Cambodian Medicines Are Successful at Foreign Markets – Thursday, 11.2.2010

Posted on 12 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“When the company PharmaProduct Manufacturing (PPM – ‘French medecines produced in Cambodia’) was established in 1996, no one expected the extent of success it would achieve at the Cambodian market and around the world. But 14 years later, this Cambodian pharmaceutical plant is very successful in exporting pharmaceutical products to foreign countries. At present, Cambodian medicines produced by PPM have established their markets in 15 countries around the world, because the quality of Cambodian medicines produced by PPM is recognized.

“Representatives from 13 countries dealing with medicines produced by PPM met in Phnom Penh during the annual convention of PMM, which coincided also with the 50th anniversary of the invention of [the antalgic drug] KINAL. During the meeting with foreign representatives from 13 countries in the evening of 8 February 2010, the director of PPM, the pharmacist Mr. Hai Ly Eang, reported about the success of Cambodian medicines made by PMM at foreign markets, and pointed to the plan to further strengthen foreign markets.

“The foreign importers of PPM products are from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, Tchad, Togo, and Vietnam.

“During the occasion to greet those foreign representatives on 8 February 2010 on a ship on the river, the director of PPM, Mr. Hai Ly Eang, said, ‘That we are all on the ship at this time shows the success of PPM, because we are traveling on the same ship, we cooperate and we provide mutual support.’

“He added that representatives of these countries significantly contribute to support PPM to progress at the markets in their countries. The sales of PPM medicines keeps on increasing every year in the 13 countries from where their representatives participated at this occasion in Cambodia.

“The leader of PPM called on and encouraged all foreign distributors to continue to support PPM.

“Besides, PPM announced to expand its markets in the country as well as abroad. The expansion of markets abroad for medicines produced by PPM will be made by spreading a deeper and more intensive understanding of the quality of the PPM pharmaceuticals.

“As for the strengthening of the local market, it will be made by stressing, ‘If we use Khmer medicines, we will create jobs for Khmer citizens, and we will work towards a future where Cambodia is self sufficient in supplying and controlling pharmaceuticals and the health sector.’

“When Cambodian citizens and doctors use more medicines directly produced by Cambodia, it creates not only jobs for Cambodian people who work at pharmaceutical plants, but it also prepares the way for a future, where Cambodia can produce enough for itself and can control its medicines and the health sector.

“Nowadays, PPM exports 50 types of Cambodia produced medicines to foreign countries, among them Gynomax against uterus inflammation, Panol (Paracetamol) for fever, Pyrantox (Pyrantel) for de-worming of children, Caltoux for dry cough, Carbotoux for cough with phlegm, Bibactin, Diaryl for Diarrhea, Septyl for cleaning the mouth, Rhinex for colds, Appetine for appetite, Allergyle for allergy, KINAL for reducing pain, and many other medicines.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5123, 11.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 11 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #411, 11.2.2010

  • The Rate of Men Smoking Cigarettes in Cambodia Dropped to 48% in 2009 [and of women to 3.6%]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2174, 11.2.2010

  • Germany Grants US$1,370,000 to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC)

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #603, 11.2.2010

  • The Siamese [Thai] Supreme Court May Expropriate [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra’s Money and Property Amounting to over US$2 Billion [over corruption]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6881, 11.2.2010

  • Border Crossings in Kamrieng District Are Points Where Luxury Wood Is Exported to Siam [Thailand] without Any Control [Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3809, 11.2.2010

  • The Government Makes Efforts to Grab Land for Yuon [Vietnam] to Plant Rubber Trees to Fulfil a Plan of 100,000 Hectares by 2010, while Khmer People Are Crying because They Have No Land

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #109, 11.2.2010

  • The Opposition Party Asked the Government to Send the Anti-Corruption Draft Law to the National Assembly [so that its contents became known]
  • The Construction of a Malaysian Electricity Plant Using Coal Begins Today in Sihanoukville [it will provide 100 megawatt of power, and the construction will be finished in 2012]
  • Twenty More Children Having Cholera Were Sent to the Kunthak Bopha Hospital [the director of this hospital, Dr. Beat Richner, wonders why Khmer citizens have not been informed and alerted about this cholera outbreak – Cambodian authorities just call it ‘diarrhea’ and do diarrhea treatment, which is not useful for cholera]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5123, 11.2.2010

  • Thailand Steps Up Troops along the Border, Especially at the Ta Moan and at the Ta Krabei Temples
  • Google Is Reviewing the Border Map between Cambodia and Thailand Again [in response to a Cambodian demand, claiming that it shows that Cambodia loses some territory to Thailand]
  • Cambodian Medicines Are Successful at Foreign Markets

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1874, 11.2.2010

  • The Opposition Parties [the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy Party] and Civil Society Raised Human Rights Issues with the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State [Mr. Scot Marciel]

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The Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Declaration – Sunday, 7.2.2010

Posted on 8 February 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

The Mirror carried already last week a report about the extraordinary speech of the Prime Minister: “It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces” – where he directly named several generals present, criticizing their unacceptable, corrupt behavior. During the present week, there were still positive responses in the press, including from sources not so close to the government. Human Rights Watch, a US based organization, often very critical of the political climate in Cambodia, also supported the Prime Minister’s warning to commanders over their corrupt, illegal actions. And the Prime Minister himself continued to speak according to the same line, when he attacked nepotism, warning that nobody should nominate relatives and partisans for public office.

But we got also another response: “Words are cheap, nothing will change.”

And another, also anonymous voice, calls it to be my idea – while I actually quoted Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – that the Cambodian people are the masters of their country, because they can vote, saying, “Having rights is not enough. You’ve got to have the power to exercise those rights, so that they can be useful. That can also explain why the civil society has always failed in demanding for respect for human rights.”

