, which ultimately lead to the present conflicts. Looking back at the technical and logistical facilities of that time, it is not so surprising that different interpretations emerged which could not easily be clarified on the spot.

But nowadays, it is surprising that there are doubts where a certain spot on the ground is, represented on a map. There may be, of course, disagreement to which country that spot belongs, but not where it is in terms of its geographical coordinates.

It is really surprising to observe that a conflict exist nowadays at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and that it leads to continuing escalation. This comment is not debating the legality or illegality of removing a border post. Only the conflictive interpretations of the location of this border post are raised here.

Many high end mobile telephones sold in Cambodia have a GPS facility – a Global Positioning System – which, in a couple of seconds, can display the geographical coordinates – the longitude and latitude data – where the user of this phone stands. But recent reports made conflicting claims related to the removed border post: whether it was on the borderline between Cambodia and Vietnam, or whether it was inside of Cambodian territory, and which maps are correct or not.

The Mirror had carried reports about these conflicting claims:

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Asked the Government to Explain the Position for the Setting of Four Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border – Mr. Sam Rainsy had published data, based on satellite based GPS verification, showing that the border markers are set inside of Cambodian territory — but the geographical coordinates were not in the press]
  • A Government Official Announced to Sue Mr. Sam Rainsy; [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] Mr. Var Kimhong: Maps Accusing the Government [over the setting of border markers with Vietnam, used by Mr. Sam Rainsy] Are Fake
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]
  • Sam Rainsy Responded to Hun Sen, Saying the Cambodian Leader Himself Fakes Maps and Does Not Even Know Where the Country’s Border Is
  • Observers said that both Mr. Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen had shown an intention to review maps
  • [The opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: My Map and the Government’s Map Must Be Compared to See Which One Is Recognized Internationally

Yes: both maps have to be compared, and the geographical coordinates of the original location of the removed border posts has to be taken by any GPS capable mobile phone and entered into the different maps.

Though we tried to observe the Khmer press carefully, we have not seen any newspaper which published both maps side by side, with the location of the border posts entered. If there had been such a publication, we missed it and would appreciate to be notified.

To collect the different data should be easy, and it would immediately clarify the situation and the conflicting positions objectively. It is extremely surprising that such comparison of data has not been made public, but instead accusations and counter accusations were made, even involving the courts.

One can only hope that both maps and the geographical coordinates, which any owner of a GPS capable phone can take by visiting the site, will be published and the the courts – and the public – can quickly see the related data.

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First Senior Citizens’ Association Created in Phnom Penh – Thursday, 28.1.2010

Posted on 29 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“In the morning of 27 January 2010, there was an announcement about the creation of the first senior citizens’ association in Phnom Penh. A permanent deputy director and the director of the Department of Social Affairs, Mr. Son Sophal, the Chamkar Mon district governor, Mr. Lo Yuy, and other fellow officials attended the ceremony. The establishment of the Senior Citizens’ Association by the Department of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation in Phsar Daeum Thkov commune suggests that the 8 districts and 76 communes in Phnom Penh should consider establishing senior citizens’ associations, because elderly people have very little opportunity to seek income as they are weak, especially elderly women .

“The director of the Phnom Penh Department of Social Affairs, Mr. Son Sophal, said that among the population [of about 14 million], elderly people 60 years and above, increased from 4.4% in 2000 to 6% in 2004, with a total number of about 852,000. For 2025, it is forecast that the number will double to as many as 1.5 million. He went on to say that at present there are more than 30,000 people who are retired civil servants, and more than 5,000 people are disabled and jobless and are receiving financial support from the government. He emphasized that the creation of the first Senior Citizens’ Association in Phsar Daeum Thkov commune is a model for the 8 districts and 76 communes to follow.

“The Chamkar Mon district governor, Mr. Lo Yuy, who also attended the event, asked all grandfathers and grandmothers [= all elderly people] from the age of 55 and above to consider becoming members of the Senior Citizens’ Association, because it will provide them with benefits and promote their dignity. He added that he will encourage elderly people to help each other, especially when facing difficulties that can harm their lives. Also, the Phnom Penh municipal governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema, donated Riel 2 million [approx. US$500] to support this newly created association.

“Besides the donation of Riel 2 million, he granted one Sarong [a traditional piece of cloth] to the 145 elderly people who attended the founding ceremony. It should be noted that the Senior Citizens’ Association that has just been established has 11 members: 1 director, 1 deputy director, and 9 members.” Areyathor, Vol.16, #1429, 28-29.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 28 January 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1429, 28-29.1.2010

  • First Senior Citizens’ Association Created in Phnom Penh

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #399, 28.1.2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2162, 28.1.2010

