The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing – Monday, 21.6.2010

Posted on 23 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Observers said that the sharp increase in the number of Cambodian migrant workers creates more problems for officials fighting against human trafficking. According to the report of the US Department of State released last week, Cambodia carried out positive measures last year to fight human trafficking, but some people called for attention to the fact that workers migrating to foreign countries for better job opportunities are also facing more problems.

“A legal advisor of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Mr. Manfred Hornung, said that his team has worked with about 60 migrant workers who had been trafficked and then sent back to Cambodia during the last 18 months. He said, ‘They experienced dangerous situations after they had fallen into trafficking.’

“He added that they tell similar stories. Because there are less job opportunities in the country, many workers were lured by local merchants with the promise to find them well-paid jobs in Thailand. They were then trafficked across the border. Before they were sold to work on fishing boats, they were locked up in guesthouses. When they started to understand what had happened, it was already too late.

“Mr. Hornung said, ‘Those workers were almost like slaves. Many of them said that they worked under difficult working condition, where some were even beaten and killed.’ He added, ‘In many cases, they experienced the bad fate of trafficked male migrant people, whose labor is being exploited.’

“An obvious difficulty is not to have an accurate number of people who fell into such exploitation. The World Bank estimates that there are about 350,000 Cambodian migrant workers abroad. Observers who work with the problems of migrant workers said that there is also a large number of unreported workers working abroad.

“Mr. Hornung added that the International Labor Organizations [ILO] estimates that between 250,000 to 300,000 young citizens of Cambodia want to enter the job market every year. If there is a shortage of jobs in the country, some of these young citizens are forced to seek jobs in foreign countries.

“The head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Bit Kimhong, recognized that many citizens are being trafficked into forced labor in different countries. But he said that the authorities are stepping up legal measures. He said, ‘The government created its strategies for 2010 to investigate border crossing crimes.’

“The human trafficking report of the US Department of State released last week shows that the number of prosecutions against perpetrators of human trafficking increased compared to before, so that Cambodia was removed from the Tier 2 Watch List of countries that are being assessed in their combat against human trafficking, which is not yet sufficient. From thirty six reported convictions, only one was not for sexual trafficking, which shows that there was not much done against labor related trafficking.

“The report says, ‘The trafficking of Cambodian citizens abroad increases and it needs to receive more attention from the authorities during the next years.’ It adds, ‘While there are more reports about Cambodian migrant workers who become victims due to trafficking, resulting from the exploitation of their labor in different countries, the government hardly prosecutes criminals and those companies which select workers involved in the trafficking of laborers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 21 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #509, 20-21.6.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People in Ratanakiri Criticized the Authorities for Unfairly Distributing Donations [like money, paddy rice seeds, rice, fertilizer, or vegetables; the poor people did not receive donations, but only families with medium livelihood conditions received donations]
  • President Obama Asked Burma to Release [Burmese elected leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2280, 20-21.6.2010

  • Within Half an Hour, There Were Two Traffic Accidents in the Meanchey District, Killing Two People and Injuring Three Others [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #686, 20-21.6.2010

  • Khmer Journalists Need More Training to Write Investigating Information [to write such information, journalists have to investigate to collect strong evidence to support their conclusions]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6987, 21.6.2010

  • Diarrhea Raged in the Northeast: During Three Months, 902 People Were Treated Timely and 23 Others Died in Ratanakiri

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3911, 21.6.2010

  • Does [Phnom Penh Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Not Dare to Use Violence to Evict Yuons [Vietnamese] Living along the River in the Niroth Commune [Meanchey district, Phnom Penh] as He Did to Khmer Citizens Living in Temporary Shelters? [no details about the evicted Cambodians given, but in this case, the authorities ordered 70 Vietnamese fisher families living along the riverbank to move; now observers wait to see how the authorities will enforce it]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #197, 197.6.2010

  • The Number of Cambodian Migrant Workers Is Increasing
  • Fifty Two Cambodian Deminers Left to Sudan Last Night [20 June 2010] [under the auspices of the United Nations]
  • More Than 400 [illegal] Khmer Workers Were Arrested by the Thai Authorities [late last week]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5229, 20-21.6.2010

  • The Khmer Authorities Prohibit Farmers from Doing Cultivation on the Fields Next to the Temporary Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [while experts are doing the demarcation]
  • There Will Be a Military Exercise with More Than 1,000 Soldiers from [23] Different Countries in Cambodia in July 2010

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

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

Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam – Tuesday, 17.11.2009

Posted on 19 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue for some days, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and then traveling back to Phnom Penh. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“According to a broadcast of a radio station based in Washington D.C. in the United States yesterday, about strong illegal logging of luxury wood in protected forested areas in a national park in Ratanakiri, bordering on Yuon [Vietnam], carried out by merchants colluding with some persons in the local authorities, an official, who asked not to be named, claimed there is collusion to open a Khmer-Yuon [Cambodian-Vietnamese] border crossing illegally to export luxury wood from Cambodia to be sold to Yuon merchants.

