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.”

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A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue – Thursday, 3.12.2009

Posted on 4 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“An activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was shot dead by a village chief who lives in a different village, while the victim and his nephew were fishing at a canal; and police gave the victim’s wife US$900 so that she would not inform civil society and sue him at the court. This is according to the deputy director of the Sam Rainsy Party in Prey Veng, Mr. Pim Samnang, who received the information from the victim’s family.

“But the police chief of Sithor Kandal denied that he negotiated anything with the victim’s wife to stop suing him.

“Mr. Pim Samnang told Khmer Machas Srok in the morning of 2 December 2009 at the Sam Rainsy Headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the victim is Buo Boun, 28. He lived in Prasat village, Chrey Khmum commune, Sithor Kandal, Prey Veng. He added that at 7:00 p.m. on 28 November 2009, Buo Boun together with an 11-year-old boy was shot by Voeun, the chief of the Ta Nal village which is in the same commune, killing him immediately at the site while he and his nephew were fishing at the Anhchanh canal in his village.

“The perpetrator shot the victim three times, and once hit him in the back in the shoulder-blade.

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Prey Veng, Mr. Chea Pouch said, ‘I cannot assume that it is political, but we let police investigate it first with participation from civil society.’

“He added, ‘I condemn the murderer who was already known as a village chief from the Cambodian People’s Party.” Therefore, police must capture the murderer as the target is clearly identified already.’

“According to this report, at about 2:00 p.m. on 29 November 2009, his wife Din Then knew her husband died. The victim is a farmer and has a six-year-old daughter. His wife is now eight months pregnant.

“The report went on to say that on 1 December 2009, police officials of Sithor Kandal went to negotiate with the victim’s wife and family by offering US$900 to Buo Boun’s wife so there would be no complaint to the court and to civil society.

“The Sithor Kandal district police chief, Mr. Net, told Khmer Machas Srok via telephone yesterday evening [2 December 2009] that indeed there was a killing which resulted from an electric fishing shock. When asked whether police helped to negotiate to pay US$900 to stop any complaint, Mr. Net denied it and claimed that his role is to make a report and to send it to higher levels, and to try to arrest the perpetrator for prosecution.

“He added that the police has not yet arrested the perpetrator, but they know who he is.

“Though Mr. Net denied negotiating with the victim’s family, Ms. Din Then, villagers and the victim’s relatives claimed that the district police did negotiate to pay US$900 to the victims’ wife in order to stop her going to sue at the court.

“Buo Boun was an orphan and an outstanding activist of the Sam Rainsy Party. He used to be an agent of the Sam Rainsy Party at his village and also the one who was able to find most support for the Sam Rainsy Party for the national elections in 2008. His murder is considered as political, as he never had disputes with anyone.

“Mr. Pim Samnang called police to arrest the perpetrator, Voeun, the village chief, to be convicted according to the law.

“Yesterday evening, it was reported that the secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, Ms. Ke Sovannarath, wrote a letter to the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, requesting him to arrest the perpetrator to be prosecuted according to the law.

“It should be noted that last month, an activist of the Sam Rainsy Party was attacked and killed while the victim and his wife were sleeping in their cottage to guard their paddy rice in Basedth district, Kompong Speu.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1421, 3.12.2009

  • [The President of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin: Khmers Are Happy with the Nomination of Thaksin Shinawatra [Thai ousted prime minister — but also convicted to two years in prison for economic corruption, who fled the country breaking his bail promise — as an economic advisor]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #352, 3.12.2009

  • Lecturers and Students of the Royal University of Agriculture Stopped Striking after They Were Promised a Solution [related to corruption suspicions among the leadership of the university]
  • Nearly Two Tonnes of Snakes and Turtles Were Intercepted before They Were Trafficked Illegally to Vietnam through the Chrey Thom Border Crossing

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2114, 3.12.2009

  • The Minister of Commerce [Mr. Cham Prasidh], Said that Cambodia, like Other Countries in the World, Suffers from the Economic Crisis
  • Police Arrested More Than 100 Troublemaking Teens Who Stay at Guesthouses Together and Use Drugs [Phnom Penh]
  • A Perpetrator Who Raped and Killed a Woman Was Arrested [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #545, 3.12.2009

  • A Village Chief Shot and Killed a Sam Rainsy Party Activist, and Police Gave the Victim’s Family US$900 so that They Do Not Sue

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6821, 3.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute Does Not Cut Off Military Ties, and Cambodian and Thai Troops Play Friendship Sports on the Dangrek Mountains
  • A Grandson Is a Cruel Murderer Who Killed His Grandmother [and injured a servant seriously; it is assumed the murder is related to a conflict over family property – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #59, 3.12.2009

  • Hundreds of Vietnamese Women Were Trafficked to Cambodia [within 11 months of 2009, as many as 773 Vietnamese women were arrested by the government [and sent back to Vietnam], and also Cambodian citizens, including children, women, and men were trafficked; according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation]
  • The Cambodian-South Korean Commerce Declined by More Than 11% within 10 Months of 2009 [to only US$232.8 million], but It Might Recover Next Year
  • Obama Will Send 30,000 Soldiers More to Afghanistan

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5063, 3.12.2009

  • The European Union Grants More Than US$2 Million [Euro 2 million] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Thai Mother Came to Visit Her Son at the Prey Sar Prison for the Second Time Quietly [he was accused as a spy for coping the flight plan — flight plans in many countries are public information to strengthen air traffic safety by sharing information — of the Thai ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. – According to other sources, she was greeted at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who accompanied her to the prison]
  • Two New International Co-Prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [Mr. Andrew T. Cayley and Mr. Paul Coffey] Were Appointed [after having been nominated four month ago]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1825, 3.12.2009

  • Five Thousands People [from different organizations, associations, communities, trade unions, and ethnic minorities] Plan to March on 10th December – Human Rights Day – in Phnom Penh

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Three Were Arrested for Preventing the Implementation of a Notification to Confiscate Land in Kompong Thom – Thursday, 19.11.2009

Posted on 20 November 2009. Filed under: 1, 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 Cambodia. I try to be on time as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“According to a news source, at least three disabled veterans, poor citizens, were arrested between 14 to 16 November 2009, when they resisted armed forces and police of the Kompong Thom authorities, coming to enforce a notification to confiscate land, where the authorities claimed that those citizens live there illegally, in Banteay Rou Ngieng village, Kraya commune, Santuk district, Kompong Thom.

