Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems – Monday, 8.2.2010

Posted on 9 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Phnom Penh: Mondolkiri is a province with potential for eco-tourism everywhere. Its natural environment is better than in other northeastern provinces. But a tourism official of this province said in a recent meeting that this province has not yet created tourism communities following legislation related to tourism to comply with proper tourism community standards like those in Koh Kong or in other provinces.

“The head of the Department of Tourism of Mondolkiri, Mr. Ngin Sovimean, said, ‘We cannot establish tourism communities, because the provincial forestry administration opposes it, and thus, we need to wait until forestry communities have been created.’ The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, commented, ‘If we wait until the forestry administration has formed its communities first so that tourism communities can be created, that will be very slow.’

“An official of the Ministry of Tourism in charge of tourism communities, Mr. Thok Sokhom, said that previously, the creation of forestry and fishery communities did not work. But tourism communities could operate at other provinces as the provincial authorities cooperate and especially, local people voluntarily and willingly participate.

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the creation of tourism communities cannot be made successful by the tourism sector alone, but it needs cooperation from private partners. If there are no transportation agencies to carry tourists to various sites, tourism communities cannot get active.

“In the meantime, if transportation agencies do not help to advertise tourism communities, those communities will not function.

“Relating to the Bu Sra waterfall resort, the best tourism site of the province, Mr. Ngin Sovimean said that by 2010, after it had been handed over to a private company for investment already more than one year ago, the company did nothing, but just improved only the road from the provincial capital to the site and collects money from tourists every day [but does not do anything for the community].

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the report about Bu Sra resort sent to the Ministry seems accurate. Now, he assigned a secretary of state to take charge of this case, because the related investment plan is among Samdech Hun Sen’s recommendations.

“By now, there are 29 eco-tourism communities countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 8 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #408, 8.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Advised Troops and Police to Use the 097 Mobile Phone System [of the Vietnamese Metfone company to ease communication]
  • Cambodia Can Import Garments to the European Union without Paying Taxes [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2171, 7-8.2.2010

  • Three People Were Arrested for Being Involved in Weapons Trafficking [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #600, 7-8.2.2010

  • Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Support the Prime Minister’s Commitment to Protect the Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6878, 8.2.2010

  • National Military Police Cooperated to Seize Nearly 10 Cubic Meters of Wood Suspected to Belong to a Military Police Official [Kratie]
  • Diarrhea Spreads in Samraong Tong and Basedth Districts [in Kompong Speu, killing three people and infecting many others]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3806, 8.2.2010

  • The Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union to Cambodia Wants Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case [over the removal of border markers] to Be Solved outside the Court System [as a political issue]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #106, 8.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: Tanks, Rifles, and Artillery Are to Be Used to Withstand Those Who Invade Khmer Territory
  • The Prime Minister Warned Soldiers at the Border Not to Use Their Positions to Cut Trees
  • Cambodia to Establish Flight Connections with Indonesia and Brunei [to facilitate and attract tourists from these countries – according of an official of the Ministry of Tourism]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

  • Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems
  • Representatives of Fishermen [of 102 families] Protested at the Fishery Administration Office as the Complaint They Lodged Is Not Solved [requesting for suppression on fishery crimes – Siem Reap]

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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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JICA Helps Cambodia to Define Standards for Cambodian Hydro-Electricity Dams – Wednesday, 18.2.2009

Posted on 19 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Phnom Penh: The Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA – cooperates with officials in charge of hydro-electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy of Cambodia, to construct hydro-electricity dams for Cambodia. JICA will support the funding for this development, and standards are expected to be respected by investors or companies which construct hydro-electricity dams in Cambodia.

