Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.

“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.

“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.

“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.

“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.

“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.

“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.

“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.

“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.

“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
  • During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
  • In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010

  • People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
  • A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
  • Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010

  • Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010

  • Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
  • Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010

  • The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]

    It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:

  1. “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
  2. “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
  3. “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”

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.

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Tuesday, 15.7.2008: Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 5689

“Mr. Thong Boran, director of the Department of Personnel of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, said that since 2002, the government has said to create a new salary system for civil servants, by stating that the salary of civil servants must be increased 15% every year. In 2007, all civil servants received 15% more, and in July of the same year an additional 8% was added. In 2008, the government increased the salary of civil servants again – all of them get a 20% increase to their salaries. Separately, since 1 April 2008, the government has increased the salaries for teachers and for school administrators by an additional 10%, and the family allowance for wives and children of those teachers and civil servants was raised 100%.

“The government considers the Ministry of Education as a priority ministry among four ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; the Ministry of Rural Development; and the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport has taken teachers from some areas which have an over-supply of teachers to re-assign them to work in areas where there are not enough teachers, by giving them one-time financial encouragements. If they were re-assigned from one village to another, they get Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75]; for a change from one commune to another, they get Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125]; for a change from one district to another, they get Riel 800,000 [approx. US$200]; for a change from one low level land province to another, they get Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250]; and if they are re-assigned from one province to another remote province, they get Riel 1,500,000 [approx. US$375]. The Ministry has added another Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] to the total salary of teachers in difficult areas (areas with difficulties with communication, with a low population density of less than 10 persons per square kilometer, frequently flooded areas, or areas which often suffer from natural calamities, and border regions).

“Teachers who teach in towns of remote provinces such as Ratanakiri, Mondolkiri, Stung Treng, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Koh Kong, and Pailin received an additional Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.50 per month, and in other remote areas besides those towns, Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15] was added monthly.

“Moreover, each teacher gets a monthly health care allowance of Riel 1,500 [approx. US$0.38]. For teachers who do their work well and are ranked first, they will get Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30], those who rank second will get Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and those who rank third will get Riel 80,000 [approx. US$20]. The Ministry also sponsors teachers who teach on Thursdays [primary schools in Cambodia do not have classes on Thursday] giving them Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] when they teach on a Thursday. For primary school teachers who teach mixed classes – teachers that teach students from different grades in the same room and in the same session – if two levels are combined they get 60% of their salary added, and if three levels are combined, they get 80% of their salary added. Teachers who teach two turns [normally each teacher teaches only morning classes or afternoon classes, but some teachers teach two turns, teaching both morning and evening classes], they will receive an additional 100% of their base salary. In total, nowadays each teacher gets a salary between Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and Riel 560,000 [approx. US$140] per month.

“However, although the government has continually increased the salaries for teachers, the increase is not balanced with the dramatic increase of the price of goods in the markets.

“The prices of fuel and of food have increased everywhere in Cambodia as well as in some other countries of the world. These increases have strongly affected civil servants, especially those who live with salaries like teachers have them.

“A male teacher said that his salary can buy only 50 kg of rice. So he has to do also something else to support his family to have enough income each month. Therefore he does not have time to prepare his teaching or to do research to develop good lessons for his students.

“A female teacher asked the Ministry to provide the salary on time – even as the salary is small; but the payment should not being too late, extending the pay day from one month to another month or to another one-month-and-a-half, because teachers face difficulties since they do not have an income besides their salary.

“A male teacher, who has worked as a teacher for nearly 30 years, said that his salary could be spent for him alone for breakfast, but he must spend it carefully so that it can be enough for one whole month; and if he buys cigarettes or other food, this salary is not enough. Although he has a difficult life, he still teaches, because his conscious makes him feel responsible to teach students.

“A male teacher would like the government to help to take action so that the prices of good could decrease – it would not be necessary to increase the salaries, if the prices of goods could be decreased.

“A female teacher, who has worked as a teacher for five years, said that she lives alone, renting a house for Riel 40,000 per month [approx. US$10], and she gets a salary of only Riel 160,000 [approx. US$40] per month; it is difficult to cover expenses when she is sometimes ill.

