To Trust the Law Means to Trust that the Law is not only Written, but that It Is Implemented – Sunday, 29.8.2010

Posted on 30 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

Social stability depends on a situation where the citizens trust that the law is implemented. Not every time when somebody thinks to be treated unjustly this is also true. But the fact that every week there are several reports of demonstrations of groups of people, in different parts of the country, who feel they are suffering injustice – mostly related to land use and land rights – should be a sign of alarm. Social stability can be enforced for some time, but that is different from social stability based on peace and justice.

In 2002, the Prime Minister had said in his opening speech to the Consultative Group Meeting between representatives of the Cambodian Government and representatives of cooperating countries and international institutions:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem.”

And in December 2005 he warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

Are these words of the Prime Minister out of date?

Seeing that during many of present demonstrations people carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady shows that many people still have hope in interventions by the Prime Minister to provide justice – even when they have lost confidence that the normal process of the courts will achieve this goal.

Violations of the law happen regularly and massively, as claimed in the Cambodian press, and this is also confirmed by high ranking officials of the government. Just to quote some examples from the current week reported in The Mirror:

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire
  • Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [so this is happening]
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Order to Intercept Forestry Crimes Is No Longer Followed [recently, there is more illegal wood transported]
  • Disabled Veterans and Retiring Civil Servants Complained about Difficulties to Get Their Salaries [as they were told to wait from day to day]

Not all press reports are verified – but if there are repeatedly reports about the same kind of violations, one would expect concerned statements from the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, explaining to the public what the authorities are doing to check what is going on to rectify what is wrong.

It is surprising that, instead, the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, when requested to look into problems in the way society is operating in spite of the regulations of the Constitution of 1993, made appeasing statements. He said that the government always rules the country following the law, adding, “If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.” Many people who are convinced they suffer injustice do not want to see a complete political change, they just want to see that the laws and the Constitution of 1993 are really implemented.

When the 2010 report of Amnesty International drew the attention to the plight of thousands of Cambodian citizens suffering from forced relocations – in case of Group 78 in the Tonle Basak commune and other cases – the same spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers accused Amnesty International not to have studied the actual situation. Even accusations were made that such reports about the plight of Cambodian people asking for justice are only written to gain money for the writers. One might expect that the spokesperson would rather elaborate what the government is doing to help the people who have lost their homes, where they had had their livelihood – though poor – established for many years.

Will the Minister of Justice also be accused of “not to have studied the actual situation” for blaming the court system of not functioning according to the law, and therefore not delivering justice:

  • The Ministry of Justice Released a Letter to Warn Judges and Prosecutors Who Read Newspapers during Hearings and Assign Clerks to Assume Their Responsibility Instead

When a Delegation of the European Parliament recently visited Cambodia to study the medical sector, they observed the gap between what the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says, and the realities they met. The Mirror carried repeatedly reports about sick people who could not get proper attention in hospitals if they were not able to pay first.

The public is not so much interested in claims by the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers that everything is all right. It would rather be interesting to read more about what measure are taken or planned to bridge the gap between the requirements of the Constitution – from which we quote here – than to be referred to a possible change by electoral vote, if the people want to see the Constitution implemented.

Some related quotes from the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – always interesting and important reading:

  • Article 72: The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.
  • Article 74: The State shall assist the disabled and the families of combatants who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

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Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money – Monday, 23.8.2010

Posted on 24 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: State income declines, because some members of the authorities and customs officers take monetary advantage from the import of contraband and they put the money into their own pockets. After they receive bribes, they allow merchants to import these goods smoothly.

“According to regular observations at the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point in Ou Chrov district in Banteay Meachey, merchants do not pay money to the state, but to a group of members from various authorities or to customs officers.

“It should be noted that many gas tubes of merchants, with no taxes paid to the state, are massively imported but those merchants pay money to illegal check points along the way where soldiers, police and customs officers collect money. Each truck loaded with gas tubes has to pay them from US$30 to US$50, depending on how big or small the trucks are, so that they are not held up by these officers.

“According to trustworthy information that Kampuchea Thmey received from the Tumnup Dach border crossing at the Ou Bei Choan point, many merchants pay money to officers along the way instead of paying taxes. Some gas companies complained that they cannot sell their gas gainfully, as other merchants import a lot of gas without paying taxes and sell it at cheaper prices. Therefore, it is really difficult at present for companies working legally to sell their goods.

