Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake – Wednesday, 5.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, stated that Cambodia will be able to produce oil in 2012. He said so during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia in the morning of 4 May 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated on the occasion that he strongly believes in the project signed that day, because it enables to study whether or not to explore for oil and gas resources, especially to explore for oil in Block 17, adding, ‘I welcome and wish this Japanese company well for having decided to invest in Cambodia.’

“The deputy director of JOGMEC said that he cannot foresee the amount of money to be invested in this project, as today’s signing allows the company only to study the field, but it has not reached a stage to discuss mining explorations. According to the plan, the study might take around two years, and then, the company might conduct explorations as soon as possible.

“A spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ek Tha, said at that occasion, ‘This is an agreement that encourages joint industrial studies between two Asian countries, Cambodia and Japan.’ He added, ‘The area to be studied covers 6,500 square kilometers, and it is to the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in Kompong Thom.’ According to officials, the JOGMEC had already conducted magnetic and pressure studies between 1997 and 1999.

“Mr. Ek Tha went on to say that there are concerns raised by environmentalists in Cambodia about this project. But he said that Cambodia and the Japanese oil company are studying also the possible bad impacts on the environment in Block 17, in order to reduce or to avoid those impacts, since Japan is a country that strongly cares about the environment. Cambodia is also keenly caring about the environment in order to maintain the sustainability of resources in this long term project. The environment is also an important issue for the Cambodians of future generations.

“It should be noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on commercial cooperation on underground oil and gas resources was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Takahashi Chiaki [大臣政務官 高橋千秋], who said that his country is the second biggest donor to Cambodia, granting US$12 million each year.

“According to the Council of Ministers, commercial ties between Cambodia and Japan are progressing, amounting to US$105.18 million between 1994 and 2009. Cambodia exported products to Japan worth US$69.6 million in 2008, but only US$6.8 million within 8 months of 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Set Up a Democracy Compound for Non-Violent Protesters [which is not far from the National Assembly – a law relating to this creation will become valid in June 2010]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2240, 5.5.2010

  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Wants All Journalists Associations to Unite into One [to facilitate the organization of training events and to strengthen international trust, and to better protect journalists’ rights; at present there are 23 different journalists’ associations]
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister [Tun Abdul Razak] Will Visit Cambodia Officially for Three Days [from 9 to 11 May 2010 in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #647, 5.5.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6947, 5.5.2010

  • A Man Coming from Pailin to Buy a Car Bringing More Than US$15,000 with Him Was Robbed [by four robbers] and Wounded by One Shot [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3871, 5.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Demands the Government to Explain to the National Assembly about ‘Tea Money’ and Payments from the BHP Billiton and the Total Petroleum Companies, as Well as about Payments for the Provision of Mobile Phone Licenses

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #164, 5.5.2010

  • Official [Mr. Chheng Kimson, head of the Forestry Administration]: 6,000 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized and 100 Suspects Were Accused [during the present campaign]
  • The Ministry of Health Will Provide Logos to Be Displayed at Restaurants That Serve Food According to Good Sanitation Standards

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5189, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Tells Thailand that the Ta Krabei Temple and the Cable Lift to the Mountain Is On Khmer Territory [this response was made after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had sent a diplomatic note to Cambodia, claiming that the temple and the construction site for a cable lift are on Thai territory]
  • A Trade Union and the Opposition Party Plan to Present the Documentary Film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea’ [while the authorities had warned they would take legal action against this]
  • Court Detains Fourteen Villagers for Destroying State Forest [Banteay Srey, Siem Reap]
  • The National Television of Cambodia Spends US$600,000 to US$700,000 Each Year [for hiring a satellite link] to Send Television Programs to the United States of America [now, the Ministry of Information wants to send them through standard Internet procedures which is cheaper]

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On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists – Tuesday, 4.5.2010

Posted on 5 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“At least 11 journalists are reported to have been killed unjustly [since 1992 in Cambodia], and the perpetrators who killed them were not convicted according to the law. On the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010, journalists and civil society organizations in Cambodia appealed for the elimination of restrictions on the freedom of expression of Cambodian journalists, which until now result in suffering just because they write and express their opinions.

“Cambodian Journalists met to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010 to assess the situation of journalists in the previous year, and to point to various difficulties they are encountering in Cambodia. The most noticeable issue is the creation of new Penal Code, where observers and especially legal experts consider that it contains several points which may newly define crimes of journalists.

“The president of the Press Council of Cambodia, which has 15 major press associations as members, Mr. Sok Sovann, said that the World Press Freedom Day is an occasion where Cambodian journalists can gather to commemorate national and international journalists who lost their lives, were arrested, or are jailed because of their work as journalists. Mr. Sok Sovann added that the Press Council of Cambodia used 3 May 2010 as the date to inaugurate its headquarters, and there will be a commemoration for the Japanese journalist who recently was killed in Siam [Thailand]. Also, there will be a celebration for the creation of a memorial monument to commemorate former leading journalists.