These are pessimistic views, assuming and expecting that rights can be enjoyed automatically, while history shows in many different cultures that rights have to be fought for, even if they are written in the law, when other powers violate them.

The Prime Minister has spoken clearly.

According to a report in the Phnom Penh Post of 4 February 2010, “Farmers set to call soldiers to Kampot court,” saying

“A group of people in Chumkiri, Kampot, filed a complaint in the provincial court against members of an army unit they say are encroaching on their land and cutting down their fruit trees, escalating a standoff that began in 2001… The court complaint comes less than one week after Prime Minister Hun Sen warned top military officials to refrain from participating in illegal land-grabbing operations.

‘It is time to stop every activity involving illegal business or the support of illegal business. I don’t care how many stars or moons you have – I will fire you, and nobody will keep corrupt commanders in their seats,’ the Prime Minister had said at the end of a conference on military reform at the Ministry of Defense last week.”

So we will see.

But did civil society always fail in demanding respect for human rights? It is not clear on which basis this is said, and which understanding or misunderstanding of the term ‘civil society’ is used when saying so. First, there is no general, clear definition of this term. But it refers to all movements, associations, or individual citizens, independent from the state, whose aim is to improve policies, standards, or social structures, through common efforts. Civil society – that are organizations formed for these purposes – civil society organizations, non-government organizations, citizens action groups – but civil society is also all individual citizens in a social unit – be it a residential region, or a common interest group (for example enjoying sports or music, and caring together to see that the proper space is set aside for these purposes). Civil society is citizens who organize themselves to care for the quality of life where they live.

Civil society is also the majority of the citizens of Phnom Penh, who, in their majority, do not care that the Boeung Kak lake in this city is being destroyed, being filled up with sand for the benefit of some business interests to construct a commercial and housing center – though the plans have not even been made transparent and publicly know, leaving all the struggle for rights to the several thousand people who are directly affected, because they lose their traditional environment and with it also their means of living.

On 31 August 2008 The Mirror had reported the following: “Later in January 2008, Areyathor reported that Samdech Heng Samrin, the President of the National Assembly – and also a Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party – had signed a letter for the suspension of pumping of soil to fill Boeng Kak lake, and the paper reported also that the Phnom Penh governor and vice-governor allegedly disagree with each other about filling Boeng Kak lake.” We are not aware that the press has done any follow up on these reports. But the public is aware that the lake is gradually disappearing, that many residents had tried to organize themselves to jointly represent their concerns and demands, and that some of the remaining residents around the lake are at present living on top of rising dirty water, as the promised pumping for stagnant dirty water – as a result of the filing in of sand – was installed too late and is not strong enough.

Recently I had the opportunity to be in Myanmar, and to have dinner one evening at the Kan Taw Gyi lakeside – a wide park where hundreds of people enjoy walking around or sitting together, with a music stage, very many small restaurants, and a wonderful view. Phnom Penh is destroying such a possibility for its future.

The lake before being filled

The lake before being filled

The lake being filled

The lake being filled



.

At the Kan Taw Gyi Lake in Yangon/Myanmar.

At the Kan Taw Gyi Lake in Yangon/Myanmar.



.

Does civil society – the people in general in Phnom Penh – care? Or why not?

.

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From Announcing to Implementing Reforms – Sunday, 31.1.2010

Posted on 1 February 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

A problem faced by some powerful leaders is that they do not know what is really going on under their control – there is a layer of advisors and assistants who keep important information from reaching the top, or the arrangements for the activities of persons in high level leadership do not provide sufficient opportunities to see what happens on the ground.

Some years ago it the Prime Minister traveled by car on a major road of the country, over which he normally used to fly by helicopter – and it was then reported that he was surprised about the poor state of the maintenance of the road, ordered its repair as a priority, and decided to travel by car more frequently to see some of the reality which he cannot see from high up in the air.

Sometimes it is also questioned whether other important information is really reaching the Prime Minister, or whether it is filtered away by advisors and assistants.

In 2003, there was a embarrassing situation, when one of his nephews, Nim Sophea, was accused to be involved in a shooting affair, which left three people dead and four others injured. The nephew was arrested and convicted, but in an appeals process he was declared to be not guilty (the main culprit had fled and was never found – if I remember correctly). Around that time, the Prime Minister said that even his nephew would have to face the court – though, at that time, the media had already reported that Nim Sophea was already in China. This information had not reached the Prime Minister, so he did not know.

The Prime Minister’s speech on 28 January 2010, during the closing ceremony of a conference at the Ministry of Defense, is different: it shows that he knows very well what is going on. He did what was hardly ever heard before in public: he named several high ranking military leaders, present at the meeting – Sum Samnang, director-general of logistics and finance at the Ministry of Defence; Chao Phirun, director-general of materials and technical services; Ung Samkhan, commander of the Royal Navy; and Chhoeun Chanthan, chief of the senate president’s bodyguards – accusing them of corrupt actions: misusing their positions for their private business, using military equipment and personnel for personal gain, and wasting public property.

“Do not be commanders that are only good at wood trading, illegal logging, land grabbing, and illegal fishery.” – “The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and military machinery to serve individual interests.” As five-star general and top military leader, the Prime Minister said that “from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.”

Such public frankness led to immediate words of welcome from Mr. Yim Sovann, the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, who noticed that these announcements for a new outlook into the future has an implication also for the past: “What I am happy about is that he acknowledged past misdeeds.”

Also Mr. Thun Saray, the president of the human rights organization ADHOC, called for these new steps of reform to be put swiftly into action, pointing to a problematic weak link between high level policy directives and their implementation: “His speech is very good, but we also ask for its real implementation … sometimes when we take his speech to lower levels for implementation, they do not listen.”

In spite of these special considerations, this is an extraordinary situation which does not happen easily: that the head of the government, the spokesperson of the largest opposition party, and a respected leader in civil society immediately agree.

