People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Monday, 14.6.2010

Posted on 15 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Phnom Penh: Human Rights activists said that many citizens who have land disputes and suffer from evictions without proper compensation plan to come from provinces and cities to protest and to express their difficulties to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, on Monday, 14 June 2010.

“The UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, is on a 10 days mission in Cambodia, starting from 8 June 2010. Mr. Surya did not intend to take up land disputes and the evictions of citizens as important topics to discuss them with the head of the Cambodian government. He mentioned only the judicial reform as the subject to be discussed, to find solutions during his third visit to Cambodia.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Uoch Leng, said that on 14 June 2010, many citizens who are victims of land disputes in several provinces and cities will come to protest in front of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia at House Number 4, Street 302, Boeng Keng Kang I commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh.

“This activist said that the protest aims to express the difficulties of citizens losing land due to the activities of the rich and of the powerful, and due to the provision of economic concession land to private companies, which affect and make citizens lose the land on which they depend for their lives.

“Mr. Uoch Leng added that on 14 June 2010, there will be citizens from the Kompong Tralach district in Kompong Chhnang, the Kandal Stung district from Kandal, the Chi Kraeng district from Siem Reap, the Romeas Haek district from Svay Rieng, the Thpong and Oral districts from Kompong Speu, and the Srae Ambel district from Koh Kong, citizens from the Boeng Kak Lake area in Phnom Penh, and some other citizens involved in land disputes.

“According to ADHOC, since early 2010, 42 citizens were jailed over land disputes at different provinces and cities. 187 citizens were accused by courts relating to land disputes with private companies, officials, and the rich, such as in Svay Rieng, Takeo, Siem Reap, Kampot, Preah Vihear, Kompong Thom, Kompong Speu, Battambang, and Oddar Meanchey.

“About 150,000 citizens have been evicted from their homes on the basis of not transparent decisions by the courts.

“Regarding the plan of citizens from different areas to protest, an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, considers that officials of some non-government organizations which tend towards the opposition, take the opportunity to benefit from the visit of Mr. Surya.

“Mr. Tith Sothea, an adviser of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, added that those organizations encourage the UN human rights Special Rapporteur to solve land disputes so that they can apply for more international funds for their own organizations.

“Mr. Tith Sothea said the government is conducting reforms on land disputes, and the concessions of many companies had been withdrawn by the Royal Government after it became obvious that there was no development. He added that the plan of citizens from provinces and cities to protest on Monday, 14 June 2010, is within their rights, and their demonstration will not be prohibited by the authorities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 June 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #107, 14-15.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Called on Workers [in the whole country] to Suspend Their Work on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 [to ask for an increase of their monthly salaries to at least US$70, and to demand that factory owners have to obey the labor law]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #503, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Authorities Allow 237 Families, Victimized by a Fire [at the railway block in Tuol Kork] to Settle on the Same Area [they will not be required to relocate to a new area – Phnom Penh]
  • About 100 Workers at the Seratic Garment Factory Fainted because of Inhaling Gas Leaking from some Pipes

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2274, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Supreme Court Ordered the [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay a Fine [roughly US$4,000 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The Ministry of Information Ordered to Stop the Broadcasting of the Program of [the director of a development and training organization, providing education about democracy via radio at FM 90 in Phnom Penh, FM 90.25 in Battambang, FM 88.5 in Kompong Thom, and FM 90.25 in Oddar Meanchey, who is also the president the League for Democracy Party – “Think Together – Decide Together – Act Together” – who is a [dissident] former Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Khem Veasna [claiming that the programs did not follow the principles set by the ministry, as the programs were often used for political propaganda]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6981, 14.6.2010

  • Within Three Months of this Year, Thai Products Imported to Cambodia Amounted to US$700 Million [and Cambodian products exported to Thailand were only about US$24 million]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3905, 14.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Denied that It Encourages Citizens Losing Land to Meet with the UN Human Rights Special Representative This Morning [there had been such accusations against ADHOC, but the accuser is not mentioned]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #192, 14.6.2010

  • [With more than 60,000 thumbprints attached] Citizens Victimized by Land Disputes Plan to Send a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Plans to Go to China at the End of June [for a medical checkup]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

  • People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • The Export of Cambodia to France Increased [to Euro 83 million or approx. US$100 million in 2009, compared to 2008, when it was Euro 82 million], while There Are More French Investments in Cambodia [amounting to more than Euro 90 million or approx. US$108 million – [no 2010 figures given here]]

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The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions – Saturday, 12.6.2010

Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to issue a sub-decree soon about the rate of disabled people that should be employed at state institutions, companies, factories, and enterprises.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Sem Sokha, said in the evening of 11 June 2010 that the sub-decree had already been checked by the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council, and it will then be sent to relevant ministries, and finally to a cabinet meeting.

“Mr. Sem Sokha added that the sub-decree will be released soon, because also Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen wants it to be issued soon in order to help handicapped people to work at state and private institutions.

“Mr. Sem Sokha mentioned some contents of the sub-decree, which states that state institutions are required to employ at least 2% disabled people [among their total personnel] who have sufficient qualifications, while private companies, factories, and enterprises are required to recruit 1%.

“When he was asked what actions would be taken, if any state or private institutions do not adhere to the sub-decree, he explained that they will be fined to pay 50% of the salary of the civil servants they would have to hire. That means if a ministry is required to employ two or three disabled people but do not employ them, they have to pay 50% of their salaries as a fine. He added that for companies, factories, and enterprises, they will be charged 40% of the staff salary. According to a demographic study in 2004, 4% of the population are disabled.

