Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate – Wednesday, 18.8.2010

Posted on 19 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Local Unemployment urges more Khmer workers to migrate to find jobs in foreign countries, especially in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Siam [Thailand], and Taiwan. This makes many Khmer citizens to suffer from the exploitation of their labor, and lead to human rights abuses and forced labor, which make them to get sick and sometimes it leads to fatal sicknesses. In addition, sometimes Khmer workers who were domestic servants, have been mistreated and did not have sufficient nutrition, and the companies that sent them to work abroad, never cared about their living conditions.

“According to officials of a human rights organization, there are 26 licensed companies that are sending Khmer workers abroad, but there are also some unlicensed companies. Many Khmer workers abroad suffered from various abuses, and some of them died. When Khmer workers endured such misery or died abroad, the companies did not intervene to find justice for the victims, and also the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training did not help to find proper solutions, following the laws of Cambodia.

“Officials of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], said that they received information about four victimized women who asked for intervention to take them back from Malaysia in July 2010. Some were mistreated by not having enough food, some were beaten and even raped, and some were forced to work like cattle without a break. Those who work at factories were forced to work overtime, straining their working conditions, and violating the previous promises of companies in Cambodia, as the actual situation in Malaysia is quite different from the promises.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia said that from 2008 to 2010, they have received 92 complaints from Khmer workers abroad, and there were 130 victims. Some female workers who just returned from Malaysia said that they were mistreated by not having enough food, they were insulted and intimidated. This happened to them since they were sent to work as domestic servants in Malaysia. More than that, their passports were taken away, so that they had difficulties in finding outside assistance and to return to Cambodia, unless they were able to run to the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia.

“According to officials of the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility [CARAM] organization that monitors the situation of migrant workers, about 20,000 female workers are laboring in Malaysia, more than 200,000 in Siam [Thailand], about 9,000 in Korea, and many others in Arab countries, as well as in Japan and in Taiwan. The executive director of CARAM, Mr. Ya Navuth, said that poverty, unemployment, and the threatening global economic crisis force Khmer citizens to leave Cambodia to find jobs in other countries. More and more Khmer workers migrate abroad, though they already know that they will have to face many difficulties. Observers noticed that poverty, unemployment, and no land for farming are factors that make Cambodian citizens to take the risk to seek jobs abroad. These factors are the results of wrong policies of the government that does not contribute to broad economic growth, so that citizens can get jobs and earn an income to live properly. Formerly, the government banned citizens from migrating abroad – like to Thailand – but the government does not create jobs for a large section of the population, for people who are unemployed, so that they cannot earn their daily living.

“Officials of human rights organization in Cambodia discovered that many Khmer workers suffered from abuses of their human rights and of violations of labor laws, and from being trafficked, but they did not gain much support from officials of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training under the administration of [Minster] Vong Soth. Contracts between workers and companies exist only on papers, while in reality companies both in Cambodia and abroad violate those contracts. In fact, the conditions set in the contracts are good, but at work at their destination, companies take away their passports , and worst of all, their difficulties do not receive caring attention from the companies at all.

“Officials of human right organizations watching over migrant workers noticed that by now, there is still no mechanism to address the difficulties of workers abroad by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, though it is reported that some companies forced Khmer workers to labor like slaves day and night. More than that, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training seems insensitive about the scandals of some companies, sending workers abroad, though those companies violate the labor law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2330, 18.8.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Gathered 23 Homeless People [and sent them to the Phnom Penh Social Center]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7037, 18.8.2010

  • Police Intercepted 245 Kg of Wildlife Meat to Be Exported to Vietnam [perpetrators have not yet been caught – Ratanakiri]
  • In 2010, There Were More Intercepted Cases of Human Trafficking Than Last Year [in the first six months of 2010, 104 suspects including 10 foreigners were detained and there were 269 victims]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3961, 18.8.2010

  • Local Unemployment Pushes More Khmer Workers to Migrate

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #33, 18.8.2010

  • Court Will Hear [the opposition party leader] Sam Rainsy’s Case on 8 September 2010 over a Charge of Disinformation
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the Citizens to Eat Pork Again, but They Must Cook It Well [recently, there was a breakout of blue ear diseases on pigs, which had led to the banning of pig imports from neighboring countries]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #239, 18.8.2010

  • The Government Promised to Cover 50% of the Risk of Loans in Agriculture – the government will cover 50% of the risk of loans by commercial banks providing loans for the expansion of rice production, so that Cambodian rice export can reach 1 million tonnes by 2015]
  • Four Vietnamese Citizens Were Tried for Illegally Operating Brothels [if they are found guilty, they will be sentenced to serve from two to three years in prison]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5279, 18.8.2010

  • Cambodia Sets 2015 as the Year When At Least One Million Tonne of Rice Is to be Exported [according to Prime Minister Hun Sen – that would be an 80-fold increase in 5 years !!!]
  • A Robber Shot Dead a Teacher to Rob His Motorbike in Stung Meanchey District [Phnom Penh]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tensions with China – Wednesday, 11.8.2010

Posted on 12 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Vietnam shows new military relations with the United States of America this month amid more tensions with China, as both countries claim some territory in the South China sea as belonging to their respective countries.