The reports of this week contain again material as in the weeks before, on which the words of the Prime Minister can be applied: “It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.”

We just repeat some pieces of information from the past week:

  • Local Authorities in Ratanakiri Were Threatened to Be Killed by Soldiers Trading Wood [when they tried to block those soldiers transporting wood to Vietnam; finally the authorities could not seize the wood and could just report the case to higher levels]
  • The Pursat Authorities Close Their Eyes, Not Seeing the Strong Logging Activities for Luxury Wood in the Forest
  • The UN Envoy on Human Rights in Cambodia Assessed that the Government Showed Willingness to Strengthen Human Rights in Cambodia
  • Intensive Wood Trading Continues at the Cambodian-Thai Border while the Border Disputes Remain Unsolved

The Prime Minister’s words were spoken in a specific context: referring to the reforms to happen in all sectors, including in the armed forces. That means, new procedures will have to be defined and applied. If this happens, the Prime Minister’s expectations may start to work: “It is time to end that some work in the military in order to use this as a shield to run their own businesses. If you wear ranking stars and cut trees, fellow soldiers will point at your face.”

Fellow soldiers did not do so in the past, because they could not expect that they would be supported at higher levels, as also some of the examples repeated above from the past week show. It will therefore be decisive to see what procedural changes will be established, and how their implementation will be monitored – by the public and the media – and enforced by the relevant institutions of the state.

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It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – Friday, 29.1.2010

Posted on 30 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers.

“He announced this in the evening of 28 January 2010 when he presided over a workshop at the Ministry of Defense to reflect on the reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces during the last five years (2005-2009) and to set the direction for the activities for the next five years (2010-2014).

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen went on to say that the Royal Government is reforming in all sectors, including reforms in the armed forces. The armed forces must serve as a strong basis for the authorities, to support the authorities to crack down on illegal activities, trafficking of products, illegal logging, illegal land grabbing… He said that now, in order to have the ability to support this, first, the military should not commit wrongdoings, and second, it should not support wrongdoers. ‘It is time to end that some work in the military in order to use this as a shield to run their own businesses. If you wear ranking stars and cut trees, fellow soldiers will point at your face.’

“He continued to say, ‘If you wear ranking stars and you yourself grab hundreds of hectares of land, can you prohibit others? No! Therefore, all involved in the military must distance themselves from all illegal activities. The authorities need to suppress illegalities, including with the armed forces, soldiers, police, and military police… if armed forces do illegal activities, who can suppress illegalities?’

“He emphasized that some perpetrators are not real soldiers, but some are real soldiers and do illegal logging or violate forest land. Some generals really do illicit activities. It is time to find land for veterans who cannot perform military duties any longer, and for families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives. It is the time to find land for those people, not to find land for high level military persons.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen warned, ‘Do not be commanders that are only good at wood trading, illegal logging, land grabbing, and illegal fishery. But we must support the authorities who go to arrest the perpetrators. We [the military] cannot arrest ourselves [military cannot arrest the military perpetrators], only the military police has the right to act as police in such cases to establish justice, but sometimes, forestry administration officials, custom officials, and tax officials need immediate intervention involving soldiers.’

“He added, ‘Reforms are essential for the government. Why can’t we suppress illegal logging while we can suppress drug smuggling? Why?’ Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen stressed, ‘If anyone uses the name of the Hun family to influence others, both their children and their children-in-law must be the first persons to be arrested, as it happened previously, when there were persons who run sand dredging operations and were illegally using the name of the Hun family to protect themselves. They must be dealt with seriously. Anyone who uses my influence and my wife’s influence, serious action must be taken against them. Previously, there were also many cases where my cabinet’s letterhead paper was faked. The military personnel that do illicit activities are about 1% or 2% of the whole military, others are honorable persons. All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened.’

“The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you; how many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #400, 29.1.2010

  • During an Anti-Drug Smuggling Operation, One Policeman Died and Two Perpetrators Were Injured [and arrested – at the Cambodian-Laotian border, Stung Treng]
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol Rodley]: Cambodian Textile Export Challenges Strong Competition

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2163, 29.1.2010

  • [Opposition politician] Sam Rainsy Plans to Appeal to the International Community [after he was sentenced to serve a two-year prison term for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]
  • A Taiwanese Man Who Smuggled Drugs to Repay His Debt Was Convicted to Serve 26 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay a Fine of Riel 80 Million [approx. US$20,000 – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #728, 29.1.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Let Himself Be Arrested by the Government but only if Two Villagers now in Prison Are Released

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #592, 29.1.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy spokesperson and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann: Cambodia Does Not Have [own] Planes to Transport Tourists while a Vietnamese Company Controls More Than Half of the Domestic Tourist Travel

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

  • It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
  • 700 Cubic Meter of Logs Are to Be Loaded onto Trucks to Vietnam [Ratanakiri]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #100, 29.1.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Military to Distance Themselves from All Illegal Activities or They Will Be Dismissed
  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy]: The Vietnamese Prime Minister Is behind the Case Related to the Temporary Border Markers Removal
  • Many Chinese Companies Are Involved in the Boeng Kak Lake Filling [according to the NGO Forum]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5112, 29.1.2010

  • Three Military Generals [Mr. Sum Samnang, Mr. Chao Phirun, and Mr. Chhoeun Chanthan] Were [publicly named and] Blamed and Warned by the Prime Minister [over corruption, the waste of weapons, and the unacceptable use of soldiers for private business]
  • Japan Granted US$356,923 for the Improvement of Water Resources, Irrigation Systems, and Health Services

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1866, 29-31.1.2010

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia Ordered the Khmer Consulate in Siam [Thailand] to Find Defense Lawyers for Six Khmer Citizens [who were recently arrested by Thai soldiers, accusing them of illegally entering Thai territory]

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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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Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies – Saturday, 9.1.2010

Posted on 9 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Mondolkiri: The Mondolkiri provincial authorities had decided to cancel the concessions of 50 companies that had planned to invest in agriculture in Mondolkiri, because those companies do not operate.