“The source of this information claimed that there is an association with more than 1,700 families of disabled veterans, living there since 2004, and that the association lives on more than 10,000 hectares of land, where each family was provided with 3 hectares by the head of that community, for housing and for growing different crops, since 2005. But on 14 and 16 November 2009, about 50 armed forces and other authorities came with machinery to remove their houses, and they arrested three people.

“The disabled veterans said that the authorities burnt their houses, shot at them, and even arrested some people and hit them with riffle handles, in order to evict them to seize the land for the Tan Bieng company [a Vietnamese company].

“Responding to the accusation that the authorities ordered armed forces to burn their houses, shoot at them, and arrest people, the Kompong Thom deputy police chief, who had gone himself to conduct the eviction, Mr. Nou Thany, told Deum Ampil on 18 November 2009, via phone, ‘The accusation is not true. And if there is anything true in it, the authorities used only their right to self protection, because those disabled people used knives, sticks, and gasoline bottles to burn the machinery of the authorities and to chase them away and to hurt them with knives.’ He added that the action was taken following a notification to confiscate the land for the Tan Bieng company, which had received the right from the Royal Government to make some investment on that land. For evictions, the municipality has a policy to offer each of them a plot of land in the nearby Thma Samlieng area, but only somewhat more than 100 of them agreed to register to take this offer of land at the new location. The rest protested, rejecting this policy and they used force against the authorities who went to enforce the eviction order.

“Mr. Nou Thany emphasized that the disabled veterans association does have the right to create an association at that area, but not the right to control the land. Therefore, there was a notification, ordering them to leave. Before they would have to leave, the municipality had set the deadline of 25 November 2009 for them to accept new land; however, they turned to resist strongly on 14 to 17 November 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #340, 19.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #340, 19.11.2009

  • Three Were Arrested for Preventing the Implementation of a Notification to Confiscate Land in Kompong Thom
  • Most Malaria Medicines Are Fake and No-Quality Medicines [according to expert officials of the Ministry of Health]
  • Tragedy as a Boat Sunk [because of strong wind] Resulting in the Deaths of a Man and of Three Children while His Wife Survived [Kandal]
  • Two Young Men Died Immediately after They Were Hit [while riding on a motorbike] Behind a Bus of the Capital Company [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2102, 19.11.2009

  • [About 300] Staff and Workers of the Royal Railways of Cambodia Stopped Protesting after the Ministry [of Public Works and Transport] Promised to Pay Their Salaries on 27 November 2009
  • More Than 600 Square Kilometer of Cambodia Are Still Mine Infested [according to the Cambodian Mine Authority]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #533, 19.11.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy and Ms. Tioulong Saumura Attended the European Community Parliament Meeting about Cambodia Yesterday [in Brussels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6809, 19.11.2009

  • The Red Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Conduct a Large Demonstration on Sunday [29 November 2009] to Dismiss [Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government
  • Special UN Envoy [in charge of AIDS in the Asia Pacific, Dr. Nafis Sadik] Met with a Group of Most Vulnerable People in the City [drug addicts, people infected with AIDS, and orphans – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #49, 19.11.2009

  • Court Started to Question a Thai Man about Spying [he had copied flight documents of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of Thai ousted fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to send the copies to Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is Still the Country with the Most Corruption among the Countries in the Region [of Asia Pacific; according to a report of Transparency International, Cambodia stands at the 158th position among 180 countries affected by corruption in the public sector, while in 2008, Cambodia was at the 166th position]
  • Construction Investments Increased by 22% within 9 Months Compared to the Corresponding Period [last year; by the end of September 2009, there were 1805 projects amounting to US$1.165 Billion, while in 2008 there were only 1558 projects]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5051, 19.11.2009

  • A Robber Shot a Policeman to Death and Then after Half-an-Hour Siege the Robber Was Shot Dead by Police [if he had agreed to let police arrest him and not shoot one policeman to death, he would not have be killed – Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh]
  • A Japanese Man [a staff member of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)] Fell from the Second Storey of a Building of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Died [police has not identified why he fell down – Phnom Penh]
  • The Minister of Tourism Asked UNESCO to Help Create a Master Plan for Eco-Tourism around the Tonle Sap Lake

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Violence over Land Dispute in Siem Reap: Human Rights Organization ‘Criticizes’ while the Ministry of Interior Asks Citizens to Stop Arguing with Each Other – Saturday, 28.3.2009

Posted on 29 March 2009. Filed under: Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – calls urgently on the Cambodian government to hold those police and military police in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng district responsible for violence on Sunday 22 March 2009.

“During a dispute about a rice field between two different groups of villagers in the Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes in Chi Kraeng district, police and military police shot and injured four people, and arrested nine.

“On Friday, 27 March 2009, the president of LICADHO, Ms. Kek Galabru, demanded the prosecution of those persons of the authorities who shot and injured farmers, and to find just solutions over the rice field dispute of 275 hectares which started in 2004.

“According to a three-day investigation by LICADHO, about 100 police and military police shot at around 300 farmers unreasonably and illegally.

“During a conference on Friday, LICADHO also showed a short video, showing that police were carrying AK-47 rifles, and shooting to threaten farmers regarding a land dispute between two groups of villagers in Chi Kraeng district in Siem Reap, on Sunday, 22 March 2009.

“The head of the investigation section of LICADHO, Mr. Oum Sam Ath, blamed the authorities and demanded a proper investigations about the armed clash, which the authorities claim to have been an act of self-defense.

“About 40 farmers who are seeking for a solutions from Phnom Penh [they are now in Phnom Penh] said during a conference at LICADHO expressing their fear and that they do not dare to return to their homes.

“Farmers demand the government to release nine villagers arrested on Sunday, and they ask for proper solutions for them so that they can again go to their dry season rice fields.

“It should be noted that after this event, the Ministry of Interior had sent a group of officials to investigate this land dispute in Siem Reap.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior, in charge of investigating the land dispute in Chi Kraeng , Mr. Pol Lim, said in the evening of 27 March 2009 that a working team of the Ministry of Interior led by the deputy police chief of the Ministry of Interior, H.E. Chhim Sarak, went to the site of the event in Chi Kraeng and met with the authorities on one side, and with citizens disputing the situation on the other. Also, the working team went to see the injured people at the provincial hospital. The working team pleaded with residents to stop arguing with each other and to let the authorities sort it out.