“Mr. Sem Sokha said that when the sub-decree becomes valid, disabled people will receive full rights to live integrated in society and especially they can work at different state and private institutions like normal people.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #502, 12.6.2010

  • A CRV [“compact recreational vehicle”] Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing Two people and Injuring Three Others Seriously and Lightly [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2273, 12.6.2010

  • The Royal Government Plans to Issue a Sub-Decree Determining the Rate of Disabled People to Be Employed at State and Private Institutions
  • The USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Warship of the United State of America Began [for the first time also a] Cambodia Phase of CARAT Exercises [Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, begun in 1995, after Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were involved already in the past]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #680, 12.6.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Hopes that There Will Be a Political Solution for Him [he was convicted over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng; now he is abroad]
  • A Petition Was Sent to the US President to Ask Him to Condemn the Supreme Court of Cambodia and the Cambodian Government over the Prosecution of Ms. Mu Sochua [regarding the defamation case of Prime Minister Hun Sen which is a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression. There is no information given which institution or group organized it – it is just stated that thumb prints and signature were collected by people supporting the petition]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6980, 12-13.6.2010

  • Japan Announced to Grant US$131 Million Development Aid to Cambodia Each Year for Three Years
  • A Twelve Seater Car Tire Burst and the Car Overturned, Resulting in Three Deaths and Six Injured People [Kompong Cham]
  • Lightnings Killed Three Persons and Injured Another in the Kong Meas and Dambae Districts after Two Days of Continuing Rain

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3904, 12-13.6.2010

  • Leaders from 46 Countries in Asia and Europe Will Meet in Brussels [on 14 July to prepare the upcoming 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5222, 12.6.2010

  • The Forestry Heads of Three Provinces [Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Oddar Meanchey] Were Reshuffled while the Iron Fist Campaign Is Still Being Implemented Strictly
  • The Authorities Chased a Car Loaded with Ebony, Driven by a Kompong Thom Police Major; Because He Was Scared, He Ran into the Soth Nikum District Police Station [the car driver and his wife were arrested – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers] Rejected the Findings of the Corporate Council (?) based in England Which Indicate that Peace in Cambodia Is Deteriorating

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Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected – Thursday, 3.6.2010

Posted on 4 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Government officials and donors met on Wednesday in Phnom Penh for the [third] Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum. During the forum, the donors appealed to the government to speed up key reforms tied to the provision of aid. More than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations attend the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum with plans to grant aid before the meeting ends on Thursday. Officials of the Cambodian government expect that the government will get the envisaged aid of US$1 billion.

“During the speech to open the forum, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform. He said, ‘The Royal Government has made its utmost effort to firmly and deeply implement various reform programs and consider them a “life or death” issue for Cambodia.’

“The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities,’

“During the closed-door meeting on Wednesday, the delegations discussed the National Strategic Development Plan Update for 2009-2013 of the government, as well as the policies to ensure the macroeconomic stability during this time of a global economic crisis. In December 2008, Cambodia received pledges of US$951.5 million, compared to US$650 million in June 2007.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said after the meeting on Wednesday that the meeting went smoothly and there were not any objections from donors. He said, ‘I don’t know how much money the government will receive from donor countries this year, but I estimate it will reach our expectations.’

“Also, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said that the aid tendency keeps increasing, and the requirement of the government will rise to as much as US$1 billion in 2010.

“The Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum has been analyzed carefully in the past few weeks, and local and international non-government organizations called on the donors to press the government to fulfill the agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply the Joint Monitoring Indicators. Fifteen local non-government organizations said in a document released on Tuesday, ‘It is not enough to throw money at problems and hope the ruling party will act in the interest of the people.’

“A report released on Monday by Global Witness suggested that the donors should take ‘a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.’

“An advisor of the government, Mr. Raoul Jennar, said during the forum that the government and the donors have been successful in cooperating to create new laws, and he hopes that the donors will provide strong support during the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum. He said, ‘The government has made many achievements in recent years where more than 260 laws have been adopted during the previous decade. The problem is that development needs highly skilled human resources; this is a problem that Cambodia is facing.’

“Other participants said that the government should care more about the involvement by civil society rather than focusing on foreign policy makers.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1442, 3-4.6.2010

  • 2,000 Workers Strike in Kompong Chhnang [against their shoe factory owner, who is forcing them to work overtime]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #494, 3.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Are Still Defiant and Want to Visit the Border Marker Number 270 [in Takeo though the president of the National Assembly did not give them a permission for this visit]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2265, 3.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Aid provided by Development Partners Is a Very Important Contribution for the Development of Cambodia
  • The Cambodian and the Indonesian Governments Signed an Agreement to Mutually Waive Visa Fees for Normal Passport

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #672, 3.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Yim Sovann: Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Will Visit the Border Marker Number 270 Today

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6972, 3.6.2010

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Said that She Will Not Pay the Fine of Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$4,000] in the Case She Lost [against Prime Minister Hun Sen over defamation], but She Would Rather Go to Jail [the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Appeals Court]
  • A Grenade Was Thrown at a Dancing Event, Resulting in One Death and Thirteen Injured People [perpetrators are not yet identified – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Hatoyama Yukio] Resigned from His Position after Staying in Office Less Than One Year

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3896, 3.6.2010

  • The National Bank of Cambodia Bought Riel Notes with US$3 Million to Support the Dwindling Value of the Riel [the present exchange rate is approx. US$1 to Riel 4,260]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #185, 3.6.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Is too Lazy to Respond to Thailand over an Extradition Request for Mr. Thaksin [confirming that Cambodia will not honor an arrest warrant from Interpol to extradite Mr. Thaksin, though the Thai government plans to send it through Interpol to 187 countries]
  • Disabled People [through 150 representatives of 620 families of veterans from Kompong Cham] Protested in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [in Phnom Penh] over a Land Dispute [asking for intervention by Mr. Hun Sen to distribute 4,000 hectares of land to the ‘Association Cripple Development’ in Kratie, because on 24 April 2010, the provincial authorities claimed that the land belongs to private companies]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5224, 3.6.2010

  • Cambodia Denied It Has Provided Training Shelter in Cambodia for Thai Red-Shirt Armed Militants [a Thai military commander had commented that Thai red-shirt armed militants had been in Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Asian Development Bank Grants US$2.2 Million for a Project to Assess the Impact of Legal Procedures of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council

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Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies – Monday, 17.5.2010

Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Phnom Penh: Civil society organizations working in Cambodia asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to temporarily stop providing economic concession land to private companies, because these provisions affect the life of many citizens.

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia and a special Housing Rights Task Force said in their statement that by now, the Royal Government of Cambodia has offered concession land to many local and foreign private companies. It is noticed that the provisions are not in line with the Land Law, Article 59, which states, ‘Concession land can be allocated only up to a maximum of 10,000 hectares per case.’ However, there are cases that many areas of concession land with more than 10,000 hectares were delivered to different companies that are owned by only one person.

“The statement of these civil society organizations mentioned also irregularities relating to the provision of economic concession land and suggested to the government to temporarily halt providing concession land to private companies until the government can guarantee the protection and respect of legal provisions, and they asked the government to check the existing concession land arrangements, and to cancel illegal concession land contracts if found.

“In the meantime, civil society organizations asked the government to publicize and to update information about the provisions of economic concession land on the website of the Royal Government.