“According to different sources of information, some companies received economic concession land in Mondolkiri, but they do not develop anything following their contracts, and some cut trees and sold them, affecting the lives of the citizen. Therefore, the authorities decided to cancel the concession contracts of those companies.

“The new Mondolkiri provincial governor could not be reached for comment regarding this issue, because he had a meeting. The Mondolkiri deputy governor, Ms. Si Sokuntheary, could not be reached either, as she was busy. Anyway, according to a notification by the Mondolkiri authorities dated 4 January 2010 that Kampuchea Thmey received on 8 January 2010, the Mondolkiri authorities announced to cancel the concessions for land of 50 companies located in Mondolkiri. This was done by a letter dated 25 December 2009 of the Mondolkiri authorities canceling the legal validity of the concessions giving control over concession land by 53 companies. But 3 companies asked for a delay.

[…]

“The present notification of the authorities identified the three companies which had asked for a delay: the Heng Heang Siv Chanthou company, the Green Resources company, and the Agri-Resources company. The notification stressed that the canceling of 50 concessions became valid from the day it was signed. In the meantime, the authorities emphasized that they will not take responsibility for any companies that continue to operate, violating this notification, and the authorities informed the companies that really intend to invest there, to come to contact the Mondolkiri authorities.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 9 January 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1426, 8-9.1.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Is Concerned that War Could Break Out if the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Indicts More People

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #383, 9.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Approved the Draft of a Cambodian-Chinese Consular Agreement [to promote the free flow of trade]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

  • Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies
  • A Traffic Accident Killed Three People and Caused Two Motorbikes to Be Destroyed by Fire [a car hit the motorbikes – Svay Rieng]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #576, 9-11.1.2010

  • [Two] Families Victimized by Yuon [Vietnamese] Land Grabbing and Detained by the Khmer Authorities Asked for Intervention by the King [over the removal of border markers]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Agree to Let the Court Convict Him if the Arrested Farmers Are Released and Their Land Is Returned

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6853, 9-10.1.2010

  • A Strong Press Makes Democracy More Lively; as a Basis, Journalists Need to Have Knowledge about the Law and to Have Ethic Positions [according to a training course organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Vietnam Invited Mr. Obama to Pay an Official Visit [to attend the ASEAN summit in October 2010 in Hanoi]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5095, 9.1.2010

  • Three Companies [Si Chan Thun Development and Investment, Green Development, and Si Ngea Development] in Preah Vihear Are Late in Planting Rubber Trees after They Received the Right from the Ministry of Agriculture to Do so
  • The First Video Conference Cabinet Meeting Was Held Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010 – Saturday, 21.11.2009

Posted on 22 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

“According to a recent notification from the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government decided to suspend all promotions for government positions in 2010. If a promotion in any position is planned, it has to wait until 2011.

“Formerly the Royal Government, in addition to having already a heavy overhead apparatus with many officials, had nominated countless advisors at ministries and at other institutions, and ministers and heads of institutions had appointed their officials to hold many positions. In any ministry, there are many directors and deputy directors. In a department, there are at least 10 deputy directors, while in the police, the military, and the military police, there are also many who are nominated as deputy directors… This makes the government to carry a burden of ever increasing expenses.

“According to the notification signed by a secretary of state of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Prak Sokhon, on 21 October 2009 and sent to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and to the Council of Administrative Reform, the Royal Government decided to delay all promotions for positions of government positions, and all promotions of ranks [for police and the military], and it will not increase any allowances [like retirement benefits] etc. for the one year of 2010, and it will reconsider these cases again in 2011. According to the same notification, the Royal Government ordered also to stop the implementation of decisions for the ‘priority cluster’ [formerly identified as important areas in the administration to receive special financial support], and additional incentives based on work achievements for 2010.

“The notification added that the above plan is a measure to implement the budget implementation draft for the management of financial resources in 2010, aiming to save state resources in 2010.

“It should be noted that the Royal Government decided recently also to cut and to reduce the salaries of many advisers who had been appointed in a continuing process. and who had received high salaries [in addition to their normal salaries], to get again only their normal salaries based on their current positions, in order to save resources for 2010.

“A government official said on Friday that the decision of the Royal Government to suspend promotions for government positions, and the promotions in rank, is a proper measure, because previously, the Royal Government, different ministers, and heads of institutions, had appointed too many officials. At some institutions, there are 10 to 20 deputy directors, until there is no room and space for them to sit. Such nominations only added more expenses for the state, both for salaries and for other materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #342, 21.11.2009

  • [Senior Minister and adviser to the Prime Minister] Om Yentieng: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Becomes Spokesperson of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit [Mr. Sam Rainsy said that Prime Minister Hun Sen is playing a dangerous game for Cambodia, as the biased foreign politics of Prime Minister Hun Sen makes Cambodia lose territory to Vietnam and lose good relations with Thailand]
  • [More than 30 officers of] Mixed Forces Were Sent to Destroy Drugs [ecstasy] Worth More Than US$100 Million on the Kravanh Mountain [more information about the crack-down will be released two to three days later – Pursat]
  • [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Sutheb: If [fugitive former Thai prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Wants to End Problems [of the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand], He Must Resign from the Position of Economic Advisor to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2104, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Open Hearing to Sentence [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch on 23 November 2009
  • A Drunken Woman and Gang Member Drove a Car and Hit a Policeman so that He Almost Died [she was arrested – Battambang]
  • Kandal Police Got Hold of a Group of People Who Had Used Death Threats via Telephone to Extort Money from Leaders and from Businesspeople [a suspect was arrested]
  • Within One Week, There Were 50 New People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Flu [increasing the number to 444 in total – Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #535, 21.11.2009