“The deputy director of JICA, Mr. Kobayashi Yukiharu, said in the first plenary session about the studies to elaborate detailed conditions for the construction of hydro-electricity dams according to technical standard, in the morning of 17 February 2009 at the Phnom Penh Hotel, that development of hydro-electricity dams in Cambodia is being focused, facing the general situation of rapid growth of around 20% per year for the local demand of energy during the last five years. At present, many companies from foreign countries, such as China, Korea, and Vietnam, have already established hydro-electricity development projects and are constructing their projects gradually. Mr. Yukiharu added, however, there must be care taken when constructing hydro-electricity dams about possible impacts, because such constructions directly relate to safety and environmental conservation, since all hydro-electricity dam construction projects, big or small, are constructions of dams and water flow channels that can lead to severe devastations and impacts on the environment, if those projects do not focus on the observation of clear technical standards from the beginning.

“The Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Suy Sem, considers electricity to be an important and necessary resource for the life of everyone. But what we want is not just to do whatever, so that there is access to electricity, but also to do whatever, so that the production, delivering, distribution, and the use of electricity are efficient and safe. To be efficient is not just to make the supply of electricity to happen with quality, stability, and low prices, but also to make the consumers, who are the clients, to accept the use happily, and to settle their accounts for the service received regularly and with transparency. The Minister added that to be safe is to avoid work accidents, electrical shocks, or electricity-related fires. The production, the delivering, the distribution, the use, as well as the use of all electrical tools, must be done according to proper standards – that means that we first must have the necessary standards.

“The Minister went on to say that the studies to elaborate detailed conditions for the definition of technical standards for hydro-electricity have the intention to mainly check, consider, and analyze different technical standards for hydro-electricity being used by different countries, such as Japan, Russia, Canada etc… and to screen and select them, and to create them to be in line with the conditions of Cambodia, so that Cambodia has technical standards for hydro-electricity, both for the civil engineering sector and for electrical technologies and mechanics, so that all different companies have to abide by these standards.

“The director of the Department of Hydro-Electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Bun Narith, said that JICA is helping Cambodia in this sector for a 12 months period, since October 2008, to September 2009, studying in detail, point by point, the small elements of the whole cluster of hydro-electricity. Mr. Bun Narith added that all those having received licenses to construct any hydro-electricity dam must follow these technical standards. The potential of Cambodian hydro-electricity is high, at around 10,000 megawatt. But Cambodia has so far developed only 13 megawatt.

“Mr. Suy Sem reminded the plenary session that even though Japan has studied the codes and formulas from its own and from different other countries, but we, in developing countries, cannot copy those technical standard models like a mold for the use in Cambodia. Cambodia must have standards in order to avoid impacts on is environment; however, hydro-electricity dam constructions cannot avoid affecting the environment. When one starts blocking the flow of water, some forests start already to be flooded.

“Therefore, we have to balance between losses and energy received – which one is more valuable? We should not create standards which are too strict or too weak. The Minister continued to say that so far, neither any hydro-electricity dams nor construction companies in Cambodia have standards. At presents there is a hydro-electricity dam in Ratanakiri’s Ou Chum with the power of 1 megawatt. In Mondolkiri, Japan constructed two small hydro-electricity dams, which are already operational. The Kirirom I hydro-electricity dam has 12 megawatt power. We are constructing hydro-electricity dams in Kamchay with 193 megawatt and in Ta Tai with 120 megawatt and there is a plan to build a hydro-electricity dam in Sre Pok with 400 megawatt, which is being studied by a Vietnamese company.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4824, 19.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1876, 18.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Anti-Corruption Law Is Not a Divine Medicine against Corruption
  • In 2009 and 2010, Germany Plans to Grant Cambodia More Than US$57 Million
  • North Korea Said that It Has the Right to Fire Missiles for Testing

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #344, 18.2.2009

  • H.E. Keat Chhon Provides Documents to Explain Problems Faced because of the Economic Crisis to Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Mr. Son Chhay]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #346, 18.2.2009

  • [Senior official of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Pen Sovann Said that Hun Sen Revoked Ke Kim Yan [as commander-in-chief] to Consolidate Power and Follow the Track of Pol Pot [former top Khmer Rouge leader who revoked many officials when he did no longer trust them]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6581, 18.2.2009