“Regarding to the above cases, some legally operating gas companies ask the heads of custom offices to help crack down on such activities. Particularly, the Ministry of Commerce should help to normalize the problem, otherwise state income will certainly drop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2334, 22-23.8.2010

  • Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
  • [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon Is Already Prepared to Solve the Border Disputes between Cambodia and Thailand [according to the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Farhan Haq]

Note:

The Cambodian press report reads too much into the release by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING, FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, Friday, August 20, 2010, carry at the end a brief note:

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CAMBODIA AND THAILAND WILL RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE THROUGH DIALOGUE: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue. He stands ready to help the parties.

On 20 August 2010 a publication in the region had reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, ‘The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.’”

The added explanation, “when both sides request him to do so” is almost a standard response – it is a polite, clear expression that no action will be taken if such a request comes only from one of the two sides.

But even this press report way rejected by Mr. Farhan Haq: he said that the report that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate. He said that all he sent out was that Mr. Ban Ki-Moon “stands ready to help.”

What counts until now is the brief final note at the end, after several elaborate reports about other world affairs, in the official release of the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING of 20 August 2010.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7041, 23.8.2010

  • There Are 454 Hotels with 23,349 Rooms in Cambodian, Where Eight Are Five-Star Hotels
  • Australia Provided aid [AUD 4 Million or approx. US$ 3.60 Million] for the Construction of Justice Police Buildings [in five provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Prey Veng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3965, 23.8.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #37, 22-23.8.2010

  • The Royal Group [of Oknha Khit Meng] Plans to Invest US$2 Billion on Rung Island [the investment project of the Royal Group was approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia in 2008, and the company is seeking additional investment capital. It aims at attracting high class tourists to visit the island. The first phase of the project will have been finished within five years from now, to create an international airport, port, hotels, a golf course, and other recreation facilities for tourism – according to a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuon Narong]
  • Police Intercepted [two] Robbers Allegedly Involved in Almost 20 Robberies in Phnom Penh
  • Two Male Construction Workers Were Attacked with Acid over an Alleged Love Affair [the second acid attach in Phnom Penh in four days]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #242, 23.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Is Ready to Negotiate with [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr. Hun Sen over Border Disputes [during the Asia Europe Summit in Brussels in October 2010]
  • The Prime Minister Warned He Will Remove Officials Who Irregularly Intervene in the Process of Making Appointments and to Change Them
  • A Trade Union Criticized a Sub-Decree about the Employment for Handicapped People [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the government creates this policy just to make it look good, though many disabled people are victims of land grabbing – according to the sub-decree all state institutions and ministries have to recruit 2% of their staff from disabled people, and the private sector has to employ at the rate of 1%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5283, 22-23.8.2010

  • The European Union Provides Nearly US$9 Million for the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Program [to help strengthen the capacity of the National Climate Control Committee and the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment, to coordinate the formation of national policies and strategic plans about climate change]
  • 183 Kilogram of Snakes [for export to Vietnam] Were Seized from Merchants and Were Released into the Vaiko River [three suspects were arrested – Svay Rieng]

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The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders – Wednesday, 2.6.2010

Posted on 3 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Through a press conference on Tuesday, 2 June 2010, groups of civil society organizations in Cambodia, including the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia, and the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force, appealed to the armed forces to protect the interest of citizens, and not that of private companies and traders.

“In the press conference also communities that are affected by land grabbing by companies participated. Also citizens of the Boeng Kak lake community that are facing land grabbing and eviction by the Shukaku company of Senator and Oknha Lao Meng Khin from the ruling party, citizens of the Amleang commune in the Thpong district, Kompong Speu, who are vigorously protesting against land grabbing by the Kompong Speu Sugar and the Phnom Penh Sugar companies of Senator and Oknha Ly Yong Phat from the ruling party, and citizens from Romeas Haek district in Svay Rieng, who suffer from land grabbing by the Peam Cheang Rubber Plantation company, participated.

“A representative of the Boeng Kak lake community in Phnom Penh, Ms. Huot Mony, told the story that has led to violations and intimidations, to grab their land and houses by the Shukaku Inc. company, where many citizens are staff of the Prime Minister’s advisory committees that came to settle there since 1980. In 1993, the number of citizens in the area increased. On 6 April 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipality summoned citizens to meet at the Srah Chok pagoda, informing them that all the citizens in the Boeng Kak lake area would receive land titles – but it then became quiet.

“What makes the Boeng Kak lake residents feel very disappointed and hurt is that the notification of the Phnom Penh Municipality, dated 6 February 2006, said that the Boeng Kak lake area is leased for 99 years for US$79.2 million, with the rate of US$0.60 per square meter, to the Shukaku Inc. company, to develop the area of 133 hectares, where 40 hectares are lake surface.