“The Director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Research, Mr. Moeun Chhean Narith, monitored the progress of the press in Cambodia and noticed that the freedom of expression in Cambodia in 2009 dropped, compared to 2008. He added that some journalists were arrested and some were intimidated while they were covering events.

“Also, Reporters without Borders issued a report in February 2010, saying that freedom of expression in Cambodia remains difficult, as many journalists had to face accusations at courts, and some others are in detention or in prison. Fulfilling the work of a journalist in Cambodia is difficult due to the restrictions on press freedom.

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party noticed that the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Cambodia were restricted, narrowing the space of democracy. It is recalled that journalists with a tendency towards the opposition party had frequently received threats. Even the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy had the expression of his ideas restricted during the sessions of the National Assembly, making some parliamentarians to wear masks as a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“Also the Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a statement for immediate publication, saying that the International Press Freedom Day is celebrated this year to mark the downturn of press freedom in Cambodia. Since Cambodia has practiced democracy since 1992, at least 11 journalists and those working related to journalism who criticized the Cambodian government are reported to have been murdered.

“The statement continues to say that at present, journalists and those working related to journalism are challenged with mistreatments through accusations embedded with politics and criticism. This violates the fundamental rights for expressing ideas as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are included in and protected by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The statement adds that the overuse of laws to intimidate and to suppress the media through torture, criminal charges, and mistreatment, blocks the open development of journalism in Cambodia and forces journalists to use self-censorship when expressing their opinions, so that they do not irritate the rich and the powerful. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights asked the government to promote and to protect press freedom and the freedom of expression in Cambodia.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights supports journalists, as some have faced mistreatment, violence, and intimidation when they received complaints for trying to report truth, justice, and responsibility, and the report praised journalists who had sacrificed their lives, struggling to promote the basic principles of the freedom of expression and of democracy.

“The names of the 11 murdered journalists are given by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights as

  1. Mr. Thou Thormongkol murdered on 11 June 1994
  2. Mr. Non Chan murdered on 7 September 1994
  3. Mr. Chan Dara on 8 December 1994
  4. Mr. Thun Bunly on 18 May 1996
  5. Mr. Chet Duongdara on 30 March 1997
  6. Mr. Pich Em on 4 May 1997
  7. Mr. Michael Sokhan Sinea on 7 July 1997
  8. Mr. Ou Saroeun on 15 October 1997
  9. Mr. Chour Chetharith on 18 October 2003
  10. Mr. Pov Sam Ath on 26 April 2007
  11. Mr. Khim Sambou on 11 July 2008

“The Ministry of Information of Cambodia published in its 2009 report that in Cambodia there are 385 newspapers, 50 newsletters, 172 magazines, 21 journalists associations, and several radio and television stations. Frequently, the Minister of Information called on journalists to closely adhere to their journalistic and moral codes, so that they can avoid complaints and mistreatment.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #466-468, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Attempt to Present the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [killed in 2004 – the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Failed [as the police took the projection screen away – as there was no permission given by the Phnom Penh municipality]
  • China Announced to Provide Aid of Yuan 100 Million [approx. US$15 Million; plus 257 new military trucks and 50,000 soldiers’ uniforms] to Cambodia, and Continues to Support Cambodia
  • The Resulting Omen from the Royal Ploughing Ceremony: Corn Will Provide Good Yields, and Beans Offer Fairly Good Yields [there is no prediction about paddy rice yield, as the royal oxen ate little paddy rice]
  • One Day Before the International Labor Day, the Director and Staff of the Deum Ampil News Center Received a Letter with Death Threats from an Anonymous Sender

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2237-2239, 1-4.5.2010

  • Within One Year [from 3 April 2009 to 3 April 2010], Twenty Four Journalists Were Arrested [compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, when there were only two] and There Were Ten Complaints against Journalists [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Every Year Cambodia Imports Fruits from Thailand Amounting to About Baht 1 Billion [approx. US$31 Million]
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: The Opposition Party Still Uses Chea Vichea for Political Gain [as it implies that the government was behind his murder]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #271, 3.5.2010

  • Most Wood Traders Are Oknhas – Is It Therefore that [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Does Not Dare to Bring Them to Court?

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #644-646, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Right to Know Remains a Problem, if the Government Is Not Open to Support Press Freedom [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Chea Vichea’s Daughter, Chea Vichita, Asked Her Mom, ‘Why Was Dad Murdered while He Did Such Good Things?’