  • The Khmer Authorities Have Already Arrested Seven Villagers Who Resisted a Yuon [Vietnamese] Company from Grabbing Their Land [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6811, 21-22.11.2009

  • Result from the Council of Ministers’ Meeting: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Decided to Approve the Anti-Corruption Draft on 11 December 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5053, 21.11.2009

  • The Government Suspends All Promotions for Government Positions in 2010
  • The Cambodian and Thai Defense Ministers Plan to Meet to Negotiate about the Border in Pattaya [on 27 November 2009]
  • Cambodia Controls the Cambodia Air Traffic Services – CATS – Company Temporarily, and Thai Personnel Is Required to Work from Outside Their Offices [Cambodia just does not allow them to go near the radar system room, but they are not dismissed – according to the Council of Ministers]
  • Cambodia Is Preparing a Petroleum Law [including regulations for petroleum exploring, and a decree for petroleum related contracts] while the First Drop of Oil Will Be Extracted in 2013 [according to government officials]
  • The Cambodian Banking System Is Recognized on the International Arena and in the ASEAN Framework [because of its stability and noticeable improvements – according to the 39th ASEAN banking council, meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh]

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The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

Posted on 14 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

“According to the opinion of the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers [Mr. Chea Mony], workers demonstrate or strike because of corruption. Therefore an anti-corruption law should be created sooner than a demonstration law, because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.

“Mr. Chea Mony said during an interview with the media yesterday, Monday [12 October 2009], ‘Civil society organizations are concerned about the freedom of the citizens, that is including the freedom of all workers, because demonstrations and strikes are held concerned with freedom by citizens whose benefit is lost, due to corruption and because the powerful always restrict the citizens to express their opinion to demand respect and the implementation of the law, but finally, their rights are restricted.’

“The president of the biggest trade union in Cambodia made this remark some days ahead of a meeting of the National Assembly of Cambodia which will discuss to adopt a new demonstration law.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the new law suggested by the Ministry of Interior and planned to be discussed soon is in clear contrast to the previous demonstration legislation from 1993.

“He went on to say, ‘The demonstration law of 1993 granted citizens full rights to attend demonstrations, but what is seen at present is that a new law is being drafted to allow only 200 people at the most to demonstrate, and even that will require that the names of the leaders of the demonstrations must be reported ahead of time.’

“Mr. Chea Mony explained this point, ‘If there are leaders of a demonstration, the authorities will ask who the leaders are. But if a demonstration is held in response to the will of the citizens, for example in a factory with 5,000 workers whose salaries have not been paid by the owner of the company, as the law limits the number to only 200 people as representatives, these cannot represent the interests of the 5,000 workers strongly. Thus, we think that the law being drafted by the Ministry of Interior to be sent to the National Assembly for adoption does not reflect the will of the workers or the people.’

“He also mentioned another point, as that law limits the number of demonstrators to only 200, saying, ‘if, for example, 5,000 families are evicted to grab their land for a high ranking and powerful person, according to that new law, only 200 people are allowed to demonstrate, but if those 200 people are bought over, these 200 people will no longer reflect the other 4,800 families. Therefore, the government should open the possibility giving citizens the right to demonstrate or to strike at any place, and the government should just prepare authorities to protect their safety. That is enough.’

“It should be remembered that according the Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, in an independent state practicing democracy, citizens from all classes were allowed to assemble, to express their opinion through demonstrations and strikes without any strict conditions. It was enough to just inform the authorities, so that they prepared police to protect the safety of the demonstrators.

“It is noticed that what was stated in the Constitution of 1993 was not implemented properly, as the authorities of the government used different pretexts, like security and public order, to reject requests for holding an assembly. Or armed forces were ordered to attack the demonstrators to disperse them.

“These interventions are seen as seriously violating the policy of democracy, which Cambodia had signed to accept and to practice.

“The freedom of expression which is strongly restricted in Cambodia, does not change; moreover, it will become even worse as the demonstration law sets a limits of 200 persons as representatives for demonstrations to be adopted by the National Assembly.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the assembly of workers as well as of Khmer citizens in general, to express their opinion, emerges from one problem: that is corruption and social injustice. If this terrible problem can be solved, there will be no demonstrations.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #309, 13.10.2009

  • The Minister of Information Did Not Accept to Meet Radio Free Asia Representatives
  • The Ministry of Health Prepares to Distribute 500,000 Leaflets to Educate the Public about A/H1N1 during the Water Festival

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2070, 13.10.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [Thailand] to Include the Cambodian-Thai [Preah Vihear] Dispute into the Agenda of the ASEAN Summit [planned to be held from 23 to 25 October 2009 in Thailand – after the Thai Foreign Minister was quoted by the Bangkok Post to have said he would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute” over their shared border near the Preah Vihear temple complex. Later, the Thai Foreign Ministry denied the report by the Bangkok Post]
  • Nearly 500 Garment Workers Fainted after Having Eaten Lunch [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6777, 13.10.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Man Was Accused of Killing a Khmer Woman in a Guesthouse [by strangling her – Phnom Penh]
  • An A/H1N1 Scanner Was Set Up at the Poipet Border Crossing

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #24, 13.10.2009

  • Victimized Citizens at Oddar Meanchey Ask for Intervention [after their houses were burnt in a land dispute, where 14 citizens are being sought for arrest]
  • The US Parliamentarians [Edward Royce, Frank Wolf, James Moran and Joseph Cao] Mentioned Human Rights Issues [and corruption in Cambodia – and submitted it to the US congress]
  • Cambodia Plans to Export 1,000 Tonnes of Cotton to the Vietnamese Market Later This Year
  • Twenty Nine Cambodian Youth [15 boys, 14 girls] Attend the 36th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth [a Japanese initiative to strengthen cooperation and understanding among neighboring countries, in 2009 traveling 52 days visiting six countries – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. In the send-off meeting, the Prime Minister advised them to “maintain their dignity” as they will be “representing Cambodia and its people.”