“Through this agreement, 4,252 families in the Boeng Kak lake area in the Srah Chok commune, Daun Penh district, have been seriously affected by the dredging of sand by the company to fill in the lake. This Boeng Kak lake representative added that the company had laid sand dredging pipes that cause the posts of their houses to become unstable, and they had ordered the authorities to threaten and to prevent citizens from repairing their houses. Some families took out their belongings and the inhabitants moved away, as they were afraid of the danger that their houses might collapse.

“Many problems had happened to the Boeng Kak lake residents – some are concerned that their houses might be burnt down, people might get electric shocks, or their houses might collapse. Sobbing while she was speaking, this representative called on the international community to think about the poor citizens who face evictions, before they decide to grant aid to the Cambodian government.

“Also, a representatives of citizens from the Kompong Speu community in the Amleang commune said that their condition is not much different from what the representative of the Boeng Kak lake area had mentioned.

“This representative said that the Amleang commune residents had worked on their rice fields since before the Khmer Rouge regime, except during the Khmer Rouge regime, and then after 1979, they continued to live on their land, doing farming. Just early this year, Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s company had ordered machinery to clear their farmland and to ban them from farming on their land.

“Facing such a situation leads to serious disappointments, and the activities of the government and of these companies are not a sign of poverty alleviation, but they add a heavier burden on the citizens. In the meantime, it was noticed that when protests against land grabbing took place, private companies often used armed forces to intimidate the victimized citizens. Some cases led to shootings at the citizens, but the perpetrators were not brought to be punished.

“Non-government organizations raised six important demands to the government:

  1. The citizens must be involved in all developments.
  2. There must be proper compensation and agreements when dealing with land disputes.
  3. There must be more effective land dispute mechanisms.
  4. Arrests of citizens over land disputes must be stopped.
  5. The government should be involved in solving land disputes, based on proper procedures.
  6. Armed forces should protect the interests of citizens, and not that of powerful traders.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #493, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Increased in 2010, though Land Prices Dropped [according to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – more than 80 organizations were involved in 236 cases in 2009, compared to the corresponding period in 2010, there is an increase by 34.3%]
  • More Than 200,000 [Cambodian] Workers Are Working Illegally in Thailand [and seriously suffer from the exploitation of their labor – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2264, 2.5.2010

  • The United States of America Increases the Visa Fees to the USA from 4 June 2010 [from US$131 to US$140 for non-immigrant visas]
  • The King Issued a Royal Decree to Finalize the Appointments of Four Officials, and to Nominate Five Others [as advisors and under-secretaries of state; all of them are officials from the quota of FUNCINPEC]
  • The Number of Traffic Accidents within Five Months of 2010 Decreased, but the Number of Deaths Rose [there were 2,626 cases in 2010 which dropped by 145, but 804 people were killed, an increase by 11 deaths]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #671, 2.5.2010

  • [President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6971, 2.5.2010

  • Traffic Accidents in 2009 Made the Government Waste US$248 Million in 2009 [1,717 people were killed and 7,022 others suffered from serious injuries]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #184, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Might Be a Hot Agenda in the Meeting between Cambodia and Donors Today
  • Cambodia Expressed the Position Not to Extradite [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin to Thailand [while the Thai government plans to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin to 187 countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5213, 2.5.2010

  • The Forests in Oddar Meanchey Might Bring in US$30 Million from the Voluntary Carbon Market
  • A Tropical Strom Hit Two Districts in Siem Reap and Destroyed 373 Houses
  • Samdech Hun Sen Called on All National Institutions to Strongly Pay Attention to Children [he said so during the 61th anniversary of the International Children’s Day]
  • The National Assemblies of Cambodia and of Iran Encourage the Governments of Both Countries to Establish Embassies
  • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

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Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International – Friday, 28.5.2010

Posted on 29 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“A government official rejected a report of Amnesty International on 27 May 2010. Amnesty International released its Amnesty International Report 2010 on human rights, saying that forced evictions affect the livelihood of thousands of families.

“The report mentions one case of the Group 78 in the Tonle Basak commune, Phnom Penh, and another case in the Chi Kraeng district, Siem Reap, where security forces used weapons to shoot at protesters injuring them. In conclusion, regarding forced evictions, Amnesty International wrote that there were at least 26 such cases, where 27,000 people, mostly the poor, were evicted.

“The report continues to say that police had arrested 149 people protesting against land grabbing. It says, ‘The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs.’