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6944-6946, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Government Starts to Conduct a New Census on Civil Servants to Control Their Real Number
  • An Anti-Drug Police Colonel Is under Arrest for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • While Gold Sellers Were Preparing Themselves in the Morning to Travel from Their Home to the Market, They Were Robed by [three] Robbers Who Took Away Jewelry Worth More Than US$100,000 [Battambang]
  • [The Mega] Night Club Was Raided by Police at Midnight, Arresting 109 Men and Women [Phnom Penh]
  • Seven Died and Thirteen Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident When a Car Hit Cows Crossing the Road [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

  • On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #162-163, 3-4.5.2010

  • China Promised to Support Cambodia in the Fields of Military, Investments, and the Economy
  • Cambodia and Japan Will Sign an Oil Exploration Agreement Today [for the Tonle Sap area]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Claims that there Is Torture in the Prisons
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: New Elections Can Be Held on 14 November 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5186-5188, 1-4.5.2010

  • On the International Labor Day on 1 May Trade Unions Demanded that their Salaries Should Be Increased, and the Rules for Their Work Conditions Should Be Respected
  • The Prime Minister Called on Institutions Involved to Strengthen the Observation of the Labor Law
  • 10 Out of 1,000 Children in Cambodia Have Heart Diseases [according to Dr. Hav Rathneary, a Cambodia child heart disease expert]
  • The Preah Vihear Court Led Armed Forces to Confiscate More Than 100 Cubic Meters of [illegally cut] Wood
  • The Biggest Fertilizer Companies in Vietnam [PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Joint Stock Company] Enter into the Cambodian Market [by establishing an office in Cambodia]

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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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ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents – Friday, 30.4.2010

Posted on 1 May 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that in Cambodia more than 1,500 people were killed last year by occupational accidents. That means four persons die each day at their workplace.

“Regarding these occupational accidents, ILO announced that Cambodia will celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 30 April 2010 by a march in Kampot City.

“The celebration on 30 April 2010 will be held under the topic ‘Understanding about Your Safety and Health Hazards and the Prevention of Occupational Accidents.’

“The head of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Leng Tong, said that in 2009, nearly 3,000 workers in Cambodia suffered from serious accidents relating to their work.

“The president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, which has a membership in the fields of tourism, garment production, and construction, Mr. Ath Thun, considers the figures provided by ILO about deaths at work places as based on accurate monitoring.

“Mr. Ath Thun said that Cambodia is a developing country, and in general, investors in Cambodia do not care much about the health of workers, while also the government does not pay much attention to the health of workers. As health issues of employees and workers do not receive much attention, this results in accidents happening continually. In recent years, there is a fast growing number of high-rise buildings that do not have occupational safety systems, and there is no clear regulation about who has to take the responsibility when accidents happen, and when workers are killed, whether their families get proper compensation, or they are left with little money.

“Mr. Ath Thun added that most occupational accidents occur at construction sites and brick kilns, in fishery, as well as at other companies, institutions, and small enterprises that are not following standards and that do not have proper occupational protection systems. In the garment sector, workers often lost a hand or suffered from chemical substances that affect their health. Some others encountered traffic accidents when they went to or came out of their factories.

“The recent announcement by ILO, on 29 April 2010, says that the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia has broadened its publications about occupational safety and health to the provincial level, conducting a public demonstration in Kampot. More than 350 participants, representatives of the government and of employers and employees, will join to celebrate by marching from the Kampot Bridge along the river, carrying signs and banners with slogans on the way to the next celebration site at the Kampot Municipality to listen to speeches and to watch performances about safety.

“Along the roads in Kampot, banners with slogans are on display, and leaflets to promote public understanding about the importance of occupational safety and health are distributed.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in charge of occupational safety and health, AIDS, and social security, Mr. Huy Hansong, who will chair the event in Kampot on 30 April 2010, said in the announcement that health and safety hazards – problems that have been occurring at present – cannot be identified only through normal ways assuming people’s general understanding. ‘We must have new ways to deal with these dangers and educate workers and employees about practical and new measures of prevention.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, he said that the Royal Government of Cambodia highly prioritizes the improvement of the quality of life of the people. Ensuring a healthy, safe, and productive atmosphere are key factors to achieve this goal. Cambodia is implementing, at the national level, a system for stronger occupational safety and health, in order to offer sufficient protection for the occupational safety and health for all workers and employees.

“The announcement also quotes an ILO specialist on occupational safety and health for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, Mr. Kawakami Tsuyoshi [川上 剛], as saying that ‘this is the fifth time that Cambodia celebrates this international day, and this shows the commitment of Cambodia to achieve occupational safety and health. But we must not be too proud. We should consolidate our effort to get closer to the employees at their workplaces and to provide them with practical support to prevent accidents.’