“According to this source, a Ratanakiri official, anonymly spoke about collusion to open an international crossing between the Ou Ya Dav district in Cambodia and a province’s district on the Yuon [Vietnamese] side of the border, during the first six months of 2009, leading to estimation that over 400 trucks transported trees, cut the Khmer natural forest, were transported by merchants and illegal business networks, to be sold to Yuon merchants who wait at the border.

“As an example of continuing loggings of luxury wood, a case was mentioned where merchants hired villagers to cut trees in Taveng district in Ratanakiri.

“The Phav village chief in Taveng Krom commune, Taveng district, Mr. Pel Hin, was quoted as saying that he noticed that merchants came to villages and hired poor villagers to cut valuable trees in the forest, and they then bought them from villagers. The village chief expressed concern about forest destruction, forests being resources of the state, and that the destruction might spread to the Vireakchey National Park, established by Royal Decree at the Kantuy Neak [dragon tail] region, bordering on Laos and on Yuon.

“The village chief said, ‘I am really concerned. When I attended some meetings, I told the meetings that there are companies buying and selling wood in my village.’

“The secretary of thhe Taveng Krom commune, Mr. Boeung, recognized that there are illegal loggings and then the transport of luxury wood, but he claimed that this had happened only during the last few months. He said, ‘I saw much luxury wood at Taveng Krom commune brought from Taveng Leu commune. Merchants brought it here to sell it.’

“The Taveng district’s military police chief, Mr. Keo Vichet, expressed regrets, as he has very few forces, and therefore he does not know such cases.

“However, according to direct monitoring by Radio Free Asia late last week in Phav village about illegal wood transactions, workers were seen transporting luxury wood; some had 10 cm by 15 cm width bars, 1 meter long, being transported from the village to the river, to be loaded in motor boats of merchants for exports.

“A worker said that he was hired by a local Chinese merchant in Vern Sai district, Nhok Thong, an illegal luxury wood merchant who hires poor villagers to enter to cut trees in the forest.

“The Taveng district governor, Mr. Kim Toeu, recognized that there are illegal wood businesses.

“Regarding this issue, Taveng Forestry Administration official in Ratanakiri recognized that there are such activities, involving merchants and some evil officials. He said about the loss of trees, ‘As for the activities and crimes in any specific district, those districts have to be responsible respectively.’

“Poor villagers from different villages, like Sieng Soy, Taveng Leu, Dambouk villages… have been contacted by merchants who have relations with some evil officials, using money to hire them to cut valuable trees in the forest and sell them to those merchants who go to buy trees in villages, such illegal activities happened repeatedly during recent months, as they are not afraid of the law.

“Those sources said also that many cubic meters of luxury wood were found, piled up at many places in areas near the Yuon border, in order to facilitate the transport in order to sell the wood to Yuon merchants who wait near the border crossing.

“The official of the province, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying that the illegal transport of wood is most actively done during the night. According to his estimation since June 2009, the luxury wood cut by hired poor villagers was loaded onto more than 400 trucks, to be transported for sale to Yuon merchants.

“They cannot understand why forest crimes destroying state resources still exist, even though Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised in 2001, with words like swearing an oath, that he would give up leading the government, if his government was not able to crack down on illegal logging and illegal transport starting from 1 January 2002.

“This seems difficult to understand, and observers notice that even Oknha Try Pheap, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, had been frequently accused by people in communities at different provinces, such as Pursat, of hiring poor people to cut valuable trees to be transported and sold to merchants from outside of the country.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #338, 17.11.2009

  • The Head of the Government Shook Hands for the First Time with President Obama in Singapore [both leaders agreed to intensify relations in order to promote economic and social development in Cambodia]
  • China Has Invested More Than US$6 Billion in Cambodia within 15 Years

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2100, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Troops at the Border Move towards Friendship [Thai army commanders had told the Khmer army commanders that they will be seek confrontation with the Cambodian troops]
  • Cambodia Has Received Investments Amounting to More Than US$1.5 Billion from Vietnam [in aviation, banking, oil, gas, agriculture, and tourism – according to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Tram Bac Ha]
  • UN Commissioner [Dr. Nafis Sadis]: Other Countries Should Learn from Cambodia about the Fight against AIDS [Cambodia reduced the occurence of AIDS from 2% in 1998 to 0.9% in 2006]
  • ASEAN-US Ties Become Closer with the Historic Summit [the USA promised to step up its cooperation with ASEAN, described as one of its important partners, to promote peace and security in the region]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #676, 17.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Fly from India to Cambodia on 19 October 2009 Crossing Siamese [Thai] Airspace, while Bangkok Prepared to Arrest Him