  • Citizens Are Disappointed with the Short Live Broadcast of Duch’s Hearing [only around half an hour]
  • Thai Navy Military Commander of the First Region Said that Cambodia Changed Its Mind Regarding the Division of Resources in the Contested Sea Area [before the exploration of natural resources started, Cambodia seemed to agree, but when it actually started, Cambodia changed its mind]
  • Siamese [Thai] Doctors Stopped Khmers to Test Their Blood at the Cham Yeam Border Crossing [and when Khmer authorities asked why, they said they make blood tests to find if they have malaria – and if malaria is found, they will be offered free medicine]

Mate Nak, Vol.2, #21, 18-24.2.2009

  • The Government Announces the Bidding for the Construction of the Stung Sen Hydro-Electric Dam
  • Cambodia Hopes that There Will Be 50,000 Tourists from Kuwait
  • Salaries of National Athletes Are Increased [by approx. 40%; their former salary of Riel 120,000, corresponding to approx. US$30 per month, is increased to 200,000 – approx. US$50 – and money for food is creased from Riel 15,000 – approx. US$4 – to Riel 23,000 – approx. US$6 [no timeline – daily – weekly – monhly etc. given]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1413, 18.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Not Only Those Who Wear Three or Four Stars, Even if They Wear a Sign of the Moon, They Will Be Demoted [if they are found to be involved in misusing their power in any land dispute]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4824, 19.2.2009

  • JICA Helps Cambodia to Define Standards for Cambodian Hydro-Electricity Dams
  • Duch Intends to Apologize Publicly when the Court Starts the First Hearing [according to his lawyer]; China Defends Its Relations with Khmer Rouge [saying that they were part of normal diplomatic relations]
  • [At least eight] Siamese [Thai] Mortar Shells Landed about 3 km in Khmer Territory [in Banteay Ampil in Oddar Meanchey during a Thai military exercise]
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany [Mr. Peter Ammon] Welcomes Hearings of the Khmer Rouge Leaders [and encourages Cambodia to adopt an anti-corruption law]

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The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with – Tuesday, 10.2.2009

Posted on 11 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to uphold the decision that the complaint of the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, the Brother Number 2 of the Khmer Rouge regime, will not be dealt with. This is based on a judgment by the deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on 5 February 2009. This judgment was published on Sunday.

“Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan, responsible for handling the case, told foreign defense lawyers of the former president of the Khmer Rouge National Assembly, that the complaint regarding corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will not be taken up to be settled.

“Yesterday, on Monday evening, 9 February 2009, Mr. Sok Kalyan clearly explained the decision, that the corruption allegations case will not be taken up, because the evidence does not state that a crime is imminent, and the perpetrators are not known.

“Deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan added that normally, when deciding to take up a case, a prosecutor decides to address a fact by pointing to individuals involved in a crime. But checking all evidence in the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, nothing indicates that a crime is imminent to happen in relation to the accusation about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Mr. Sok Kalyan added that another point is that the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers is a defamatioin complaint and does not point out why individuals are suspects in this corruption case. They say that it was just heard that there was corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but there is no document to prove the nature of what is called corruption. And it does not point out clearly to the individuals suspected of receiving bribes.

“This refusal to take up a corruption case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was made after the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had summoned Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers to question them, to defend their case one or two times, and he had planned to summon many other witnesses for questioning.

“Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said as a plaintiff that Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers are surprised that the Municipal Court decided not to take up the case. He had met with the deputy prosecutor, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on Wednesday [4 February 2009] morning, and he had been told that there were plans to question many other witnesses. However, within just 24 hours, this decision was reversed.

“Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers have not yet decided how to appeal this decision. Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said that the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea must think carefully, before they appeal, as they have two more months to present a complaint to the Appeals Court, to take up the corruption complaint at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be dealt with.

“However, finally Mr. Sok Kalyan concluded that the a decision not to work on this corruption complaint is possible because there is no imminent pressure. This is so, because the prosecutor checked the different procedures based on evidence, and there is no evidence proving an immediate danger of crimes being committed, as had been the original accusation.

