Just Deny… or Investigate and Clarify? – Sunday, 25.7.2010

Posted on 26 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

After the acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch had presented a report Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia to the press, and this was reported on 21.7.2010, on the following day of 22.7.2010 there was already another press report: “The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch.”

As this 76-pages report is based, as it states, on more than 90 interviews and group discussions with sex workers in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Siem Reap, one wonders how a government spokesperson could dismiss such a report on the day after its public presentation – a report that contains Testimonies from sex workers from around the country. The denial cannot be based on an investigation of the details and facts claimed to be real, with names and locations of witnesses, unless there is no respect for the persons quoted, not assuming that some of the terrible experiences they describe are correct and deserve legal clarification.

The press reported from the presentation that some of these cases were claimed to have happened: “Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.”

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says in Article 31:

“Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status.”

What are the implications – under the Constitution – when statements by Cambodian citizens who claim to have been victimized and abused by police, including the allegation of regular impunity, are dismissed and not taken up by agencies which should rather care for equal justice.

Human Rights Watch did not only report their observations, they also made practical proposals, as reported in the Khmer press:

“…the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers.”

It seems that all this has now been dismissed – and the alleged impunity may continue without being investigated? – No investigation and clarified about what was wrong, and what was true and has to be punished according to the laws of the country?

On 26.7.2010 the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia – the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – will announce its first verdict, on the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison. He is the only one of the five persons facing the court who has not denied the accusations against him.

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The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16% – Thursday, 22.7.2010

Posted on 23 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, the export and import of Cambodia increase by 16% in the first six months of this year, compared to last year.

Note:

We are unable to understand the meaning of the added up export and import figures, and the calculated combined percentage numbers for export and import together. The absolute figures, given separately for exports and for imports, are, of course, clear in their meaning, also the comparisons of present and of past years within exports and within imports, separately.
Any help to understand these combined “export and import sum and percentage” figures – via Comments – is appreciated.
Norbert Klein

“As said by experts, the commerce grows due to increasing global demand.

“Nevertheless, some experts warned that the economic recovery is in a delicate condition.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Chan Nora, said, ‘Commerce should be growing during this period as the global economy is recovering, while also the consumption of products increases. Especially, the Ministry of Commerce is trying to coordinate exports.

“Reports for the first six months show that imports increased by more than 18% to US$2,183 million this year, compared to the corresponding period last year with US$1,844 million.

“The exports increased by 13.14% to US$1,498 million. Compared to the same period last year, exports amounted to US$1,324 million, where 70% was related to garment products.

“The figures demonstrate that exports and imports in the first six months of 2010 increase by 16.19% to US$3,168 million compared to the same period last year.

“However, some observers noticed that the Cambodian economy is still facing dangers, as overall economic activity still drops, though the figures show an increase.

“The director of the Khov Chuly Group importing construction materials, Mr. Khov Phalaboth, said that even though there is progress in the real estate, agricultural, and industrial sectors, it seems too quick to say that the Cambodian economy has completely recovered. He said, ‘The economic downturn has not completely come to an end. Hazards remain. Typically, it is like recovering from sickness, but things might still get worse.’

“Mr. Chan Nora went on to say the increase in imports by Cambodia encourages an increase in exports. He said, ‘The local garment and textile sectors are doing better, causing also an increase in the demand for raw materials.’ The head of the Cambodian Economic Association, Mr. Chan Sophal, said, ‘The growth in commerce is really vigorous.’ He added that the increase in exports and imports is a measure of the economic growth of Cambodia. According to the National Bank of Cambodia, exports and imports dropped by about 17% from US$10,633 million in 2008 to only US$8,827 million in 2009.

“At present, the government is also looking into the future. Mr. Chan Nora said that the Ministry of Commerce is actively negotiating about the export of agricultural products to China, but the quality of local products is still an obstacle.

