To Trust the Law Means to Trust that the Law is not only Written, but that It Is Implemented – Sunday, 29.8.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679
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Editor of The Mirror
Social stability depends on a situation where the citizens trust that the law is implemented. Not every time when somebody thinks to be treated unjustly this is also true. But the fact that every week there are several reports of demonstrations of groups of people, in different parts of the country, who feel they are suffering injustice – mostly related to land use and land rights – should be a sign of alarm. Social stability can be enforced for some time, but that is different from social stability based on peace and justice.
In 2002, the Prime Minister had said in his opening speech to the Consultative Group Meeting between representatives of the Cambodian Government and representatives of cooperating countries and international institutions:
“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem.”
And in December 2005 he warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.
Are these words of the Prime Minister out of date?
Seeing that during many of present demonstrations people carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady shows that many people still have hope in interventions by the Prime Minister to provide justice – even when they have lost confidence that the normal process of the courts will achieve this goal.
Violations of the law happen regularly and massively, as claimed in the Cambodian press, and this is also confirmed by high ranking officials of the government. Just to quote some examples from the current week reported in The Mirror:
- Contraband Is Massively Imported while Members of the Authorities Are Collecting Colossal Amounts of Money
- Prime Minister Hun Sen Had Often Warned against It, but Frequently Heads of Some Institutions and Units Continue to Nominate Their Children’s Spouses or Other Relatives to Take Their Positions When They Retire
- Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [so this is happening]
- Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Order to Intercept Forestry Crimes Is No Longer Followed [recently, there is more illegal wood transported]
- Disabled Veterans and Retiring Civil Servants Complained about Difficulties to Get Their Salaries [as they were told to wait from day to day]
Not all press reports are verified – but if there are repeatedly reports about the same kind of violations, one would expect concerned statements from the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, explaining to the public what the authorities are doing to check what is going on to rectify what is wrong.
It is surprising that, instead, the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, when requested to look into problems in the way society is operating in spite of the regulations of the Constitution of 1993, made appeasing statements. He said that the government always rules the country following the law, adding, “If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.” Many people who are convinced they suffer injustice do not want to see a complete political change, they just want to see that the laws and the Constitution of 1993 are really implemented.
When the 2010 report of Amnesty International drew the attention to the plight of thousands of Cambodian citizens suffering from forced relocations – in case of Group 78 in the Tonle Basak commune and other cases – the same spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers accused Amnesty International not to have studied the actual situation. Even accusations were made that such reports about the plight of Cambodian people asking for justice are only written to gain money for the writers. One might expect that the spokesperson would rather elaborate what the government is doing to help the people who have lost their homes, where they had had their livelihood – though poor – established for many years.
Will the Minister of Justice also be accused of “not to have studied the actual situation” for blaming the court system of not functioning according to the law, and therefore not delivering justice:
- The Ministry of Justice Released a Letter to Warn Judges and Prosecutors Who Read Newspapers during Hearings and Assign Clerks to Assume Their Responsibility Instead
When a Delegation of the European Parliament recently visited Cambodia to study the medical sector, they observed the gap between what the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says, and the realities they met. The Mirror carried repeatedly reports about sick people who could not get proper attention in hospitals if they were not able to pay first.
The public is not so much interested in claims by the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers that everything is all right. It would rather be interesting to read more about what measure are taken or planned to bridge the gap between the requirements of the Constitution – from which we quote here – than to be referred to a possible change by electoral vote, if the people want to see the Constitution implemented.
Some related quotes from the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – always interesting and important reading:
- Article 72: The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.
- Article 74: The State shall assist the disabled and the families of combatants who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
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The Economic Exploitation from Blood Donations Is Against the Moral of Medical Professionalism – Tuesday, 15.6.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669
“Phnom Penh: A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health said that the exploitation from blood donations and from blood infusions is against the moral of medical professionalism and it must be avoided.
“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, Ms. Ouk Monna, said so during a World Blood Donors’ Day event, held on 14 June 2010 at the National Institute of Education, focusing on young donors with the slogan ‘New Blood for the World.’ ‘The economic exploitation from blood donations and blood injections is totally against the moral of medical professionalism, and such behavior must be avoided.’ She added, ‘The elimination of these activities can earn trust from the general public, and it will lead to receiving 100% voluntary blood donations from the Cambodian people.’