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

  • Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam
  • Protesters against the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [by 24 Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians and supporters] Marched in Front of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Residence [in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Considers Dissolving the Parliament to Hold New Elections while Yellow Shirt Demonstrators Are Accusing Thaksin Shinawatra as a Traitor, Selling National Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6807, 17.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Suspended Mr. Sam Rainsy Immunity over the Removal of Border Markers at Chantrea District [in Svay Rieng]
  • A M79 Shell Exploded among Yellow Shirt Demonstrators [government supporters], Injuring Twelve People [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #47, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodia Allowed a Thai Official to Meet the [Thai] Man Accused of Spying [by copying documents about the flight schedules of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be sent to Thailand] while There Is Still No Solution for the Diplomatic Disputes
  • Mr. Obama Stated that the United State and China Do Not Need to Be Adversaries [during their political history, they had been, but then got on with each other. They got on in some sectors, but not in all]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5049, 17.11.2009

  • Thailand Rejected Indonesia’s Role to Solve the Dispute with Cambodia
  • Cambodia Is Worried about Khmer Workers in Thailand, but the Thai Ambassador Said that There Is No Problem
  • Mr. Obama Encouraged Myanmar to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

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

Back to top

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

The American Export-Import Bank Provides Financing for Products Being Exported from America to Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.10.2009

Posted on 29 October 2009. Filed under: Week 636 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 636

“Phnom Penh: The American Export-Import Bank of the United States of America announced on 27 October that it will provide financing for the purchase of products from the United States of America to buyers in the private sector in Cambodia, with the condition that the payments back have to be done within a period of seven years.

“This announcement follows a statement by US President Obama from June 2009, saying that Cambodia and Laos were no longer considered as countries following the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, referenced in section 2(b)(2B)(i) of the 1945 law about the American Export-Import Bank, which was amended. Before the decision of the president, the American Export-Import Bank was not allowed to provide any financing related to Cambodia because of this ban. The chairman and president of the American Export-Import Bank, Mr. Fred P. Hochberg, said, ‘President Obama opened a broader way for American companies that export products to Cambodia, and the Export-Import Bank is ready to help those companies. We are glad to announce that our bank will consider to provide short and medium terms financing for buyers of American products in the private sector of the expanding Asian market.’

“Different US agencies, including the American Export-Import Bank, have cooperated with other related agencies to check and assess the business hazards in Cambodia and in Laos, and they assessed also the hazards of doing business with the private sector in Cambodia. Laos remains under observation, and the American Export-Import Bank has not yet been involved in Laos, except for some financial operators, until the assessments finish.

“The American Export-Import Bank operates in Cambodia in the private sector only, to provide short term financing (to be paid back within one year), and medium term financing (to be paid back within seven years) for products exported from the USA. The assistance of the American Export-Import Bank for access to markets is limited to only business operators with commercial banks as legal guarantors. However, the American Export-Import Bank will consider business operations without the involvement of a bank as special cases.

“The American Export-Import Bank might consider also offering financing of products exported from the USA to buyers in the private sector in Cambodia with longer terms under clearly defined conditions. For instance, businesses which can receive financing are financial operations which are organized properly to seek income in foreign countries and have assets in bank accounts which the American Export-Import Bank recognizes, and have income from rent or things mortgaged, or a financing structure to handle goods, like commercial airplanes made in the USA.”As for the funds in 2009, after their financial year that came to an end on 30 September 2009, the amount of money that the American Export-Import Bank approved for financing to assist in the export of goods from the United States, amounts to more than US$21 billion.

“The American Export-Import Bank is the official agency that provides export credits from the USA. This independent and autonomously operating agency within the framework of the the US federal government, now 75 years old, helps to create and to support employment in the USA by providing export financing for US products, especially to new markets around the world, by offering guarantees for export credit and for direct loans.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2083, 28.10.2009

.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1417, 28-29.10.2009

  • Cambodia Becomes a Member of the World Heritage Committee

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #322, 28.10.2009

  • The Prime Minister Will Leave to Attend the Japan-Mekong Cooperation Meeting [from 6 to 7 November 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2083, 28.10.2009

  • The American Export-Import Bank Provides Financing for Products Being Exported from America to Cambodia
  • An Accident Surprised Phnom Penh as Two Military Officials Used Their Guns to Intervene to Release the Driver of the Car which Had Caused an Accident [finally, they were all arrested]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #518, 28.10.2009

  • The Prime Minister Ordered [the Meanchey district governor] to Sue a Female Gang Leader [who had been involved in a shootout] and Warned to Demote a Lieutenant General Who Had Intervened

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6790, 28.10.2009

  • The Thai Government Deployed Forces to Guard the Cambodian Embassy, as Siamese [Thai] Extremists Demonstrated against [the Cambodian] Support for [the Thai ousted and convicted former prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra
  • [Five] Crematoriums in the City Were Closed, as a Crematorium Outside of the City Was Opened [at Dangkao district, Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #35, 28.10.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned to Dismiss Any Official Who Protects Juvenile Gang Members

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5032, 28.10.2009

  • A Foreign Company [Green Cameco, jointly managed by Korea and Australia] Plans to Build A Sky Train in Phnom Penh [from 2011 to 2014, 39 km, worth US$3.6 billion, and also a solar energy power plant – according to a meeting between Green Cameco and the Ministry of Economy and Finance]

.