“He said, ‘We had asked people to send experts here to improve the quality of our products. We want to export our own manufactured products so as to get higher prices.’ He added that agricultural products are becoming important local products for export.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2307, 22.7.2010

  • The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch [about rights abuses and mistreatment of sex workers]
  • The Ministry of Justice Warned Court Officials and Clerks to Punish Them if They Act against Their Professional Standards [for example if clerks work as if they were in the position of judges or prosecutors]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3938, 22.7.2010

  • Sam Rainsy’s and Mu Sochua’s Cases [about the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, and about defamation] Could Come to an End through Internal Political Arrangements via the International Community [officials of the Sam Rainsy Party hope so]
  • 114 Families in the District of Kien Svay Accuse Some Officials of Grabbing 46 Hectare of Rice Fields [Kandal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #10, 22.7.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Chea Sim: Cambodia Develops Quickly because of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen’s] Governing [he said so during the 35th meeting of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Government Hopes that the United State of America Will Cancel the Debt of More Than US$300 Million [owed by Cambodia since the time of the Lon Nol government, said the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #220, 22.7.2010

  • The Export and Import of Cambodia Increased by 16%
  • Five Khmer Fishermen Returned from Indonesia [after they had been detained there for almost one year; before they had been forced to work like slaves for nearly two years on a Thai fishing vessel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5256, 22.7.2010

  • Cambodia Prepares to Negotiate with Countries of the European Union to Lift Three Kinds of Visa Requirements [in diplomatic, official, and normal passports; the lift of visa requirements in diplomatic and official passports would help strengthen relations between the governments, and the lifting of visa requirements in normal passports would help to attract tourists between the countries]
  • The Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union [held from 19 to 21 July 2010 in Geneva] Called on All Parliament Leaders to Help to Avert Further Global Crises
  • The Department of Labor Issued an Official Letter to Suspend the Operation of the Champa Manpower Company [that did send workers to Malaysia; after this company was found holding workers, including underage girls, in a bad living environment]

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Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them – Wednesday, 21.7.2010

Posted on 22 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“The acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Elaine Pearson, said at the release of a 76-page Human Rights Watch report to the national and international press on 20 July 2010, ‘It is known since a long that some police and other authorities of Cambodia detain sex workers illegally, beat them and rape them, and steal money and other property they have with them.’

“Ms. Elaine Pearson added, ‘Police arrests sex workers as part of their regular raids in streets and parks in Phnom Penh. Using these opportunities, there is active violence, and other kinds of abuses happened during such actions to arrest and collect sex workers by members of the district police and by other authorities at specific times, sometimes targeting only sex workers to arrest them, and at other occasions arresting sex workers together with other groups of citizens that are considered as “garbage of society” found living on the streets.’ Ms. Elaine Person added, ‘Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.’

“She went on to say, ‘In an atmosphere, where police who committed abuses do not receive any punishments, the Cambodian government has to recognize that not to initiate any criminal procedures against such activities is to allow human rights abuses to continue.’ She added that the Cambodian government should close social rehabilitation centers where sex workers are illegally detained, and to completely close the drug rehabilitation centers soon [which are the subject of similar allegations], as well as to stop all violence against sex workers.

“In addition, the 76-page report of Human Rights Watch titled ‘Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia’ released to journalists on 20 July 2010, says that in Phnom Penh, police had sent sex workers to a Phnom Penh social rehabilitation center and then to non-government organizations or to a social rehabilitation center of the Prey Speu authorities. The conditions at Prey Speu are like hell, as sex workers who had been sent there told Human Rights Watch that they were allowed to get out of their rooms only twice a day to bath, using water from a dirty pond or to go to the toilet, followed by a guard.

“In addition, sex workers, beggars, drug abusers, street children, and homeless people also sent to the Prey Speu center have suffered from beatings, rape, and other mistreatments. The report adds that at least three persons had been beaten to death at the Prey Speu center between 2006 and 2008.

“Along with the demand and request to the Cambodian government to stop all violence against sex workers and to completely close any center that detains sex workers illegally and is using violence. Human Rights Watch asked the donors of Cambodia that support the efforts against human trafficking and training for police, especially the USA, Australia, Japan, the European Union, and the United Nations, to reconsider their funding to police institution and to the Ministry of Social Affairs, until an independent investigation about the alleged abuses is conducted, until the persons responsible for the abuses are brought to justice, and until the Prey Speu social rehabilitation center is completely shut down.

“Ms. Elaine said that the donors should not spend their money to train abusive officials, but should rather take steps to promote responsible actions from the Cambodian government. Also, the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers. This committee should be created soon and should have the authority to summon witnesses and to produce public reports.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2306, 21.7.2010

  • Twenty Four Female Workers between the Ages of 15 and 17 Were Found in the VC Manpower Company That Plans to Send Them to Malaysia [the Ministry of Interior is collecting information from them to take legal action against the company]
  • Takhmao Forestry Officials Intercepted [53 pieces of] Ebony Wood Loaded in a Twelve-Seater Car, Prepared to Be Transported to Vietnam [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7013, 21.7.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Assessed the Cambodian Economy: Through [increased] Tourist Arrivals and Textile Exports, Economic Growth Is Estimated to Be 4.5% [in 2010]
  • The Construction of the Prek Pnov Bridge [across the Tonle Sap river] Is Almost Completed [after spending about US$43 million] and It Is Scheduled to Be Inaugurated in September 2010