“The spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, blamed the writers of the report that they did not study the actual situation in Cambodia before they started writing the report. Mr. Tith Sothea commented, ‘This group just want to control Cambodia, but does not help Cambodia with anything. They just attack the Cambodian government without any basis.’

“Amnesty International claims that they had sent their delegations to Cambodia several times; they wrote in this report that accusations against perpetrators raping women and girls were not always made, due to the weakness of the implementation of anti-corruption legislation by the courts and the frequent use of monetary arrangements outside of the court system [without criminal investigations and convictions]. The report adds that such solutions are normally made by negotiations between law enforcement officials and victims, to make the victims withdraw their complaints. Quoting different publication, the report noticed that the number of cases of rape of women and girls in general, as well as violence against women sex workers, keeps increasing. And these cases happen to victims who are younger and younger [many are below the age of 10].” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

Note:

In order to facilitate the evaluation of the controversial Amnesty International Report 2010, we select here the section of the Cambodia Country Report.

Amnesty International Report 2010

Amnesty International Report 2010

Forced evictions continued to affect thousands of families across the country, predominantly people living in poverty. Activists from communities affected by forced evictions and other land confiscations mobilized to join forces in protests and appeals to the authorities. A wave of legal actions against housing rights defenders, journalists and other critical voices stifled freedom of expression. The first trial to address past Khmer Rouge atrocities took place. The defendant, Duch, pleaded guilty, but later asked to be acquitted.

Background

At least 45,000 garment factory workers lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis and a number of companies reduced salaries. Surveys indicated growing mass youth unemployment as some 300,000 young people faced joblessness after completing their high school and bachelor degrees. For the first time, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered Cambodia’s state report, which the authorities had delayed submitting for 14 years. The Committee identified serious shortcomings in the implementation of a number of treaty obligations, including those relating to the judicial system, housing, and gender inequalities. Cambodia’s human rights record was reviewed under the UN Universal Periodic Review in December.

Forced evictions

Forced evictions continued to affect the lives of thousands of Cambodians. At least 26 forced evictions displaced around 27,000 people, the vast majority from communities living in poverty. In July, a number of international donors called for an end to forced evictions “until a fair and transparent mechanism for resolving land disputes is in place and a comprehensive resettlement policy” is established.

On 16/17 July 2009, security forces forcibly evicted Group 78, a community group in Phnom Penh, after a deeply flawed legal process. The last 60 families had no choice but to dismantle their houses and accept compensation that prevented them from living near their former homes and workplaces. Most of the families were relocated outside the city with few work prospects.

After civil society criticism, the World Bank attempted to strengthen safeguards in a multi-donor supported Land Management and Administration Project to protect security of tenure for people in urban slums and other vulnerable areas. In early September, the government responded by terminating its contract with the Bank.

Human rights defenders

The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs. Police arrested at least 149 activists for their peaceful defense of the right to housing.

On 22 March 2009, security forces shot at unarmed villagers in Siem Reap province, injuring at least four people. The villagers, from Chikreng district, were protesting against the loss of farmland that had come under dispute. By the end of the year, no authority had investigated the shooting, but police had arrested at least 12 of the villagers, two of whom were subsequently convicted of robbery for attempting to harvest their rice on the disputed land. Seven were acquitted but remained in arbitrary detention pending a prosecutorial appeal.

Informal representatives from communities in most provinces increasingly formed grassroots networks,
jointly voicing concerns over forced evictions and intimidation.

International justice

In March, the historic first hearing of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC, Khmer Rouge Tribunal) took place with the trial of Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch). Duch was commander of the notorious security prison S-21. During the 72-day hearing, survivors and victims of Khmer Rouge atrocities heard for the first time evidence against “those most responsible.” Duch admitted responsibility for crimes committed at S-21, including killing about 15,000 people.

The trial of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders was in preparation, and the International Co-Prosecutor submitted requests to open investigations into an additional five suspects. The Cambodian government spoke out against additional investigations saying they could lead to unrest, apparently in an attempt to exert influence over the tribunal.

In July, co-investigating judges decided to allow “confessions” obtained by torture as evidence in the case of Ieng Thirith. This breached the “exclusionary rule” in Article 15 of the UN Convention against Torture which binds the ECCC.

Freedom of expression –

A series of prosecutions of people who criticized government policies had a stifling effect on freedom of expression.

Courts sentenced newspaper editor Hang Chakra, and the director of an NGO, both affiliated to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), to prison terms for peacefully expressing views.

The Phnom Penh Court convicted Mu Sochua, Secretary-General of the SRP, of defamation for filing a complaint – also for defamation – against the Prime Minister. She had no legal counsel because her lawyer had withdrawn from the case after receiving threats of legal action for speaking about the case at a press conference. Mu Sochua received a non-custodial sentence.