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

Back to top

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

Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey – Monday, 26.1.2009

Posted on 27 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“In September 2008, the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, began a survey called So we will never forget – A Population-based survey on attitudes about social reconstruction – and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [Researchers/authors: Mychelle Balthazard, Sokhom Hean, Phuong Pham, Eric Stover, Patrick Vinck]. The results of this survey were released to the [Cambodian] public on 21 January 2009 at the Sunway Hotel, in a meeting organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – CHRAC. the methodology was a systematic random sampling , made according to general technical standard systems to survey people. In the survey, researchers randomly selected 125 communes out of the existing 1,621. This selection was done proportionately to population size at the communes. After that, the researchers randomly selected 250 villages countrywide from these communes. There were four randomly selected families in each village and one member of each family was randomly selected. As a result, the researches had 1,000 selected respondents from all places around Cambodia. Data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

“Each survey in Cambodia encounteres many obstacles. A major obstacle that should be considered is that it is most difficult to solve what is a clear selection of respondents, to ensure that there is no partiality and that results of the survey reflect the actual reality in the society. There are many factors in the survey of the above Human Rights Center that needed to be solved. The first aspect is that Cambodia has a patriarchal social structure, and there are many big differences between the various groups of people. There are big gaps between the rich and the poor, the highly-educated people and those who are illiterate, between the city residents and the people in rural areas (the differences between these pairs of groups have many consequences, such as the understanding of society, different living standards, differences in education, population density, and different ways of life …). As a result, it is very difficult to clearly conclude how the researchers defined who is a ‘general Khmer citizens,’ because in Cambodia there are many differences between different communities, and there are many ethnic groups. The survey aimed to study the opinions of all Cambodian people, but to explain who all the Cambodian people are is difficult. Nevertheless, the methodology to select respondents by the Human Rights Center was thoroughly conducted by studying previous surveys of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, and it included scientific research methodology. However, we have to suggest that we have to conduct surveys for each group separately rather than for the whole Cambodian people. Doing so allows us to know well to what extent each group of people knows about the Khmer Rouge regime and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If we would get such information, we would find it easy to create outreach programs for the villages to educate the people there further.

“The second point relates to the population density in each province. If we conduct surveys by randomly selecting villages and communes without thinking about population density, we will get partial towards provinces with a small density. The above survey of the Human Right Center uses a selection of villages and communes which is proportionate to the population size of the different provinces. This factor is important to note in the above survey.

“The third point is that a survey has to consider the theory of the environment of the people [related to a center] which states that when people live farther away from populated areas, their knowledge regarding the social situation drops. According to this theory, the population density is divided into three main sections: the core section, the middle section, and the outer section. In general, people living in the core section are highly educated, rich, and knowledgeable in many social skills, and they influence people living in the middle and the outer sections. There are many reasons for these results. The first reason is infrastructure: where generally people in the outer sections find it hard to connect to the core sections, because of many reasons, such as damaged roads and lack of travel facilities. The second reason is communication, which affects the mentality of people living in the outer section, because they do not of have access to television, newspapers, and radio. However, at present, the Cambodian economy is growing and people in the core, middle, and outer sections get closer to one another little by little, narrowing the gap of the mentality of the three sections of people.

“The fourth point relates to the selection of respondents so that those chosen obviously represent Cambodian people. Respondents of the survey of the Human Rights Center of the University of California were at the age of 39.8 on average, and the number of men and women were equal. 69% of the respondents lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and the rest of 31% said that they were born after the Khmer Rouge regime. But according to statistic of the National Statistical Institute, 68% of Khmer citizens are 29 or under. Therefore, the other 32% have spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This different handling of the statistics might be partial towards those who spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This partiality might affect different responses quite a lot, especially related to the status of being a victim, the understanding of the Khmer Rouge regime, and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, reconciliation, and compensation.

“Fifth, the Human Rights Center of the University of California recognized that one shortage of this survey is the problem of not meeting respondents that had already been selected through the random selection methodology. The report of the survey said that 147 families were identified and replaced by other families, because nobody was at home (76%), families refused to give responses (5%), and other reasons (19%). Moreover, more than 297 respondents were selected and then exchanged because they were not at home when the researchers went to interview them (85%). Those replacements strongly affected the random selection. One reason is that those who stayed back could not express their interests, social class, and knowledge. Those who went to work outside might be members of families with more strenuous labor and knowledge than members of families staying home. Therefore, researchers could have received the information that Khmer citizens are not much interested in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal or do not know this court.