“It should be noticed that the celebration of the International World Day for Safety and Health at Work by a march in Kampot in the morning of 30 May 2010 is funded by the Korea Program of the ILO, the Better Factories Cambodia program of the ILO, and by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #465, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Equips Troops with More Modern Weapons [saying that Cambodia will shoot back with DK 12.7-milimeter machine guns and B40 rockets if invaded]
  • The European Union Plans to Show Films Promoting Women in Society [from 3 to 9 May 2010 at the French Cultural Center – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2236, 30.4.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian Confederation Union] Mr. Rong Chhun, Plans to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” despite Not Having a Permission from the Authorities
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Left to Attend the Shanghai 2010 World-Expo [in China]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Was Arrested for Raping a 14-Year-Old Boy [Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6943, 30.4.2010

  • Cambodia Wants Indonesia to Manufacture Agricultural Machinery in Cambodia [according to the report about a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Ngurah Swajaya, at the end of his mission in Cambodia]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3867, 30.4.2010

  • Trade Unions Can March to Send a Petition to the National Assembly [on 1 May 2010], but the Authorities Prohibit to Show the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea”
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Cambodia Has to Adhere to Its International Obligations and Only Communist Countries Use the Word “Interference in Internal Affairs” [recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia issued a diplomatic note to request foreign ambassadors not to interfere in Cambodian internal affairs – ((actually, the term “Interference in Internal Affairs” is regularly used as a traditional principle of ASEAN))]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #161, 30.4.2010

  • Documentary Film about [the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Vichea’s Murder Is Not Allowed to Be Shown in Public [as there is no permission from any minister]
  • Russia Wants to Buy More Rice but Is Negotiating the Price [Russia wants to buy 20,000 tonnes of rice in 2010]
  • Tropical Storm in Preah Vihear Destroyed Twenty Houses and Injured Three People

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5162, 28-29.4.2010

  • ILO: More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents
  • Cambodia Announced to Have Taken Full Control of the Ta Krabei Temple [at the Cambodian-Thai border]; Siamese [Thai] Citizens and Soldiers Can Go There as Visitors
  • More Than Five Tonnes of No-Quality Bra Fish [a fresh water fish] and Quails Imported from Vietnam Were Seized [Kandal – the may be detrimental to health if eaten]

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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

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The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

Posted on 14 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

“According to the opinion of the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers [Mr. Chea Mony], workers demonstrate or strike because of corruption. Therefore an anti-corruption law should be created sooner than a demonstration law, because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.

“Mr. Chea Mony said during an interview with the media yesterday, Monday [12 October 2009], ‘Civil society organizations are concerned about the freedom of the citizens, that is including the freedom of all workers, because demonstrations and strikes are held concerned with freedom by citizens whose benefit is lost, due to corruption and because the powerful always restrict the citizens to express their opinion to demand respect and the implementation of the law, but finally, their rights are restricted.’

“The president of the biggest trade union in Cambodia made this remark some days ahead of a meeting of the National Assembly of Cambodia which will discuss to adopt a new demonstration law.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the new law suggested by the Ministry of Interior and planned to be discussed soon is in clear contrast to the previous demonstration legislation from 1993.

“He went on to say, ‘The demonstration law of 1993 granted citizens full rights to attend demonstrations, but what is seen at present is that a new law is being drafted to allow only 200 people at the most to demonstrate, and even that will require that the names of the leaders of the demonstrations must be reported ahead of time.’

“Mr. Chea Mony explained this point, ‘If there are leaders of a demonstration, the authorities will ask who the leaders are. But if a demonstration is held in response to the will of the citizens, for example in a factory with 5,000 workers whose salaries have not been paid by the owner of the company, as the law limits the number to only 200 people as representatives, these cannot represent the interests of the 5,000 workers strongly. Thus, we think that the law being drafted by the Ministry of Interior to be sent to the National Assembly for adoption does not reflect the will of the workers or the people.’

“He also mentioned another point, as that law limits the number of demonstrators to only 200, saying, ‘if, for example, 5,000 families are evicted to grab their land for a high ranking and powerful person, according to that new law, only 200 people are allowed to demonstrate, but if those 200 people are bought over, these 200 people will no longer reflect the other 4,800 families. Therefore, the government should open the possibility giving citizens the right to demonstrate or to strike at any place, and the government should just prepare authorities to protect their safety. That is enough.’

“It should be remembered that according the Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, in an independent state practicing democracy, citizens from all classes were allowed to assemble, to express their opinion through demonstrations and strikes without any strict conditions. It was enough to just inform the authorities, so that they prepared police to protect the safety of the demonstrators.

“It is noticed that what was stated in the Constitution of 1993 was not implemented properly, as the authorities of the government used different pretexts, like security and public order, to reject requests for holding an assembly. Or armed forces were ordered to attack the demonstrators to disperse them.

“These interventions are seen as seriously violating the policy of democracy, which Cambodia had signed to accept and to practice.