On 10 July 2009, one of the few remaining opposition-affiliated daily newspapers, Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience), stopped publishing. The editor, Dam Sith, issued a public apology for articles, over which the government had requested a criminal investigation for “incitement.”

By the end of the year, police had made no progress on the investigation into the murder of Moneaksekar Khmer reporter Khim Sambor. He had been killed by unknown assailants during the July 2008 elections.

Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

On 12 October 2009, the National Assembly passed the new Penal Code. This retained defamation as a criminal offense. Opposition parliamentarians and civil society groups criticized a new Law on non-violent demonstrations, passed by the National Assembly in October. Authorities routinely denied permission for demonstrations and the law, if adopted, risked codifying such restrictions.

Violence against women and girls

Prosecution of rapists remained rare, due to poor law enforcement, corruption in the courts and widespread use of out-of-court financial settlements. Settlements were typically arranged by law enforcement officials and stipulated that the victim withdraw any criminal complaint. Reports indicated that rapes of women and girls, including sex workers, continued to increase, with the age of victims falling.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Cambodia in March/May, September and October/December.
  • Cambodia: Urban development or relocating slums? (ASA 23/002/2009)
  • Cambodia: After 30 years Khmer Rouge crimes on trial (ASA 23/003/2009)
  • Cambodia: Briefing for the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: 42nd session, May 2009 (ASA 23/004/2009)
  • Cambodia: Borei Keila – Lives at risk (ASA 23/008/2009)

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 28 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #489, 28.5.2010

  • The Government Rejected the Criticism [by the Sam Rainsy Party] over the Setting of Border Markers in Takeo [government official said that the claim by the Sam Rainsy Party that the Border Marker 270 was put in a rice field of a Cambodian farmer is only based on the farmer’s claim]
  • A Group of Ten Robbers Was Arrested [in Kompong Speu]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2260, 28.5.2010

  • UNDP: Cambodia Has the Opportunity to Reduce Poverty and to Boost Development through Income from the Mineral Sector

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #667, 28.5.2010

  • Parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party Voted to Add More Members to the Council of Ministers [“the cabinet”], Which Makes this Institution to Have Too Many Members

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6967, 28.5.2010

  • The Owner of the Phnom Yat Cloth Shop Was Threatened at Gun Point by a General [the victim’s family filed a complaint against the general – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3819, 28.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Do Not Support the Nomination of More Government Members, Which Is Unnecessary, as Cambodia Is Poor

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #181, 28.5.2010

  • The National Assembly Voted to Nominate More Officials, as Requested by the Cambodian Government [one was appointed at the Prime Minister’s office, and ten others as secretaries of state at various ministries]
  • A New Elevated Road Will Be Constructed in the Disputed Boeng Kak Development Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International
  • The Opposition Party Asked for a Postponement of the Setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Posts in Takeo [as Border Post 270 was put in a rice field of Khmer farmer]
  • Kangwon Province of the Republic of Korea Donated Four Firefighter Trucks and Twelve Ambulances to Siem Reap

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Officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Travel to New York to Verify Funding – Tuesday, 18.5.2010

Posted on 19 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: A delegation of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will travel to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York in the United States of America late this week again, to verify the funding for the mixed tribunal – according to officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“There was a visit to the UN headquarters after the United Nations and donors agreed in February 2010 to grant US$43 million for the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders, where US$10.7 million is for the Cambodian side in 2010. But so far, the money has not been transferred into the account of the Cambodian side.

“The head of the Public Affairs Office of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Reach Sambath, said with hope that the delegation of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, both from the Cambodian and international sides, that will travel to New York late this week, might get positive results relating to the funding for the salaries. The funds for salaries had been promised to be provided to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but the money for the Cambodian side has not yet been transferred, while there is no such problem for the international side.

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal has to spend approximately US$485,000 as salaries for the 294 members of the Cambodian staff. But in April, they received only half of their salaries, as funds for the Cambodian side were not adequate.

“Mr. Reach Sambath added, ‘There are still no salaries for the Cambodian side for May 2010. In April, we could only get half of the normal amounts. There are no salaries for May, but the staff is working as normal, as they had experienced this before.’

“In the meantime, Mr. Reach Sambath added that the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have not provided the exact date when they will announce the verdict for the Case 001, for the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch.

“Mr. Reach Sambath said, ‘We cannot predict the date when the verdict will be announced for the Case 001, as the judges have not informed us. The date of the announcement of the verdict of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief has been postponed due to problems with the translation of the verdict into three languages (Khmer, English, and French), as this must be written out in detail.