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

  • Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #9, 21.7.2010

  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Leads a Delegation to Attend a World Heritage Committee Meeting [in Brazil from 25 July to 3 September 2010]
  • Human Rights Watch Asked the Government to Halt Abuses against Women Sex Workers [when they are intercepted, they suffer beatings, rape, extortion of money, sexual harassment, detention, and other bad actions from the authorities]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #219, 21.7.2010

  • The Cambodian Stock Exchange Will Be Opened in July 2011 [according to a new delay announced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • There Are Many Plaintiffs in Case 002 [of former Khmer Rouge leaders, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea; as many as 3,993 candidates applied to be plaintiffs of the case, and the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are considering whether to accept their applications]
  • An opposition Party Official Showed a New Position, Requesting a Political Coordination [between the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the government, relating to the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, for which Mr. Sam Rainsy was convicted by a court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5255, 21.7.2010

  • The Total Investment Capital during the First Six Months of 2010 Drops by About US$138 Million [to US$917.4 million, where US$161.4 million were invested by local investors – according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • Because of a Dispute [between families], a Policeman Fatally Shot Two Persons and Injured Three Others [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

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The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving – Monday, 29.3.2010

Posted on 30 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The US Ambassador to Cambodia said that the situation of women in Cambodia is improving.

“The US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mrs. Carol Rodley, said so at the US Embassy during an event at the occasion of the International Women of Courage Award on 26 March 2010, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia is improving and there is hope that the future will be good for women.’

Note:

“Washington, 10 March 2010. First lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored women human rights activists from around the world with this year’s Women of Courage awards at a special ceremony 10 March 2010 at the State Department

“The awardees this year are Shukria Asil of Afghanistan, Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan, Androula Henriques of Cyprus, Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran, Ann Njogu of Kenya, Dr. Lee Ae-Ran of South Korea, Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka, Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe.”

Ambassador Rodley has been the recipient of the Department’s Senior Performance Award, the State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Award, the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent, the James Clement Dunn Award for leadership, the Director of Central Intelligence Exceptional Humint Collector Award and an Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. Her foreign languages are Khmer, German, Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi.”

“Regarding the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on some entertainment night clubs, in an attempt to reduce rape and human trafficking, she said, ‘Recently, Cambodia has strengthened law enforcement against human trafficking, against drug smuggling, and against other places prone to crimes in Phnom Penh.’ She added that according to recent law enforcements activities, human trafficking has been found at places suspected to be brothels. When the authorities took legal action, victimized women who were sex workers were, in general, not arrested. In many cases, all victims were sent to rehabilitation centers.

“Ms. Carol Rodley stressed, ‘The important thing is to educate women, so they can change themselves, so that they can get proper jobs.’

“Relating to this case, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, said, ‘The situation of women in Cambodia in health, in their economic possibilities, and in the legal sector has improved.’ She added that the government has created many laws to protect women and their families.

“She went on to say that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs fully supports the policy of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, who had ordered the authorities in all provinces and in the capital city to shut down places operating illegal activities, as this is a problem that affects our Cambodian youth. Violence in society results from ethically problematic and unwelcome activities which happened and have a bad impact on society.

“Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi continued to say that the government had created a National Committee Against Trafficking in Women and Children. This committee focuses on four major fields in order to assist victims who suffer from trafficking and from violence against women: 1. Interception, 2. Conviction, 3. Protection, and 4. Rehabilitation and Integration.

“Also, the government has cooperated with development partners and civil society organizations and has achieved good results. The number of arrested perpetrators increased because of timely and effective interventions from police, which led to more convictions of perpetrators by the courts. The Ministries of Women’s Affairs, of Education, of Information, of Culture and other ministries have joined to publish information about human trafficking, so that citizens at the community level can better submit crime reports in time.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 29 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #446, 29.3.2010

  • The Situation of Women in Cambodia Is Improving
  • The First Time a Cambodian Woman Had Been Nominated for the Women of Courage Award by the US Embassy [Ms. Chen Reaksmey, an advisor on information about AIDS, health, and drugs of the Kosang [“to build up”] Organization, who had been addicting to drugs for eight years, was nominated for her hard work to reduce the spread of HIV, drugs, and human trafficking in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Meanchey District Authorities Removed Light Black Plastic Foils from the Windows of 177 Cars within Two Hours [in response to a reminder by the Prime Minister – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #638, 28-29.3.2010

