Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia – Monday, 2.2.2009

Posted on 3 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Recently, human rights officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a report denouncing that there were serious human rights abuses in the forced eviction of thousands of Khmer poor citizens from their houses in order to grab land. The report of the UN Human Rights Council noted that the number of evictions of citizens has increased throughout Cambodia.

Note:

Reference is made available to several UN resources here, including steps to access them.

UN Office for Human Rights

Select: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands homeless: UN expert

Press Release: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands of people homeless. 30 January 2009.

The following statement on the latest in a series of forced evictions in Cambodia was issued today by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik.

“More than 130 families were forcibly evicted during the night of 23 and 24 January 2009 from Dey Krahom, in central Phnom Penh to make way for a private company to redevelop the site.

“The forced eviction was carried out in the middle of the night, without prior notice and the shelters belonging to this poor community were torn down and destroyed. This situation has grave consequences for all the victims, but particularly the women and children. Reports also state that prior to the eviction, the community suffered intimidation and community representatives and members were also subjected to criminal charges.

“It is regrettable that the ongoing negotiations with the residents were abandoned, casting aside a valuable opportunity to reach a just and lawful solution to this longstanding dispute. It is now of utmost importance that the rights of the residents to fair compensation for their lost homes and property and the provision of adequate alternative housing are fully respected.

“Unfortunately this is by no means an isolated case, and the increase in forced evictions throughout Cambodia is very alarming. Reports indicate that tens of thousands of poor people have been forcibly evicted and displaced, pushing them into homelessness and further destitution.

“In Cambodia, a consistent pattern of violation of rights has been observed in connection with forced evictions: systematic lack of due process and procedural protections; inadequate compensation; lack of effective remedies for communities facing eviction; excessive use of force; and harassment, intimidation and criminalization of NGOs and lawyers working on this issue.

“Forced evictions constitute a grave breach of human rights. They can be carried out only in exceptional circumstances and with the full respect of international standards. Given the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by the victims of forced evictions, I urge the Cambodian authorities to establish a national moratorium on evictions until their policies and actions in this regard have been brought into full conformity with international human rights obligations.”

The former Special Rapporteur on adequate housing conducted a mission to Cambodia in 2005 and presented a mission report on his findings and recommendations (E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.3). Concerns on forced evictions in Cambodia have been shared through a large number of communications by the Special Rapporteur with the authorities. These communications remain unanswered to date.

More information on the work and reports of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, including a series of pictures, is here; to see them, select
Photographs of the evictions (PDF) at the end of the text.

“The report of the UN Human Rights Council condemning the Cambodian government for human rights abuses was made after the eviction of the Dey Krahom residents in the Tonle Bassac commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, on 24 January 2009. In that event, citizens of more than 100 families were beaten wildly and machinery was used to demolish their houses brutally. These activities seriously violated the citizens’ living rights, and violated also human rights conventions of the United Nations.

“Through a statement on Friday, 30 January 2009, an expert officials of the United Nations [the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik] asked the Khmer authorities to suspend evicting residents from their houses, because it is against international human rights obligations. But the Phnom Penh authorities and the Hun Sen government do not care about the report of the UN Human Rights Council, and the corrupt Phnom Penh authorities still collude with the 7NG company of Oknha Srey Sothea to grab citizens’ land impudently. At present, the Dey Krahom residents victimized by the eviction require shelters and need urgent aid from national and international organizations, as well as from generous individuals.

“Local human rights officials observing the collusion between the municipal authorities and the 7NG company evicting the citizens from the Dey Krahom region, said that most citizens have not yet received proper compensation. In contrast, the 7NG company of iniquitous businessman Srey Sothea had set an ultimatum for getting compensation from the company.

“Local human rights organization officials said that the criticism by human rights expert officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, is in line with the real situation in Cambodia. In fact, that the municipal authorities collude with the 7NG company and ordered armed forces to evict the more than 100 families from their houses in the Dey Krahom region is a problem that cannot be glossed over. Therefore, the government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, must consider how to respect human rights, in order to avoid criticism from all directions.

“Land dispute observers in Cambodia criticized the fact that during these last six months, abuses of citizens’ land, and evictions of citizens, happened more than before the fourth-term national elections on 27 July 2008. Even though the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes was changed, the number of land disputes could not be reduced. On the contrary, after Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, appointed Bin Chhin as the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes to replace [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, land disputes grew more severe.