“On 8 January 2009, the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, Mr. Michael Pestman, Mr. Victor Koppe, and the assistant lawyer Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, as plaintiffs, lodged a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. In the complaint the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea asked to clarify corruption allegations at the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. They claimed that corruption would affect the process of hearings of the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Talk about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal started in early 2007, when the Open Society Justice Initiative released a corruption report. But officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the Cambodian side, as well as government officials, denied it and considered this corruption scandal to be just a claim without a basis facts.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #10, 10.2.2008

  • Mr. Hun Sen Curses Critics Distorting Facts to Fall into the 800th Level of Hell [cursing civil society, non-governmental organizations, and opposition parties that criticize the Cambodian government, saying that it lets some local companies backed by powerful officials to use armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land and throw them out into the suburbs, and criticize that foreign aid for Cambodia is wasted, and corruption makes citizens poorer and poor, resulting in a big gap between the rich and the poor]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #114, 10-11.2.2009

  • Some Casinos Let Khmers Enter Which Is against the Prime Minister’s Order
    National Real Estate Appraisal Association of Cambodia Is Inaugurated under the Presidency of [Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1868-#1879, 8-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Denies that [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin Is in Koh Kong [as claimed by Bangkok Post]
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Calls on Monks to Attend the 2nd Anniversary Demonstration Celebration this Morning [to remember a demonstration held by Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Kleang province [now Sóc Trăng province] in Vietnam
  • A Bad Forest Fire at Southern Australia Killed 128 People [present estimate may be up to 230]
  • Russia Allows the United States of America to Transport Military Supplies through Russia to Afghanistan


Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #338, 10.2.2009

  • [1,055] Staff of the Railway Station Demand 20% Increase of Their Salaries Following Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Words [who had promised that their salaries would be increased]
  • The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia – NICFEC – and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMREL – Will Not Deploy Observers for the [district and provincial/city council] Elections on 17 May 2009 [they said that their organizations are facing financial problems, and COMFREL added that these indirect elections are useless]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #340, 8-10.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Summon Three-Star General Heng Hong to Question Him about Taking another Man’s Wife [in view of the new monogamy law]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6573-#6573, 9-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Recommends that the Production of Films Related to Monks Must Pass through the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and Samdech Sanghareach [the head of one of the two Buddhist Orders, in order to avoid problems]
  • 20 Universities from Britain Start to Exhibit together Their Information to the Education Sector in Cambodia
  • Many Bullets Were Shot in the Air to Threaten Citizens Not to Construct Houses; the Provincial Governor Issues Order to Arrest Five Soldiers [Preah Vihear]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3682-#3683, 9-10.2.2009

  • Ethnic Minority People in Bu Sra Commune, Pechr Chenda District, Mondolkiri, Prepare to Protest against the Khov Chily Company Again [over a land dispute – according to human rights officials]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

  • The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with
    Thailand Announces to Open the Border Crossing to the Preah Vihear Temple, while Cambodia Denies to Do the Same [the Cambodian government said what Thailand announced is just to reopen a Thai national park along the border near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Cambodian Embassy in Britain Reacts to the Global Witness Report [saying that it is stupid]
  • Japanese Investors Come to Study to Improve the Transportation Sector in Cambodia
  • A Thai Tourist Airline [Bangkok Airways] Offers Flights from Cambodia to Samui Island [in Thailand, starting from now until 30 June 2008]
  • Cambodia Confiscated Nearly One Kilogram of Heroin at the [Phnom Penh International] Airport [and a Taiwanese man was arrested]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3482, 8-9.2.2009

  • Around 200 Olympic Market Vendors Were Surprised when the [Thay Boonrong] Company Detained One of Their Representatives Yesterday [after vendors decided to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to ask for his intervention regarding the rising prices of vendors’ stalls in the market]

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Links and Lessons from Far Away Africa – Sunday, 28.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 592

When we mirrored, on 26 December 2008, that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara had declared himself president of Guinea, after a coup following the death of President Lansana Conte, 74, I first did not think that this deserved much attention in the Mirror.