“Relating to the armed clash, which injured four people, Mr. Pol Lim stated that the working team is investigating in a confidential way. But for a first step, the working team discovered that the local authorities shot in self-defense, while the disputing people tried to hit the police who had gone to stop the arguments between the two groups of people, who competed for harvesting rice on the disputed land. Now, the court is dealing with nine people, who began the hitting, and if no one is found to be guilty, the court will release them.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, said that the government would like to absolutely reject LICADHO’s demand for government agencies to take responsibility for the above case.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4857, 28.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #151, 28.3.2009

  • Cambodia Warns Siam [Thailand] Not To Mix the Preah Vihear Issue with Its Political Crisis
  • Cambodia Welcomes New UN Envoy [Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, Nepali], but Asks Him to Act Faultlessly
  • A Chinese Man Was Sent to Serve 28 Years in Prison and Was Ordered to Pay Riel 70 Million [approx. US$17,300] for Drug Trafficking [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1909, 28.3.2009

  • Japan Prepares to Shoot Down Debris of North Korean Rocket [if anything might fall down towards Japanese territory]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #374, 28.3.2009

  • The Government Admits to the King that Cambodia Is Facing a Financial Crisis

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6614, 28-29.3.2009

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3723, 28-29.3.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Commemorates the 12th Anniversary of the Grenade Attack in Front of the [former] National Assembly Building [on 30 March 1997, which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100] and Encourages the Government to Continue to Seek the Perpetrators to Be Prosecuted

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4857, 28.3.2009

  • Violence over Land Dispute in Siem Reap: Human Rights Organization ‘Criticizes’ while the Ministry of Interior Asks Citizens to Stop Arguing with Each Other
  • The Fourth Term Government Plans to Spend More Than US$377 Million on Irrigation Systems [where US$77 million come from different development partners]
  • Cambodian Products Are Exported to 130 Countries, but Export Prices Are Too Cheap

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Children in Prisons Are Suffering from Malnutrition – Friday, 27.3.2009

Posted on 28 March 2009. Filed under: Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

“Phnom Penh: The condition of children and of women in prisons is being considered by the government and by human rights organizations in relation to their health, even though they are in prison.

“Children under the age of six are brought with their prisoner parents to live with them in prison. Therefore, do these children receive enough nutritious food?

“According to a report by the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – in January 2009, there are 40 children living with their parents in prisons. Children living in prison face malnutrition, lack other necessities, and lack education which is crucial for their growing up.

“A prison research official of LICADHO, Mr. Khieu Kolay, said that children are not required to live with their parents in prison, but parents themselves want their children to live with them because no one else can take care of them besides them. Thus, nobody can hinder them.

“Regarding monetary allowances for prisoners, the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior is asking the Ministry of Economy and Finance to increase it from Riel 1,500 [approx US$0.37] to Riel 2,800 [approx. US$0.69] per day, so that they can eat enough food and also so that it is in line with the high inflation at the markets.

“According to Prison Regulation Number 34, children under the age of six are allowed to live with their parents in prison, since this provides benefits to children. Because the period of the first five-years of children is important for the growing of their bodies, their social living, and their mental development, the Regulation Number 34 requires prison authorities to provide children with their basic needs.

“However, in reality, these necessities are neglected. Women who are mothers, and pregnant women are not offered additional food and material for taking care of their children.

“It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment.

“Based on ADHOC’s report [maybe this should say ‘LICADHO’?], in January 2009 there were 40 children living with their parents in prisons, where 22 are male and 18 are female. There are 17 children in the Rehabilitation Center II, 2 in the prison in Takhmao, 2 in the prison in Battambang, 3 in Banteay Meanchey, 4 in Siem Reap, 8 in Sihanoukville, 1 in Koh Kong, 1 in Kompong Chhnang, and 2 in Kompong Cham.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #150, 27.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, 48, 27.3.2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #150, 27.3.2009

  • Children in Prison [with their parents] Are Suffering from Malnutrition
  • More than 20,000 Red-Shirt Demonstrators [who support ousted former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Surround Government House of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1908, 27.3.2009

  • Parliament Members from the Opposition Party Ask the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy to Investigate the Allegation that Ice Manufacturing Companies Steal State Electricity
  • Artillery Fire [between Tamil insurgents and government troops] Killed 54 Civilians in Sri Lanka

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #373, 27.3.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Said that the Conviction of Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Is Not Just, because Yuon [Vietnam] Also Killed Khmers after 1979

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6613, 27.3.2009

  • The Tense Conditions near the Preah Vihear Temple Gets Better after Siam [Thailand] Denied It Had Sent Troops to Violate Cambodian Territory
  • America Provides Helicopters to Mexico to Combat Drugs

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3722, 27.3.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asks the Government to Increase Import Taxes and Assist Farmers with Resources

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4854, 25.3.2009

  • Officials: Big Construction of Buildings in Cambodia Is Still in Progress despite the Global Economic Crisis
  • The Ministry of Culture of Vietnam Donates Musical Instruments to the Ministry of Culture [of Cambodia]
  • Incheon City of Korea and Phnom Penh Sign to Tie Sister City Relations

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1683, 27.3.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls on Khmer Citizens to Care about Border Problems both at the West [with Thailand] and at the East [with Vietnam]

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Can Changing Priorities Change the Law? – Sunday, 8.3.2009

Posted on 13 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

The life of a society is not like a mechanism which works according to preset laws of physics or chemistry. The different agents in a society – all the people, and some people with special functions – may see different things getting more important, and they change their mind. But not every change of mind can lead to a change of the rules according to which a society works.

Some of such changes are surprising. We take some examples from quite different fields, just to show that a direction was taken, or a result was reached, which had not been expected at all.

On 22 January 2009, General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his position of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief by Prime Minister Hun Sen. This had triggered concerns among some generals at military garrisons and at divisions, being afraid that they too might be removed, but Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh had affirmed that there are no such shifts to come -m but they came. Later, on 7 February 2009, we mirrored a report that the Prime Minister had explained that the removal of the commander-in-chief was part of the ongoing military reform. The rumors that there might be more involved showed up in the press on 13 February 2009, claiming that the Prime Minister had ordered to take legal action against Mr. Ke Kim Yan. More detailed information reached the public, when the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported three days later that the government criticized the press for publishing leaked information (without denying its content). According to the minutes, “the Council of Ministers has been informed and commented on the termination of the position of commander-in-chief of HE Ke Kim Yan based on two reasons: First, reforming the RCAF rank and file by adhering to work effectiveness in the military rank and file. Second, involvement with land issues by a top and powerful person in the military rank and file and doing business by using the name of military for personal gain.” The minutes went on to describe a resolution by the Council of Ministers to have both military and government bodies investigate Ke Kim Yan’s land dealings.