“Anyway, Mr. Reach Sambath said that the verdict will be announced before the co-prosecutors will send Case 002 to the trial chamber, which is planned for September 2010.

“It should be noted that the hearings of Case 01 of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, started on 30 March 2009 and finished on 25 November 2009. After the hearing of Duch had been finished, the court had announced that the verdict will be released in the first semester of 2010.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5200, 18.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #480, 18.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Supports that More Women Should Have Positions in the National Police [at present, there are only few women serving in the police]
  • Samdech Dekchor: Security in Villages and Communes Is a Hot Issues for the Police [he asked the police to suppress gangs and robberies to ensure the security of the citizens]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2251, 18.5.2010

  • Cambodia Suggests the Thai [conflicting] Sides Should Conduct Peaceful Negotiations to End Violence
  • The Cambodian Beaches Are Selected and Recognized as Among Most Beautiful Beaches in the World [according to the Cambodian Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #657, 18.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Said There Should be Investigations [by the government] over the Dredging of Sand which Is Sold to Singapore, though There Had Been Denials [from Oknha Mong Riththy and from the Cambodian Ambassador in the United Kingdom, rejecting the allegations of the Global Witness report]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Has Not Received a Permission to Visit Mr. Prum Chea and Ms. Meas Srey [who are being jailed for removing border markers in Svay Rieng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6958, 18.5.2010

  • The Authorities Are Investigating the Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotel for Having Angkor Wat Placemats on the Floor in Front of Toilets
  • A Mute and Deaf Girl Was Raped and Then Killed while She Was Washing Clothes in a River [perpetrators are not yet identified; Pursat]
  • Within Twenty Minutes, a Tropical Storm Destroyed 253 Houses – 22 Were Totally Destroyed, and Three People Were Injured [Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3882, 18.5.2010

  • [About 180 citizens representing] More Than 2,000 Families in Kratie Protested over Land Grabs against the ECY Cassava Company [they gathered in front of Wat Botum in Phnom Penh to ask for an intervention by Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #113, 18.5.2010

  • In the United States of America Three Khmers Were Arrested for Falsifying Marriage Documents
  • [A former general, a military leader of the anti-government Red Shirt groups] Seh Daeng Died [after he was shot in the head during the demonstrations five days ago]; the Red Shirt Groups Will Not Withdraw while [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva Announced that the Demonstrators Have to Withdraw

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5200, 18.5.2010

  • Officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Travel to New York to Verify Funding
  • The Number of Deaths in the Bloodshed in Bangkok Increased to 36
  • A City in Japan Donated Twenty Firefighter Trucks to the Phnom Penh Municipality

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

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

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

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

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

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

Note:

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

[source]

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #451, 3.4.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2218, 3.4.2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

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

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Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeng Kak Lake Area Withdraw – Thursday, 18.3.2010

Posted on 18 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“An official of a party having seats in the National Assembly said that some foreign companies that cooperate with the Shukaku Inc. company to develop the Boeng Kak lake area have withdrawn their stakes, because the development in the area involves forced evictions of citizens which might bring a bad reputation for their companies on the international level.

“The Shukaku Inc. company of Mr. Lao Meng Khin, a senator and husband of Ms. Chhoeung Sopheap, known as Yeay Phou, who are very close to Prime Minister Hun Sen, had received the right from the Cambodian government to develop the area with a 99 years contract, which resulted in criticism from national and international organizations and from Sam Rainsy Party officials, as the authorities forcedly evicted citizens from the area.

“A government official told Khmer Machas Srok that foreign companies did withdrew their stakes in the Shukaku Inc. company. But this official did not disclose the identities of the foreign companies. The official added that also the government suspended the development plan for the Boeng Kak Lake for a while.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and an active activist who assists Boeng Kak Lake residents, Mr. Son Chhay, said that he also got the information, and he welcomes it. He added that he does not oppose the development plan of the government, but he wants a transparent solution for the citizens.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that he received the information over two months ago, and government leaders knew the real story relating to the Shukaku Inc. company that is dredging sand to fill the Boeng Kak Lake by colluding with officials of the Phnom Penh Municipality, while citizens were forced and threatened to remove their houses and leave the area. These activities are cruel and unjust.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘They evicted citizens by force and cruelly to grab the land for the construction of buildings for the profit of their company, and there are many irregularities that the leaders knew and then blamed on others. The company might be stopped from filling the lake and evicting common citizens.’