Then I remembered some connections: on 19 June 2008 we had mirrored that the Cambodian Prime Minister had decided to sell 120,000 tonnes of rice and to send agricultural experts to Guinea, responding to a request by the prime minister of Guinea. At that time I had wondered what kind of link might exist to this small country in Africa – hardly anybody knows where it is located.

But already in 2001 an ambassador of Guinea had presented his credentials and diplomatic relations were established – though Cambodia does not have an embassy anywhere in Africa, while having diplomatic relations with 17 countries in Africa.

In March 2008, 15 artists from the circus school in Guinea “Centre d’Art Acrobatique Keïta Fodéba” were in Cambodia for 3 months.

In November 2008, during the opening of the Least Developed Countries Ministerial Conference in Siem Reap, the Prime Minister spoke about new possibilities of cooperation at a time of rising prices for rice: “I have looked at the list of participants and it reminds me of a number of countries in Africa that I visited in the times when I was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs [1979 to 1990]. Recently Guinea contacted Cambodia to purchase some agricultural products. This has made me think that in time of crisis there are always opportunities as at the time of fuel and food crisis, Cambodia could see the opportunity of expanding production to provide food for both local and the world.”

Research brought to light more and more facts that seem worthwhile to consider in relation to Cambodia. Guinea is obviously a country which has had a lot of problems. The death of the president was considered by a group of younger military leaders as a chance to act They seem to have seen no other possibility to rectify the situation but a coup d’etat – against the constitution and the laws of their country, though completely without bloodshed or using force.

What had happened?

Guinea is in West Africa, about one third bigger than Cambodia, but with only 10 million people compared to Cambodia’s 14 million. It is rich in minerals and has the world’s biggest reserves of bauxite, which is the basis to create aluminum. At present it is fourth in the world in bauxite production, after Australia, Brazil and China. It has also diamonds, gold, iron, nickel, and uranium.

Since its independence from France in 1958 – five years after Cambodia – it has had only two presidents: Sékou Touré until 1984, and General Lansana Conte, who seized power after the death of his predecessor; the support of the armed forces was essential for his power throughout the years. During these years, multi-party elections were held for the first time in 1993 when General Conte, as head of the military government, was elected president of a civilian government – this was the same year that the elections organized by UNTAC were held in Cambodia. Conte was reelected in 1998 and in 2003, but all three elections were said to have had irregularities. In the meantime, an electoral term was extended from 5 to 7 years, after the president’s party had won 91 of the 114 seats. It is said that “he ruled the country with an iron fist for 24 years.”

Guinea’s immense riches have attracted the major mining companies from different countries: AngloGold Ashanti (from South Africa), Billiton (the world’s largest mining company, from Australia – since 2006, Billiton is also conducting bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri, with “the exclusive rights to negotiate a mining agreement with the government” at the end of their study, and there is also a Billiton Petroleum office in Phnom Penh), Global Alumina (from the USA), Rio Tinto (UK and Australia), and RusAl (from Russia). Some pictures show how the bauxite is collected by big machines, and then transported to be shipped out of the country. A major contractor on the Guinean side says:

“In collaboration with the Government and people of Guinea, Guinea Alumina Corporation will develop a world class alumina business that provides value to shareholders, sustained economic and social benefits to the people of Guinea, and a quality supply of alumina to the world.”

But in spite of such lofty declarations and the riches of the country, Guinea is listed in position 202 when comparing the per capita income in different countries – lower than Cambodia. Cambodia is in position 180 on the same list of 225 countries.

A lack of transparency about how “the people of Guinea” benefit from these riches, compared to the share taken by the international companies, led to dissatisfaction, accusations of high level corruption, and strikes in 2006 and 2007, and violent protests.

When Captain Moussa Dadis Camara declared himself president and suspended the constitution, he stated as the justification the mismanagement and corruption of the former government. He created a 32-member National Council for Democracy and Development – replacing the ministers with 26 military officers and 6 civilians – and promised to hold elections in two years. There had been tensions in the military since several months, when younger officers had expressed their opposition to the corrupt practices of some of the higher level officers.