“The above points are major points of that the Human Rights Center of the University of California studied, and what different organizations that intend to conduct surveys should consider. Furthermore, other obstacles, such as the interpretation of questions from English to Khmer, and different views between researchers and respondents regarding important ideas such as reconciliation, remembrance, what is a victim, who is a perpetrator, what is the understanding of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and regime. The last point that all researchers should also be aware of, is that people’s opinions are influenced by different events at villages and by outside happenings. This is a reason which creates gaps between previous and future results. Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 January 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #38, 26-1.1.2009

  • Military Officials of the Ministry of Defense Who Retired Demand the Government to Release Their Salaries [more than 6,000 military persons were retired since April 2008, but so far, they have not received their pensions]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1856, 25-26.1.2009

  • Ke Kim Yan Had Tears in His Eyes during a Ceremony to Change Assignments [he said that already six months earlier he had asked Prime Minister Hun to retire from his position of the commander-in-chef of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces because of ill health]
  • Nearly 2,000 [garment] Workers of the LA Factory Strike because Their Boss Has Not Released Their Salaries for Two Months [Phnom Penh]
  • Lim Marachit, a Khmer in the United States of America, Found a Pesticide to Kill “Banla Yuon” Plant [phonetic – probably Water hyacinth? – also known as Ouyas [phonetic] – this plant grows in rivers and affects natural fish breeding] before Returning to Cambodia

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #191, 25.1.2009

  • Human Rights Groups Condemn the Authorities That Used Armed Forces and Machinery to Destroy the Houses and Evict the Dey Krahom Residents [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Features of Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Threats of the Financial Crisis [30% of construction plans with millions of dollars of planned investment were suspended or canceled, the garment export dropped by 2% in 2008, and the number of tourists from the United States of America and Europe declined by 39%]
  • Cambodia Takes Up Tourists from Russia and from Kuwait as a New Tourism Destination
  • The New Market Inaugurated Repairing Site [Phnom Penh]
  • Mr. Obama Orders to Completely Close the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6561, 26.1.2009

  • Solving Border Disputes: The Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Foreign Affairs Will Meet to Discuss Today
  • Eighteen Trainees [from state institutions] Receive Certificates as Spokespersons for the First Time
  • Districts of Provincial Towns Are Changed into Cities, and Three Big Cities Were Changed into Provinces [three cities, equal to t former districts, are Poipet City in Banteay Meanchey, Suong City in Kompong Cham, and Bavet City in Prey Svay Rieng, and the three big cities that are changed into provinces are Kep, Sihanoukville, and Pailin]
  • [Ousted former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Announced His Commitment to Struggle in Thai Politics Forever [statememt on opposition TV channel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

  • Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey
  • Two Cambodian Students Won a Law Competition [in Cambodia] and Will Join an International Competition in the United States of America

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

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

Challenging Times – What Kind of Change to Come? – Sunday, 25.1.2009

Posted on 26 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Would you like easy access to the editions of The Mirror directly by e-mail, and keep them on your harddisk? Or have a “newsfeed”? You can “subscribe” for free!

Click on Subscribe to The Mirror (not here, but on the blue letters to the right of the text, underneath Have a look at last week’s editorial and Previous editorials). You are offered several possibilities to select from. If you do not have any other preferences, we recommend:

Get The Mirror delivered by e-mail

And follow the questions.
.

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

On 20 January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, change started to come. Never before had so many people around the world be able, through TV and the Internet, to participate form afar – never before was also so much interest expressed, in the new presidency of this country by a crowd of more than a million people in Washington, and many more around the globe.

To refer here to these events may be an occasion to remember the years of Administrative Reform and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia, and the efforts to see spokespersons authorized in the different sections of the Cambodian administration, so that the Cambodian public will not have to read, time and again, that one official refers an inquiry to the next, and the next does not have time to speak to a journalist. And the public, the people – “The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution – are not informed what is being done and why – even in such important situations that they trusted the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for many years, and now he is no more there, and the population – civilian and in uniform – does not know why they should withdraw the confidence they had held for many years.

During the long and difficult election campaign, there had been different slogans leading to the inauguration, becoming more and more specific: “Hope and change” – “Hope is not enough” – “Change you can believe in” – not only believe in, but real “Change we need.” And change started to happen. First of all there is an openness for communication, through the media, to the people. It was reported that the new president visited the White House media quarters and press office – places that the former president is said to have avoided – because there, people ask questions and expect clear answers.

When the new president signed some executive orders in front of TV cameras, before he signed them, he read parts of them and explaining what is meant, for the public to understand. And it was announced that e-mail alerts and Internet blogs would be used for “timely and in-depth content” about the administration’s policies:

“The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. We will publish all non-emergency legislation to the Web site for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

And in terms not only of changed style, but also of content, the president made some fundamental policy declarations in his inaugural address:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

One cannot but remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen had made similar declarations in relation to the ongoing violence by the rich or on behalf of the powerful, when he had said already in 2002:

“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. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti-Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In December 2005, the Prime Minister had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

And – interestingly enough – it was the Chinese People’s Daily Online which reported on 13 February 2007 the concerns of the Cambodian Prime Minister (we missed to see this reported in the local press):

“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, and 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.”