  • Based on [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Speech: Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap Considered as Betraying the Nation?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 29.3.2010

  • A One-Star General Got Angry with the Driver of Remorque-Moto Loaded with Ice, as the Driver Did Not Turn on the Turning Light, and He Shot and Injured the Driver with One Bullet [the general and his bodyguard were arrested – Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3844, 29.3.2010

  • It Is Clearly Criticized that Political Influence Makes the National Assembly of Cambodia Weak and Lose its Independence [according to a report for 2009 and 2010 of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute – Cambodia’s Leading Independent Development Policy Research Institute – presented to the public last week: parliamentarians did not have the possibility to implement their roles independently and effectively, as they have to face the power of the government and of their party, though they know their actual roles well]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #140, 29.3.2010

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized in the Campaign to Intercept Forestry Crimes [the opposition party welcomes this interception going on for over a week, but questions why the government does not take legal action against officials who were involved in those crimes – and just confiscates their wood]
  • The Pheapimex Company of [Ms. Cheung Sopheap and her husband, Senator Lao Meng Khin] Received the Right to Own Two Places and Buildings [the Renakse Hotel in front of the Royal Palace, and now in addition the adjacent plot with the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.3.2010

  • The Thai Red Shirt Groups [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Forced the Military to Return to Their Barracks and Some Burned Copies of the Constitution [the situation is getting worse]
  • The Number of People Having Symptoms which Look Like Cholera in Kratie Increased to 134; Six People Died [according to officials of the Health Department of Kratie]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1889, 29.3.2010

  • Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?

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A Too Quick Reaction from the Government – Thursday, 25.3.2010

Posted on 26 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“The anti-corruption law has already been adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate of Cambodia. Therefore, after the King would have signed it, it will become valid. But what has to be remembered is that local civil society officials as well as officials of the United Nations had mentioned many shortages of the new law and criticized that the two institutions too quickly adopted the law. One problem they see is that the law requires high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially.

“UN officials in Cambodia criticized specifically the very quick adoption process of the crucial anti-corruption draft law. The government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen did not accept the recommendations suggested by UN officials, but warned to expel them from Cambodia. This results in a loss of trust in the general public whether the elimination of corruption in Cambodia can be achieved effectively.

“Officials of some non-government organizations said that UN officials just wanted the anti-corruption law of Cambodia to be more transparent, so that the Cambodian government can combat corruption successfully. Therefore, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government should not have expressed an angry reaction with the UN official’s criticism, but should take into account what they mentioned. In addition, the requirement for high ranking officials of the government to declare their assets confidentially seems to help hide the assets of corrupt officials rather than to uncover corruption.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that before, the Cambodian government had offered the opportunity for local civil society officials and for international organization officials to provide ideas toward the creation of the anti-corruption draft. But the anti-corruption draft, with 9 chapters and 57 articles, recently adopted by the National Assembly and by the Senate, does not include their recommendations. Moreover, both the National Assembly and the Senate used a very short time to adopt this important law, a process quite unlike the adoption of other laws which takes much time for reviewing and discussing.

“Cambodia had been ranked by Transparency International among the countries in the world where there exists very serious corruption [What is the Corruption Perceptions Index?Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 – Cambodia is on position 158 of 180 countries; this number is calculated based on 8 different suveys]. Even the US Ambassador to Cambodia had criticized that corruption leads to the loss hundreds of millions of dollars of national resources every year. That means corruption in Cambodia is a serious concern, starting from high levels to the lower, where even traffic police commit offensive acts. Thus, based on the content of the anti-corruption draft recently approved by the National Assembly and by the Senate, elimination of corruption seems impossible.

“Non-government organization officials observing corruption in Cambodia said that the 9-chapters-and-57-articles draft does not have explicit content as similar laws in Yuon [Vietnam] and in China have. Even the point about the declaration of assets of high ranking officials does not state the details clearly, and thereby does not explain how corrupt officials can be identified. The government led by Prime Hun Sen should reconsider the critical remarks by UN officials, but should not react against them too fast which does not help.

“It should be noted that the government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen had created an anti-corruption unit administered by Om Yentieng; soon it will create another anti-corruption committee. Creating two institutions that have similar roles does not explain what kind of power will be provided to which institution. With a vague anti-corruption law which does not comply with international standards, corruption might occur more seriously.