And the end? This week came the final clarification: The Prime Minister announced that Mr. Ke Kim Yan will be the 10th Deputy Prime Minister, heading the drug control administration.

The 14th ASEAN Summit was held from 27 February to 1 March 2009, in Hua Hin, Thailand. After the ASEAN Charter had come into force in December 2008, the summit was under the heading ‘ASEAN Charter for ASEAN Peoples,’ to start a new era of ASEAN with people at the heart of cooperation. It had therefore been expected that the summit would focus on human rights, but the global financial crisis moved up to the top of the agenda.

Nevertheless, it had been foreseen because of this orientation of ASEAN – being for the ASEAN people – some people not from the governments, but from civil society, would also have a chance to meet and to discuss with government leaders. But as it was reported, the government representatives of Cambodia and Myanmar threatened rather to boycott this meeting than to discussion the creation of an ASEAN human rights institution with civil society persons. So the persons from Myanmar and from Cambodia withdrew, in order not to be an obstacle to this important discussion.

Even so, by the end of the summit, it had not been possible to find an agreement about the nomination of an ASEAN human rights commissioner, also the creation of the ASEAN human rights organization did not progress well. The plan originally announced was not achieved.

But the final declaration of the summit continues to uphold the vision of ASEAN as “a rules-based community of shared values and norms, a cohesive peaceful, stable and resilient region with shared responsibility for comprehensive security, as well as a dynamic and outward-looking region in an increasingly integrated and interdependent world.”

The confidence, that events and decision will be proceeding according to set rules, is basic for the stable development not only for an international community like ASEAN, but for every society. That is why the events described above are confusing for the public – for “the people” – because the rules according which events proceeded, and the values and norms applied, are not transparent to the public.

Now there is another field where it is not clear how rules-based proceedings – a state of law, as another terms says – were applied in the closure of the gambling chain CamboSix, which was announced by the Prime Minister on 24 February 2009 during a graduation ceremony, explaining the negative social consequences of gambling. But CamboSix had, after all, a license to operate, issued by the competent authorities of the government, valid until the year 2011. Now, about an estimated number of 6,000 to 8,000 workers lost their jobs, and the Minister of Finance was quoted that though the government had issued a license, there are “no particular contract links between both parties.” But the international partial co-owners see this differently: CamboSix, partly owned by foreign companies, claims to have lost more than US$12 million in investments made before the withdrawal of their license, and they will ask for compensation according to the legal protection provided to investors in general.

Raising this question is not giving an endorsement for gambling. But how is the public to understand this action? Just five days prior to this suspensions, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance Chea Meng Chhieng had stated the 2009 goals of the state to collect a 12.5% tax, to produce more tax income over the 2008 figures: US$20 million, tax income from all kinds of gambling.

As we had reported on 24 February, the Prime Minister had ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to observe all hotels that have entertainment clubs and all types of electronic entertainment centers, as they are required to prohibit Khmer citizens to enter for gambling. “If there is any violation of the rules, like permitting Khmer citizens to enter, the Ministry of Economy and Finance must revoke their licenses and immediately stop their operation within 24 hours.”

Police in Phnom Penh, who do not understand the difference between computer based gambling and computer games, have closed also about 20 of the 160 shops hosting the role-playing game Justice X-War 2, though this is a game where the participants do not bet and cannot win any money. Even the Secretary-General of the government’s National Information Technology Development Authority, Dr. Phu Leewood, was quoted in the Cambodia Daily to regret this confusion: “Gambling is betting, while gaming is not. I used to play games a lot when I was at university.” But shops stay closed, and many people who wanted to register for the upcoming game tournament at the Cambodia ICT World Expo, scheduled for 3 to 5 April 2009, do not dare to come forwards, as they are afraid to be mistaken to be gamblers.

So far, there are many reports how the soccer-betting company CamboSix is affected. Is this regulation also be enforced where a hotel has a gambling room with slot machines? According to recent observations, there does not seem to be such checking in force at the Naga Casino – the biggest such establishment in Phnom Penh.

On 4 September 2007, we had mirrored a Khmer newspaper report that a door was opened too late for a Cambodian 4-Star General to enter the casino, so he called four police vans and had three Malaysian Naga Casino foremen handcuffed – followed by a report one day later that $150,000 were spent for the release of these three Malaysian employees of Naga Casino.

On Friday, we carried a headline that the Prime Minister apologized to the public for the late action of closing gambling institutions. There are also reports that there is an understandable wide public support for this action. It might falter again, if the public will see – as in the past – that the enforcement of sudden government decrees, and the enforcement even of laws, continues to be selective.

In spite of the failure of the recent ASEAN summit to nominate an ASEAN human rights commissioner for the ASEAN human rights organization to be created, the vision of ASEAN as “a rules-based community of shared values and norms” remains as a hope that all member countries will make progress, if this vision is upheld, and will be “peaceful, stable and resilient, as well as dynamic and outward-looking” as the final ASEAN summit document says for the whole community.

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More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions – Friday, 6.3.2009

Posted on 10 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian microfinance officials said that the number of citizens getting loans from microfinance institution in Cambodia belong to over one million families among the more than three million families in the country.

“The director and general manager of the Microfinance Institution Sthapana Limited, Mr. Bun Mony [also a member of the board of the Cambodian Microfinance Association], told journalists at the Hotel Cambodiana on Thursday morning that in 2007, there were 18 microfinance institutions with a total capital of US$271 million, providing small-scale capital for Cambodian citizens. In 2008, capital to lend to citizens rose up to US$437 million, which was an increase by 61%. He added that this growth had increased for several years between 60% and 80%.

“He went on to say that at present, more than one million Cambodian families have received loans from different microfinance institutions – counted in December 2008. Among one million families, he assumes that in every family involved, each one receives capital for family supplies; recent figures shows that there are more than three million families in Cambodia. He continued to say, “According to my own calculations, 35% of Cambodian families gain benefits from microfinance.’

“Regarding the global economic crisis, Mr. Bun Mony said, ‘In 2009, we face a somewhat tense situation when we try to expand our loan programs. We cannot expect to achieve 50% to 60% growth like in previous years, but the expansion will decline to only between 10% to 20%.’ He explained that this problem relates to the sources of capital, because we do not yet have enough capital ourselves, while big countries are facing a crisis. It leads also to a slowdown for our country.