“However, Mr. Son Chhay could not make sure whether the information is true or not. ‘But we hope that it would be good information for the Boeng Kak residents, if the leader know about the exploitation and the mistreatment of the residents in the area, and ordered to stop these activities.’ He totally supports this.

“Mr. Son Chhay continued to say that he will encourage the government to offer ownership to the residents of the Boeng Kak community where some of them have been living over ten years.

“In 2009, national and international organizations and leaders of the Sam Rainsy Party seriously condemned the authorities’ action to evict the Boeng Kak residents, offering them US$8,000 [per family] as compensation in exchange. Some citizens did not want to suffer violence from the authorities and decided to leave with tears.

“A senior economist said that big international companies with a good reputation worldwide do not want to invest millions of dollars in a country where transparent solutions have not been offered to citizens. The solutions for the Boeng Kak residents came with force and intimidation, and such activities were known publicly.

“The Boeng Kak region extends to more than 130 hectares and was a reservoir for the water in the center of Phnom Penh when there was heavy rain, so that the city did not get flooded.

“The Shukaku Inc. company is dredging sand from the river to fill the lake and it is already almost filled 100% at the time when the new information became available that foreign companies revoked their stakes.

“However, despite the information that two foreign companies have withdrawn, after related problems had been published in newspapers, it is seen that the sand dredging continues sometimes.

“Last year, Boeng Kak Lake residents gathered in front of a foreign embassy when it was assumed that persons with the nationality of that embassy had invested in the Shukaku Inc. company. Consequently, the protest made the investors take out their stakes for the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.

“Nevertheless, there is no public clarification from the Shukaku Inc. company and from officials of the government about the suspension of the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #437, 18.3.2010

  • 615 Drug Perpetrators Were Sent to the Courts in 2009 [according to the head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan]
  • Military Intercepted Seven Luxury Cars That Were Loaded with Kronhoung Wood, Following Officers’ Cars, to Pretend that They Are Part of the Officers Convoy [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2204, 18.3.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People: The Provision of Concession Land Seriously Affects Them
  • The British Embassy Organized a Debate about Climate Change [according to the Asian Development Bank report in 2009, the temperature will rise by about 4.8 Celsius in 2011, the level of the sea will rise by 8 millimeter within a decade, and the rice yield will drop by 50% in Southeast Asia]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Wants to Negotiate with [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [according to the Bangkok Post]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

  • Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeung Kak Lake Area Withdraw
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Called for a Reduction of Expenses for Those Accompanying Delegates Going Abroad [ some officials take several support staff and their wives with them – getting expenses covered for plane tickets, food, and hotels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6911, 18.3.2010

  • The Khmer Teachers Association Asked the Ministry of Education to Take Action against Female Students so that They Stop Wearing Short Skirts [the skirts should cover the knees]
  • Drug Criminals Intend to Use Cambodia as a Drug Production Place

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #133, 18.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister: The Cambodian Economy Will Grow by 5% in 2010 [saying that agricultural reform programs, foreign investment, and political stability can be factors contributing to growth in Cambodia]
  • 18 March 2010 Is the 40th Anniversary of the Coup [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] to Oust Samdech Euv [the former King]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5153, 18.3.2010

  • The United Nations Asked the Government Not to Provide Forest and Mountainous Land as Concessions to Companies [which affects ethnic minority people – request related to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Cambodia is a signatory]
  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party [the former Norodom Ranariddh Party] Will Unite [before the next elections]

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ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally – Thursday, 4.3.2010

Posted on 4 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] again appealed to the authorities of the Siamese [Thai] government to investigate cruel shootings by Siamese solders against Khmer citizens who just crossed the border illegally to find jobs to earn their daily living.

“The chief investigator of ADHOC, Mr. Ny Chakriya, said in a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in the morning of 3 March 2010, ‘We ask the [Cambodian] authorities to please put pressure on the Thai authorities and soldiers who fatally shot innocent Cambodians.’

“The appeal was made towards the international community, especially all signatory countries respecting human rights, to look at the cruelties of Siamese soldiers against Cambodian civilians, because since 2008, it has been observed that more than 20 Khmer citizens had been shot dead or wounded.

“Mr. Ny Chakriya said that such cases were seen happening from 2008 to early 2010, but the Thai authorities have not conducted any investigations. According to Mr. Ny Chakriya, this call being made during a press conference is another invitation to the Siamese authorities and government to take urgent actions to investigate the crimes, according to the laws, in order to show that Siam [Thailand] is a country that respects the law.

“To reflect the atrocities of Siamese authorities and soldiers against Khmer citizens, during the Wednesday conference, ADHOC invited victims who had been able to escape from shootings by Thai soldiers, and victim’s families, to tell journalists about their sufferings.