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1468, 12.10.2009

  • Police Seized a Car [illegally] Loaded with Animals at the Poipet Border Crossing

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5019, 13.10.2009

  • Three Young Girls Drowned on the Same Day [Pursat]
  • Eleven Monks Were Found Drinking Alcohol in a Pagoda and Nine of Them Were Defrocked [Siem Reap]
  • [More than 20] Chinese People Who Work at the Kamchay Hydro-Electric Dam Construction Site Hit the Traffic Police Officers when They Stopped Their Car for Checking [two traffic police were injured seriously; no information about arrests – Kampot]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law

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Denials, Insults, and Rational Arguments – Sunday, 15.3.2009

Posted on 17 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

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

Norbert Klein

It seems that some issues, which need to be clarified, do not find any solution – not only because they are controversial, but because it seem to happen frequently that issues raised are not discussed – the detailed facts and concerns they raised are disregarded, they are put aside by flat denial, not touching at the presented facts at all. Or instead of dealing with controversial facts, the “other party” is served with an insult – and it is up to the reader to consider whether the insult carries enough conviction to override the arguments, or whether an insult, instead of an argument, backfires on the party which refuses to engage in a rational discussion.

We will bring here some reminders, where it seems that facts and opinions had been presented, and the public received responses. Some seem to have intended to close further discussion – though the discussion continues anyway. In some cases we hope to lead to further open discussion – inviting to consider some aspects which are not widely shared, but may merit more attention. We let “both parties” speak.

=

On 5 February 2009, the UK based organization Global Witness published a report entitled Country for Sale. The organization describes its general, global outreach, in the following way:

“Global Witness exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses. Global Witness was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its leading work on ‘conflict diamonds’ and awarded the 2007 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award, sponsored jointly by Washington DC based Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy magazine.”

The content of the study, presented on 72 pages with detailed references, is described by Global Witness as follows:

“Cambodia – one of the world’s poorest countries – could eventually earn enough from its oil, gas and minerals to become independent of foreign development aid. The report, Country for Sale, exposes for the first time how this future is being jeopardized by high-level corruption, nepotism and patronage in the allocation and management of these critical public assets.

Country for Sale details how rights to exploit oil and mineral resources have been allocated behind closed doors by a small number of powerbrokers surrounding the prime minister and other senior officials. The beneficiaries of many of these deals are members of the ruling elite or their family members. Meanwhile, the findings suggest that millions of dollars paid by oil and mining companies to secure access to these resources may be missing from the national accounts.”

Among the details, Global witness says:

“Global Witness wrote to both Chevron and BHP Billiton in October 2008 to ask them to reveal any payments made to the Cambodian government or government officials. At the time of publication, Chevron had not responded. BHP Billiton however, did reply to say that BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi and the Cambodian Government have established a joint social development fund. The total contribution of BHP and Mitsubishi is to be US$2.5 million. BHP’s response stated: ‘BHP Billiton has never made a payment to a Cambodian Government official or representative and we reject any assertion that the payment under the minerals exploration agreement is, or the amounts contributed to the Social Development Projects Fund are, “tea money”.’ BHP also shared how much had been paid to the Cambodian government, adding: ‘In accordance with the terms of a minerals exploration agreement with the Cambodian government which granted BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi the right to explore for bauxite an amount of US$1 million was formally paid to the Cambodian government in September 2006.’”

The Cambodian Embassy in London responded to the publication of Country for Sale with a press release with a color graphic page, saying global witness – A Collection of Rubbish

“Reacting angrily to the report, the Ambassador of Cambodia in the UK, H.E. Nambora Hor, accused Global Witness of being poorly-managed and indulging in hugely-damaging smear campaigns. He called on the wide variety of international bodies which help fund Global Witness to demand an urgent review of its policies and activities. ‘It is naïve for Global Witness to imagine that Cambodia’s international donors are not fully aware of the way the Royal Cambodian Government’s conducts its affairs and its commitment to demonstrating the highest possible standards.’”

Details about this Social Development Projects Fund – who administers these huge amounts of money paid by some foreign companies, and for which purposes, and under whose public monitoring – are not known to the public.

=

On 25 February 2009, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State published a 2008 Human Rights Report: Cambodia, part of the 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The 16,000 words report on Cambodia states initially:

“The government’s human rights record remained poor. Security forces committed extrajudicial killings and acted with impunity. Detainees were abused, often to extract confessions, and prison conditions were harsh. Human rights monitors reported arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detention, underscoring a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair trial. Land disputes and forced evictions were a continuing problem. The government restricted freedom of speech and the press and at times interfered with freedom of assembly. Corruption was endemic. Domestic violence and child abuse occurred, education of children was inadequate, and trafficking in women and children persisted. The government offered little assistance to persons with disabilities. Anti-union activity by employers and weak enforcement of labor laws continued, and child labor in the informal sector remained a problem.

On February 15, the government passed and promulgated a comprehensive Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation containing provisions criminalizing all forms of human trafficking. By year’s end the Cambodian National Police had arrested perpetrators in 48 trafficking-in-persons and related cases, and the courts had convicted at least 12 persons on trafficking-related charges.”

The Mirror had carried a related report from a Khmer language newspaper on 27 February 2009. On 14 March 2009, we carried a report from another Khmer newspaper, saying:

“The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia.”

