International Women’s Day 2010 – a Lot to Think About – Monday, 8.3.2010

Posted on 9 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

In former years, The Mirror carried references and reflections about the International Women’s Day – its early history as a day of public celebration in 1911, but also its prehistory in 1834; which surprisingly enough relates to a strike of women working in the textile industry in Lowell – the city of Lowell in Massachusetts in the USA, which is now a center of Cambodian immigrants in the USA, while female textile workers play an important role for the national economy of Cambodia; but also considerations in 2008 and 2009 about the important role of this day in Cambodia at present.

For this year, we just collected from the last three weeks pieces of text which have already been published in The Mirror, related to the life of women – a lot to think about.

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Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future

The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.

It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.

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An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]

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The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.

The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’

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106 Garment and Shoes Factories Closed [making more than 45,000 female workers unemployed in 2009 due to the global economic crisis]

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The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women

The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’

Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly.

She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.

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A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens – the majority of them women]

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The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger

Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.

Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.

Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.

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After a Woman Was Gang-Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases

Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.

A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.

He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’
According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.

‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs. I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’

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A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter [working as a domestic servant] Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]

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A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]

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The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs

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A Man Raped and Killed Two Nieces [they are four and twelve years old – Kampot]

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According to an announcement by the US Embassy on 23 February 2010, the United States of America officially started a program with a contribution of US$13.4 million to improve the heath and the quality of life of Cambodian citizens, reducing the impact from HIV and AIDS, especially among vulnerable groups.

The HIV/AIDS program will also strengthen the national health system, fight maternal mortality, and address also other present priority health issues

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A Man Raped His Daughter for Three Years – When She Could No Bear It Any More, She Informed the Police to Arrest Him [Svay Rieng]

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A French Electricity Engineer Was Convicted to Serve Seven Years in Prison and Then to Be Deported from Cambodia [for buying child prostitution – Phnom Penh]

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There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlor

At present, there are nearly 500 entertainment places in Phnom Penh, such as beer gardens, karaoke parlors, night clubs, discotheques, restaurants or other places where alcohol and some meals are served, accompanied with music, and female beer seller [called “Beer Girls”].

According to reports from the Phnom Penh Municipality, distributed during a recent convention to sum up the work in 2009 and to set the direction for 2010, big entertainment places include 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques. Based on unofficial estimations by expert officials, there are around 300 other places such as clubs, restaurants, small restaurants, or places where soup is served like in beer gardens, where there are women to entertain the male guests.

It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms.

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It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]

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Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]

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The Prime Minister Ordered to Check Shops Selling Cosmetic Products and Performing Cosmetic Surgery, and Using Chemicals for Cosmetic Purposes

The head of the Royal Government ordered leaders of the Ministry of Health on 2 March 2010 to cooperate with other related ministries and institutions to check all shops selling cosmetic products and performing cosmetic surgery, and using products containing chemicals that affect the health of clients, especially the health of women.

During the closing ceremony of the 31st convention of the Ministry of Health at the Intercontinental Hotel, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘The Ministry of Health must focus and closely cooperate with related ministries and other institutions to carefully check institutions that produce and sell cosmetic products and perform cosmetic surgery.’

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A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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The Prime Minister Warned that Police and Military Chiefs Had Better Leave Their Positions if They Do Not Dare to Crack Down on Brothels and Gambling Sites, Being Afraid of Interventions [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]

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The International Women’s Day is a National Holiday in Cambodia. It provides an occasion for public awareness raising. As this recollection of random texts from three weeks of The Mirror shows, there is ample reason that such awareness has to continue throughout the year.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case – Tuesday, 2.3.2010

Posted on 3 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee published a statement, calling for a political solution for the president of the biggest opposition party of Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 non-government organizations, issued the statement late last week.

“The committee regrets that a lawyer of the government filed a lawsuit against Mr. Sam Rainsy, in addition to the complaint which had been handled by the Svay Rieng court. Civil society organizations wrote that the new complaint will pose more concerns among national and international opinion about the recent political situation in Cambodia, especially relating to the space for democracy and the role of parliamentarians; opposition party parliamentarians were frequently sued, while important issues in the country need the involvement by all political parties. In this sense, the committee thinks that party leaders should focus more on the national interest and unite through negotiations to peacefully settle national issues.

“The committee stated, ‘We would like to encourage our political leaders to respect each other and to negotiate patiently, discussing national problems so that Cambodian citizens can live in peace and in a democratic society.’