“The head of the Investigating Unit of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Ny Chakriya, said during the press conference held in the morning of 12 May 2010 at the Sunway Hotel, that according to observations, the provision of economic concession land has affected the life of many citizens, especially when companies started to use machinery to clear land before they get economic concession licenses from the Royal Government. He added that what is also noticeable is that some companies have the right to order armed forces to protect their land, and most such forces protect the benefits of those companies rather than protecting the benefits of the citizens.

“Also the Executive Director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said during the conference that the provision of economic concession land cannot be over 10,000 hectares according to the land law, and so far, ‘we have seen that those who had been provided with concession land, whatever mistakes they may have committed, they did not get punished.’ Those who sign to provide concession land continue to do things just as they like, as they know that they will not be punished. To change this, the Royal Government must determine penalties for institutions having the authority to provide concession land.

“In the evening of 12 May 2010, Kampuchea Thmey could not reach representatives of the Royal Government and of the Ministry of Agriculture for comments regarding the suggestions of those civil society organizations.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 17 May 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1439, 13-14.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Called on Troops to Protect the Forest and Land in the Area of Their Bases

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #476-479, 13-17.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Raised by Siam [Thailand] Saying that Cambodia Does Not Respect the Memorandum in 2000 Much [it was signed by the two governments to recognize the integrity and the territory of both countries, based by treaties and pacts recognized internationally – a source where to find the text of the 2000 Memorandum was not given]
  • The Lawyer of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Stand with [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua at the Supreme Court on 2 June 2010 [over the defamation case filed by the Prime Minister]
  • Diarrhea in Kompong Cham Increased to 251 Cases
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Canceled the Plan for Elections on 14 November 2010 and Ordered 80 Tanks to Suppress Red-Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the government – after the demonstrators had rejected the condition for the elections: that the protesters have to start to end their blockades]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2247-2250, 13-17.5.2010

  • Civil Society Calls for a Halt for the Provision of Economic Concession Land to Private Companies
  • The Prime Minister Called on Citizens to Be Careful while the Weather Is Abnormally Hot [especially sanitation is important, as recently there are cases of diarrhea happening in some provinces]
  • Nearly of the 40,000 AIDS Patients [92%] Received ARV Medicines from the Ministry of Health
  • The Prime Minister Warned Army Commanders to Report in Detail about the Border Situation, neither to Exaggerate, nor to Understate the Reality
  • The Royal Government Decided to Take 640,000 Hectares of the Flooded Forest Area around the Tonle Sap Lake for Conservation
  • An 8-Year-Old Dutch Boy Survived, while 103 People Were Killed in Libyan Plane Crash

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #655, 15.5.2010

  • Global Witness Asked International Donors to Press [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Government [to ensure that all money collected from the selling of natural resources’ exploration rights will be recorded in the national budget, and be allocated in a way beneficial to the Khmer citizens]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6954-6957, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Construction of the Phnom Penh-Cho Ray Hospital (Bệnh viện Chợ Rẫy) Worth About US$40 Million Was Started [with investments by the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Investment Joint Stock company and the Sok Kong Import Expert company]
  • Villagers Get Sick and Died and Barriers Were Put to Ban Outsiders to Go in; Since April Seventeen People Died in Siem Pang District [Stung Treng – vomiting and “diarrhea” denying it is Cholera]
  • The King Plans to Visit Japan for Five Days [from 16 to 20 May 2010]
  • Traveling Was Banned in Bangkok; Clashes between Soldiers and Protesters Resulted in 25 Deaths and 200 Injured People
  • [Conservative leader] Mr. David Cameron Becomes the New Prime Minister of England

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3881, 17.5.2010

  • Land Concessions Are a Concern of Citizens Who Own No Land for Cultivation

Phendei Khmer, Vol.8, #36, 19-25.5.2010

  • A Horrific Accident: A Bus Struck a Korean Made Truck, Killing Four People and Injuring Thirty Three Others [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #170-172, 13-17.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Bring Justice for Khmer Citizens
  • Diarrhea Continues to Rage in Four Provinces [Kompong Cham, Kratie, Ratanakiri, and Stung Treng; so far, 34 people died – health officials continue to claim it is not Cholera]
  • The Kompong Thom Authorities Wait for a Decision from the Ministry of Agriculture to Provide Rice Fields to Former Kroya Villagers [who were evicted since 2009 – Kompong Thom]
  • Khmer Krom Citizens Asked for Permission [from the Phnom Penh Municipality] to Celebrate the [61st] Anniversary of the Loss of Land [to Vietnam; at the park in front of Wat Botum on 4 June 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct 12 Roads in the Boeng Kak Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5196-5199, 13-17.5.2010

  • The United Nations Sees that the Economic Situation of Cambodia Is Better Than 2009 [the economic growth of Cambodia is predicted to be 4%]
  • A Bus of the Cambodia Angkor Express Carrying Tourists Hit a Motorbike, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Two Others [Phnom Penh]
  • Lightning Hit a Villa and Tropical Storm Destroyed More Than 40 Houses in Siem Reap

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National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

Posted on 3 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

While the time runs and runs evenly, the different calendars – related to the year of the sun, or related to the phases of the moon, or related to cultural history and social-political events – have their own ways. And sometimes they lead to interesting crossings.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, roughly at the beginning of the rainy season, marks the start of the planting time. And royal astrologers will observe the preferences of the drought animals during the ceremony, which food they prefer – offered to them on seven trays, with beans, corn, grass, rice, sesame seeds, water, and wine – to predict the coming season’s harvest.

We do not keep a record for The Mirror to compare the predictions with the actual results of the harvest several months later. But we just assume that there is some margin of error in the predictions, according to the different animals involved.

During the week, the Prime Minister criticized the big Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different predictions for the performance of the Cambodian economy by the end of the year. While the different economic benchmarks monitor and evaluate probably hundreds of data – every institution working independently – is it not surprising that their predictions, depending on so many factors not under their control – are still fairly similar?

The international financial turmoil has brought also a lot of unforeseeable changes for the Cambodian workers in the export and tourism industries, who create a major share of international income for Cambodia. Their work in the textile and shoe factories, and their work to serve foreign tourists visiting the country, is commemorated during Labor Day.

While some international tourist advisories advertise the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as an event worthwhile to visit and observe, some embassies advise tourists to avoiding meetings and events of the organized workers unions, as these may be related to conflicts in society.