“The USS John S. McCain warship [a guided-missile destroyer], that docked in the Danang city port, departed on Tuesday for a four days joint exercise with the Vietnamese navy.

“On Sunday, the USS Gorge Washington aircraft carrier, that had just attended an exercise with South Korea recently in South Korean sea territory, which had led to condemnations from the Beijing government, received a Vietnamese delegation.

“The visit by the US navy invites strong attention due to regional tensions lately.

“A Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, Mr. Carl Taylor, said, ‘The tensions between China and Vietnam grew worse since over a year ago. The USA is showing its military presence and Vietnam is taking the opportunity to show itself.’

“Normally, the Hanoi government has very careful relations with its ideological ally China, but the regional ambition of its bigger neighbor raised tensions in Vietnam to a certain level.

“The ties between Hanoi and Washington have come across a long way since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975; both countries’ diplomatic ties were normalized 20 years later.

“The USA became an important partner of Vietnam, not just in trade.

“According to a recent source from the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam, the Hanoi government grew more uneasy with the ambition of China. The presences of the US navy at a Vietnamese port is very important strategically for Vietnam to demonstrate regional balance in military issues.

“Mr. Taylor said, ‘I think that the USA can play a more important role in the region.’

“The South China Sea has been the reason for territorial disputes for a long time, especially regarding the Spratly and Paracel islands that Vietnam claims to be its territory. China also claims the Spratly islands like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam do also.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga [Nguyễn Phương Nga], last week condemned China for sending a ship to conduct seismic surveys in the Paracel region, violating Vietnam’s territorial integrity.

“Senior US commanders said that they are keeping a close eye over the stepping up of Chinese military presence there, particularly the presence of the navy in the South China Sea.

“Last week, China conducted a navy and airforce exercise in the South China Sea, a week after the Secretary of State of the US Department of State, Ms. Hilary Clinton, said solutions of territorial disputes are the core for regional stability.

“During a Southeast Asian regional security forum Ms. Hilary Clinton said that the Washington government is ready to cooperate in multilateral discussions over the islands and added that this is in the national interest of the USA, considering the respect for international law in the region.

“The Beijing government immediately condemned this intention to internationalize the dispute, saying that such an action could worsen the situation.

“That US warships often dock at Vietnamese ports irritates China. Mr. Taylor said, ‘Vietnam becomes more sensitive to the Chinese reactions. The docking of the US navy in Danang shows that Vietnam is prepared to confront the displeasure of China.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2324, 11.8.2010

  • Traders Are Transporting Wood into the Srae Noy Settlement Area Day and Night
  • Police Helped a Female Worker Returning from Malaysia [after she worked there for two years] Who Almost Lost Her Memory and Cannot Find the Way to Her Home [Siem Reap]
  • The Murderer Who Raped and Killed a Female Security Guard Was Sentenced to 20 Years Imprisonment [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7031, 11.8.2010

  • A Man Was Attacked with Acid, Poured on His Head around Midnight by Two Perpetrators [who escaped; the victim was seriously wounded – Phnom Penh]
  • There Will Be More Than 2,400,000 Foreign Tourists in 2010 [according to a prediction by the Ministry of Tourism; in the first six months of 2010, there were 1,221,156 tourist arrivals, an increase by 12.39% compared with the corresponding period in 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3955, 11.8.2010

  • Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Stated Their Confidence in Their Ability in Defending Their Client [by strongly opposing the use of the Joint Criminal Enterprise principle at the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #27, 11.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Put Blame on Journalists [for misquoting his words about the use of military means to solve border disputes with Cambodia]
  • A Medical Association from South Korea [with 50 staff members] Helps to Treat Khmer Patients in Kompong Speu

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #234, 11.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Families in the Russey Keo District [near the Cambodian Japanese Friendship or Chroy Chongva bridge] Will Be Asked to Remove Their Houses for the Claiming of Land to Create a Public Park [Phnom Penh]
  • The Deposit for the Production of [estimated] More Than 100 Million Tonnes of Titanium Discovered in Koh Kong – Its Exploitation Will Start Next Year [Titanium ore can be manufactured to 45% as Titanium slag, that can be sold for US$700 to US$2,500 per tonne based on market prices – other estimates for the price of slag is $400 per tonne]
  • Mr. Leonard Cohen [a famous singer throughout the world – “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history] Will Organize a Humanitarian Concert for Cambodia [at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on 27 November 2010; the concert tickets are available in this website: http://www.themekongsessions.com%5D
Leonard Cohen’s most famous song

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

  • Hearing of [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case over the [alleged] Faking of Public Documents and Disinformation Will Be Held on 8 September 2010
  • The Anniversary of the 2008 Registration of the Tuol Sleng [genocidal] Museum under the Memory of the World of UNESCO Was Organized [Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tension with China

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran – Friday, 6.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation plans to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“An Undersecretary of State and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey on 5 August 2010, saying that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, will make an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran for two days from 10 to 11 August 2010, and he will leave Phnom Penh on 8 August 2010.