“The freedom of expression which is strongly restricted in Cambodia, does not change; moreover, it will become even worse as the demonstration law sets a limits of 200 persons as representatives for demonstrations to be adopted by the National Assembly.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the assembly of workers as well as of Khmer citizens in general, to express their opinion, emerges from one problem: that is corruption and social injustice. If this terrible problem can be solved, there will be no demonstrations.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #309, 13.10.2009

  • The Minister of Information Did Not Accept to Meet Radio Free Asia Representatives
  • The Ministry of Health Prepares to Distribute 500,000 Leaflets to Educate the Public about A/H1N1 during the Water Festival

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2070, 13.10.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [Thailand] to Include the Cambodian-Thai [Preah Vihear] Dispute into the Agenda of the ASEAN Summit [planned to be held from 23 to 25 October 2009 in Thailand – after the Thai Foreign Minister was quoted by the Bangkok Post to have said he would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute” over their shared border near the Preah Vihear temple complex. Later, the Thai Foreign Ministry denied the report by the Bangkok Post]
  • Nearly 500 Garment Workers Fainted after Having Eaten Lunch [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6777, 13.10.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Man Was Accused of Killing a Khmer Woman in a Guesthouse [by strangling her – Phnom Penh]
  • An A/H1N1 Scanner Was Set Up at the Poipet Border Crossing

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #24, 13.10.2009

  • Victimized Citizens at Oddar Meanchey Ask for Intervention [after their houses were burnt in a land dispute, where 14 citizens are being sought for arrest]
  • The US Parliamentarians [Edward Royce, Frank Wolf, James Moran and Joseph Cao] Mentioned Human Rights Issues [and corruption in Cambodia – and submitted it to the US congress]
  • Cambodia Plans to Export 1,000 Tonnes of Cotton to the Vietnamese Market Later This Year
  • Twenty Nine Cambodian Youth [15 boys, 14 girls] Attend the 36th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth [a Japanese initiative to strengthen cooperation and understanding among neighboring countries, in 2009 traveling 52 days visiting six countries – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. In the send-off meeting, the Prime Minister advised them to “maintain their dignity” as they will be “representing Cambodia and its people.”

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1468, 12.10.2009

  • Police Seized a Car [illegally] Loaded with Animals at the Poipet Border Crossing

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5019, 13.10.2009

  • Three Young Girls Drowned on the Same Day [Pursat]
  • Eleven Monks Were Found Drinking Alcohol in a Pagoda and Nine of Them Were Defrocked [Siem Reap]
  • [More than 20] Chinese People Who Work at the Kamchay Hydro-Electric Dam Construction Site Hit the Traffic Police Officers when They Stopped Their Car for Checking [two traffic police were injured seriously; no information about arrests – Kampot]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law

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The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen – Saturday, 28.2.2009

Posted on 1 March 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, sent a letter with some documents to Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, asking him to check the cutting down of trees and of the forest clearance to claim land ownership, as the report of the president of a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Hean, said, in order that Samdech Dekchor takes action according to the law.

“The letter signed by Preah Karuna Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni dated 26 February 2009 to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the head of the government, says that he received a letter dated 24 February 2009, as well as some documents from a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, signed by Mr. Chea Hean, asking the King to intervene with Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, regarding collusion of the authorities and of certain officials of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge, and the authorities in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong to cut down trees and to clear forest, to take state land in national natural reserves which are protected by Royal Decree.

“Relating to the letter of the Khmer King, asking Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to intervene, we could not contact the cabinet of the Prime Minister to know whether this letter has arrived there or not, and whether the King’s letter to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor was sent while Samdech Dekchor had already left Cambodia to Thailand to attend the 14th ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, and if so, it is expected that Samdech will become aware of this problem only after returning to the country.

“The writer of the letter, Mr. Chea Hean, said on 27 February 2009 that he and his officials are pleased that the letter was sent to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. This provides confidence from His Majesty for the report and for some documents which this organization had sent to him, signed on 26 February 2009 and send to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to report to him about the cutting down of trees, and the clearing of forest, to claim land for private ownership, conducted by officials who are directors of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge in Kompong Speu, and of the Botum Sakor National Park in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong.

“It should be recalled that the cutting down of trees in the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge had occurred repeatedly since 2002, with collusion between the director of the Animal Refuge, Mr. Chhun Chhea Heng, and the Oral district police chief, Mr. Dos Sim, as well as district governors and village and commune chiefs. The cutting down of trees in the Botum Sakor National Park, which is protected by Royal Decree, is conducted by the Botum Sakor district police chief, Mr. Touch Sovannarith, who hires citizens to clear forest – and even though the director of the Botum Sakor National Park prohibits it, the activities of the police chief Touch Sovannarith cannot be stopped.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #127, 28.2.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Pay Riel 10 Million [approx. US$2,500] to the National Election Committee
  • The Government Is Not Afraid of a Withdrawal of the United Nations from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • The European Community Promises to Provide Approximately US$50 Million per Year from 2009 to 2012
  • Civil Society Organizations: Closing Gambling Sites Makes Some People Unemployed, but the Whole Society Is Better
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon Met with the Deputy President of the National Assembly of France [Mr. Jean-Marie Le Guen, to strengthen cooperation between both countries]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1885, 28.2.2009

  • Rohingya Boat People Will Be Sent Back from Thailand to Burma [said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

  • The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen
  • Government Official [Mr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and government spokesperson] Denies that There Were Serious Human Rights Violations as Claimed in the Report of the US Department of State
  • World Federation of Free Trade Unions Invites the Presidents of the Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia to Visit Greece to Exchange Experiences