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project – a member of the committee, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun – explained that the statement is aimed not only at the government, but at both parties. Mr. Sok Sam Oeun said, ‘Also Mr. Sam Rainsy should soften his position.’

“However, there seems to be less hope that there can be political coordination like in 2005, as Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stated that he will not ask for an amnesty for Mr. Sam Rainsy again. Last week Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘I can say now that in the next elections, there will be opposition parties, but not such a person (like Sam Rainsy).’

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen even considered Mr. Sam Rainsy’s activities as traitorous.

“The lawyer Sok Sam Oeun said that it is difficult to follow the way of politicians.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #423, 2.3.2010

  • India Provided a Loan of US$15 Million for the Construction of Electricity Lines from Kratie to Stung Treng
  • Citizens Accused Banteay Meanchey Custom Officers of Extorting Money, though They Transport Goods Legally [more than 30 homebuilt small tractors loaded with goods were blocked, extorting Riel 50,000 each, approx. US$12, to let them pass]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2190, 2.3.2010

  • It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Adds a Thai Language Section to Its Website [a government official said that doing so amid border conflicts with Thailand seems to express support towards foreign aggression]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6897, 2.3.2010

  • Thirty Six Hectares of Rubber Trees [of six families] Are in a Conflict [a company that wants to buy the land, while the owners do not want to sell it], Where by Now Thirty Hectares Have Been Burnt Down [by unknown persons – Kompong Cham]
  • More Cambodian Students Learn French [the number increased from 45,000 students in 2005 to more than 110,000 in 2009 [announced at the occasion of a meeting between the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French embassy]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3821, 2.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Welcomes the New Lawsuit by the Government, as Those Loving Justice around the World Sympathize with Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #121, 2.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Are Concerned about the Knot Tied between the Private Sectors and the Troops [saying that private companies might use the military power of those supported to support their illegal businesses], but this Was Rejected [by the government]
  • Cholera Is Affecting Five Provinces and one City [Kandal, Kompong Speu, Prey Veng, Takeo, and Phnom Penh; 223 cases of diarrhea are suspected to be Cholera – according to the Ministry of Health]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5139, 2.3.2010

  • Civil Society Encourages a Solution to Be Found in Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case
  • Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]
  • [Two] Robbers Robbed a Gold Seller, Taking 300 Chi of Gold [worth approx. US$40,200], and in Cash Riel 4 Million [approx. US$950], and US$100 [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1884, 2.3.2010

  • Thai Security Is Tightened after Bomb Explosions [in Bangkok]

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

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Friday, 25.7.2008: European Union Delegation Comes to Study Combating Sex Tourism in Cambodia

Posted on 26 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Phnom Penh: To increase the understanding of common problems and to contribute to combat sex tourists in Cambodia efficiently is the goal of a European Union delegation, led by Mr. Jules Maaten and Ms. Sarah Ludford, that came to Cambodia.

“In the afternoon of 23 July 2008, the European Union delegation discussed and studied some problems regarding combating sex tourism in Cambodia with senior officials of Acting for Women in Distressing Situations [AFESIP] in Phnom Penh, as well as with some national and international journalists.

“Ms. Mam Somaly, director of AFESIP and of the Somaly Mam Foundation, said that governments of western countries should open their eyes to see the activities of their citizens who have committed crimes outside of their own countries. Frequently, they pretend to be tourists, or sometimes to be staff of humanitarian organizations in Cambodia, to find opportunities to rape children. There are more children being abused sexually by these crimes than the number of cases that come under the crack-down by the authorities.

“Ms. Mam Somaly said, ‘In Cambodia, the Royal Government has improved the situation markedly to curb down trafficking by creating legislation against trafficking, and by creating national structures of cooperation against trafficking.’ However, the Royal Government has to do more, especially to strengthen procedures against trafficking and legislation beyond what has already been achieved.

“It should be remembered that Ms. Mam Somaly has saved 4,000 children from sexual slavery during the last decades. She created AFESIP to provide consultation and rehabilitation for victims in several centers in Cambodia, in Thailand, in Laos, and in Vietnam. Recently, she has been supported by friends who are famous stars, business people, lawyers, and other generous people, to create the Somaly Mam Foundation, which aims to eliminate the root causes of human trafficking by launching broad public campaigns, to struggle with public opinion about issues relating to human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in the country, in the region, and internationally.