“Mr. Bun Mony explained the extent to which the financial crisis affects loan distributions, saying that this crisis affects every country and it affects also Cambodia. As for the microfinance sector, it is heavily affected, because around 80% of the present capital sources from which loans are received for citizens to develop the economy come from foreign countries. While even economically rich countries have a crisis, we are affected. That means we will face difficulties to seek additional sources of capital to strengthen our microfinance activities.

“He went on to say, ‘The difficulties that we are facing is to find sources of capital. Therefore, we have to do something to maintain the sustainability of capital sources, to support sustainable economic development. We all saw that we must strengthen our management to promote trust from the community of international investors, so that they trust the market in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Bun Mony said also, ‘All are challenged by this tense situation. Not only the citizens, also the microfinance institutions and the providers of capital.’ He added that before the financial crisis, 50 banks came to seek opportunities for investment in Cambodia – that is, they provided us loans, since they trust our microfinance systems: there are only 18 licensed institutions, but we have more than 50 capital providers.

“Mr. Bun Mony described what happened to this sector after Cambodia had new financial regulations [requiring a higher cash retention rate]: ‘After we had this new financial regulation, there was no operator saying that they have loans for us.’

“Regarding what the government did to help this sector, Mr. Bun Mony said that previously, he had asked the government to ease restrictions on the local sources of capital, but the government found it difficult to help us. He added that microfinance institutions are absolutely private sector institutions.

“Relating to aid from the government, he said that he received no response from the government, because he had never raised it to the government.

“The chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Microfinance Association, Mr. Huot Eng Tong, said that in the present global financial situation, the microfinance sector is suffering serious impacts. ‘Anyway, I strongly hope that the finance sector will receive support from all sides to encourage microfinance institutions to achieve further development and success.’

“Mr. Huot Eng Tong added that this sector plays a crucial role to develop the country, to help Khmer citizens to create, expand, and improve their economic activities, in agriculture, and in population centers and in rural areas, to offer citizens job opportunities, to alleviate poverty, and to provide cheaper financial resources at rural areas than the bigger private sectors do, the institutions with higher interest rates.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 March 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #131-132, 5-6.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Apologizes [to the public] for the Late Closure of Gambling
  • Samdech Prime Minister: [former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan Will Be the 10th Deputy Prime Minister [heading drug control administration]
  • Asian Human Rights Committee [based in Hong Kong]: Cambodia Should Have an Organization’s Law
  • Cambodia Will Create the Position of a Military Attaché at the [Cambodian] Embassy in the United States of America [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Two Men Raped a 13-Year-Old Girl and Left Her Get Lost in the Forest [police have not yet arrested the two men although there are indications from the victim’s family – Kompong Thom]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1890, 6.3.2009

  • The European Community Announces New Aid to a Food-for-Work Program in Cambodia [worth approx. US$17 million]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6595, 6.3.2009

  • USAID Provides US$21 Million to Promote Economic Growth
  • Preah Vihear Authorities Start Building Steps to the Preah Vihear Temple
  • In the Northeast of Thailand Is Khmer Surin

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4838, 6.3.2009

  • More Than 35% of Citizens Use Loans from Microfinance Institutions
  • The National Assembly Will Restore Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • Two Months in Early 2009: 16 Factories Closed, 11 Factories Opened, and 16 Factories Suspended Their Work
  • The Korean Ambassador [Mr. Shin Hyun-Suk – 신현석, 申 鉉 錫] Said that despite the Global Economic Crisis, Korea Still Helps Cambodia
  • Ten US Private Companies Come to Check Potential for Future Investment in Cambodia
  • A Man Killed His Colleague and Wrote a Note before Escaping [saying that he killed in self defense, and that he will commit suicide – police are seeking him – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Criticizes Israeli Plan to Demolish Many Houses of Palestinian Citizens

Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8009, 6-8.3.2009

  • [The Director General of the National Police] General Net Savoeun Digs Out Big Criminal Cases Again [it is not mentioned which ones]; Samdech Hun Sen Sets Two Important Strategies to Reform the National Police Institution [1. Reduce crimes to control social security, and 2. Reduce inactivity of police which makes people not to trust police competence]

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Meeting between Samdech Hun Sen and Mr. Abhisit in Hua Hin – Monday, 2.3.2009

Posted on 3 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

“On Friday evening, 27 February 2009, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, and the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, met outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – ASEAN – Summit at the Cha Am coast of Hua Hin in Thailand, and both sides agreed to fully support the Joint Border Committee to try to mark the border.

The Nation reported that the Cambodian-Thai border committee has achieved only very small progress early February to find border solutions near the Preah Vihear Temple. Both sides had a disagreement about the demand by Thailand to use the word Phra Viharn [in Thai] and the word Preah Vihear [in Khmer].

“Mr. Abhisit told journalists after his meeting with Samdech Hun Sen, ‘Actually, there are some disagreements, but we have a mechanism to handle this work which will lead to important results.’ He added, ‘We will not let such disagreements block other cooperation.’

“Besides land border disputes, the prime ministers of both countries discussed cooperation at the sea-border overlapping zones, where both countries claim the same areas as belonging to their respective integral regions, where it is believed that abundant oil and natural gas resources are situated. Mr. Abhisit said also that both countries will seek joint development projects on energy at those overlapping zones.

“Reuters news agency reported that both countries agreed to organize a technical expert group to fulfill the task to mark the border at zones rich of oil and gas. Mr. Abhisit told reporters, ‘Our mutual understanding recently progressed much, and we are looking for possibilities to begin cooperation on energy. ‘

“Cambodia has a 37,000 km2 zone to be explored, and another 27,000 km2 are regions disputed with Thailand, known as an overlapping zone.

“Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen used to say early in February that the Cambodian government is organizing projects to exploit oil and gas in the sea in 2010. A big US oil company, Chevron, is exploring oil in the Cambodian sea.

“It should be noted that border disputes between Cambodian and Thailand led to clashes in mid 2008, when Thailand deployed troops in the Preah Vihear region, after the Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a world heritage site. This dispute led to a small battle at the Preah Vihear region, while in October, both sides agreed to raise this problem at negotiations.

“During the meeting between both prime ministers, both countries agreed to continue cooperation to develop infrastructure and the Emerald Triangle Project, which is a region where the Cambodian, Thai, and Laotian borders meet.


The ASEAN Summit Started

“Leaders of the 10 member countries of ASEAN attended the opening of the 14th ASEAN Summit at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in Cha Am, a coastal town in Phetchaburi Province.

“The Bangkok Post reported that the inauguration of the ASEAN summit started, with Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva as the president of ASEAN, calling for all ASEAN leaders to cooperate to help the region to overcome the economic crisis.