“He added that the visit aims to strengthen and expand ties between Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as to encourage visits between leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior leaders.

“According to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 5 August 2010, in response to an invitation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia will pay a formal visit from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“The delegates include a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Long Visalo, the head of the Cambodian Petroleum Authority, Mr. Hou Vicheth, and many other senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

“During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong will meet with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran [see the Constitution], Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the chairman of Iranian parliament, Mr. Ali Larijani. He will also have bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Masoud Mir-Kazem, and the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mehdi Ghazanfari.

“According to the announcement, the visit aims at consolidating ties between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to encourage the exchange of visits between leaders of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other high ranking officials. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation relating to oil will be signed.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran
  • Her Excellency Bun Rany [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Was Re-Elected as President of the Cambodian Red Cross for the Fifth Term

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7027, 6.8.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Print Documents about [Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief] Duch’s Sentence to Be Distributed to the General Public [5,000 copies, containing details related to the sentence]
  • 1,000 People [representatives of the Royal Government, of local and international organizations, of the United Nations, and of ethnic minority tribespeople] Will Celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3951, 6.8.2010

  • The Number Khmer Migrant Workers to Malaysia and Siam [Thailand], Where Some Suffered from Torture, Doubled in Early 2010 [according to the Cambodian/Khmer Worker Recruitment Agency [no website found]; in the first six months of 2010, it has sent 5,776 legal workers to Malaysia and 2,409 workers to Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #231, 6.8.2010

  • Cambodia Soldiers Prohibit Thai Vendors from Selling Goods in the Area of the Ta Moan Temple
  • The Opposition Party Lawyer [Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy] Warned to Walk Out of the New Hearing [on 9 August 2010 on Mr. Sam Rainsy’s case over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers], if Two Prisoners Are Not Present [claiming that they are important witnesses]
  • Vietnam Will Step Up Investment to US$1 Billion in Cambodia Next Year [in the oil and gas sectors, electricity production, mineral exploration, rubber plantations, and agricultural product processing]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5269, 6.8.2010

  • Carts Transport Wood move like for a Kathen Procession [a Buddhist ceremony with long processions] into the Angkor Chum and Puok Districts [without any interceptions from the authorities – Siem Reap]
  • Forty American Billionaires Pledged to Donate Half of Their Property for Humanitarian Affairs [according to: http://www.givingpledge.org]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16% – Thursday, 22.7.2010

Posted on 23 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, the export and import of Cambodia increase by 16% in the first six months of this year, compared to last year.

Note:

We are unable to understand the meaning of the added up export and import figures, and the calculated combined percentage numbers for export and import together. The absolute figures, given separately for exports and for imports, are, of course, clear in their meaning, also the comparisons of present and of past years within exports and within imports, separately.
Any help to understand these combined “export and import sum and percentage” figures – via Comments – is appreciated.
Norbert Klein

“As said by experts, the commerce grows due to increasing global demand.

“Nevertheless, some experts warned that the economic recovery is in a delicate condition.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Chan Nora, said, ‘Commerce should be growing during this period as the global economy is recovering, while also the consumption of products increases. Especially, the Ministry of Commerce is trying to coordinate exports.

“Reports for the first six months show that imports increased by more than 18% to US$2,183 million this year, compared to the corresponding period last year with US$1,844 million.

“The exports increased by 13.14% to US$1,498 million. Compared to the same period last year, exports amounted to US$1,324 million, where 70% was related to garment products.

“The figures demonstrate that exports and imports in the first six months of 2010 increase by 16.19% to US$3,168 million compared to the same period last year.

“However, some observers noticed that the Cambodian economy is still facing dangers, as overall economic activity still drops, though the figures show an increase.

“The director of the Khov Chuly Group importing construction materials, Mr. Khov Phalaboth, said that even though there is progress in the real estate, agricultural, and industrial sectors, it seems too quick to say that the Cambodian economy has completely recovered. He said, ‘The economic downturn has not completely come to an end. Hazards remain. Typically, it is like recovering from sickness, but things might still get worse.’

“Mr. Chan Nora went on to say the increase in imports by Cambodia encourages an increase in exports. He said, ‘The local garment and textile sectors are doing better, causing also an increase in the demand for raw materials.’ The head of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, said, ‘The growth in commerce is really vigorous.’ He added that the increase in exports and imports is a measure of the economic growth of Cambodia. According to the National Bank of Cambodia, exports and imports dropped by about 17% from US$10,633 million in 2008 to only US$8,827 million in 2009.