We do not have an explanation for what is happening now – in spite of these words.

When the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch had raise critical question about many countries, including Cambodia, the leader of the Cambodian government’s Human Rights Commission is quoted to have quickly dismissed their statement, elaborated with 20 detailed documents, as “defaming the country with lies. – I refuse all of the accusations, they are just trying to make up things.”

Human Rights Watch had also criticized then USA. The new president’s executive orders to bring change to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and to the harsh interrogation methods, some of which the new attorney general – the US minister of justice – called torture, remove some of these accusations.

In the meantime, when people from 234 families, to be evicted from land, assured to them by a court order, were protesting, they where shot at – not by illegal private thugs hired by a company, but by members of a Military Police unit.

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009


Yesterday, on Saturday, the protracted negotiations – with residents of the Dey Krahom area in Phnom Penh, who claimed that the compensation offered to them for being removed 20 km away, with no school for their children, and no possibility to continue to earn a living like now, where they used to live since many years, are different from the original promise for new arrangements in place – came to an end. They were replaced by destruction and forced eviction.
The police and the people

The police and the people.


Teargas was used, and electric batons – their existence in Cambodia had frequently been denied by the authorities.
Teargas

Teargas


Electric baton

Electric baton


.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

This action was taken in support of the 7NG Group, the parent company of 7NG construction. The pictures of their website shows big villas on wide green lawns – housing for the few very rich. There website has even a section Code of Conduct. But when one clicks on it, it responds: “We are sorry… – This webpage is under construction.” Is it an irony, or is it just the truth that it shows two big construction machines at work?

dk-kb-grader
According to public discussion, neither the transfer of this public land – originally “3.60 hectares of social land concession granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to the seven Dey Krahom communities” – into private business use is procedurally and legally very transparent. Nor does the 7NG Group presented detailed plans for the commercial use of the land – except that it is for high class housing and maybe a shopping center – rumors in the absence of transparency. The Mirror has regularly reported information that the construction sector of the Cambodian economy is facing severe problems. The construction boom in Phnom Penh during the last years resulted in many high rise and high price buildings being constructed or being under construction, which now have to be scaled down or abandoned. But the 7NG company can go ahead?

Phnom Penh has not seen anything similar to what what President Obama could say to a new senator, who has dedicated herself to public, not high priced, housing:

“During her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

Where are the 7NG plans to be located in view of the warning, quoted by the Chinese international media? Are they among the group about which Prime Minister Hun Sen has “always appealed again and again to stop” – or is the Cambodian government maintaining the position nationally, which President Obama has denounced as wrong internationally: “that power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

The experience of many people to be marginalized and to be pushed further out, for the benefit of powerful and rich interests, will not help to build a human, peaceful, an just society. This is not how the hearts and minds of people can be won.
dk-kb-distressed
People close by were watching: Will they be next?
dk-np-whonext
.

[Pictures: courtesy of Karl Bille, LICADHO, Monika Nowaczyk, Nestle Poell G. Lagaya, Makenzi Travis]

Back to top

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

Websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia Also Sleep – Thursday, 22.1.2009

Posted on 23 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Would you like easy access to the editions of The Mirror directly by e-mail, and keep them on your harddisk? Or have a “newsfeed”? You can “subscribe” for free!

Click on Subscribe to The Mirror (not here, but on the blue letters to the right of the text, underneath Have a look at last week’s editorial and Previous editorials). You are offered several possibilities to select from. If you do not have any other preferences, we recommend:

Get The Mirror delivered by e-mail

And follow the questions.
.

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“After visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – and there was nothing specially new – I began to wonder whether the websites of other state institutions are also all numb or not.

Note:

From the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: ‘International Issues’ – the last entry is from 2003; for 2003, 2002 and 2001 there is only one item each. ‘Statements by H.E. Mr. HOR Namhong’ – up to February 2007. The icons of little flags of China, France, Japan, and South Korean seem to invite to read the documents in the language of these countries – but a click leads back to the English text – the target of the British flag icon. A Khmer language version does not exist.

“Therefore, I started to visit a website of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, which is an important state institution, especially it is tasked to attract investment to Cambodia. It was as disappointing as visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, and on another website, Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB) – Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), most information, except for laws, is out of date, which is not different from that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first website deals with investment, and the second one is related to foreign aid and meetings with donor countries. Both websites do not have information since 2007. [The first of the two sites displays an icon with the Japanese flag – and a click leads really to a Japanese version.]

“As for information about the gross domestic product [GDP], there are only figures for 2005; that means the GDP figures for the last three years, when Cambodia achieved double digit percentages of economic growth, are not published to the world through this website. What is ridiculous, is that the price of land in Phnom Penh, presented to investors, is just between US$357 and US$700 per square meter. Is this information useful for anything?

“In fact, this is very old information, because the price of land in Phnom Penh is now not under thousands of dollars, even though we are facing an economic crisis. The reason, why the Council for the Development of Cambodia publishes such cheap land prices is because those prices are from reports from 2006.