“An ASEAN anthem with the title ‘ASEAN Way’ was played, starting the occasion. That anthem was written by Thai musicians.


Cambodia and Burma Boycott ASEAN Human Rights Discussion

“Cambodia and Burma threatened to boycott joining the discussion with civil society organizations yesterday Sunday, a discussion to create an ASEAN human rights institution.

“The Bangkok Post went on to say that the effort to establish an ASEAN human rights organization started to become difficult on Saturday morning, when Cambodia and Burma prevented civil society organizations’ representatives from Cambodia and from Burma to take part in the discussions with ASEAN leaders.

“The decisions of Cambodia and of Burma were directed against civil society representatives from Cambodia, Pen Somony, and from Burma, Khin Omar, not to attend the discussion.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen not only rejected civil society representative Pen Somony, but he also said that the candidate chosen to attend the human rights discussion was just a person from a political league.

“Laos and Vietnam expressed the same idea as Cambodia and Burma, because leaders of both countries did not want to discuss with civil society representatives that are not close to the government.

“On Friday, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and senior human rights officials of ASEAN did not agree about the nomination of an ASEAN human rights commissioner. It is not yet known whether the ASEAN human rights organization can be formed or not.


ASEAN Signs Free Trade Deal with Australia an New Zealand

“All ministers of economy of ASEAN signed a free trade deal with Australia and New Zealand. The 10 members of the ASEAN countries signed the deal on the first day of the summit in Thailand, which suffers from the economic slowdown.

“It is expected that this whole deal can support the economy of ASEAN with up to US$48 billion by 2020, but little will be achieved to help solve the present crisis. Negotiations to create a 12-country free trade zone began in 2004.

“The new deal means that the ASEAN block has encouraged free trade relations with the economies of all of its important neighboring countries. Earlier on, ASEAN had signed similar deals with China, Japan, and South Korea.

“Also, ASEAN plans to organize a unified market by 2015, with the intention to compete with India and China.

“The Minister of Trade of Australia, Mr. Simon Crean, said that this deal is an essential event to join the economies of the countries of the region. The New Zealand Minister of Trade, Mr. Tim Grosser, said that it was a huge deal and also a politically necessary deal.

“Mr. Grosser went on to say, ‘Formerly we had considered Southeast Asia to be a source of threat, instability, and a hazard. Changing this view, an agreement was signed, considering Southeast Asian countries as a huge economic opportunity. This is a very welcome change within 30 years.’

“The summit in Cha Am, a resort in Thailand, witnessed two agreements of ASEAN being concluded: one on commerce, and one on investments. The member countries of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“The 14th ASEAN Summit was to focus on human rights, but the global financial crisis took the top of the agenda this year.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1886, 1-2.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 March 2009

Bakong, Vol.10, #255, 2-3.3.2009

  • Cambodia Obtains Little Aid from Canada [Canadian officials said that Canada will narrow its bilateral aid focusing on 20 countries and Cambodia will not be included]

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #28, 2.3.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Demands that the National Assembly Restore His Immunity [after he paid a fine to the National Election Committee]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #128, 1-2.3.2009

  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Thirith Cursed Those Who Accused Her of Killing People to Fall into the Seventh Level Hell
  • Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior Asks Prison Administrators to Respect Human Rights Policies of Prisoners
  • Police Do Not Take Action Against a Policeman Who Raped a 13-Year-Old Girl when Her Mother Filed a Complaint [Kompong Thom]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1886, 1-2.3.2009

  • Meeting between Samdech Hun Sen and Mr. Abhisit in Hua Hin
  • Egypt Asks to Establish School of Navigation in Cambodia and a Honorary Consulate [so that Cambodians gain skills and have the possibility to go to work in Egypt]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #355, 1-3.3.2009

  • The International Community Still Encourages the Hun Sen Government Not to Use Any Pretext to Delay Adopting an Anti-Corruption Law

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6591, 2.3.2009

  • Thailand Announced Not to Charge Visa Fees from Tourists while Eight ASEAN Countries Had Already Abolished It

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4834, 2.3.2009

  • Heads of Governments of Cambodia and of Thailand Agree to Solve Border Disputes through the Memorandum of Understanding from 2000
  • The British Ambassador [Mr. Andrew Mace]: The Government Has to Create a Social Safety Network [so that all can live happily in the society]
  • Five AK-47 Rifles Are Used [by eight robbers] to Shoot at Gold Sellers and Kill One [police have not identified the robbers – Koh Thom, Kandal]
  • The Number of Khmer Vendors in the Thai Rung Kloeu Market Declined by 50% [after Poipet or the Ou Chrov district was changed to be Poipet City: according to Thai Rak Thai]

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Businesspeople Inside and Outside of the Country Gather Force to Promote the Real Estate Market in Cambodia – Wednesday, 11.2.2009

Posted on 12 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: This week, real estate businesspeople from inside and outside of the country gathered to create a new association to promote and improve the declining real estate market in Cambodia. The Association of Cambodian Real Estate Developers aims to help restore the fast declining real estate market in Cambodian to grow up again.

“Real estates companies expressed their hope that the real estate market will become active again soon. Representatives of real estates companies had assembled to join forces and to make efforts to restore their situation, lively selling real estate in Cambodia again. Mr. Van So Ieng, who was selected to be the president of the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers, said that this new association plays a role to help coordinate work with the government, in order to find ways to reactivate the land and the house markets in Cambodia.

“Mr. Van So Ieng added that the creation of this association is to establish another new force to encourage activities regarding real estate, to get moving ahead.

“It should be noted that the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers was created, after the real estate market of Cambodia had collapsed, and while the government established a new policy, requiring real estate companies to deposit 2% of to the volume of each construction project as a security deposit.

“The director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, who was nominated secretary-general of the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers, disagrees with the policy requiring to make a 2% security deposit per construction site. However, he agrees with the establishment of a mechanism to monitor all real estate companies, which is being drafted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“It should be stressed that the policy to reserve a 2% security deposit for ongoing construction activities is to ensure confidence from companies contracting a construction company, so that the customers continue to commit their money to acquire flats.

“Mr. Sung Bunna requested the government to consider the disadvantages of this security depositing policy in a situation when Cambodia’s real estate market is going down like this.

“As for the director of the Udom Vathanak Company that buys and sells land, Mr. Men Ra, he presented the opinion that the 2% security deposit creates a disadvantage that can affect the newly growing real estate market in Cambodia.