“At present, the government is also looking into the future. Mr. Chan Nora said that the Ministry of Commerce is actively negotiating about the export of agricultural products to China, but the quality of local products is still an obstacle.

“He said, ‘We had asked people to send experts here to improve the quality of our products. We want to export our own manufactured products so as to get higher prices.’ He added that agricultural products are becoming important local products for export.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2307, 22.7.2010

  • The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch [about rights abuses and mistreatment of sex workers]
  • The Ministry of Justice Warned Court Officials and Clerks to Punish Them if They Act against Their Professional Standards [for example if clerks work as if they were in the position of judges or prosecutors]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3938, 22.7.2010

  • Sam Rainsy’s and Mu Sochua’s Cases [about the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, and about defamation] Could Come to an End through Internal Political Arrangements via the International Community [officials of the Sam Rainsy Party hope so]
  • 114 Families in the District of Kien Svay Accuse Some Officials of Grabbing 46 Hectare of Rice Fields [Kandal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #10, 22.7.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Chea Sim: Cambodia Develops Quickly because of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen’s] Governing [he said so during the 35th meeting of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Government Hopes that the United State of America Will Cancel the Debt of More Than US$300 Million [owed by Cambodia since the time of the Lon Nol government, said the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

  • The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16%
  • Five Khmer Fishermen Returned from Indonesia [after they had been detained there for almost one year; before they had been forced to work like slaves for nearly two years on a Thai fishing vessel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5256, 22.7.2010

  • Cambodia Prepares to Negotiate with Countries of the European Union to Lift Three Kinds of Visa Requirements [in diplomatic, official, and normal passports; the lift of visa requirements in diplomatic and official passports would help strengthen relations between the governments, and the lifting of visa requirements in normal passports would help to attract tourists between the countries]
  • The Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union [held from 19 to 21 July 2010 in Geneva] Called on All Parliament Leaders to Help to Avert Further Global Crises
  • The Department of Labor Issued an Official Letter to Suspend the Operation of the Champa Manpower Company [that did send workers to Malaysia; after this company was found holding workers, including underage girls, in a bad living environment]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them – Wednesday, 21.7.2010

Posted on 22 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“The acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Elaine Pearson, said at the release of a 76-page Human Rights Watch report to the national and international press on 20 July 2010, ‘It is known since a long that some police and other authorities of Cambodia detain sex workers illegally, beat them and rape them, and steal money and other property they have with them.’

“Ms. Elaine Pearson added, ‘Police arrests sex workers as part of their regular raids in streets and parks in Phnom Penh. Using these opportunities, there is active violence, and other kinds of abuses happened during such actions to arrest and collect sex workers by members of the district police and by other authorities at specific times, sometimes targeting only sex workers to arrest them, and at other occasions arresting sex workers together with other groups of citizens that are considered as “garbage of society” found living on the streets.’ Ms. Elaine Person added, ‘Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.’

“She went on to say, ‘In an atmosphere, where police who committed abuses do not receive any punishments, the Cambodian government has to recognize that not to initiate any criminal procedures against such activities is to allow human rights abuses to continue.’ She added that the Cambodian government should close social rehabilitation centers where sex workers are illegally detained, and to completely close the drug rehabilitation centers soon [which are the subject of similar allegations], as well as to stop all violence against sex workers.

“In addition, the 76-page report of Human Rights Watch titled ‘Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia’ released to journalists on 20 July 2010, says that in Phnom Penh, police had sent sex workers to a Phnom Penh social rehabilitation center and then to non-government organizations or to a social rehabilitation center of the Prey Speu authorities. The conditions at Prey Speu are like hell, as sex workers who had been sent there told Human Rights Watch that they were allowed to get out of their rooms only twice a day to bath, using water from a dirty pond or to go to the toilet, followed by a guard.

“In addition, sex workers, beggars, drug abusers, street children, and homeless people also sent to the Prey Speu center have suffered from beatings, rape, and other mistreatments. The report adds that at least three persons had been beaten to death at the Prey Speu center between 2006 and 2008.

“Along with the demand and request to the Cambodian government to stop all violence against sex workers and to completely close any center that detains sex workers illegally and is using violence. Human Rights Watch asked the donors of Cambodia that support the efforts against human trafficking and training for police, especially the USA, Australia, Japan, the European Union, and the United Nations, to reconsider their funding to police institution and to the Ministry of Social Affairs, until an independent investigation about the alleged abuses is conducted, until the persons responsible for the abuses are brought to justice, and until the Prey Speu social rehabilitation center is completely shut down.