One important, positive statement had been reported during the week. The Prime Minister was reported to have said, “Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and to Demonstrate Is Their Right.” Though Article 36 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions,” also the notion can be found often assuming that there is a fundamental conflict between the government and the labor unions. Industry and labor have, by their very nature, different interests. But the experience of economically strong democratic countries with a market economy system – like France or Germany of Japan – shows that their strength grew from a political system which allowed for both strong unions and strong associations of industrialists.

In spite of this statement by the Prime Minister, tensions between the authorities and organized labor were building up before the Labor Day, because of the unresolved murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chea Vichea, who was killed in January 2004. Two people were apprehended at that time; when they were presented to court with the claim that they had confessed to have committed the murder, they revoked, but though there were no witnesses testifying against them, and no evidence beyond their confessions in prison presented, they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Because of these publicly discussed irregularities, also the former King Sihanouk expressed his doubt that the real murderers were in prison. In 2007, the Appeals Court upheld their conviction, in spite of several witnesses assuring that one of the accused was not in Phnom Penh on the day of the killing, but 60 km away. After nearly five years in prison, the Supreme Court cited unclear evidence and called for a new investigation in December 2008; since that time, the two accused are provisionally out of prison. By now, there is no public information about what happened since.

When Chea Vichea was killed, Bradley Cox, who had made a documentary “Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election,” happened to be not far away, and he arrived some minutes after the killing. He was able to document the murder scene, and later follow the story further – the funeral, and the subsequent police and court actions.

Now the brother of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony, is the president of the Free Trade Union, and they had the plan to publicly show this documentary, “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [a trailer is available here]. The Khmer media had reported during the week various reasons why the authorities will not allow this documentary to be shown – the film would have to be first presented to the Ministry of Culture with a request to get it approved, or: this documentary has been imported illegally – while the Union intended to show it anyway near the place where Chea Vichea has been gunned down, while he was reading a newspaper.

This is a report from 1 May 2010 on the Internet:

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

Cambodian workers who hoped to see Who Killed Chea Vichea? on Saturday didn’t get so much as a bite of popcorn before police intervened and tore down the screen.

Here’s what we’ve got so far, from witnesses on the scene:

The workers’ march arrived at the screening site, in front of the newsstand where Vichea was killed, around 5:00 p.m.

They were met by a force of some 100 police, many in riot gear, as well as local officials and a large group of other men not in uniform, presumably plainclothes security forces.

The organizers went ahead and erected the screen, which was made out of sheets. The police immediately told the main organizer, Rong Chhun of the Union Confederation, to take it down as he did not have a permit. When he refused, they pushed in and pulled it down.

Mr. Chhun returned with a second screen, accompanied by opposition members of parliament, but that screen too was seized.

The workers resisted only briefly. “We did not want to have a big scene as we were outnumbered,” said one participant. “They were there to break down anything and for sure it would have been real force had we resisted and shown the movie.”

So far there are no reports of any arrests or injuries.

So the film was not shown publicly – in Cambodia. But the events of 1 May 2010 will probably contribute to get much more attention for it internationally, where it is scheduled to be shown at the following film festivals:

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

The demonstrations on 1 May 2010 of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia were not focused on the past. The ILO report in The Mirror from last Friday, 30.4.2010, “More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents” shows more problems ahead, in addition to the demands to raise the minimal wages – while facing the consequences of the international economic crisis, including an increasing competition for garment exports from other big exporters in the region – from China and from Vietnam.

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Chevron Said that the Extraction of Oil in Cambodia Depends on the Success of the Exploration – Thursday, 8.4.2010

Posted on 9 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Phnom Penh: The head of the Cambodian government warned he might cancel the license of Chevron due to this company’s slowness in extracting oil, but the company said that the extraction project depends on the success of the exploration.

“The Prime Minister of the Cambodian government, Samdech Hun Sen, set a deadline for Chevron to produce oil in 2012, otherwise the license of this company will be revoked. This warning was made on 6 April 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen warned that if this company cannot produce oil by the end of 2012, the contract will be canceled.

“Chevron is an oil exploring company that is licensed to explore the availability of oil in Block A [The green spot in the middle of the map under the previous link is Block A]. At present, this company is exploring oil in an area of about 4,709 square kilometers. In 2007, the company announced that it already made 15 test drillings. Besides exploring oil, the company is supplying fuel under the trademark Caltex, running 24 fuel stations countrywide.

Rasmei Kampuchea could not reach this company in Cambodia for comments, but according to the Associated Press which quoted a statement of this company on 7 April 2009, the goals of this company are in line with those of the Cambodian government: to see a quick start of oil production in Block A to satisfy economic demands. The company added that the start of oil production depends on the success of the exploration, and on some other key factors.

“So far, oil in Cambodia is being explored in six blocks offshore, ranging from Block A to Block F. Three companies are exploring oil in Block A: Chevron (USA – Cambodia operations) (55%), MOECO [Mitsui Oil Exploration – Japan ] (30%), and GS Caltex [Korean] (15%). Block B is being explored by four companies: PTTEP [Thailand] (30%), SPC [Singapore Petroleum Company – A Member of PetroChina] (30%), Resourceful Petroleum [Thailand] (30%), and Cooper Energy [Australia] (10%). Block C is being explored by Polytec and Block D by China Petrotech [China]. Block E is explored by three companies: Medco [Indonesia] (60%), Kuwait Energy (30%), and JHL [J H L Oil & Gas Ltd (USA)] (10%). Block F is controlled by CNOOC [CNOOC Limited, Hong Kong].

“Last year, the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia predicted that Cambodia will be able to produce its own oil by 2011, while the oil resource of Cambodia are estimated to amount to as much as 2,000 million barrels.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5171, 8.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1435, 8-9.4.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Travels to Attend the [16th] ASEAN Summit [in Hanoi] after Dealing with the Forestry Administration Heads

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2222, 8.4.2010

  • The Dangkao District Authorities Found a Wood Processing Workshop [run illegally] in the Piphup Thmey Block of Buildings in Dangkao district of Oknha Hong Piv [and discovered hundreds of cubic meters of luxury grade wood – Phnom Penh]
  • The Supreme Court Delayed the Hearing of Ms. Mu Sochua’s Case with Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen [who sued her for defaming him]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6929, 8.4.2010

  • End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia [ECPAT-Cambodia] Shows that Within Three Months of 2010, There Were 80 Cases of Rape [happening to 81 victims; there were 91 perpetrators where 75 of them were detained and 48 cases were sent to courts; 50 of the victims are under the age of 15 or 16]
  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Surrounded the Parliament and Parliamentarians Climbed Over the Wall to Flee [Bangkok]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3853, 8.4.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Plans to Visit North America after He Announced Success over the Removal of [temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers [Some reports say that representatives of the Cambodian government accepted his findings that some border markers were actually about 500 m inside Cambodian territory – this newspaper does not mention this]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #148, 8.4.2010

  • World Bank Forecasts that Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.4% This Year [2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5171, 8.4.2010

  • Chevron Said that the Extraction of Oil in Cambodia Depends on the Success of the Exploration
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Hor Namhong]: When Thailand Sends Their Ambassador Back to Cambodia, then It Is the Time That Cambodia Sends Our Ambassador to Thailand
  • The Siem Reap Court Retried [military commander of Region 4] Chea Man’s Son [he was convicted to serve 5 years and 6 months in prison for robbing a telephone and one more year for illegal use of weapon [No reference in this article that his father and Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of involvement in illegal logging.]