“All in all, the anti-corruption draft approved by the National Assembly, presided over by Mr. Heng Samrin, and by the Senate, headed by Mr. Chea Sim, is not praised by the general public, as the content of the law does not show its real value. Actually, the opposition party parliamentarians did not raise their hands to support its adoption. Only the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party raised their hands to support it. Under such circumstances, the government, led by the Cambodian People’s Party, should consider the content of that law again, but should not react by warning to expel UN officials just because they pointed out deficiencies of that important law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1434, 25-26.3.2010

  • The Thai Parliament Began to Meet, though the Puea Thai Party Members Boycotted It

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #443, 25.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Health Launched a Campaign of A/H1N1 Vaccinations [for citizens in Phnom Penh; so far in Cambodia, there were 566 cases of infections, and six people died]
  • [About forty] War Journalists [from the 1970s] Will Have a Reunion in Cambodia Next Month [from 20 to 23 April 2010; according to the former Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, Mr. Chhang Song]

Note:

Mr. Chhang Song had been the last Minister of Information of the Khmer Republic, which came to an end with the end of the Lon Nol government in 1975. Mr. Chhang Song went, like many others, as a refugee to the USA and became a US citizen. But in 1989, he returned to Cambodia and was among the few returnees who joined the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] – offering his experience to act as a communicator between the political leadership of the CPP and the Western world.

During the time, when the majority of the governments of the world – and the whole “Western world” continued to consider the Khmer Rouge seat in the General Assembly of the United Nations legitimate, while not recognizing the Cambodian government in Phnom Penh during the 1980ies, he testified in the Congress of the USA, speaking against support for the fighting factions of FUNCINPEC, the Khmer Rouge, and the Khmer People’s Liberation Front against the State of Cambodia from their positions at the Cambodian-Thai border. And he helped to organize an interview for Prime Minister Hun Sen with the US National Public Radio, to provide an interpretation to the US public about the Cambodian situation from inside of Cambodia, and not from the prevalent news outlets on behalf of the border camps of the three resistance factions.

Later he became a member of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia – but in 2001, he – together with Mr. Phay Siphan and Mr. Pou Savath – was expelled from the CPP and also from his position as a senator. Details are in a document of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

After six years, Mr. Chhang Song was called back into public service, as an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia with the rank of a minister.

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2210, 25.3.2010

  • A Popular Member of the Amleang Commune Council [from the Cambodian People’s Party] and a Villager Were Detained [for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company, while about 500 villagers are protesting – Kompong Speu]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan Has Been Transferred to [Calmette] Hospital since Ten Days [he receives medical treatment for hypertension]
  • Two Chinese and one Khmer Man Were Brought to a Court for Smuggling Drugs Worth US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #635, 25.3.2010

  • Two Villagers among Five Victimized by a Land Dispute Were Detained when They Had Been Summoned by a Court for Questioning [Kompong Speu]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6917, 25.3.2010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Started a Big Operation to Crack Down on [ten] Massage Shops and Karaoke Parlors Offering Sex Services – among Them also the Yang Chou Massage Shop Was Closed [a Chinese man who administered the place and 37 sex workers were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3841, 25.3.2010

  • A Too Quick Reaction from the Government

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #138, 25.3.2010

  • Cambodia Said that 88 Thai Soldiers Died during Armed Clashes in 2008 and 2009 [and also two Khmer soldiers died; according to a Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces, General Chea Dara]
  • Cambodia Has Produced Enough Salt for the Local Demand for This Year [now 80,000 tonnes have been produced already within five months while the total demand is 90,000 tonnes]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5159, 25.3.2010

  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • A Son of Two-Star General Chea Mon [military commander of Region 4] Was Arrested over a [robbery] Case Five Years Ago [Siem Reap]

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Monday, 16.6.2008: Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law

Posted on 17 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Apologies for the delayed posting – I am in a hospital, and therefore some delays in editing may happen also during the next days.

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This law aims to punish criminals who traffic humans and commit sexual exploitation, in order to protect human dignity and human rights, to promote the values of proper customs and traditions of the country, and in order to comply with the protocol of the United Nations on these problems. Article 23 of this law defines Prostitution a having sexual intercourse with an unspecified person or other sexual conduct of any kind in exchange for any value.’