During the coup nobody was arrested, but the members of government were dismissed, as well as 22 generals close to the former political powers. It is reported that Captain Moussa Dadis Camara met with politicians, religious leaders, trade union representatives, and members of civil society, declaring that the main motive for taking power is to fight corruption and to secure the interests of the country: all contracts with international companies, which had invested billions of dollars, will be canceled for review, to root out corruption; whoever has misappropriated state assets or personally benefited from public resources will be punished.

The international reaction? A voice representing the international companies said: “It is very likely that the new regime may seek to extort monies from current operators and prospectors and that a new democratic regime may try to impose heavier royalties and taxes,” even calling it “extortionary pressure” if the new government would try to negotiate more balanced agreements about their own resources being sold abroad.

It is interesting that voices from the international community, which had not questioned the corruption involved in the arrangements of “exporting” the mineral wealth of the country without transparency and without benefits for the people, is now raising mainly the concern about having violated the results of the electoral system of the country.

It is remarkable, however, that President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, one of the neighboring countries, is calling to recognize and to support the new government, because of its positive goals.



Considering this history of Guinea – allegations of corruption based on bad governance and misuse of resources, which finally led to an effort for a radical new beginning – it is appropriate to remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly spoken about his concerns of a similar situation for Cambodia: growing dissatisfaction by people who do not see that the society provides them justice, who might resort to attempts to bring about a radical change. On the other hand, he has also raised concerns that people who see their chances of illegal enrichment too much controlled by the government might attempt to grab power in order to exercise their greed without restraint. These statements shall not be forgotten.

In 1999, the Prime Minister had said: “Should we not manage the land issue in a good manner, we might have to face a farmers’ revolution.” He mentioned this again in 2004, addressing the National Forum on Land Management in the presence of national and international representatives.

In 2002, opening the Consultative Group Meeting between representatives of the Cambodian Government and representatives of cooperating countries and international institutions, he said:

“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 the government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti -Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In February 2007, the Chinese People’s Daily Online quoted the Cambodian Prime Minister:

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop… The land grabbers are not simple people, they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

What happened in Guinea should not happen in Cambodia. The political action necessary has been pointed out by the Prime Minister clearly enough.

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The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has to Open Access to Information Broadly – Monday, 22.12.2008

Posted on 23 December 2008. Filed under: Week 592 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 592

“To be a model for the world, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, created by the Phnom Penh government and by the United Nations, should have a broader access to information, or make it at least comparable to the tribunal, supported by the United Nations which convicted the initiator of the genocide in Rwanda.

“Early last week, some civil society organizations, observing the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, had presented strong recommendations, asking for open and broad access to information at this tribunal, emphasizing, ‘The public should be aware of the progress of the confidential investigations carried out by the tribunal.’

“This recommendation, one among four recommendations presented by civil society organizations, including the Cambodian Defenders Project, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC, the Khmer Institute for Democracy, the Cambodian Justice Initiative (which is a section of the Social Justice Initiative), is said to help improve the potential of the tribunal.

“The civil society organizations said, ‘The fact that the accused are still in custody during the investigation processes results in a demand for public information about the status of the investigation processes.’

“This statement added, ‘If the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have to provide positive examples for the judicial system in Cambodia, this court has to guarantee transparency immediately, and strengthen the involvement and discussion with different non-government organizations again.

“Other recommendations relate to the monitoring by the United Nations side of the court, by the UN law office which brings the leaders of both side, Cambodia and the United Nations, together at the administration of this court, and finally, pointing to the important role of donors for the management of the funds provided to the court.

“The head of the Public Affairs Office at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Ms. Helen Jarvis, said that recently, the court conducted two events published through television, about the decisions of two hearings of the court and also a joint statement by the co-prosecutors was issued.

“She added, ‘It is absolutely surprising that they talked about a lack of transparency.’

“The coordinator of the Cambodian Justice Initiative, Mr. Long Panhavuth, said that the long process of investigations by the tribunal make the publics tired, as it is still not possible to predict what the court really continues to do, especially when the rest of the hearings will start.

“Mr. Long Panhavuth asked, ‘How many witnesses have the co-prosecutors interviewed during this month? How many times did the investigators travel to investigate something at other places during this month? The publics want to know these things.’