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6590, 28-1.2.2009

  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan’s Hearing Was Suspended when There Was No Foreign Co-Lawyer Was Present [Mr. Jacques Vergès was absent, because a relative had had a traffic accident in Paris]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3699, 28-1.2.2009

  • The Open Justice Initiative Criticizes the United Nations for Not Taking Action against Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4833, 28.2.2009

  • Between 8,000 and 9,000 People Became Unemployed after the Operation of Slot Machines and of Football Betting [at Cambosix] Was Terminated
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Goes to Attend the 14th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin in Thailand
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency Begins a Study for the Construction of a Section of National Road 1 and of the Neak Loeang Bridge
  • The IMF Tells Cambodia to Strengthen Commercial Banks [so that they are able to provide loans to other sectors]
    Vietnam and China Reject the Human Rights Reports of the United States

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LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer – Saturday, 21.2.2009

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Human rights officials in Cambodia and many citizens are distrusting the judicial system, which is not independent and does not fulfill its role properly following principles of law, where investigating judges and prosecutors at different provincial and municipal courts as well at higher courts (Appeals Court and Supreme Court) made judgments, based only on reports or on notes of answers received from the authorities.

“On 19 February 2009, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – strongly condemned the Appeals Court, saying that it did not have a proper legal basis to prosecute a parachute soldier and condemn him to serve 15 years in prison for allegedly killing a president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of a factory in Phnom Penh, Mr. Ruos Sovannareth.

“LICADHO claimed that the accused, Thach Saveth, 26, a former parachute soldier, was arrested for shooting dead Mr. Ruos Sovannareth, the free trade union president of the Try Togea Komara Garment Factory, on 7 May 2004, and the accused was arrested on 24 July 2004.

“The accused, Thach Saveth, was condemned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to serve 15 years in prison on 15 February 2005, and the Appeals Court held a hearing on the appeal of the suspected murderer (Thach Saveth), upholding the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s 15-year-prison-term on 19 February 2009.

“According to LICADHO’s statement of 19 February 2009, there was no concrete reason to believe that the accused Thach Saveth is the murderer, and most of the evidence was fabricated.

“That there was no known investigation by the judges of the Municipal Court who just depended on police reports; this motivated LICADHO to strongly regret the decision; at the same time, this judgment of the Appeals Court did not contribute to find real justice for the real murderer. LICADHO emphasized in its statement that the judgment of the Appeals Court on 19 February 2009 is a bad model of injustice, because the court lacked evidence to put against the accused to be the murderer in the shooting to kill Mr. Ruos Sovannareth; the court did not have investigative evidence, but just relied on reports of the authorities.

“LICADHO went on to say that those who witnessed the murder of Mr. Ruos Sovannareth were not allowed to become witnesses in the hearing, and they were not questioned by the investigating judges in this murder case.

“LICADHO added that one among the many witnesses appeared at the hearing of the Appeals Court last week, as suggested by the defense lawyer of the accused, but the court did not question any of such witnesses. The director of LICADHO, Dr. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘We condemn the judgment of the Appeals Court in order to show that LICADHO does not support such injustice, and we very much regret and are sad, seeing that the court did not provide real justice to the victim, because after national and international human rights groups attentively observed this hearing, they found that there wasn’t any evidence presented to put the burden on the accused.’

“Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek continued to say that at the time when the murderer shot dead Mr. Chea Sovannareth, the person accused to be the murderer was in the Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey. She hopes that the Supreme Court will offer real justice to the victim Ruos Sovannareth who was murdered, release Thach Saveth falsely acused to be a murderer, and order the authorities to arrest the real murderer to be prosecuted, like in the case where the Supreme Court provided justice to the falsely accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen to be murderers, by releasing them and by ordering the case to be reinvestigated.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #121, 21.2.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights] Voice Concern over the Weak Implementation of Law in the Judicial System in Cambodia
  • Vietnamese Minister of Defense [Phung Quang Thanh] Visits Cambodia Three Days
  • Private Tourist Sector Asks the Government to Find Ways to Facilitate the Traveling of Tourists to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1879, 21.2.2009

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Requests to Remove Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [it asked the National Assembly to remove parliamentarian immunity from the president of the opposition party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, regarding an accusation of a violation during the election campaign]

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.5, #400, 21-27.2.2009

  • Rural Development Bank Official [Dr. Sun Kunthor] Calls for the Improvements of Product Qualities

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

  • LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #349, 21.2.2009

  • [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun Supports Hun Sen’s Plan to Remove Heng Samrin as the Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to an article published by the Phnom Penh Post]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6584, 21-22.2.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Military Commander Apologizes for Artillery Shells Which Landed in Khmer Territory, and Siam [Thailand] Promises that Such a Case Will Not Happen Again
  • [Minister of Tourism Thong Khon asks] France to Help Create Professional Schools for Tourism