“Ahead of the elections in 2008, activities on the real estate market in Cambodia started to slow down, and so far, the land and the house construction markets are still quiet, which is partly also the result of the international financial crisis.

“Mr. Men Ra said that the land market in Cambodia, with cooperating efforts by the government, will become activated again soon.

“Mr. Van So Ieng expressed his hope that the land market will grow again after the real estate companies in Cambodia assembled to form the new Association, especially if there is cooperation from the government.

“Also, Mr. Van So Ieng mentioned that solutions might also be found from the policy of providing loans to citizens to buy houses – this can help to reactivate the real estate market in Cambodia.

“It should be noted that the Cambodian government announced that government institutions are beginning to release loans in an effort to encourage the buying of land and of flats again.

“This announcement by the government was welcomed by different real estate companies in Cambodia.

“Mr. Men Ra called for supporting activities by the National Bank of Cambodia in order to restore the present weak situation of the land market.

“So far, real estate businesspeople still hope that sooner or later, there will be land selling activities again.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #200, 11.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #15, 11.2.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association]: Global Witness’s Website Is Closed Because It Touches Sensitive Spots of Corrupt Officials of the Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #339, 11.2.2009

  • The Government and the National Assembly Plan to Question the Person Who Ordered Armed Forces to the Mobitel Company [closing it for about 4 hours]
  • More Than 2,000 Olympic Market Vendors Protest in Front of the Residence of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [over the rising prices of market stalls]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1870, 11.2.2009

  • Director General of National Police [Net Savoeun] Orders to Cancel Illegal Police Number Plates, starting in May 2009
  • [The Russey Keo district governor] Kleang Huot Is Accused of Threatening a Man with a Weapon and Hitting and Injuring Him [Phnom Penh]
  • Getting Angry with the Run Away Owner, Some Workers Used the Opportunity to Take All Sewing-Machines of the Factory Away [Wan Sida / Siao Pao Factory – Phnom Penh]
  • Two Thai Men, Who Drove a Car and Crashed into a Truck Loaded with Wood from Behind, Died Immediately on Road 67 B in Srae Nouy Commune [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #341, 11.2.2009

  • Opposition Party [the Sam Rainsy Party] and Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Criticize the Creation of a National Education Council [saying that it is useless because its tasks are already the responsibility of the Ministry of Education]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #200, 11.2.2009

  • Businesspeople Inside and Outside of the Country Gather Force to Promote the Real Estate Market in Cambodia
  • National Education Council Is Created to Monitor the Quality of Education of State and Private Universities
  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Will Hold a Congress to Change Its Name on 15 February 2009 [as planned by one of its factions]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6575, 11.2.2009

  • There Is Logging, but There Is No Replanting; In the Middle of Botum Sakor National Park’s Buffer Zone, Trees Are Being Cut Down [Koh Kong]
  • More Than 13,000 Tourists Visited the National Museum in 2008
  • Poland Feels Hurt after Pakistani Taliban Beheaded a [Polish] Hostage

Mate Nak, Vol.2, #20, 11-17.2.2009

  • Cambodia Will Launch a Stock Exchange Market This Year

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3684, 11.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Is Disappointed with the Hun Sen Government That Delivers More Than 10,000 Hectares of Land to a Company from Kuwait [to establish an agro-business]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4818, 11.2.2009

  • The Cambodian Association of Travel Agents Wants the Government to Reduce Prices of Some Services [such as visa fees, airport taxes, tickets to visit different tourist sites] to attract tourists while the financial crisis is strongly threatening tourism from countries in the region]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Forbids that People in the Audience [allowed to participate in the hearing of former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Gek Eav on 17 February 2009] Wear Shirts with Slogans Supporting or Attacking the Khmer Rouge Case
  • The Cambodian Center for Human Rights Encourages the Government to Support Freedom of Expression
  • The Owner of the Viva Tinouy Factory [phonetic] Runs Away from [around 1,000] Workers with US$200,000!
  • Health Official: The Quality of Cancer Treatment in Cambodia Is Not Lower Than in Other Countries
  • Japan Grants Nearly US$3 Million to Two Projects [irrigation in Kompong Speu and infectious disease control]

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Many More High-Ranking Officials Close to Ke Kim Yan Face Removal from their Positions, and Generals at Military Garrisons and at Divisions Are in Panic – Saturday, 31.1.2009

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh confirmed that the Cambodian military is as stable as normal, after the change of the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – on 22 January 2009. Tea Ban’s claim was made after General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his position of RCAF commander-in-chief by Prime Minister Hun Sen on 22 January 2009, while the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] border disputes have not yet been solved and Khmer and Siamese troops are still in a tense mutual confrontation.

“The former RCAF deputy-commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, was appointed RCAF commander-in-chief instead of General Ke Kim Yan quickly and unexpectedly on 22 January 2009. The shift of the RCAF commander-in-chief triggered concerns among some generals at military garrisons and at divisions, being afraid that they too might be removed from their positions eventually. Especially those who were close to General Ke Kim Yan are worrying that they might loose their positions.

“Regarding the above concerns of military officers with the rank of general, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh affirmed that there are no such shifts to come. Also, another high-ranking official of the Ministry of Defense, who asked not to be named, said that so far, the government has no plan to change more military commanders, and a recent meeting and agenda for the next military meetings do not mention the shakeup. But, according to some unofficial sources, there will be more changes affecting many other generals in the future, particularly those who were close to General Ke Kim Yan.

“Nevertheless, some senior-officials of the Ministry of Defense said that the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister Hun Sen, appointed many more Generals and high-ranking military officers as his advisors, besides their current positions, after stripping General Ke Kim Yan of his rank. Some observers assessed that that Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed many Generals and high-ranking military officers as his advisors in an effort to assemble a strong military power, but it wastes many national resources. Therefore, generals and high-ranking military officers at garrisons and at divisions are very concerned, after Hun Sen quickly and unexpectedly removed Ke Kim Yan from the position of RCAF commander-in-chief.

“According to a source from the Ministry of Defense, when General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his position on 22 January 2009, 507 other military officers were also removed from the bodyguard unit of the president of the Senate, who is also the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Chea Sim, and were sent back to their barracks. Among them, two brigadiers; the number of the bodyguard unit’s forces of Chea Sim were cut down to only around 100. This receives much attention by national and international observers, because they think that it is Hun Sen’s maneuver to reduce the bodyguard force of Chea Sim below what he had planned.