  • Car Sellers from 10 Local Companies Asked for the Intervention from Samdech Hun Sen [as they are no longer allowed to import Toyota cars, and only one company, TTHK, has an exclusive contract to import Toyota cars, reducing the profit of other companies significantly]
  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Minister of Public Works and Transport [Mr. Tram Iv Tek] Is a Minister Not Showing Respect [as he changed the number of a road without an approval from the Prime Minister, who therefore called him a “gang minister” behaving like a gangster, acting recklessly, according to the Phnom Penh Post]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #591, 28.1.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann: The Sam Rainsy Party Opposes the Government Plan to Increase Electricity Prices

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6869, 28.1.2010

  • Some Foreign Requests Are Rejected: Cambodia Will Absolutely Not Send Deminers to Afghanistan and Iraq [as it is dangerous for Cambodian deminers, said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections Released Research Findings Showing that only 10% of the Eligible Citizens Know the Parliamentarians Who Represent Them [this research was conducted with 8,678 Cambodian people responding]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #99, 28.1.2010

  • Citizens Called on Government Officials to Intervene to Release Six Village Chiefs Who Were Detained because They Protected Their Village Land [of 60 hectares from being grabbed by a Chinese company; Phnom Sruoch, Kompong Speu]
  • The National Information Communications Technology Development Authority (NiDA) Announced to Hold the Sixth Information Technology Exhibition on 1 to 3 April 2010 [in Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5111, 28.1.2010

  • Intensive Wood Trading Continues at the [Cambodian-Thai] Border while the Border Disputes Remain Unsolved

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1865, 28.1.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Was Convicted to be Jailed for Two Years [in absentia] and Each [of two] Citizens Was Jailed One Year, and They Were Ordered to Pay Riel 50 Million [approx. US$12,500] in Fines to the Border Committee [for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers – in a closed-door session of the Svay Rieng court]

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The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Wednesday, 4.2.2009

Posted on 5 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“A delegation from Germany announced on Monday, 2 February 2009, that the government of Germany suspends all its aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal until corruption allegations at the international tribunal are solved, and the Berlin government encourages the fourth-term government of power holder Prime Minister Hun Sen, established by a combined vote, to provide a role also to oppositions parties in Cambodia, following democratic principles.

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse, the vice-president of the German parliament, visiting Cambodia, said on Monday that the government of Germany halts funding for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as long as the corruption allegations at this tribunal are not solved. Wolfgang Thierse said, ‘We will continue supporting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, provided corruption allegations are cleared up, but all funding to be provided is now suspended.’

“On Monday morning, the delegation from Germany met with parliamentarians of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], its partner Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party which is facing an internal fractional split. As for the alliance of the Democratic Movement for Change, comprising the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, they refused to join the meeting with the three parties mentioned above at the National Assembly, claiming that the oppositions parties do not hold positions in the nine commissions of the fourth-term National Assembly. However, on Monday evening, the opposition parties met with the delegation from Germany at a place outside of the National Assembly; to meet outside like this was regarded by the vice-president of the parliament of Germany as ‘correct,’ because the ruling party controls all positions of chairing all commissions of the National Assembly.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that the National Assembly is not a proper meeting place for the Sam Rainsy Party with Mr. Wolfgang Thierse. She went on to say, ‘We are not part of the commissions of the National Assembly. Therefore, we will not attend this meeting.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, which form an alliance, announced that the CPP had invited also the opposition parties to attend the meeting at the National Assembly, but the opposition parties held a meeting with the delegation from Germany separately from the ruling party, which controls both the government and the National Assembly, which is in contrast to democratic principles, and the CPP wants to eliminate the voice of the opposition parties, both in the government and in the National Assembly. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘There is nothing to discuss. The government and the opposition parties should have separate meetings.’

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse raised, during his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, the importance of opposition parties in democracy, especially the role of opposition parties in the National Assembly, referring to an example in the parliament of Germany, where opposition parties control important commissions of the parliament, and all political parties having seats in the parliament have to cooperate in this legislative institution.

“The delegation from Germany will stay in Cambodia five days, and yesterday, Tuesday, the delegation from Germany boarded an airplane to Siem Reap, to meet members of the German Angkor Conservation Project, who are doing restoration work at the Angkor Wat temples.

“According to information from a group joining the visit of the delegation from Germany to Cambodia, this visit is also a response to concerns raised by the opposition parties, demanding that the European Parliament of the European Union intervenes, related to the control of all commissions of the National Assembly by the ruling CPP of Prime Minister Hun Sen, without involving the main opposition party which has 26 seats in the National Assembly.

“During a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse encouraged strongman Hun Sen to clearly accept the opposition party’s role, both in the National Assembly and in the government, following democratic policies, if Hun Sen really accepts the free multi-party politics according to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. He emphasized that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controls the government and the National Assembly, which makes democracy in Cambodia moving backwards, as it shuts up the voice of opposition parties [in parliamentary activities] in Cambodia.

“Regarding corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse clearly specified that the government of Germany has to stop all aid to this hybrid tribunal, suffering allegations of serious corruption. Because officials and judges of this tribunal are said to have paid kickbacks every month to three officials of the administration: to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, to the director of the Office of Administration of the tribunal Sean Visoth, and to the tribunal’s personnel section director Keo Thyvuth, for letting them work at this international tribunal.