“How about looking for information about the political system on the website? New information related to the political system is also not provided. That means they still present previous information about the parliamentary election results of 2003, where the Cambodian People’s Party won 73 seats, Funcinpec won 26 seats, and the Sam Rainsy Party won 24 seats. Results of the elections in July 2008 are not found on this website. Therefore there is no information saying that the Cambodian People’s Party won 90 seats, the Sam Rainsy Party won 26 seats, the Human Rights Party of Kem Sokha won 3 seats, Funcinpec won 2 seats, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party won also 2 seats among the 124 seats of the National Assembly. As for information about the government, there is nothing; that is, no one knows about the Cambodian government led by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen. They only keep old information of many years ago, around 100 words in English. They do not present anything to the world about the political stability in Cambodia.

“The Council for the Development of Cambodia should know that political stability is a key factor which can attract foreign investors to invest in Cambodia. This omission is part of the failure to attract foreign investors to come to invest in Cambodia. The role of the Council for the Development of Cambodia is to present detailed information about Cambodia to the world, particularly information related to favorable factors for investment.

“If this website contains mostly unusable information, how can investors decide to invest in Cambodia? Moreover, publishing such information about investment on this website can also make the foreign press use it and publish it in their countries – so they use these figures of investments in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Looking at these investment figures, the press will analyze these data and publish wrong information to the world.

“What the Council for the Development of Cambodia and all state institutions have to know better is to provide information; information is a necessary factor for democratic and free market countries. Additional billions of dollars will flow to Cambodia, if investors receive sufficient information: that Cambodia has political stability and many other favorable factors for investment. They will not take a risk to invest in a country that they do not known well.

“It should be time that all state institutions wake up and catch up so that information technology will be benefiting as much as possible. A lazy Cambodia might be assessed wrongly when seeing such out-of-date information. They might think that those institutions do not do anything for the nation. Written by a citizen” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4801, 22.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #9, 22.1.2009

  • [Foreign] Co-Defense Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea Will Appear to Explain Their Corruption Complaint Today [at the Phnom Penh Primary Court]
  • Dey Krahom Residents Ask the Municipal Authorities to Provide between US$30,000 and US$100,000 to Each Family
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Asks the President of the Cambodian People’s Party to Keep the Renakse Hotel as a National Heritage

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1853, 22.1.2009

  • Obama Sworn in to Take His Office and Become the First Black US President
  • Municipal Traffic Police Complain that Money Provided by the Municipality Was Lost for Four Months [Riel 5 million, corresponding to approx. US$1,250, is provided to the Phnom Penh Traffic Police Office monthly, and each traffic police official receives Riel 10,000, corresponding to approx. US$2.50]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #328, 22.1.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen: If I Want to Break Up the Alliance between Both Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party], It Can Be Done Any Day

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #189, 22.1.2009

  • If It Keeps Working, It Is against the Punishment Imposed; therefore It Is Better to Close It [the Bopha Meas Clinic was closed by the Ministry of Health, after violating the ban for private hospitals to pick up and transport patients]
  • The Cambodian Government Adopts a Video Conferencing Program [using e-government technology for state meetings]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6558, 22.1.2009

  • A Teenage Boy and a Teenage Girl [of a group of ten teenagers] Are Arrested for Attacking another Student [one girl was hit until she fainted; all of them are high-school students – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3672, 22.1.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affair [Kasit Piromya] Will Come to Discuss Solutions for the Border Disputes with Cambodia This Weekend
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that the New US President Will Improve the Promotion of Democracy

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4801, 22.1.2009

  • Websites of the Council for the Development of Cambodia Also Sleep
  • Research Report [conducted from 9 September to 1 October 2008 by researchers from the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley and from the Treatment Committee] Found that only a Small Number of Khmer People Know and Follow he Processes of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • A Man Died and a Boy Is Seriously Injured because of Playing with Unexploded Ordnance [Pursat]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Do Not Allow the Building up of Military Activities against Each Other
  • The Minister of Health [Mr. Mam Bunheng] Appeals to Residents Living near the Vietnamese Border to Be Careful with Bird Flue

Samleng Yuweakwey, Vol.2, #6, 22-24.1.2009

  • Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [who have just been released on bail] Will Attend to Place Flowers for Chea Mony This Morning [the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who was murdered in 2004]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

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

Tuesday, 22.7.2008: In the First Six Months of 2008, There Were 3511 Traffic Accidents and 903 People Died

Posted on 23 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Phnom Penh: From year to year, there are more and more traffic accidents which led to an emergency alert about this catastrophe that is more devastating than AIDS and mines’ accidents. During the first six months of 2008, the total number of traffic accidents was 3,511 which killed 903 people; it increased 17%, compared to the same period of the first six month of 2007.