“Reacting to the above case, the recently promoted RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, said on Thursday, 29 January 2009, that the redeployment of bodyguards is not a revocation, as those soldiers will not be shifted from their places forever. General Pol Saroeun told reporters, ‘We just bring them back to undergo more [military] training.’ The RCAF commander-in-chief added that there are still 100 soldiers to protect Chea Sim, because he is a top leader. Separately, on Wednesday, 28 January 2009, General Pol Saroeun also tried to halt rumors among some units of the armed forces about the removal of some more senior military officers, after the very quick removal of General Ke Kim Yan.

“On Thursday, reporters could not reach Chea Sim’s bodyguard chief, General Chhoeun Chanthan, for comments. However, the RCAF commander-in-chief General Pol Saroeun said that General Chhoen Chantan is not ranked down or removed. General Hem Savy, an officer of Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit, said that the order for 507 soldiers to go back to their military bases at Battalion 70 was made on Sunday, 25 January 2009, and there will be more removals. General Hem Savy told reporters, ‘We were removed following orders of the government.’

“An officer close to General Pol Saroeun, who asked not to give his name, hinted that around 10 more military commanders close to Ke Kim Yan and to Chea Sim might be removed, if they do not turn to support the powerful vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister Hun Sen. In the meantime, Hun Sen might organize a strategy to remove also Chea Sim from the position of president of the Cambodian People’s Party, because at present, Hun Sen holds the whole military power.

“Observers of the Cambodian People’s Party’s internal affairs noticed that before Ke Kim Yan’s removal, Hun Sen held only about 60% of the power. But after the changes, Hun Sen controls 100% of the power, even though Sar Kheng is holding the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. Obviously, the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, held by Sar Kheng, are also considered to be of concern, because Hun Sen can demote him any time.

“Observers of the Cambodian People’s Party’s internal affairs went on to say that after Hun Sen has already cleared out military commanders and police chiefs close to Sar Kheng and to Chea Sim, he may organize new internal arrangements of the party, and force Chea Sim to leave the position of the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, so that he can take up that position himself. Furthermore, he might reduce the power of the current secretary-general of the Cambodian People’s Party, Say Chhum, by putting his in-law, Sok An, into this position. As for the position of Sar Kheng, Hun Sen can remove him whenever he wants, but after having removed Ke Kim Yan, if he would also remove Sar Kheng, it might affect the Cambodian People’s Party internally and cause turmoil.

“High-ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party said that now, the internal power of the Cambodian People’s Party is totally controlled by Hun Sen, and if Hun Sen really has the ambition to become president of the Cambodian People’s Party, it is very easy, because when Ke Kim Yan was removed as RCAF commander-in-chief and Pol Saroeun was assigned to replace him, there was no reaction from Chea Sim’s and Sar Kheng’s factions, but they just kept silent and let Hun Sen create storm and rain as he liked.

“Observers said that even though Tea Ban had said that there is no more change to come for internal military affairs, information about the removal of more military officers close to General Ke Kim Yan was eventually disclosed. These disclosures worry generals and other high-ranking military officers at different garrisons and divisions very much, because they are afraid that also their positions can be affected. That means the removal of Ke Kim Yan is causing serious internal problems in the Cambodian People’s party, especially it is strongly and uncontrollably shaking the military situation.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #34, 31-1.1-2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 31 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1861, 31.1.2009

  • The Authorities of the Russey Keo District Office Ordered to Remove [around 20] Floating Houses along the Tonle Sap Riverbank [to maintain social order]
  • Somali Pirates Hijacked German Ship Loaded with [liquefied petroleum] Gas and Arrested Thirteen Sailors
  • UN Officials Met with [Rohingya] People Who Are Held in Detention in Thailand [after having been sent on boats floating on he sea]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #332, 31-2.1-2.2009

  • Human Rights Abuses in 2008 Increased [by 25% compared to 2007; according to the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO, there were 381 cases in 17 provinces and cities in 2008 – 212 cases related to land disputes – and there were 16,725 victims involved by 2,669 abusers, where 9.19% were abused by military personnel, 4.25% by military police, 17.59% by police, 16.80% by civil officials, 3.41% by court officials, 6.82% by business companies, 12.07% by civilian people, 8.92% by unidentified people, 1.05% by mobs, and 18.90% by different groups]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #334, 31.1.2009

  • Four-Star General Moeung Samphan Is Stripped of His Rank and More Than 3,000 Weapons of [RCAF Commander-in-Chief] Ke Kim Yan’s Supporters Are Taken Away
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Holds an Extraordinary Congress Today

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #194, 31.1.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Will Be Changed into the Khmer Front Party, if there Is No Solution [for the dismissal of a high-ranking member of the party]
  • [Three] Citizens Who Had Been Detained regarding a Land Dispute Are Released [after several-days protests by around 140 families to release them – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia Hopes that the New Envoy of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Cooperates with the Government Well

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6566, 31.1.2009

  • [Anti-government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Gather in Front of the Cambodian Embassy [in Bangkok] to send a letter saying that the Thai government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya are not just, and are not real representatives of the people; then they moved on to the Laotian and Vietnamese embassies]
  • Fire Destroyed More Than 50 Houses of People Doing Fishing at the Tumnup Rolork Region [Sihanoukville]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Signed an Agreement with the National Bank of Laos [to strengthen bilateral cooperation in banking]
    US$1.5 Million [granted by World Bank, controlled by the Emerging Markets Consulting Program] to Help Exporting Companies to Open Export Market Access, for a Program of the Ministry of Commerce [this program will assist financial and technical sectors in order to help to increase their exports to new markets]
  • North Korea Cancels All Agreements with South Korea

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #34, 31-1.1-2.2009

  • Many More High-Ranking Officials Close to Ke Kim Yan Face Removal from their Positions, and Generals at Military Garrisons and at Divisions Are in Panic

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4809, 31.1.2009

  • The Municipality Issues a Statement Denying Allegations [by non-government organizations, some international organizations, and opposition parties] to Have Used Force to Evict People from the Dey Krahom Area [some further information by pictures is here]
  • 2009: FAO Grants US$2.25 Million for Strengthening Agriculture
  • Community Health Insurance Program Is Another Choice for Poor People
  • Cambodia Continues to Encourage Thailand to Return Khmer Artifacts Soon [that Thai authorities caught from illegal smugglings from Cambodia]
  • More Than One Million People Demonstrated against French President Nicolas Sarkozy [regarding his economic policies to reduce the number of permanent staff of state institutions, especially in schools, which disappoints and makes French people angry – France]

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

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