“Ms. Elaine said that the donors should not spend their money to train abusive officials, but should rather take steps to promote responsible actions from the Cambodian government. Also, the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers. This committee should be created soon and should have the authority to summon witnesses and to produce public reports.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2306, 21.7.2010

  • Twenty Four Female Workers between the Ages of 15 and 17 Were Found in the VC Manpower Company That Plans to Send Them to Malaysia [the Ministry of Interior is collecting information from them to take legal action against the company]
  • Takhmao Forestry Officials Intercepted [53 pieces of] Ebony Wood Loaded in a Twelve-Seater Car, Prepared to Be Transported to Vietnam [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7013, 21.7.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Assessed the Cambodian Economy: Through [increased] Tourist Arrivals and Textile Exports, Economic Growth Is Estimated to Be 4.5% [in 2010]
  • The Construction of the Prek Pnov Bridge [across the Tonle Sap river] Is Almost Completed [after spending about US$43 million] and It Is Scheduled to Be Inaugurated in September 2010

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

  • Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #9, 21.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Leads a Delegation to Attend a World Heritage Committee Meeting [in Brazil from 25 July to 3 September 2010]
  • Human Rights Watch Asked the Government to Halt Abuses against Women Sex Workers [when they are intercepted, they suffer beatings, rape, extortion of money, sexual harassment, detention, and other bad actions from the authorities]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #219, 21.7.2010

  • The Cambodian Stock Exchange Will Be Opened in July 2011 [according to a new delay announced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • There Are Many Plaintiffs in Case 002 [of former Khmer Rouge leaders, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea; as many as 3,993 candidates applied to be plaintiffs of the case, and the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are considering whether to accept their applications]
  • An opposition Party Official Showed a New Position, Requesting a Political Coordination [between the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the government, relating to the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, for which Mr. Sam Rainsy was convicted by a court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5255, 21.7.2010

  • The Total Investment Capital during the First Six Months of 2010 Drops by About US$138 Million [to US$917.4 million, where US$161.4 million were invested by local investors – according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • Because of a Dispute [between families], a Policeman Fatally Shot Two Persons and Injured Three Others [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Germany Is Encouraging Investments in Cambodia – Saturday, 17.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“According to the German Embassy, German investments in Cambodia are small, but the Embassy is encouraging more to come while Germany is the biggest buyer of products from Cambodia among the other countries of the European Union.

“The deputy head of Mission of the German Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier, told Rasmei Kampuchea on 13 July 2010 that, even though Germany is a major commercial partner of Cambodia, the German Embassy wants to see a further increase in this field.

“He said, ‘The Embassy wants to see increasing commercial ties between Cambodia and Germany. I think there is potential in many sectors.’

“According to figures from a European delegation to Cambodia, among all member countries of the European Union that buy products from Cambodia, Germany is the biggest buyer. Germany receives as much as 31% of the products from Cambodia to the European Union, while the products from Germany to Cambodia are only 12% among other countries of the European Union.

“Besides Germany, other countries of the European Union buying from Cambodia are England with 29%, and Spain with 13%. Countries of the European Union exporting products to Cambodia are France with 36%, Belgium with 14%, and Italy with 11%.

“In addition to commercial ties, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier said that at present, Germany is trying to promote investment relations, though there are only a few German investors in Cambodia.

“He said, ‘In our efforts, the Embassy is maintaining good cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia.’

“He added that many German businesspeople and investors had visited Cambodia, but so far, many German companies still use their offices in Bangkok or in Vietnam to watch over the whole region.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 17 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2303, 17.7.2010

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Decided to Temporarily Suspend Detaining [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua, but Will Cut Her Salary [taking the fine and compensation for losing against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case from her salary at the National Assembly]
  • Cambodia Denied That an [anti-Thai government] Red Shirt Leader Is Hiding in Cambodia [after an accusation by Thai press The Nation]
  • The Ministry of Information Sued Khmer Amatak for Disinformation [after it published, on 5 July 2010, an article with a title “The 13th Anniversary of the Coup in July 1993 Signals that Hun Sen Has Gathered Power”]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7010, 17-18.7.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Completely Recovered [from swine flu and his eye problems], and He Presided over a Cabinet Meeting
  • A Gold Seller Was Fatally Shot and [Two] Robbers Took Away 370 Chi of Gold [US$538,350], US$3,000, Baht 5,000 [approx. US$150], and Riel 20 Million [approx. US$4,600 – Preah Vihear]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3934, 17-18.7.2010

  • The World Inter-Parliament Meeting [held in Geneva] Concentrated on the Mistreatment of Parliamentarians by the Ruling Parties in 34 Countries [and asked the Cambodian government to stop suing opposition parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

  • Germany Is Encouraging Investment in Cambodia
  • So Far No Action Has Been Taken by the Authorities against the Champa Manpower Group after Its Irregularities Had Been Discovered [this company forced workers, including underage girls, to live in unhygienic conditions while receiving training before they are sent to work in Malaysia – Phnom Penh]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas – Friday, 16.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.


Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report of the United Nations for 2010, there are 1,621 communes in the 24 provinces and cities in Cambodia, where 80% is rural areas.

“The report on the outlook of fundamental developments for 2010, recently published by the United Nations, says that Cambodia has 24 provinces and cities, but only 142 communes are considered as [densely] populated or urban, while as many as 1,479 communes remain rural.

“The same source adds that in Phnom Penh, 10 among the 76 communes are considered as rural.

“Besides Phnom Penh, the report divides the rest of the 23 provinces and cities into 4 areas: low lying areas, the Tonle Sap lake area, highlands, and the seashore area.

“In the low lying areas, among the 616 communes, only 27% are considered urban. That means 83% of the total area is rural. The low lying areas cover Kandal, Kompong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo.

“The Tonle Sap lake area consists of 8 provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Pursat, and Siem Reap. In these 8 provinces, among the 491 communes, only 30 are urban, while the other 461 are still rural. To sum up, as much as 85% of the communes are rural.

“The highlands of Cambodia comprises 6 provinces: Kompong Speu, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Ratanakiri. In total, only 10 communes in these 6 provinces are urban, whereas the rest of 276 are rural. To conclude, only 9% of this area is considered urban.

“In the seashore area, there are 4 provinces, and only 19% of the communes of those provinces are urban. The 4 provinces are Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, where there are 152 communes, but only 9 are considered as urban.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2302, 16.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Will Pay an Official Visit to Singapore on 26 and 27 July 2010 [detailed information about this visit has not yet been provided]
  • After the Authorities Checked [two] Companies Sending Workers to Malaysia, They Found Many Underage Girls [between 15 to 16 years old among them – Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7009, 16.7.2010

  • The Maternity and Child Death Rate Is Still a Concern for Cambodia [according to the Minister of Health, the death rate decreased from 472 among 100,000 live births in 2005 to only 416 deaths in 2008, and this problem needs more attention from the government]
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Stressed Her Position Again that She Would Rather Get Jailed Than Pay Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$3,930] for Losing a Defamation Case [against Prime Minister Hun Sen – as she considers the verdict not to be just]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3933, 16.7.2010

  • A Visit [from 14 to 22 July] of US Under-Secretary of State [Mr. William J. Burns] to Southeast Asia Is Crucial to Ensure the Respect for Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia [according to an announcement of the US Department of State]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #216, 16.7.2010

  • A Study [by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, conducted by interviewing 400 workers who had been sent back from Thailand through the Poipet Border Crossing]: One Fourth of Migrants Were Trafficked
  • Demonstration to Mark the Thai Invasion onto Territory [claimd by Cambodia, close to the Preah Vihear Temple, led by the president of the Cambodian Confederation Union, Mr. Rong Chhun] Was Blocked by the Authorities [Phnom Penh]
  • [Cambodian] Officials Receive Training on the Management of Oil Resources [from oil experts from New Zealand]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

  • Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Said the Ball Is in Phnom Penh’s Court [that means Cambodia should send a Cambodian ambassador to Thailand first] while Phnom Penh Said It Is in Bangkok’s [Thailand should send a Thai ambassador to Cambodia first]
  • Major General [Chim Sok] Ordered [two] Body Guards to Beat a Man Seriously after a Traffic Accident [where that man’s car had hit the General’s Lexus car from behind] and the General Demanded US$10,000 as Compensation [while the man can afford only US$4,000 – Phnom Penh]
  • Two People Were Killed after a Crash between Two Motorbikes [Prey Veng]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted – Tuesday, 13.7.2010

Posted on 14 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Sorry for the new delays – computer problems.
I hope to be back in Phnom Penh by the coming weekend.

Norbert Klein

“Officials of the Ministry of Defense began a countrywide census of military personnel in an attempt to cut out the number of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the Cambodian government. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Chhum Socheat, said on Monday that an annual census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than those conducted in previous years.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat said, ‘It is an annual census to find out the number of real the soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.

“Under the arrangements for the census, which started last week, all soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat added that the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense. All military officials and other personnel have to identify themselves before the end of this month. He added that officials believe that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents, organized according to the received information. He said, ‘This time, we will conduct a census that is much more accurate than before. At the end, there will be hardly any ghost soldiers, due to the use of modern technology.’

“Mr. Chhum Socheat went on to say that he does not have detailed information about the current military forces or about the number of ghost names that the government had found in recent years. But he said that he will announce the results of the present census at the end of this month.

“Relating to this issue, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police in a study in 2008.

“He continued to say that the effort is being implemented after Prime Minister Hun Sen had encouraged all institutions, including the military, to cut out the number of officials who exist only by name. Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘We are conducting a more thorough census. No one can falsify it.’