“’A good experience for Khmer compatriots and for the Khmer Tribunal will be the trial of the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, early in 2009. We would like to show the activities of a tribunal supported by the United Nations that convicted a man, who is accused to be the initiator of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which led to the killing of around 800,000 people, to spend the rest of his life in prison.’

“On Thursday, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda – ICTR – announced that Théoneste Bagosora was convicted for ‘genocide, crimes against humanity, and for war crimes.’

“If the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is really independent, we believe that information about the different investigations by the co-prosecutors and by the co-judges should not be hidden further, but it must be rather be broadly open, so that the public can know it.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.309, #, 21-23.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 December 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1826, 21-22.12.2008

  • The Co-prosecutors Rejected a Request to Release Khiev Samphan [a former Khmer Rouge leader out on bail, on the grounds that his lawyer’s request is against legal procedures of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Bird Flu Patient [from Kandal] Recovers and Leaves Calmette Hospital
  • North Korea Accused South Korea of Sending an Agent to Assassinate [North Korean President] Mr. Kim Jong Il
  • South Korea Withdraws All Troops from Iraq
  • Medals Sent to US FBI and IRS Agents Who Helped Cambodia to Break the ‘Cambodian Freedom Fighters’ Case
  •  

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #309, 21-23.12.2008

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has to Open Access to Information Broadly
  • [Phnom Penh governor] Kep Chuktema Is More Powerful Than the Court – He Dares to Pardon Vang Sreyno [a well-known film star, who caused an accident, damaging the lion statue at Samdech Preah Sanghareach Chuon Nath Memorial, but sent a letter of apology to the municipal governor]

 
Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #164, 21-22.12.2008

  • Minority Tribespeople Burnt Machinery of the Khov Chily Company after One-Week of Protests Failed [against land clearance of tribal land by the company – Bousra commune, Pechr Chenda, Mondolkiri]
  • The Municipality Will Receive a Loan for the Phnom Penh Municipality [for public lighting in the city – according to Governor Kep Chuktema who just returned from France]
  • The 53rd Anniversary That Cambodia Became a Member of the United Nations Will Be Celebrated This Morning [21 December 2008]
     

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6531, 22.12.2008

  • A Journalist [of a not well-known newspaper, Kampuchea Pachobon] Was Arrested for Being Involved in Gold Shop Robberies in Pursat, Disgracing Other Journalists
  • The Proposed Composition of the Thai Government Was Accepted by the King; [Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Government Has 36 Members
  • The United States of America Will Send 30,000 More Troops to Afghanistan

 
Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1393, 22.12.2008

  • A Chinese Man, Who Cruelly Kidnapped a Chinese Woman in Central Phnom Penh, Was Subdued [the woman was injured because the kidnapper stabbed her cheek]

 
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4774, 21-22.12.2008

  • Journalists in the Asia Pacific Region Request Governments, Journalists Organizations, and Other Relevant Bodies to Care about Their Safety [from 1996 to 2008, there were more than 1,400 journalists worldwide murdered, where at least 125 of them died in the Asia Pacific Region – according to a two-day meeting of journalists in Jakarta, Indonesia]
  • In Cambodia, a Frog Species Was Found with Green Blood and with Dark Blue Bones, Phnom Kravanh Mountain Region [according to Fauna and Flora International]
  • A Car Hit a Truck from Behind, Decapitating the Car Driver and the Head Fell on the Ground [Pursat]
    Scanner “Multibarette 64” [a heart scanner which costs nearly US$1.5 million] Installed at the Calmette Hospital
  • Cambodia and the United States of America Announce to Continue Cooperation Between Their Law Enforcement Forces

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

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Monday, 26.5.2008: More Korean Volunteers Have Arrived in Cambodia

Posted on 27 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: Fourteen new Korean volunteers, among them seven women, were sent to work in Cambodia. Nine of the fourteen volunteers arrived Cambodia on 21 May 2008, and five more volunteers will arrive on 26 May 2008. They will actively function assisting in the fields of human resources development in different institutions of the Royal Government of Cambodia for a period of two years from 2008 to 2010.