“Mr. Wolfgang encouraged also to conduct a clear investigation about the complaint of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, requesting this civil court to take action by investigating allegations of a corruption scandal, rumored since a long time at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If an investigation is not conducted properly, and the corruption allegation at this tribunal is not solved, the government of Germany will stop providing aid to this tribunal forever.

“According to information from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the director of administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Sean Visoth, accused of having received kickbacks from tribunal officials, has not shown up for work for nearly one month, since international lawyers defending Nuon Chea lodged a complaint against him and against two other persons at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2009. The Municipal Court is investigating this lawsuit, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, notorious for corruption, probably cannot discover corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Legal observers in Cambodia said that they have little trust in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to probe and bring officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, involved in corruption, for prosecution according to the law, because some officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are also working at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, such as Yet Chakriya, who is the deputy co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and he is also the newly nominated chief prosecutor of the Municipal Court. Therefore, Yet Chakriya cannot do anything against orders of higher officials, because he is afraid of being removed from his positions either at the Municipal Court or at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Moneaksekar or Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.3, #398, 4-12.2.2009

  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Becomes a Place to Create Spokespersons [a first five-weeks training is provided to 18 officials from state institutions and non-government organizations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1864, 4.2.2009

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time [over a complaint lodged against him by the National Assembly, as he has not paid Riel 10 million [approx. US$2,500] for a defamation charge about a speech during his election campaign in 2008]
  • Lawyers and [PJ] Prison Officials Deny that Two [Thai] Jemaah Islamiya Convicts Are Released and Sent to Thailand [Phnom Penh]
  • The Philippines Government Has the Intention to Accept Cambodian Rice to Be Sold in the Philippines
  • 26 Million Migrant Workers [among 130 million] in China’s Countryside Are Unemployed [according to an announcement of the Chinese government]
  • [Democratically elected political leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Told the UN Envoy that She Was Disappointed [that the United Nations that cannot persuade the junta leaders of Myanmar holding strict position to end their dictatorship]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #334, 4.2.2009

  • The King Goes to Beijing [to meet his parents and to have a medical checkup]
  • There Is No Ministry Responsible for the Stagnation of Agricultural Products of Khmer Farmers

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #196, 4.2.2009

  • The National Election Committee Announces to Political Parties to Prepare to Participate in the New [district and provincial-city] Councils Elections [which will be held on 17 May 2009 – the registration of political parties will be held from 26 February to 2 March 2009]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6569, 4.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sent a Diplomatic Note to the Embassies, related to Foreigners Marrying Cambodians
    [informing them that foreigners applying for marriage registrations are not obliged to become member of any organization in order to get marriage rights with Cambodian citizens, and they should also be instructed not to use any marriage broker agencies, as this is against the laws of Cambodia]
  • A Man Raped His Step Daughter since She Was Eleven Years Old Until She Is Now Sixteen – When His Wife Found It out [he was arrested, Kompong Cham]
  • Iran Launches Its First [self-made] Satellite

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

  • The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Ministers of Defense Will Meet to Discuss the Border Disputes on 6 February 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4812, 4.2.2009

  • Human Rights Report: Land Disputes Are some of the Most Serious Human Rights Violations in 2008
  • Note:

    Some more details are here on the Internet in Ka-set:

    Concern is the order of the day, ADHOC president Thun Saray indicates. In 2008, Human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures on seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. “Such accusations from government officials were designed to intimidate workers and activists”, from providing legal advice and assistance to victims in land disputes with private companies and powerful people, ADHOC denounces in its report. In 2008, according to the Human rights NGO, at least 164 Human rights defenders were subjected to such threats in 63 separate cases.

    And:

    Similar tone of speech at the headquarters of the LICADHO, another Cambodian organization for the defense of Human rights. Its president, Kek Galabru, observes with the same concern the increase in the number of threats towards activists, whether they be attached to NGOs or not. “We have already pointed this out in several reports. I will give you a recent example: one of our employees was hit at Dey Krahom as he was only explaining their rights to residents! Our staff also received unsigned mail containing the drawing of a skull and crossbones… Saying that we are the ones behind the demonstrations is only an excuse used by the government to avoid solving problems. We never acted like that!”, LICADHO president says.

  • Siam [Thailand] Changes Its Intention, to Send Only Seven of Eighteen Smuggled Artifacts Back to Cambodia
  • Fifteen Cambodian Officials [independent experts and civil society officials] Will Have a [one-week] Study Tour to Europe [provided by the Delegation of the European Commission in Cambodia, to share and to encourage knowledge among trainees about measures of the European Union for solving some key problems, such as legal and court reforms, good governance, human rights, and promotion of democracy]
  • [Ousted former prime minister] Thaksin Told Puea Thai Party that He Will Return to Be Prime Minister One Day

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


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