“A male teacher said that his house is more than 20 km away from his school, and his motorbike consumes one liter of fuel per day for traveling to teach the students. Because now the price of fuel increased, his salary is not even enough to buy fuel. He uses his time in the afternoon to seek more income by teaching English at a private school, making it impossible for him to have time to think about new good methods to teach his students to be better qualified.

“A male teacher, who has been relocated from Prey Veng to teach at a school at a Phnom Penh suburb, said that he has to rent a house for Riel 80,000 Riel [approx. US$20] per month, and the price of water and of electricity in Phnom Penh is also expensive. His salary, even with the allowance of 10% from the Ministry, is spent in only half of a month on meals. He said that he really does not want to take money from the students, because most of his school’s students are poor like himself, but to have enough for his livelihood, he has to take money from the students. He asks the government to intervene to decrease the price of goods, so that his salary can match with the expenses for a longer period of days.” Extracted from Tumpeang Snong Russey Magazine by Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1693, 15.7.2008

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Samak Commits Himself to Change the Constitution in Order to Increase Political Stability [saying he intends to have the constitution changed, especially the second paragraph of Article 237, which says that a party can be dissolved if its leaders are found guilty of electoral fraud, which is like a “deadly poison for politicians”]


Karpear Cheat, Vol.1, #6, 15.7.2008

  • Young Generation of Businesspeople Are Highly Interested in Information Technology
  • Cooperation with Lutheran World Federation Cambodia Program Improves Livelihood of the Poor by Strengthening Community at Villages for Development
  • Members of the Military and of the Police with Four Golden Stripes on their Epaulets Increase to Eighteen, and some Ministers Also Hold Four Gold Stripes [Military leadership: 1. General Tea Banh, 2. General Ke Kim Yan, 3. General Pol Saroeun, 4. General Meas Sophea, 5. General Nhek Bun Chhay, 6. General Chay Saing Yun, 7. General Tea Chamrath, 8. General Om Yon, 9. General Moeng Samphan, 10. General Kun Kim, 11. General Neang Phat, and 12. General Nhim Vanda; Police leadership: 13. General Hok Lundy, 14. General Em Sam An, 15. General Khat Savoeun, 16. General Dul Koeun, 17. General Kieng Vang, and 18. General Sin Pensen]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #607, 15.7.2008

  • [Siem Reap Governor] Su Phirin Is Disrespectful to Say that the Preah Vihear Temple, before It Was Listed as a World Heritages Site, Was in a Contested Area


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #49, 15.7.2008

  • Cambodian National Research Organization [CNRO] Accused [Supreme Patriarch] Samdech Tep Vong of Connecting Buddhism with Politics [by allowing monks in Cambodia to vote for political parties]
  • Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] Asked the Ministry of Agriculture to Find Methods to Control the Momeach Tnot [Brown Plant-Hopper? – please let us know if you know. – Editor]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

  • Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia
  • FBI Announced to be Prepared to Help Hunt for Murderers [of Mr. Khim Sambo, journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and of his son]; Twelve Cambodian Journalists Have Been Murdered So Far
  • Expert Committee in Cambodia Releases Information about Number of Rapes, Human Trafficking, and Sexually Motivated Vices During Two Trimesters


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3512, 15.7.2008

  • More than 2,000 Workers of the W&D Factory Held a Strike Claiming the Factory’s Boss Does Not Care for Good Working Conditions
  • Four Khmer Citizens Got Poisoned in Pursat from Yuon [Vietnamese] Packed Noodles of the ‘Chicken Leg’ Brand


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4641, 16.7.2008

    Thai Military Leader [Supreme Commander Boonsang Niampradit] Insisted that the Government Should Revoke its Supporting Statement for Cambodia [obtained without parliamentary decision and therefore violating the Thai constitution]
    Thailand Has Other Issues besides Preah Vihear: the Economy Declines [because of inflation and decreasing investment]
    American Military Suffers Big Tragic Loss in Afghanistan [nine soldiers died during an attack by insurgents near the Pakistan border]

Have a look at the last editorial – The struggle towards openness and access to information happens in many places – and it may help to mutually learn from other experiences.

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