“She went on to say that like the focus says clearly, the Ministry of Health strongly supports the National Blood Transfusion Center to make more efforts in order to meet the safe, sufficient, and timely supply of blood as needed by patients at different hospitals. Safe blood donations are supportive services for the treatment and the care for patients, and they help to reduce the death rate of patients.
“Ms. Ouk Monna continued to say that in order to promote the provision of health services, the National Blood Transfusion Center must make broader publicity efforts about voluntarism to donate blood, so that citizens, including young people in the communities, as well as civil servants at different institutions, departments, and at the ministries gain knowledge about it and join to donate blood.
“According to a report from the National Blood Donation Center, in 2009 35,895 bags of blood were donated by volunteers from different families and from friends of patients, and about 51% of the donated blood was used in different hospitals in Phnom Penh, and the rest of 49% in hospitals in the provinces countrywide.
“The director of the National Blood Donation Center, Mr. Nhem Thuok said, ‘The national blood donation service is under the administration of the Ministry of Health and its key role is to implement a blood safety strategy policy where the major goal is to guarantee safe, sufficient, and timely blood donations in order to meet the demands of patients at public and private hospitals nationwide.’
“He added that since the reestablishment of blood donation services in 1991, the collection of blood donated by volunteers around the country keeps increasing, and it is in line with the improvement of the health infrastructure that leads to the growing use of blood. He went on to say that there are only 3 volunteers donating their blood among 1,000 people, a very low rate. According to a study, there will not be sufficient blood supplies unless 2 among 100 people donate their blood.
Ms. Dith Kimean, a volunteer blood donors, said, ‘The World Blood Donors Day does encourage and educate youth to do social work to help the society, especially also to save people’s lives through the voluntary donation of blood.’ She added that every year, millions of people in the world, including thousands of Cambodian people, need blood so that their lives can be saved after they had an accident or a sickness that makes them lose blood.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 15.6.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #504, 15.6.2010
- The Economic Exploitation from Blood Donations Is Against the Moral of Medical Professionalism
- The Judgment of the International Court in The Hague [of 15 June 1962, which decided that the Preah Vihear Temple is on Cambodian land] Is Commemorated [by officials of the Cambodian government, of non-government organizations, and of opposition party members] and They Call on Thailand to Withdraw Troops from Border Regions [the question of the borders between Cambodia and Thailand had not been finally resolved at that time].
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2275, 15.6.2010
- Thirty One Families in the Andoung Trabaek Commune Were Shot at and Evicted from Their Homes [by forestry officials – Svay Rieng]
- Three People Were Killed in a Traffic Accident on National Road 1 [when a motorbike struck a truck – Kandal]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #681, 15.6.2010
- Putting the [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers Number 292, 293, 294, and 295 [in the Prey Tonle Commune, Banteay Meas district, Kampot] Makes Some Commune and Police Officials [from the Cambodian People’s Party and some other citizens] Lose Their Rice Fields to Yuon [Vietnam – this is the claim of a citizen who asked not to be named]
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6982, 15.6.2010
- [About eighty] Citizens [representing 136 families] from the Memut District Asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Solve a Land Dispute [of 250 hectares; two representatives were arrested and others were threatened that they will be arrested if they do not agree to remove their houses and give their thumb prints to deliver their land to another person]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3906, 15.6.2010
- Citizens Victimized by Land Disputes Delivered a Petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia Quietly [Phnom Penh]
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #193, 15.6.2010
- [The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia] Subedi Promised to Take Land Disputes to the Government [after citizens from different provinces and cities victimized by land disputes gathered in front of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Phnom Penh to send him a petition]
- Cambodia Was Praised [by the US Department of State] over the Fight against Human Trafficking [through the strengthening of law enforcement]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 15.6.2010
- The Judgment of the International Court in The Hague [of 15 June 1962, which decided that the Preah Vihear Temple is on Cambodian land] Is Commemorated [by officials of the Cambodian government, of non-government organizations, and of opposition party members] and They Call on Thailand to Withdraw Troops from Border Regions [the question of the borders between Cambodia and Thailand was not finally resolved at that time]
- Three People Were Killed because Stones Fell on Them [after there were lightnings] while They Were Taking Shelter from the Rain [in a cave – Kampot]
Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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