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he supports the census in the military. He said, ‘I support the census to find the real number of soldiers,’ adding, ‘the number of these not-existing soldiers wastes million dollars of our national resources. We wait to see the results.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2299, 13.7.2010

  • US Under-Secretary of State [William J. Burns] Pays a Visit in Cambodia on 17 and 18 July 2010 [he will meet with officials of the government, of political parties, and of civil society organizations]
  • Police Checked a Storehouse and Found Many Tonnes of Fake Cosmetic Products in Veal Vong Commune [Prampir Makara district, Phnom Penh; a Chinese woman was arrested]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7006, 13.7.2010

  • The Angkor Sentinel 2010 Global Peacekeeping Operations Exercise Starts from 12 and will continue to 30 July 2010 [under the framework of the United Nations; the multi-nation exercise focuses on keeping peace in the case of riots by uprisings, terrorists, and criminals, and in the case of racial conflicts]
  • Yellow Shirt Leaders Demanded [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the Cambodian and Siamese Border from 2000 [claiming that it leads to a Thai territorial loss]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3930, 13.7.2010

  • [More than 100 veterans] Representatives of 620 Disabled Families [from Kompong Cham] Come to Ask for an Intervention by [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [in front of his residence in Phnom Penh] over a Social Land Allocation of 4,000 Hectares [to be distributed to them, but so far, they have not been provided with the land]
  • [Vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: At Present the Powerful Are Creating Refugees Everywhere in the Country [as a result of evictions during land disputes]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

  • A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Liberated More Than 250 People from a Company That Sends Workers [illegally] to a Foreign Country [to Malaysia – girls were locked up in a residence to receive training before they are sent; the owner of the residence and some other people were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5248, 13.7.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of Mr. Chea Mony Suspended a Strike [after the worker’s salaries have been increased to a minimum of US$61 per month]
  • Ever More Cambodian Tourists Visited Malaysia during the Last Five Years [there was an increase of about 20% each year; in 2009, there were 43,146 Cambodian tourists, and within four months of 2010, there have already been 15,837]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available – Friday, 2.7.2010

Posted on 5 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“Phnom Penh: Private mobile phone companies are encountering a lack of frequencies and cannot provide their services to millions of mobile phone customers well, so they asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia to intervene to add more frequencies.

“According to a source familiar with the frequency issue, a licensed private company had asked the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, to intervene for the company to increase the frequencies available so that the companies can provide better services to their customers.

“The letter of request was also forwarded by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, H.E. So Khun. But later, when the company asked to increase the number of frequencies, the Ministry said that there are no frequencies available. Actually, there are unused frequencies, but the Ministry does not make them available.

“Private companies asked the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, to intervene supporting their request for the increase of available frequencies for licensed companies, so that they can provide good services to their clients.

“On 27 April 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated during a meeting of the Public-Private Sector Forum that any requests for the increase of the number of frequencies for mobile phone companies, the Ministry has to send them to the Royal Government to decide. But according to a trustworthy source, previously, the Ministry had provided frequencies to some companies without including the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the decision. The Ministry did it on its own quietly. Some companies went directly to the Ministry, and the Ministry provided the frequencies to them immediately. However, some licensed companies, that had sent their requests to the head of the Royal Government for the increase of frequencies, had their requests rejected by the Ministry saying that there are no frequencies remaining.

“Some investors of private companies said that mobile phone companies operating at present are seeking ways to serve and to satisfy their clients who use their services, but the challenge is that some licensed companies are not provided with additional frequencies by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication to provide better services to their clients. Probably, some companies had colluded with the Ministry to receive more frequencies secretly, without involving the whole Royal Government.

“At present, millions of mobile phone clients are annoyed when calling from one phone to another, and some people had requested the companies to expand their service regions to ease communication. But some private companies said that the problem is not their capacity to expand their mobile networks, but the reason is that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication does not provide them with more frequencies, as requested.

“Regarding this issue, Kampuchea Thmey tried to contact the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for more information, but failed to receive such information.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2290, 2.7.2010

  • Private Mobile Phone Companies Asked Samdech Dekchor to Intervene to Make More Frequencies Available
  • This Year the Number of Candidates to Take the Grade 9 Exam [lower secondary examination, usually at the age of 14 to 15, before entering higher secondary school] Is 159,724, Which is an Increase by 3,394 Candidates [the exam will be from 5 to 6 July 2010 countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6997, 2.7.2010

  • Deum Ampil Is Bankrupt; This Young News Center [a press center that had been created few years ago] Surprisingly Stopped Its Publications [newspapers and radio broadcasting; according to information by Deum Ampil to the Ministry of Information]
  • On 26 July 2010, The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Announce the Verdict to Sentence Brutal Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [at 10:00 a.m.]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3921, 2.7.2010