“Mr. Jules Maaten, the European Union delegation leader and a member of the European parliament from the Netherlands, said that Cambodia has become an important location for criminals to rape children; since some years, many children have been used as sex slaves for tourists from western countries, and for the staff of some humanitarian organizations. ‘Now, we have to open our eyes to see this situation and to take actions against this modern form of slavery.’

“Ms. Sarah Ludford, a member of the European Parliament from London, pointed to the fact that criminals have often escaped from detention and from punishment, because of incompetent police to bring those criminals to court for punishment. Arrested suspects often bribe their way out of the country and flee to their home countries. Only one out of five cases leads to a conviction, and only 3% of the suspects have been convicted after being accused of raping children.

“After the discussion, Ms. Mam Somaly and the European Union delegation agreed with three requests: 1. Members of the member states of the European Union should work towards a stronger role for the police of the European Union to be authorized and to receive the means to train police officials, prosecutors, and judges about child sex trafficking and exploitation. 2. The European Union should pay more attention and exchange information with third countries, to exchange data to help identify suspects for prosecution. 3. The European Union should include information about sentences of sex tourists as well as of criminals who are not citizens of the European Union into the [European] Schengen data information system.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1702, 25.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1702, 25.7.2008

  • European Union Delegation Comes to Study Combating Sex Tourism in Cambodia
  • Nearly 1,000 [Garment] Workers of Chhang Leang Factory at Stung Meanchey Do Not Have Days Off to Go to Vote [this led to a protest on 24 July 2008]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #616, 25.7.2008

  • Siam [Thai] King Promotes the Honor of Samak Sundaravej while There Is Dispute with Cambodia [no specific proof given]; Siamese Troops Still Continue to Invade the Border


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #206, 25.7.2008

  • Siam [Thailand] Rejected to Solve the Dispute through ASEAN or through the UN

Note:
Singapore’s Foreign Minister and at present ASEAN Chair said Thursday [24.7.2008] a border dispute that recently flared between Thailand and Cambodia should never have become a problem, and it was unnecessary to take it to the U.N. Security Council.

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #58, 25.7.2008

  • Cambodia Has Suspended Its Complaint to the UN and Waits for New Results from Negotiations [28 July 2008 in Siem Reap, after the Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej called Prime Minister Hun Sen at 4:30 p.m. Thursday]
  • Some Political Parties [Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, and Human Rights Party] Show National Unity Regarding the Dispute with Thailand
  • Handicap International Belgium Comments on Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [the head of the organization, Mr. Bruno Leclercq, said that traffic safety problems are complicated; there were 27,500 victims, and 17,000 vehicles were involved in 2007. In Cambodia there are more than four people killed every day. Looking at the first two months of 2008, the numbers were again higher]
  • The Sale and Drinking of Alcohol Is Prohibited One Day before [and on the election day of 27 July 2008 – according to an instruction by the Phnom Penh Municipality]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6406, 25.7.2008

  • More Razor Wire Is Added to Protect the [Preah Vihear] Temple; [Minister of Defense] Tea Banh: We Absolutely Defend the Preah Vihear Temple to Belong to Khmer; [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: Thailand Has to Know that Now Thailand Is Violating [Cambodia] and Is Becoming a Country that Violates International Laws
  • Border Police Post 911 Destroyed a Thai Camera Put Secretly by Thai Soldiers to Observe Khmer Activities [Poipet]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3521, 25.7.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Parliamentarians [on 24 July 2008] Asked International Observers to Prevent Tricks to Forge or Change Ballots by Officials of the Cambodian People’s Party who are with the National Election Committee


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4650, 25.7.2008

  • Six to Ten Companies [including Sokimex of Oknha Sok Kong and the ACLEDA Bank] Will Cooperate to Establish a Stock Market [in 2009]
  • Strong Earthquake [6.8 on the Richter scale] Attacked Japan [injuring 16 people seriously – 24 July 2008]
  • Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York Will Grant US$500 Million [to stop people around the world smoking cigarettes; according to the World Health Organization, tobacco will kill already 1 billion people in the 21st century]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3368, 25.7.2008

  • Ms. Condoleezza Rice Expressed Concern and Suggested a Peaceful Solution for the Dispute between Cambodia and Thailand [24 July 2008 in a security conference of ASEAN, held in Singapore; she said Cambodia should not send the dispute to the UN Security council and should settle it bilaterally]


Note:

Among the regular UN Security Council members only France considers that the UN should discuss this issue – all others suggest bilateral discussion on the basis of existing documents.

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

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