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The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators – Tuesday, 30.3.2010

Posted on 31 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“When the new demonstration law of Cambodia, adopted by the National Assembly in 2009, was published on Monday 29 March 2010 at the Sunway Hotel through a workshop at national level by the Ministry of Interior, officials of civil society organizations said that this new law is more difficult than the previous one.

“A senior investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, spoke to journalists after the workshop, saying that the limitation of the number of people to participate in a demonstration or in a strike, limited to 200, is too tight, because at each factory there are thousands of workers.

“Nevertheless, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, stressed that for all demonstrations, there must be letters sent to inform the Ministry of Interior in advance, so that it can take measures for security and protection. He added that any group of persons that want to demonstrate must write a letter to their municipal authorities, where the demonstration is to happen, five days before the event, and the number of people allowed to join in a demonstration is only 200.

“Another point that is seen as a threat against those who intend to demonstrate is that the new non-violent demonstration law requires at least three representatives to attach their photos and addresses with the proposed letters. Regarding this point, civil society organization officials said that this makes it probably difficult for those who suffer from injustice or disagree with something to decide to stand as representatives, because those who were targeted in a demonstration can use tricks to put the blame on the leaders of demonstrations. They can be arrested easily as their names, photos, and addresses have already been attached to the papers to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.

“Mr. Chan Soveth thinks that this new demonstration law imposes more difficult conditions for demonstrators and strikers than that of 1991. The law of 1991 also required to submit request letters to get a permission for a demonstration, but it did not limit the number of people who could participate. Also, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association [Mr. Rong Chhun], who frequently appears in demonstrations, said that most articles of the new demonstration law inhibit demonstrators from acting freely. The Constitution, the basic law of the country, clearly states that Khmer citizens have ample rights to enter politics, to demonstrate, to strike, or to assemble.

“Many people are aware that these statements exist only on the paper where the Constitution is printed. Some of those who dare [with reference to the Constitution] to demonstrate when they are not satisfied with the situation in a company, or with actions of the government, have been cruelly confronted by armed forces, when the authorities dispatched them arguing that this is done for public security reasons. Some non-government organization officials say that – because government officials in charge do not have the courage to address problems by meeting protesting citizens face-to-face – they use violent measures to suppress the citizens who act based on the Constitution. Furthermore, because the government is afraid it may get a bad reputation because of demonstrations, it decided to rather violate democratic policy.

“It is natural that people compare the actual situation of different countries implementing democratic principles, like Cambodia and Siam [Thailand]. At present, tens of thousands of red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are all over Bangkok and are shouting their slogans freely to demand the dissolution of the parliament, and of the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva, but the armed forces did not harass them. That means that the demonstrators are allowed to express their opinions as they like. This indicates that the democratic space in Siam is wide, and citizens who oppose the government have sufficient rights to express their intentions and their positions toward their government – this is much different compared with Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #447, 30.3.2010

  • Mr. Sar Kheng Asked for Understanding for the Non-Violent Demonstration Law, while Civil Society Is Not So Satisfied with It
  • More Than 10,000 Citizens in Kompong Speu Received A/H1N1 Vaccine Injections

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2214, 30.3.2010

  • An Amleang Commune Counselor and Another Villager [representatives of the Amleang Commune residents] Were Released from Temporary Detention [they were arrested for having been in a crowd that burned down the on-site office of Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company over a land dispute]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #639, 30.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Asked the Supreme Court to Delay Her Hearing until after 17 April 2010 [over a defamation court case, initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen against her, as she is in the USA and cannot appear on 7 April 2010 as summoned by the Supreme Court]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6921, 30.3.2010

  • The Minister of Industry Launched the Construction Site of the A Tai River Hydro-Electric Dam [which will generate 246 megawatts; it might cost about US$540 million, to be invested by a Chinese company, and it is expected to be operating by 2014 – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

  • The [Kompong Speu] Court Must Punish the Brigadier General Who Shot a Citizen [in the head], Wounding Him Seriously [just because of a minor driving mistake]
  • The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #141, 30.3.2010

  • About 3,000 Cubic Meter of Wood Were Seized [the head of the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ty Sokun, said that about 100 loggers, including powerful people and traders, will have to face legal actions after the authorities found that they store illegally cut wood]
  • The Malaysian Petronas Petroleum Company Will Withdraw Its Investments from Cambodia [to develop petroleum resources] Next Month [it is the second company, after Shell, that withdrew in 2007 – no reason given]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5163, 30.3.2010

  • A Man Was Convicted to Serve Fifteen Years in Prison and a Woman to Twenty Years for Trafficking People to Be Prostitutes in Malaysia
  • Bangkok: Negotiations Failed [to achieve the protesters’ goal, as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva declined to dissolve the parliament immediately as demanded by the red shirt groups, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] – and Gun Fire and Bomb Explosion Continue to Be Heard

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The Royal Government Released a Sub-Decree about Obligatory Military Service – Wednesday, 30.12.2009

Posted on 31 December 2009. Filed under: Week 645 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 645

“The Royal Government of Cambodia issued a royal sub-decree about the conditions and modalities for a census for the recruitment, the conscription, and for the possible delays for youth who are studying, and for citizens under special conditions, and about the law for the implementation of military service.

“The sub-decree, signed by the head of the Royal Government, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, states that it aims to define the conditions and modalities for a census for the recruitment, the conscription, and the possible delays for youth who are studying, and for citizens under special conditions, and about the law for the implementation of military service. It aims to protect the territorial integrity and the national sovereignty, and contributes to the reform of the military sector, strengthening the foundation of the forces for national defense, developing citizens physically, as required by the country, and training in national defense skills.