“According to a report from Lieutenant-Colonel Luy Chhin, who heads a road traffic office – General Trey Pho Khan of the Department of Public Order of the Ministry of Interior confirmed this report – which also Khmer Sthapana received on 21 July 2008, the number of traffic accidents of all the 24 provinces and towns increased markedly.

“The report shows that during the first six months of 2008, there were 3,511 traffic accidents countrywide, which killed 903 people – 705 male and 198 female; the number of accidents increased by 519, equal to 17% more, compared to the same period of 2007, when there were 2,992 accidents and only 724 people died. The 3,511 traffic accidents resulted in 903 deaths, 2,856 seriously injured people, 3,390 lightly injured people, the destruction of 306 heavy vehicles, among them 1,154 cars, 3,646 motorcycles, 305 other vehicles; 397 pedestrians were also affected.

“Major Suos Sokha, deputy director of the vehicle registration management office, and of the department for the registration of boats and ships of the Ministry of Interior, reported to Khmer Sthapana on 21 July 2008 the reasons that lead to the increase of traffic accidents in the first six months of 2008: these are driving in violation of traffic laws with 1,560 cases, riding motorcycles without helmets with 778 cases, not obeying priority traffic rights with 502 cases, driving while being drunk with 439 cases, speed racing with each other with 349 cases, and 261 cases of careless driving etc…

“It should be noted that the statistics of road traffic accidents in 2007 countrywide, report 5,870 cases which caused 1,434 deaths, 1,121 males and 313 females were killed; 4,860 people were seriously injured, 5,540 people were lightly injured, 528 heavy vehicles, 1,871 cars, 5,607 motorcycles, and 444 different vehicles were destroyed, and US$2,699,784 was wasted.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #55, 22.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2795, 22.7.2008

  • As the First Step of Negotiations, Thailand Requested Cambodia to Withdraw the Troops from the Land They Presently Control; the ASEAN President [Mr. George Yeo – simplified Chinese: 杨荣文; traditional Chinese: 楊榮文; pinyin: Yáng Róngwén – Singaporean Foreign Minister and at present ASEAN Chair*] Asked Both Sides to Be Patient and Solve the Dispute Based on Good Relations; the Situation of Having Deployed Troops on Both Sides of the Border at the Preah Vihear Temple Is Still Tense

* “The ASEAN Standing Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Foreign Minister of the country-in-chair, is mandated to coordinate the work of the Association in between the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meetings.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1699, 22.7.2008

  • The 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting Was Held in Singapore [discussing the border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, evaluating the destruction by the Nargis tropical cyclone in Burma, and talking about the integration of ASEAN constitutions, and about regional security – 21 July 2008]
  • Three People Were Arrested by Military Police after Chopping a Leader of Workers to Death [after losing money to the victim while gambling – Ratanakiri]
  • Ms. Su Kyi Will Be Released Soon [Military Junta of Myanmar informed the ASEAN members that the opposition leader, Ms. Aung San Su Kyi, might be released in about six months]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #55, 22.7.2008

  • In the First Six Months of 2008, There Were 3511 Traffic Accidents and 903 People Died
  • The Thai Side Requests Cambodia to Accept Three Principles [during the negotiations on 21 July 2008: 1. Thailand requested Cambodia to withdraw its troops, and Thailand will also withdraw its troops to avoid an armed confrontation. 2. The benefits from the Preah Vihear Temple should be handled as a joint operation, from which Cambodia gets 60% and Thailand gets 40% 3. Cambodia and Thailand should cooperate with each other to clear mines from the Preah Vihear Temple region and from other surrounding areas together]
  • US$2,000 Announced Reward to Be Given to Anyone Who Provides Information That Leads to the Arrest of the Criminal Who Abducted a [Swedish] Girl from Her Mother [the six-year-old girl, Alicia, has been abducted by her father, Torgeir Nordbø, from Sweden, when he visited her; he is believed to be hiding in Cambodia]
  • [Fishery] Crimes During Prohibited No-Fishing Season Increase [Siem Reap]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #66403, 22.7.2008

  • Obama Promises to Withdraw Army from Iraq If He Wins the Election [but he will send 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3518, 22.7.2008

  • [Former Khmer Rough Leader] Khiev Samphan Still Has No New Defense Lawyer


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4647, 22.7.2008

  • Police Are Deployed at Gold and Money Exchange Shops because of Security Concerns [Banteay Meanchey]
  • Five Outstanding Cambodian Students Went to Take Part in the International Mathematical Olympiad in Vietnam


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3365, 22.7.2008

  • Japan Sends 23 Election Observers for Sunday 27 July 2008
  • Neak Loeang Electricity Company Still Charges Riel 3,200 [approx. US$0.80] per Kilowatt [in Phnom Penh the price is Riel 610, approx. US$0.15 per kw]

Click here – and have a look at the last editorial – The Cambodian-Thai border crisis develops while the Khmer public is not aware what the Cambodian government representatives had agreed upon, to get the Preah Vihear Temple listed as a World Heritage Site, on a most narrowly defined piece of land.

Back to top

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

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