But later, another Khmer newspaper reported in its 15/16 March 2009 edition: “The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – said that tens of thousands of families of Khmer citizens suffer human rights violations.” And reports in the Phnom Penh Post of 16 March 2009 show a 9 year old boy standing in the wreckage of his house – sixteen houses in the Rik Reay Community – “Happy Community” – were torn down, and the area is being fenced in. A teacher, living there, said he had received a death threat. “This mistreatment is to force us to agree to their compensation package,” he said. “I am now worried for my personal security because I heard a company staffer on the walkie-talkie saying they would kill me because I am a community leader. I want to tell you that if I die, it was not at the hands of anyone else but because I was murdered by the staff of Bassac Garden City.”

=

On 12 March 2009, we carried the headline from a Khmer newspaper, reporting Dalai Lama: Tibet under Chinese Control Is Like Hell on the Earth. And in order to elaborate, we added a link to the original text of the March 10th Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama, where he says:

“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan people’s peaceful uprising against Communist China’s repression in Tibet. Since last March widespread peaceful protests have erupted across the whole of Tibet. Most of the participants were youths born and brought up after 1959, who have not seen or experienced a free Tibet. However, the fact that they were driven by a firm conviction to serve the cause of Tibet that has continued from generation to generation is indeed a matter of pride… We pay tribute and offer our prayers for all those who died, were tortured and suffered tremendous hardships, including during the crisis last year, for the cause of Tibet since our struggle began.

“Around 1949, Communist forces began to enter north-eastern and eastern Tibet (Kham and Amdo) and by 1950, more than 5000 Tibetan soldiers had been killed…

“Since the re-establishment of contacts in 2002, we have followed a policy of one official channel and one agenda and have held eight rounds of talks with the Chinese authorities. As a consequence, we presented a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, explaining how the conditions for national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution would be met by the full implementation of its laws on autonomy…

“We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Fulfilling the aspirations of the Tibetan people will enable China to achieve stability and unity. From our side, we are not making any demands based on history. Looking back at history, there is no country in the world today, including China, whose territorial status has remained forever unchanged, nor can it remain unchanged.”

But while the voice of the Dalai Lama receives wide attention in the international press, there is also another aspect of the history of Tibet, which is not addressed, but to which the People’s Daily Online refers: Dalai Lama’s utter distortion of Tibet history:

“The Dalai Lama also alleged at a gathering in India’s Dharamsala to mark his 50 years in exile that “these 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet.

“Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama has not only been on the wrong side of history, but also has got the history upside down. Miseries of ‘hell on earth’ and ‘untold suffering’ occurred nowhere but in the slavery Tibet symbolized by the Dalai Lama.

“Even from historical books written by Western scholars, people can draw the conclusion that Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama clique was a society of feudal serfdom that trampled human rights and easily reminded visitors of the dark age of medieval Europe.

“The feudal serfdom had truly brought ‘untold suffering and destruction’ to the serfs and slaves who accounted for 90 percent of the then population.

“The slavery in Tibet was just ‘hell on earth’ as Charles Bell, who lived in Lhasa as a British trade representative in the 1920s, observed that the Dalai Lama’s theocratic position enabled him to administer rewards and punishments as he wished. That was because he held absolute sway over both this life and the next of the serfs and coerced them with that power.

“In 1959, after the failed rebellion by the Dalai Lama and his followers, the central government of China carried out the long-delayed emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves in Tibet…

“But just as the rebellion by the Dalai Lama clique failed disgracefully 50 years ago, its fantasy of ‘Tibetan Independence’ is also doomed to failure, because of the firm opposition from the Chinese people, including the Tibetans in Tibet.”

But the Dalai Lama does not speak of Tibet’s independence, but of national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution, and this within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Both sides do not hear each other in detail to reach mutual understanding. It is easier to maintain an old antagonism than to find ways to a common understanding – a much more difficult task.

=

On 13 March 2009, the Mirror carried an article “IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!” (with reference back to similar IMF statements which we had mirrored on 13 February 2009):

“The Cambodian economy is in a negative status… We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.”

Since many weeks, there were many voices echoing the IMF concerns, even more so, since the Prime Minister had publicly questioned that the international economic downturn – in the so called economically rich countries – has the same social effects in a country like Cambodia. His comparison of rich and poorer countries with elephants and sheep may turn out to be a clue not only to understand the differences, but also to find ways to mitigate the economic problems in Cambodia, in a way industrialized countries cannot do:

“Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.”

A foreign businessman, living in Cambodia, shared his appraisal on 12 March 2009, Putting It in Perspective:

“Now that the U. S. has shed 4.5 million jobs in the past 18 months alone and unemployment stands at 8.1 %, the conventional wisdom is that garment exports will go down substantially as the U. S. is the main market for Cambodia. The current figures appear to prove it, with a 27% decrease in exports for the month of February alone. Last December it was 30%…

“Likewise, tourist arrivals show a 2.9% reduction over the same month last year…

“According to the latest statistics the construction sector is holding sort of firm, although it was reported that some 3,000 to 5,000 jobs were lost there too.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen finds fault with all those predictions, saying that all those number are altogether not that important. What’s important is that people won’t go hungry in Cambodia. All those factory workers that lost their job can go back to their native village where they will find a rice paddy to cultivate, and a family that will take care of them…

“So the garment factory girls come back and find their wooden houses, a functioning family structure, and food to eat. They don’t have problems with heating or air conditioning… They wear simple clothes. There is one communal cell-phone which provides contact to the outside world. Yes, this is a simple life, and Westerners can only look on with widened eyes wondering how people can live like this. But let’s face it – this is reality, not only in Cambodia, but in most of South East Asia. And rural areas are exactly where the majority of the factory workers come from.

“So the fact that people can go back to their village is actually a boon for them. Yes, they are poor but they have to eat. And in this context let’s not look at the social problems, e.g. lack of health care and fundamental education. This is for another, hopefully not too far off, time.