“Ms. Boun Tha, 43, living in Sla Kram commune, Siem Reap, whose children were shot dead, recalled that Siamese authorities had called her to take the bodies of her children, but along the way, she saw that some Thai persons dragged her children’s bodies and kicked them like animals.

“She added, ‘It was very cruel; they had covered and bound my children’s eyes and they kicked my children with their boots, disfiguring their faces. They were very bad. They mistreated innocent Khmer citizens.’

“In addition, she stressed that according to those who witnessed the event directly, her 18-year-old son cried for help from his father many times until he fainted. After that, they hit his face with their boots and shot him.

“According to ADHOC, by now it has been already 20 months during which 20 Cambodians suffered from shooting, torture, and killing by Thai soldiers along the Cambodian-Thai border. But so far, the Thai authorities have not shown a real intention to investigate, accuse, and prosecute the perpetrators, in order to provide justice to the Cambodian victims.

“Therefore, ADHOC criticized that the Siamese authorities do not show respect for human rights. Quite in contrast, there are no actions taken against perpetrators, which seems to mean that the Siamese authorities are allowing such bad violence to happen.

“According to ADHOC, the victims and their families who encounter such atrocities from Siamese solders, together with other witnesses, will file lawsuits related to these crimes committed by the Thai authorities. It is time that the Siamese authorities take notice of these complaints, and they have to respond to what happened.

“In the meantime, the human rights organization ADHOC warned that there must be no more such serious human rights violations without punishment according to the laws. ADHOC stressed that the political tension between Cambodia and Siam is not the reason that the military of their country shows their anger in this way against innocent people. ADHOC said the military tension between Cambodia and Thailand is not an appropriate reason for fatal shootings of weak and innocent people.

“However, regarding serious human rights violations by Siamese solders and their authorities, both civil society and Cambodian citizens demand the government to increase honest investments in Cambodia and to halt grabbing land of farmers for wicked investors.

“This is the only way to reduce the risky migration of Khmer citizens [abroad looking for employment]. Also, this will help to keep the government’s face from being embarrassed, as it happened recently, when it was reported that Siam and Yuon [Vietnam] sent Khmer beggars back to Cambodia. Otherwise, that Khmer officials are rich, only around 18% of the millions of Khmer citizens, as found by the Asian Development Bank, is just the richness of millionaires on a garbage dump.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 4 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1432, 4-5.3.2010

  • A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #425, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Needs US$800 Million for the Development of Renewable Energy [according to the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2192, 4.3.2010

  • Two Chinese Men Were Convicted to Serve Twenty 29 in Prison and Three Khmers [15 years] for Drug Production and Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • [Vietnamese] Migrants Doing Day-Businesses [like selling fuel and charging batteries] Discharge Waste into the Rivers [but the authorities do not care about it – Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #617, 4.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy [now in France], to Appear on 9 March 2010 [regarding a government lawsuit over border issues]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: Cambodia Needs Much More Time so that the Power of the Courts Become Stronger Than Individual Power [of some powerful people – therefore the courts are not yet independent]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6899, 4.3.2010

  • The United States of America Plans to Deliver Statues of the Buddha and Khmer Artifacts to Cambodia in July 2010 [those artifacts were trafficked to America and identified them as belonging to Cambodia – so they are to be returned]
  • [More than 300] Citizens from Eleven Villages Protest over Land Clearance Activities by a Company [the Kompong Speu Sugar Company, which affects their farmland; the company invests to plant sugarcane on 9,000 hectares of land – Kompong Speu]
  • [Twenty four] Korean Volunteer Doctors Provide Free Treatment for Khmer Citizens, Especially Teachers and Students [in Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

  • ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #123, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Will Do Military Exercises by Shooting [200] BM21 Rockets [in Kompong Chhnang]; It Is Not a Show of Muscle, but to Strengthening the National Defense Capacity
  • [Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy] Suy Sem: Electricity Supply Will Rise by 25% in 2010 [as Cambodia gets additional power from Vietnam]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5141, 4.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Has Already Prepared a Draft to Sue Thailand at the UN Security Council for the Aggression Committed [at the Preah Vihear region]
  • Samdech Dekchor Encourages All Television Stations to Produce and Broadcast National and Cultural Arts

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.

“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.

“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.

“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.

“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.

“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.

“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.

“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.

“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.

“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010

  • 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]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
  • During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
  • In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010

  • People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
  • A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
  • Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010

  • Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

  • Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
  • Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010

  • The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]

    It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:

  1. “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
  2. “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
  3. “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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