“The sub-decree describes a National Commission for Military Service, which has the Minister of Defense as its head, the Minister of Interior or a secretary of state as the deputy head, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [RCAF] as another deputy head, the Minister of Economy and Finance or a secretary of state, the Minister of Planning or a secretary of state, the Minister of Health or a secretary of state, the Minister of Labor or a secretary of state, the Minister of Social Affairs or a secretary of state, and the secretary of the Public Affairs Secretariat, the director general of the National Police, the commander of the National Military Police as members, and director of personnel of the Ministry of Defense as a secretary.

“The sub-decree adds that census for obligatory military service will be conducted by the military service committees of the communes from January to March every year. Recruitments will be made in early August every year, and the military service commissions of the commune have to issue the invitations to the citizens whose names are listed in the census lists and who live under their control, to attend to the recruitment process and the medical checkup, to prepare them for military service.

“This sub-decree states also the conditions for a delay for youth who are studying, stating that the youth who can receive a delay are: students during studies to finish their courses; students preparing to take exams for higher education, for higher degrees, or for associated degrees, and for high school and lower secondary school certificates; and students receiving scholarships to study abroad and students preparing to further their education abroad.

“The sub-decree offers also delay in military service for citizens under special situations. These are citizen who are the only labor force in their family and are the breadwinner of the family; citizens who have not yet reached the age to do full labor, or who are too old, or disabled; citizens who are the only child whose father or mother lost their life in the battlefield; citizen who live in a one-child-family – a family with only one child and the mother, or a child-and-father family; citizens who lost their husband or wife and have many children to raise; citizens who are receiving treatment for illness; citizens who have to leave the country with their parents to fulfill a long-term mission abroad; civil servants who have to fulfill a task abroad more than 3 months; lecturers and teachers who are working under the Ministry of Education; workers who are experts in their factories or enterprises, where a skilled replacement cannot be found immediately; and employers who are responsible leading in expert positions in their enterprises and cannot find a replacement.

“As for the calls to military service, the sub-decree states that citizens who volunteer to fulfill their military service are the first ones to be conscripted. A lottery system will be used if there are more, or less, persons than needed who want to start their military service. The commissions have to conscript citizens for military serve based on the required numbers. The commune military service commissions have to send the draft notices to the conscripted persons directly through the commune authorities or its unit heads, to ministries, departments, factories, enterprises, or educational institutions, within at least 30 days before the day the conscripts are required to appear.

“It should be noted that the military service law of the Kingdom of Cambodia defines the age of affected citizens to be from 18 to 30, and women can make their service as citizens through voluntary services. This sub-decree is directed at Khmer citizens in general who are civilians, workers, employees, employers, students, civil servants, and citizens who have two nationalities and live permanently in the Kingdom of Cambodia.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2137, 30.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #374, 30.12.2009

  • A Man Lured a 5-Year-Old Girl and Raped Her Four Times [he was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • Major Leaders [from the UNHCR, the United States, and Australia] Criticized [Thai] Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva for Deporting Hmong People Back to Laos

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2137, 30.12.2009

  • The Royal Government Released a Sub-Decree about Obligatory Military Service
  • Wood Traders [in the military] Burnt Two Bridges to Block the Authorities Who Went to Crack Down [Battambang]
  • A Policeman of the Ministry of Interior Used a Pistol to Hit a Person on the Head and Shot Three Times in the Air [he was detained – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #557, 30.12.2009

  • The National Assembly Adopted the Expropriation Law, though Some Articles Make Citizens to Lose Benefits

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6844, 30.12.2009

  • UNHCR Dismissed the Request of Khmer Kampuchea Krom People for Asylum because They Are Cambodian Citizens
  • The Head of the Supreme Court of Vietnam [Mr. Trương Hoà Bình – Truong Hoa Binh] Visited Cambodia to Seek Cooperation [with the Supreme Court of Cambodia, such as in the general field of laws, and in the training of judges]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #78, 30.12.2009

  • [The president of the Senate and of the Cambodian People’s Party] Mr. Chea Sim Encouraged the Strengthening of Discipline for Khmer Monks
  • Phnom Penh Organizes a Three-Day Exhibition [from 30 December 2009 to 1 January 2010] to Celebrate the Founding of Phnom Penh [575 years ago – at Wat Phnom]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5086, 30.12.2009

  • Civil Society Is Not Satisfied as the National Assembly Adopted the Expropriation Law
  • The Ministry of Education and Metfone [a Vietnamese mobile phone company] Signed a Memorandum of the Understanding Worth US$5 Million about the Provision of Internet Services to Public Educational Institutions and the Provision of Scholarships

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1844, 30.12.2009

  • [The Svay Rieng Court] Issued an Arrest Warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy [he removed temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers – Mr. Sam Rainsy is at present abroad]
  • [The high ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party and chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly] Cheam Yeap Recognized that Some Government Officials from the Cambodian People’s Party Are Corrupt [in response to a publication of a US magazine, in which a foreign journalist criticized that children of Cambodian government officials and of oknhas compete with each other to show off their luxury cars bought with their parent’s money. And the journalist criticized it that they got much money from illegal activities, like illegal logging or committing corruption. In response, Mr. Cheam Yeap said there is really corruption committed by some officials from the CPP, but not by all. But he added that opposition party officials also commit corruption]

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Opposition Party Parliamentarians and Civil Society Officials Stated that the Government Does Not Implement the Constitution – Friday, 30.10.2009

Posted on 31 October 2009. Filed under: Week 636 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 636

“On the occasion of the 5th Coronation Day of Preah Karuna Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, high ranking officials from the opposition parties, who are parliamentarians, and national and international observers, pointed to the Cambodian government’s obligation and need to implement the supreme law of the country by creating and reforming at least two institutions of Cambodia.

“A parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, agrees with the idea of an international observer, Mr. Lao Mong Hay, and of a civil society official of Cambodia as well of a parliamentarian [from the Human Rights Party], Mr. Kem Sokha over the duty that the King at present fulfills, especially the idea that the government must create and progress two supreme institutions led by the King.

From the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 23:
The King is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces. A Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces shall be appointed to command the Armed Forces.

Article 24:
The King shall serve as Chairman of the Supreme Council of National Defense to be established by law.

“Mr. Son Chhay, a leader of the Sam Rainsy parliamentarians, said, ‘I hope that Cambodia will in the future create a Supreme Council of National Defense which, according to the Constitution, must be under the presidency of the King with the role as Chairman of that Supreme Council of National Defense.’