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3693, 21-22.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announced to Run Out of Money [at the end of February 2009] while Hearings of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Are Not Yet Finished

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4827, 21.2.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Reject to Translate Full Court Documentation of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Mr. Khiev Samphan [into French, the language of his defense lawyer, though the court rules say that it is a trilingual court: Khmer, English, and French]
  • Labor Market of Construction Sector Drops by 50% [between 40,000 and 45,000 workers in total]; The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction [Minister Im Chhun Lim] Said that It Is Not a Problem [he said that if they have no employment in the construction sector, there are fields and plantations and other work in agriculture]
  • Husband and Wife Were Rolled Over [by a truck] Leaving Their 8 or 9 Month Old Twin Sons [the driver of the truck escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • A German Man Died in the Ekareach Hotel in Sihanoukville [also known as the 7-Floors-Hotel, but national and international journalists are not allowed to enter the site, and the cause of the death is not yet known]

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A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs – Saturday, 24.1.2009

Posted on 25 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Phnom Penh: A new report shows that Cambodian youth encounter many difficulties when seeking jobs, and also employers find it difficult to recruit qualified youth with skills. On 22 January 2009, the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center – CJCC – and an employer association, the Cambodian Federation of Employers & Business Associations – CAMFEBA – which is recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia and by many international organizations, representing employers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially on work problems – organized a national workshop for youth on the topic ‘Youth and Employment,’ to publish an important survey report about youth employment in Cambodia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training.

“This workshop was presided over by a secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Pich Sophoan; around 400 students from different universities and youth associations participated in the event.

“The report was based on a survey which had been sponsored by the UN International Labor Organization – ILO. It represents a first crucial step to promote understanding and social dialogue about some of the most important issues for the future of Cambodia: that is the mismatch between supplies and requirements on the labor market.

“CAMFEBA had hired BDLink to conduct a large survey of youth and employers, about their difficulties and expectations regarding skills and youth employment. This survey is part of a project for youth and social dialogue of the employer federation CAMFEBA which is still in progress. This project was initiated by CAMFEBA and the Employment Sector Office of ILO in Geneva, under a project of the Social Dialogue Sector, funded by the Norwegian government. Starting its implementation from June 2007, this project aims to create proper employment and promote youth opportunities to seek income by matching the supply and the requirements of skills on the labor market, and to create relations between relevant agencies to present development policies for youth. More importantly, this project is focused on the creation and coordination of social dialogue among trade unions, the Royal Government, and employers, by dealing with difficulties and concerns, in which these three fields have similar interests, and for which they have to find solutions.

“The survey was conducted with around 2,200 youth and 220 employers from five provinces and cities, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kompong Cham, and Svay Rieng. They were asked about their views regarding some problems such as access to education, to training for quality in education, and about work requirements, experiences in job seeking, and about the kinds of skills demanded on the labor market.

“Youth is facing difficult decisions about important problems in their lives, such as family responsibilities, studies, choosing a job, study tours, and employment opportunities. One important point among many key points found during the survey is that youth encountered difficulties in making decisions, because they did not have sufficient access to the right information.

“For instance, when they had to decide what they would do when they finished high school, more than two thirds of the students just depended on their parents. Information provided by schools or by teachers or self collected information about the labor market were not influential factors for their decision making. Likewise, only 33% of the students at universities and at other educational institutions made their decision which skills to study on their perception about demands for those skills on the labor market.

“This discovery shows how important it is that agencies of the government, educational institutions, employers associations, trade unions, and different non-government organizations work out measures to provide useful information about the different fields of study, and to give guidance for selecting their future work.

“What makes the survey different is that it looked at work problems from the point of view of the employers. High-ranking officials operating for the development of the different sectors of the economy must survey these opinions about skills needed among the Khmer youth.

“Talking about educational requirements, about 96% of the employers demanded youth with broad education when they need staff, and 72% demanded even bachelor or master degrees. These requirements were in high demand by non-government institutions, in business, and in various careers, but they were hardly demanded for work in hotels and in factories.

“In the area of business, many employers expressed their concerns about the lack of skills needed on the labor market. Employers need workers with skills who have the ability to do productive work, in order to be encouraged to improve their commitment to move ahead, but such skills were always missing. Only 13% of the employers believed that the graduates had enough, or almost all qualifications needed for their work.