“The Western alternative is no laughing matter. People losing their jobs, lose their homes, their savings along the line, their health care, practically their freedom. In my view it’s much more dire in the West. Recession hits people in the industrialized world much harder.”

Not all readers shared his appreciation of the Prime Minister’s perspective. He responded, “I like a good discussion with contrarian viewpoints, but they need to make sense.”

It is in this same spirit that this issue of the Mirror presents contrary and controversial views. We hope also for a good discussion – but the points put forward need to make sense. And this requires to research complex facts, and to engage in open, rational thinking.

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The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal – Wednesday, 25.2.2009

Posted on 26 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Announcing to overcome a stalemate, after there had been discussions about how to prevent corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, officials of the United Nations and of Cambodia announced, on Monday [23 February 2009], a complicated program to solve complaints about irregularities which will provide equal responsibility for the international and for the Cambodian sides at this tribunal.

“Speaking to journalists at the Council of Ministers on Monday evening, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs of the United Nations, Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, believe that this new system will motivate donors to continue to provide funds to the Cambodian side of this tribunal, which will face a new financial crisis in a few months. Mr. Sok An told reporters, ‘I think that mutual understanding is the best basis for the administration of this tribunal to move ahead, and also the court will move ahead.’ He added that mutual understanding is important for a successful work of this joint process… Working together in this joint process will clear up all problems. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen told reporters that he believed that this agreement will, finally, bring the discussion about corruption allegations over kickbacks to an end, which had emerged from the tribunal since it was about to begin, and which has caused some donors to halt funds. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen continued to say that it is an important step in our joint efforts to deal with corruption problems, adding, ‘I think that the agreement that we have will be accepted positively by donor countries.’

“However, the new anti-corruption program suggested seems to be less than what UN officials sought during an unsuccessful discussion with the government in January. Early this month, Cambodian administrators said that during a private discussion in January, the UN officials suggested the creation of a large anti-corruption program for both sides at this tribunal, and for international independent code-of-conduct observers, to be placed into the existing Code-of-Conduct Committee and into the Extraordinary Chambers at this tribunal. Anyway, the program announced in the joint statement on Monday will include anti-corruption measures that cannot affect procedures that have already become valid at the Cambodian side in this tribunal, and it relates to the UN side, which had created its related mechanism, where there is only one person to receive complaints. After that, complaints from the Cambodian side or from the international side at this tribunal will be sent to a committee with an equal number of members of Cambodian and UN officials, which require to be composed of several members, or at least some agreement between both sides is necessary to take any action.

“The joint statement released on Monday did not clearly show how this new system can prevent similar events like during the previous years, when a number of Cambodian officials disagreed with the arrangements in the administration of this tribunal and informed UN officials about kickback corruption, which was then rechecked in New York by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The findings of this inspection conducted by the United Nations were not made public, but it had been reported that there was a request to investigate corruption related to the payment of kickbacks to get employment at the tribunal.

“An observer of the Open Justice Initiative, Ms. Heather Ryan, said on Monday that her organization was disappointed with the results of Monday, adding that the Open Justice Initiative believes that the agreement mentioned does not talk about corruption allegations, and it is a step back in that whole effort. She went on to say, ‘We are concerned that the United Nations might make a very low level definition because of obstacles raised by Cambodia for the future joint efforts of an independent court.’

“The legal assistant of the defense lawyers of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, who has asked Cambodian court authorities to investigation allegations about kickbacks received at this tribunal, said that he met with Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, but they rejected to comment about what they discussed.

“According to the statement of Monday, the United Nations and the government both have to release letters in the coming weeks to legalize the agreement, even though details are still being negotiated.” Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #25, 25.2.2009

  • Mr. Hun Sen Warns He Might Dismiss [eight] District Governors and Revoke the License of Cambosix [a betting company, if they are found colluding to allow Khmer people to gamble]
  • Hun Sen: Global Witness Has No Authority to Ask Him Anything – He Is Not a Prisoner

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1882, 25.2.2009

  • To Revoke Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [regarding a violation of election campaigning rules, and charged by the National Election Committee] Is Not Difficult [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Demonstrations Happens Again in Siam [Thailand – between 8,000 and 10,000 anti-government demonstrators support ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
  • Tamil Tiger Rebels Announces They Are Prepared to Accept a Ceasefire if It Can Be Coordinated by the International Community [Sri Lanka]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #349, 25.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Reacts Saying that the Global Witness Is a Global Cheating [without responding to any details or refuting the published specific allegations]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6587, 25.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces a Hearing of “Duch” to Be Held on 20 March 2009
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Held a Hearing of [the former minister of Social Affairs] Ieng Thirith while [former deputy prime minister of the Khmer Rouge regime] Ieng Sary Was Referred to Hospital
  • [Around 10,000] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Surround the Government House [in Thailand]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3696, 25.2.2009

  • Development Projects in Cambodia Affect the Interests of Thousands of Khmer Families During the Last Three Years

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

  • The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal
  • The Number of Advisors of the President of the National Assembly [Mr. Heng Samrin] Is More Than 100 in Total [after 28 new advisors were appointed]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4830, 25.2.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Summon a Meeting Regarding the Request to Revoke the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy [on 26 February 2009]
  • Samdech Dekchor Calls on Workers Not to Strike Disorderly [not to strike for not important reasons] Which May Lead to Unemployment
  • The Cambodian National Council for Women Shows that There Were Many Cases of Human Trafficking [in 2008], but There Was Little Punishment
  • The Ministry of Defense Creates a Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3489, 25.2.2009

  • 10,000 Soldiers [deployed doing non-military duties] Are Summoned Back to Barracks [by order from the Prime Minister to the commander-in-chief, Mr. Pol Saroeun, removing them from areas of land disputes where they were involved to protect certain economic interests]

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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