“Mr. Son Chhay agreed with a statement of a senior researcher of the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong, Mr. Lao Mong Hay, in this point.

“Dr. Lao Mong Hay sees an obligation of the government, as stipulated in the Constitution of Cambodia, to create a Supreme Council of National Defense with the King as Chairman. So far, according to a statement of Mr. Lao Mong Hay, the government formed by the Cambodian People’s Party, with Mr. Hun Sen as the Prime Minister, has not discussed the creation of a Supreme Council of National Defense under the oversight by the King.

“Everything in the defense sector is seen being organized and decided directly by Prime Minister Hun Sen. This leads to criticism that the defense system of Cambodia is not conform with the Constitution of the country, which states the need to establish a Supreme Council of National Defense led by the King.

“The founder of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) – a large human rights organization in Cambodia, Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru], said that in the five years since the coronation of Preah Karuna Preah Bath Norodom Sihamoni, it is seen by the public that in general, he cares for humanitarian affairs for his citizens. She expressed her concern related to a point of the Constitution which says that the King takes the thrown, but does not take the power.

From the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 7:
The King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern.
The King shall be the Head of State for life. The King shall be inviolable.

Article 8:
The King of Cambodia shall be a symbol of unity and eternity of the nation.
The King shall be guarantor of the national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the protector of rights and freedom for all citizens and the guarantor of international treaties.

“Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek said, ‘I regret that the Constitution states that the King reigns, but is not involved in political affairs, so that he could fulfill many other duties according to the constitution.’

“The Constitution of Cambodia stipulates that the King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern, though, according to another article, it makes the King responsible for the territorial integrity of Cambodia, for the protection of the rights and the freedom for all citizens, and for an independent court system, though he does not have the power to decide anything, and can only be burdened by the mistakes decided upon by the government.

“A parliamentarian and president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, noted also the point in the Constitution which states that the King must not be involved in politics, and that the King does not have power, as at present, the power is controlled by the government. According to his opinion, the King should be given the possibility to ensure the respect for human rights and the independence of the court system, as well as the right to pardon journalists and human rights activists who are jailed by government authorities. He stressed that at present, unless there is request from the government, the King does not decide to an amnesty, but Mr. Kem Sokha thinks that the government should not prevent the King from granting an amnesty.

From the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 27:
The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.

“Senior politicians from the opposition parties and from civil society organization official expressed their ideas under the impression that the King seems to be restricted in fulfilling his duties which are stated as his rights, as stated in the Constitution, to help his people.

“Besides expressing good wishes to the King at the 5th Coronation Day after he succeeded his father, some scholars want to see the country’s Constitution implemented properly by the government, like by organizing the National Congress, which, as stated by the supreme law of Cambodia, is to be held annually under the chairmanship of the King. It is an event to remember the National Congress held by the current King’s father, Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, to provide an opportunity for the citizens to express their concerns, hopes, and wishes, as well as to question the prime minister about how the country is ruled, while now, the Cambodian People’s Party government, especially Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that it is not possible to hold such a congress.

From the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article :
Article 147:
The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.
Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.
Article 148:
The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.
Article 149:
The National Congress adopts recommendations to the Senate and the National Assembly, and to the Executive branch for reflection.
The organization and operation of the National Congress should be determined by law.

“But according to the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Right Party, and to national and international observers, the government could do what is stated in the Constitution, if the government had a real intention to do it.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #520, 30.10.2009

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Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #323, 29.10.2009

  • About 20% of Cambodian Citizens Live under the Threat of Food Insecurity [because of the rising prices of food, the economic crisis, and natural disaster which bring more burden; according to an under-secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries]
  • The Number of People Who Died from A/H1N1 Infection Increased to 4, and there Are 239 Infected People
  • This Year, 391 Boats and 25,501 Boat Racers Will Join for the Competitions [at the Water Festival]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2085, 29.10.2009

  • [The Thai ousted prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Plans to Come to Cambodia Soon to Thank Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [but a date has not yet been specified; according to the Bangkok Post]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #668, 29.10.2009

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Continues to Seek Justice [over a defamation sentence] at the Supreme Court, before Paying a Fine [Riel 16.5 million, approx. US$4,100] to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #520, 30.10.2009

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarians and Civil Society Officials Stated that the Government Does Not Implement the Constitution

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6792, 30.10.2009

  • Reaction from the Cambodian Embassy: The Nation Makes Nonsense and Makes Itself Disreputable [a response to an editorial of the Thai newspaper, The Nation, published on 25 October 2009, claiming that some words in that editorial insulted Prime Minister Hun Sen, by saying, ‘You can take a man out of the forest, but you cannot take the forest from that man…’]
  • A Man Who Threatened Mr. Soy Sopheap [a CTN television presenter and the director of Deum Ampil] via Phone Was Detained [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #36-37, 29-30.10.2009

  • Orphanages Care for More Than 10,000 Children [at present there are 221 orphanages, 21 of them belong to the state]
  • The Government Will Provide Social Concession Land [more than 20,000 hectares] to Veterans and Families of Dead Militants
  • Among 100 Real Estate Companies, Only 38 Have Licenses [the unlicensed companies will be charged Riel 5 million, approx. US$1,250]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5033-5034, 29-30.10.2009

  • The Appeals Court Decided to Uphold the Conviction of the [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua for Defamation against the Prime Minister [though her defamation suit against the Prime Minister had not been dealt with by the court
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the United Nations to Assist in Overcoming the Impacts of the Typhoon Ketsana
  • A French Delegation Will Visit Cambodia at the End of This Month [to strengthen the Cambodian-French friendship]

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The Heng Development Company Used Military Police to Shoot at Citizens in a Land Dispute – Saturday, 17.1.2009

Posted on 18 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Monday, 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Kandal: At least three people were injured by Military Police in Kandal Stung, directly led by the Kandal Stung Military Police commander, Mr. Chun Vanny, shooting hundreds of bullets from AK-47 rifles at the citizens protesting against the Heng Development Company. Ms. Sieng Chanheng, the director of the company director, ordering between 5 and 7 machineries to trespass and clear to violate the people’s land, and this company deployed from 20 to 30 armed military police standing to protect the machineries – but they opened fire, shooting at the citizens as if they were their enemies, hitting some protesters, and injuring three men seriously.