  • The First Drop of Oil of Cambodia Will Be Produced by 12/12/2012 [but the government has not yet specified anything about the expected quantity]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #206, 2.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Cambodia Can Extract Its First Oil by December 2012 [after there had been positive results from the oil exploration in Block A in the gulf of Thailand, with joint investments by Chevron with 30%, Mitsui Oil Exploration with 30%, Kris Energy with 25%, and GS Caltex of South Korea with 15%]
  • The Court Set a Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Riel 8 million [approx. US$1,850] Compensation to the Prime Minister [for losing a defamation case; she is required to pay it within ten days after the announcement by the judge on 29 June 2010, otherwise legal measures will be taken against her]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5239, 2.7.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted Two Draft Laws Relating to Economic Cooperation with ASEAN, China, and South Korea [to create an investment atmosphere which is free, coordinated, transparent, and competitive, in order to achieve a business environment based on friendship between ASEAN, China, and South Korea, offering protection to all investors. Also, the agreements will help to promote opportunities and increase the flow of investment capital from the private sector for the development of the economies of the ASEAN countries cooperating with China and South Korea]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed in the Prey Sar prison] Heng Pov Was Brought [to court] for Questioning over the Murder of the Former President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Vichea [in 2004 – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Workers Legally Abroad [in Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand] Is Nearly 30,000 [workers in South Korea can get between US$800 to US$2,000 per month, in Malaysia from more than US$200 to nearly US$300, and in Thailand a bit less than in Malaysia]

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.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Changing Approaches to Old Problems – Sunday, 13.6.2010

Posted on 14 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

Though the development of labor unions has progressed over the years, there were always also tensions. First, it has to be acknowledged that there will always be tensions, that is: between labor unions on the one side, through which workers express their opinion and negotiate their claims and rights – and the owners of the enterprises where they work. Both sides need each other, and it is always necessary to work towards an equilibrium between both sides and their interests.

In many countries with a market economy system, it is the state that is watching over this balance of power so that it is fair and helps maintain social peace and, if possible, also economic progress in a society. But when one of these sides has the impression that the state does not take a neutral position, but is favoring one side over the other, relations get strained.

The recently passed legislation to restrict public demonstrations by limiting the number of participants to 200, and to designate a place for these people to meet, restricting their public display by marching together, followed by announcements that the Ministry of Labor is drafting a new law on Labor Unions. While there was no general opposition to regulate the role of labor unions by law, it was greeted by suspicion that it is another attempt to control the unions, for example be imposing some mechanisms how they have to report their finances transparently. – It is not publicly known that the government is planning to impose similar regulations on the other side. The Ministry of Labor has indicated that the draft of the law would be made available for discussion in time – again this is not yet seen to come, after the draft anti-corruption law had been kept confidential almost until the time when it was discussed and voted upon.

At the same time where such a move to more regulation by the state is perceived in Cambodia, there are unprecedented movements in China that workers of some international companies are breaking out of the system of the Chinese, state regulated labor unions, where workers have started to act independently – not 200, but close to 20,000 in one place – to claim public attention to their situation.

The Bangkok Post presented an interesting analysis and overview of these developments – and its problems – on 13 June 2010:

On Friday morning, about 17,000 workers at a Honda car parts plant in Zhongshan, China, held a protest march to the factory gates. They were demanding an almost doubling of their wages and the right to form their own labor unions, as opposed to the government controlled national federation of trade unions. This was the third Honda plant hit by a work stoppage in the last two weeks…

It is more that a little ironic that China, a country that in March announced a new certification system for reporters which requires training in Marxist theories, has been seeing increasing incidents of labor groups demonstrating for greater rights.

It is, of course, a basic premise of Marxism that capitalism exploits the working class, who are the true producers of wealth in society.

The events in Zhongshan follow close on the heels of the bad publicity surrounding a spate of suicides at the giant Foxconn Technology group… which employs more than 300,000 workers making iPhones and other electronic devices. Workers at the compound complained that they were driven like robots by the excessively fast assembly line…

The company agreed to a 65% pay increase for workers, which it says will be passed on to the buyers of its electronic goods.

It is encouraging that the company has taken steps to improve the lot of workers, but this coincides with the announcement that the company might move some of its production lines back to Taiwan, if the government there offers enough incentives, especially lowering the minimum wage for hiring foreign laborers.

The awakening of China’s labor force has to be considered a good thing, but striking a balance that allows a much better quality of life for workers, and enough profitability to keep the companies offering foreign direct investment interested will be a challenge for the workers, for the companies, and for the government.

The Mirror had reported recently about a protracted labor conflict – and that the plan of workers to suspend their work for three days, to demand an increase of salaries, and that the employer obey the labor law, is still not canceled.

Such developments may have an influence also on Cambodia. Not only in terms of labor-management relations in Cambodia, but it may also lead to new job opportunities for Cambodian workers abroad – an increasing number of people finding employment and economic returns in other countries: in Malaysia, in South Korea, and increasingly in some Arab countries.

And this at a time – though in a different context – when the Cambodian Watchdog Council is requesting that the number of foreigners living in Cambodia should be made more transparent, and probably more controlled.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...