“However, entertainment workers, sex workers, and AIDS activists voice concerns about this law. A 36-year-old female sex worker of a brothel in Sihanoukville, the resort and international seaport, said, ‘I had never heard of the law talking about sexual exploitation, and if it is true, I think that it is a severe problem for us. I agree that sex work undermines Khmer culture and Khmer women’s reputation, but we have no choice.’ Sreyrath, who is a widow with four children, and who has been working as a sex worker nearly 10 years, said that she and her friends do not want to do such work, but it is because they are poor and illiterate. And Rath was trafficked to work as a prostitute in Thailand in the late 1990s; she used to use drugs as well. She said, ‘We are sex workers because of poverty and of the social situation which forces us to do this job. The leaders should understand our situation.’

“Poverty and the lack of skills seem to be significant factors hindering the social progress for women. Most of the interviewed women said their husbands died, and the big burden fell on them, especially it is really difficult for those who have children. For instance, as 27-year-old widow with three children, working in a restaurant said, ‘I do not want to go out to sleep with men, but since my husband died, I have no one else to depend on. I have no skill to find another job. Sleeping with one guest one night, I can get US$30, sometimes, US$100. If the law is adopted and it is the implemented seriously, I think it will be very difficult for us. We do not know what other job else could do.’

“According to Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the number of women who do sex work regularly is approximately 3,430, and 13,723 do it occasionally. The organization KHANA with cooperating partner organizations provides knowledge and information on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ prevention to 1,568 regular sex workers and to 4,715 occasional sex workers.

“Anter Nita, Director of the Sihanoukville-based. Community United for Development [CUD], said if the new law will be enforced strongly; sex workers, especially those at present at brothels, will do clandestine work .

“Nita added, ‘My organization has regularly educated sex workers to help them to protect themselves from infection from AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, teaching them methods to persuade guests who want to force them to have sex without condoms, and teaches them methods to find good services for their health care. Our present program ‘One hundred percent condom use’ and the education programs for preventing diseases among sex workers will be affected, if they work clandestinely.’ According to reports from some local non-government organizations, police of some provinces warn owners of Karaoke parlors and of bars that they will be fined, if condoms are found in their places. These reports shows that since the implementation of this law started, some brothels have been closed, and people dare not to talk or to put condoms openly.

“Sreyrath said, ‘I would like to suggest that the law should not penalize women who are sex workers, otherwise we will have no means to feed ourselves. We really do not want work as sex workers, but we have no other jobs. Moreover, with this law sex workers will move around and continue to do sex work with no definite places to stay, and they cannot receive education about AIDS.’” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 June 2008


Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #120, 16.6.2008

  • Co-prosecutor of the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Plans to Detain Three More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [whose name have not been mentioned, but they are known holding positions of Generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, now living in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Siem [Thai] Police Posted Chea Ratha’s Portraits Everywhere to Trace Hewr Down and Hand Her Over to Khmer Authorities to Be Prosecuted [over the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
  • President of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association Thach Ngoc Thach Continues Plan to March to Kampuchea Krom [to urge Vietnam to respect human rights]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

  • Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law
  • While Prices of Fuel Increase, the Measure of the Liter [seems] Declining [this is a suspicion expressed by moto-taxi drivers]
  • Thailand Prohibits the Import of Rice from Cambodia through Border Crossing [Battambang]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #591, 16.6.2008

  • The Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Dam Sith] Was Released on Bail by the Court in Response to a Letter of Guarantee by Prime Minister Hun Sen [15 June 2008]
  • Yuons [Vietnamese] Say Although They Do Not Vote, the Cambodian People’ Party Still Wins


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6372, 16.6.2008

  • Tuberculosis Program Is Strengthened by following the Anti-AIDS Programs


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3487, 16.6.2008

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Members of the Cambodian People’s Party Who Care for the Nation and for Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4616, 15-16.6.2008

  • World Bank Provided Loans and Grant Aid Worth US$41.5 to Cambodia [for road construction and for the distribution of land to the poor – 13 June 2008]
  • Biological Diversity Treaty [to conserve and reduce the destruction of biological diversity and natural resources] held in June 2008, Focusing on the Financial Mechanism [at the city of Bonn/Germany [191 countries participating, Germany providing US$500 to the biological preservation fund]
  • Construction Site of a Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap River at Prek Pnov [worth US$42,550,520 to be implemented by L.Y.P Group Company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] Will Be Opened Today
  • Woman Was Robbed, Hit with a Gun, while Leaving the Olympic Market, and a Box Containing More than US$30,000 Was Taken


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3334, 15-16.6.2008

  • The National Election Committee Prints Twenty Four Different Ballots for the National Fourth Term Election

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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