“This shooting of protesting citizens by Kandal Stung Military Police, against citizens trying to stop the activities of machinery of the Heng Development Company invading and clearing land, resulted in three injured people; this happened at around 9:30 a.m. on 16 January 2009, at a place at Region 94 in Ampov Prey village, Kandaok commune, Kandal Stung district, Kandal. The three men injured by the Military Police’s shooting are 1. Mr. Yean, 23, who lives in the Region 94 in Ampov Prey village in Kandaok commune; he was hit by one bullet on his right ear, 2. Mr. Ly Seyha, 28, who lives in Battachi village, Prek Hour commune, Takhmao; he was hit by two bullets on his right arm and on his stomach, and 3. Mr. Voeun Van, 20, who was arrested and it is not known where the bullets hit him.

“The legal land owner are citizens who said that this land was handled in a verdict by the Kandal provincial court, Number 12‘V’ dated 26 February 2007, declaring that 234 families are the owners of the land. But now, on 15 January 2009, the Heng Development Company ordered machineries to grab the land and clear their rice fields, and on 16 January 2009, the people gathered to protest, but they were shot at by Kandal Stung Military Police, led by Mr. Chun Vanny, injuring three people, and making citizens to withdraw in order not to face more such cruel shootings.

“The citizens said that they protested, but did not attack to burn the machines, they just hindered the Heng Development Company to use their machineries to bulldoze their land, which the Kandal provincial court had declared to belong to the citizens, while the company told them that the Kandal court had made a wrong judgment. They added that the Kandal Stung military police commander, Mr. Chun Vanny, who has just recently taken the position of commander, is a nephew of Ms. Sieng Chanheng [the director of the Heng Development Company]. Because of he emotional link of being aunt and nephew, this military commander led his forces to shoot at innocent citizens with no fear of the net of the law.

“Regarding this cruel shootout, citizens ask the commander of the National Military Police, Mr. Sao Sokha, and the commander of the Kandal Military Police, to help to seek justice for the three victims.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #185, 17.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 17 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1849, 17.1.2009

  • More Than 400 Families Suffering from a Fire which Destroyed Their Houses in Front of the Preah Kossamak Hospital Ask the Authorities to Allow Them to Enter the Area to Reconstruct Their Houses [Phnom Penh]
  • The United Nations Is Outraged with Israel’s Shooting on Its Aid Storehouse
  • All 155 Passengers Survived a Plane Crash into a River in New York City

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #328, 17.1.2009

  • Kampuchea Krom Khmers Expects the Government of the New US President Barack Obama to Press Yuon [Vietnam – regarding human rights violations against Khmer Kampuchea Krom people]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #185, 17.1.2009

  • The Heng Development Company Used Military Police to Shoot at Citizens in a Land Dispute
  • [The Minster of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Documents Asking for Millions of Dollars of Loans for Four Projects Were Already Signed by Cambodia and by Kuwait [1. Agreement to establish air traffic between Cambodia and Kuwait, 2. Increase tourism of Cambodia, 3. Memorandum of Understanding about Cambodian citizens to work in Kuwait, 4. Construction of a irrigation system at the Stung Sen, Kompong Thom, at around US$500 million]
  • 140 Families Came to Sleep [to protest] in Front of the Court Became More Angry! [because the court has not released their three representatives, arrested regarding a land dispute – Siem Reap]
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association] Welcomes Decisions of the Supreme Council of Magistracy to Change Assignments of Judges and Prosecutors

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6554, 17-18.1.2009

  • Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] Asks [Thai citizens] Not to Engage in Politics which Create Disputes [with neighboring countries], and He Recognizes that Cambodia Had Suffered [under the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime]
  • A Thai Man Raped a Khmer Woman Worker of the SPT Company [a Thai road constructing company] Was Arrested [Banteay Meanchey]
  • Another High Ranking Leader of Hamas [Mr. Said Siam, Minister of Interior of Gaza] Was Killed by an [Israeli] Airstrike

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3668, 17.1.2009

  • Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party Prepare to Unite as One Party Next Week [according to Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhek Bun Chhay]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4797, 17.1.2009

  • Three Adults [a couple and a female servant] Were Killed by Cutting Their Throats, Leaving a Baby Crying and Crawling in Blood [perpetrators are not yet identified – Meanchey, Phnom Penh. Police broke the door open after hearing the crying baby]
  • A US Company [the PHI Mining Group with has bought the Indochina Mining Corporation, now a subsidiary of PHI Mining] Cooperates with a Khmer Company [the Angkor Metal Corporation – no website on the Internet] to Explore Mines in Preah Vihear
  • Thai Soldiers Leave [Burmese and Bangladesh illegal migrant] People on Boats to Die [by putting them on boats without engine floating on the sea – according to different press reports quoting survivors]

Note:

The Angkor Metal Corporation does not have a web site with standard information of its own, though there are references to it in other publications on the Internet.

One such source of information about many companies from around the world is the Alibaba site – a service to search for big and small companies, presenting the companies’ history and profiles, size, activities, and information about the owner of the companies and their legal representatives. The following is the sketchy listing about the Angkor Metal Corporation – neither a web site is given – a method where many, even small companies, present themselves to the public, nor is there any information given in the field “Legal Representative/Business Owner” – and this for a company which may control up to US$1 billion of natural resources of Cambodia!

More information is given by the PHI Mining Group, the partner of the Cambodian Angkor Metal Corporation, including a map of the copper mining area, roughly between Siem Reap and the Preah Vihear area; the map obviously presented by the Cambodian Angkor Metal Corporation shows the border between Cambodia and Thailand, and the Preah Vihear Temple to be located inside of Thai territory.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Located in Sroyong Commune, Kolean, Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia, one of potential biggest reserves of copper ores in Southeast Asian region with mineralized material likely to amount to several millions of MT [metric tonnes].
  • Angkor Metal Corporation [AMC] has already been granted exploration license for a total area of 192km2 (19,200ha), in which 2.5km2 is fully surveyed with promising commercial exploitation ability.
  • Founders of AMC include a son and a son-in-law of Mr. Hunsen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, thus ensuring political support to acquire and extend mining license.
  • High copper content of averaging 25-32% as a result of sample analysis conducted by a prestigious mining analysis center of Vietnam with cutting edge analyzing equipment. Moreover, mining technology for copper ore is not so complex, thus generating a high economic value.
  • Mineralized material is estimated to be 500,000MT and may amount to several millions of MT.
  • Initial valuation of this copper ore area is estimated at US$1 billion.

OWNERSHIP

  • PHI Mining Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Indochina Mining Corporation, has signed an agreement with Angkor Metal Corporation to acquire a 51% ownership in this joint venture.

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

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