“According to an announcement by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA] for the year 2008, the group of these fourteen volunteers is the first new group to be sent to Cambodia to fulfill duties in various fields – such as health, arts, Korean language, tourism, sports, electricity, and information technology. The institutions, which have asked for volunteers, are the Calmette Hospital and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Phnom Penh, primary schools in Kratie and Pursat, professional training centers in Kompong Cham and Siem Reap, the National University of Management in Battambang, the Kompong Chhnang Referral Hospital, and the National Institutes of Education of Kompong Cham and Siem Reap.

“The Korean Volunteer Program is a program of the Republic of Korea to send Korean volunteers for cooperation in other countries to share and exchange different experiences for social and economic development. Since the creation of the Korean Volunteer Program in Cambodia in 2003, the total number of Korean volunteers has been 144, and they have been sent to Cambodia to work in various fields, such as health education, rural development, and the development of information technology, arts, agriculture, and tourism. With their skills and their commitment, all the fourteen new volunteers, as well as other volunteers who are already actively working in Cambodia [click for an example from 2007], are playing very important roles in contributing in programs and in assistance from the Republic of Korea to develop the Cambodian economy and society through the exchange and the improvement of human resources and other assistance from the Republic of Korea. This will strengthens the relations between both countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4598, 25-26.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 May 2008


Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #106, 25.5.2008

  • The Government, Students, and Civil Society React against Siem [Thailand] Which Wants to Take the Preah Vihear Temple [after the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on 23 May 2008 suggesting to jointly administer the Preah Vihear temple with Cambodia]
  • Director of Human Rights Watch Mr. Brad Adams Considers the Confiscation of The Burma Daily by the Government to Be a Shame
  • Dispute in the Center for Social Development [with Ms. Seng Theary as director] and the Corruption in the Cambodia Defenders Project [with Mr. Sok Samoeun as director] Is Like Giving a Sword to Officials of the Cambodians People’s Party to Use It as Their Tool


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1650, 25-26.5.2008

  • Burma Allows Foreign Relief Groups to Help the Tropical Cyclone Victims [on Friday]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #583, 26.5.2008

  • [Norodom Ranariddh Party president] Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh: It Is Dishonest Politics that Hun Sen Uses 39 Radio Stations Alone to Attack Other Parties


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6354, 26.5.2008

  • Khiev Samphan [the former Khmer Rouge leader] Is in an Unclear Health Condition Which Doctors Monitor Carefully
  • Guard [Mr. Van Vin, 43] of the ‘Land of the Disabled’ Was Attacked at Night with a Grenade in Veal Thom Village [wounding a man staying in his house – Phnom Sruoch, Kompong Speu]
  • Details of the Construction of the Satellite City “Grand Phnom Penh” Show that Two Companies [the YLP Group of Cambodia and the Ciputra Group of Indonesia] Cooperate to Provide Luxury Living in Cambodia


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3469, 26.5.2008

  • More Than 40,000 Minority Tribespeople Made Thumbprints to Ask for the Removal of Lay Sokha and Keo Horn from the Positions of Mondolkiri Governor and Deputy Governor


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4598, 25-26.5.2008

  • More Korean Volunteers Have Arrived in Cambodia
  • [Former Thai prime minister] Thaksin Met Samdech Hun Sen and Suggested [on 23 May 2008] a New City Construction Project Worth Thousands of Millions of Dollars in Koh Kong [according to Mr. Hun Sen’s advisor Mr. Ieng Sophalet who informed Raksmei Kampuchea]
  • The Documentation Center of Cambodia Cooperates [with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center] to Create a New Website – http://www.cambodiatribunal.org – for Observing the Progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Children of a Chinese Man Are Not Very Happy, because the Director of the Department of Education, Youth, and Sport of Kompong Thom [Mr. Su Kimtry, who is now 59 years old – and teachers are required to normally retire at the age of 60] Postpones His Retirement for Five Years [on his own request]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and China

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