“Many said that after the Phnom Penh authorities colluded with the 7NG company to evict the Dey Krahom residents, citizens of the Group 78 in Tonle Bassac and citizens in the Boeung Kak region are very frightened, because they may soon face the same injustice like the Dey Krahom residents. Residents of the Group 78 in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac and of the Boeung Kak region, appeal to local and international human rights organizations to help find solutions for them, so that they will not suffer human rights abuses like the Dey Krahom residents.

“Previously, important international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, frequently released reports criticizing human rights abuses in Cambodia, especially evictions of citizens. Reacting against such criticisms, the not trustworthy man Om Yentieng, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government and senior advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, frequently denies the facts, claiming that the respect for human rights in Cambodia has improved. However, after the events on 14 January 2008, Om Yentieng could no longer conceal the fact, because victimized Dey Krahom residents gathered to protest at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Tiger Cave Tuol Krasaing headquarters.

“Human rights organization officials observing land violations in Cambodia assume that during the fourth-term government, set up through a unified and comprehensive vote, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, land disputes will not decrease, and what Hun Sen said about the possibility of a land revolution, is said as a kind of an empty predictiion. If Hun Sen were really willing to settle land disputes, this strong man of Cambodia will not allow senior officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked businessmen, and the armed forces to use execute power to grab citizens’ land as they liked and do at present.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #39, 2-8.2.2009

  • 796 Education Officials Get Work Medals [for doing good work in 2008 – in Phnom Penh there are 9,905 teachers and education officials]

Bakong, Vol.10, #252, 1-2.2.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Headquarters Was Put in Disarray by a Student Group and by Party Members [reflecting an internal factional split – Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1862, 1-2.2.2009

  • A Cambodian Private Hospital Association Will Be Created to Help Poor People
  • Siamese [Thai] Demonstrators Announced Having Controlled the Government House on Saturday Night

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #335, 1-3.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Is Angry with [the former RCAF commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan for Hosting a Party with Commanders with Funcinpec and Khmer People’s National Liberation Front [of Mr. Son Sann] Backgrounds on 5 January 2009
  • Three More Generals Are Removed from Their Positions [they are Lieutenant General Dam Vuthy, Lieutenant General Dam Dararith – they are brothers, and Lieutenant General Tan Phanna, who is a younger brother of General Chhin Chanpor who was recently removed as the deputy military police commander]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #720, 2-7.2.2009

  • Immigrant Police in Dar Commune Allow Yuons [Vietnamese] to Enter to Do Their Businesses Freely [by just paying some money – according to local citizens and merchants, Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6567, 2.2.2009

  • A Truck [loaded with pigs] Collided with a Bus: A Tragedy on National Road 5 Killed Three People and Seriously Injured 15 Others [Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

  • Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls on Those Loving Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party in Order to Protect the National Interest [he said so during an extraordinary congress of the party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4810, 1-2.2.2009

  • An [unnamed] Owner of a Rubber Plantation Pays Compensation for a Woman Killed by the Daughter of Mr. Lar Sarith, a Well-Known Singer [she was released after about 20 hours detention – Phnom Penh. She had fled after the accident, but finally police managed to arrest her by shooting a car tire flat. The accident injured a moto-taxi driver and destroyed his vehicle – compensated with US$1,200 – but killed a woman – compensated with US$1,800]
  • The Fifth Person of a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [involved in planting explosive devices in Phnom Penh] Is Arrested and Brought to Court
  • Mr. Yet Chakriya Takes the Position of Prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court [replacing Mr. Ouk Savuth]
  • Cambodia Asks Israel to Consider Importing Rice from Cambodia
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Admires Cambodia for Fighting AIDS Successfully
  • US$40 Is Released to Each Worker of the LA Factory for the First Step [to settle outstanding payments]
  • The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea Cooperates with the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3478, 1-2.2.2009

  • New Evidence to Accuse Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch – some videos provided by Vietnam about the Tuol Sleng prison showing detention rooms, tools for detaining prisoners, and many dead bodies, when Vietnam forces found this prison in January 1979]

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

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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.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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