“As shown below, more than half of the employers said that it was true that they seek expert staff with decision making skills based on correct analyses. The results of this survey show clearly in which ways the students need to be educated in schools and up to universities in Cambodia.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1855, 24.1.2009

  • The Thai Minister of Foreign Affair [Mr. Kasit Piromya] Invited Khmer Embassy Officials in Bangkok to Have Lunch Together before Visiting Cambodia [to discuss the solution of border disputes]
  • There Were 51 Crimes, Killing 63 People in Phnom Penh in 2008 [1,012 perpetrators were prosecuted]
  • Workers of the Yongwa Factories Still Protest, but There Is No Violence [Kandal]
  • Traffic Police Have Hope Again, after the Municipality Keeps on Providing Money for Their Encouragement, like Previously [each Phnom Penh traffic police official receives Riel 10,000 per month, corresponding to approx. US$2.50]
  • The 22-Day War in Gaza Killed 1,330 Arab People and Injured 5,450 [while Israel lost 3 civilians and 10 soldiers]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #330, 24-29.1.2009

  • Government Officials Deny the Allegations of the International Organization Human Rights Watch
  • The Owner of the Yongwa Factory Agrees to Pay a US$50 Bonus to Each Worker, but Asks Them to Wait [until February – according to the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

  • A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs
  • [Two] Robbers Wearing Soldier Uniforms Pointed Guns at Gold Seller and Robbed Gold Worth Nearly US$30,000 [they are not yet found – Siem Reap]
  • On His First Day at the White House, Mr. Obama Focused on Economic Issues and the Middle East, and the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]
  • In 2008, Nearly 4,000 Civilians Were Killed in Afghanistan
  • Natural Catastrophes Killed 235,816 People in 2008 [among them, 138,366 people were killed by the cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, 87,476 people were killed by the earthquakes in China, and the rest were killed in other countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4803, 24.1.2009

  • Black Money of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Was Found Related to Officials’ Collusion about Illegal Fishing at the Tonle Sap Lake
  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Considers the Position of Thailand to Be Soft for the Border Disputes
  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport [Mr. Tram Iv Tek] Asks Japan to Support the Construction of the Neak Loeang Bridge [over the Mekong on the way to Vietnam]
  • Korea Provides High Life Insurance to Workers [around US$20,000, compared to Thailand, which provides only around US$1,000 – no information given what kind of life insurance Cambodian companies provide for their workers]
  • Investors from the US State of Ohio Come to Study Possibilities for Agricultural Investment in Cambodia
    Red-Shirt [anti-government] Demonstrators Announced to Hold a Big Demonstration on 31 January 2009 [Thailand]

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Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt – Monday, 19.1.2009

Posted on 20 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“As Khmer judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal threaten, in January 2009, to sue co-defense lawyers of Nuon Chea, the former head of the People’s Assembly of the Democratic Kampuchea regime [the Khmer Rouge], they are destroying justice at the mixed court.

“In a statement released on 9 January 2009, the 15 Khmer judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia threatened to sue three foreign defense lawyers, defending ‘Brother Number 2,’ Nuon Chea, by taking legal action. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers lodged a criminal complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate corruption allegations at this tribunal, which had been reported for a long time. Because the allegations says that Khmer judges and other officials paid kickbacks to high-ranking Khmer officials to get employed at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, earning thousands of dollars salaries every month.

“The complaint by Nuon Chea’s lawyers was lodged at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, to investigate Mister Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, who is in charge of Khmer Rouge Tribunal affairs, Mister Sean Visoth, the director of the Office of Administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and Mister Keo Thyvuth, the former chief of the personnel section of the tribunal.

“The defense lawyers of Nuon Chea had not mentioned the names of Khmer judges in their complaint, nor in their statement for the journalists, who had gathered at the Municipal Court last week to report about the process of that complaint. However, the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal seem to know by themselves that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint will really lead the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate them, because Khmer judges may have also agreed to let high-ranking Khmer officials to cut part of their salaries as kickback in exchange for the agreement to let them work as judges in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“The deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court started to summon some Khmer officials from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for questionings about corruption, in order to find evidence and witnesses of corruption related crimes, because the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was created in an attempt to seek justice for around 1.7 million Khmer victims who died during the Black Pajamas regime, lasting 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days. But now, this tribunal committed corruption and is making international groups to loose trust in it.

“Besides the role to seek justice for victims under the Pol Pot brutal genocidal regime, it is hoped that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will play a model role for the court system in Cambodia to perform just and independent hearings and judgments, and to eliminate corruption and impunity (a state of no punishment for the powerful and the rich who commit different crimes, but who are not brought to be prosecuted). But such hope almost dissolved when allegations about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal emerged recently in public.

“The acting director of the lawyers section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Richard Rogers, said that the reaction by the Khmer judges against the complaint of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers can be perceived as if this mixed tribunal were reluctant to deal with the allegations of corruption by kickbacks, and this can frighten witnesses of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers.

“Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Now the public sees that the judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, that is expected to be a neutral defender of justice, is threatening to take legal action against Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers. The judges should have thought thoroughly before making such a threat, as it seems that they are afraid that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint is also a complaint against themselves.’

“According to a new research by the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Richard Rogers said that a survey conducted in Cambodia among 1,000 young people shows that 23% of them considered the present Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be corrupt, and one third of them think that the judges of the Khmer Rouge tribunal are not just.

Note:

So We Will Never Forget – Results of a Cambodian survey on attitudes about social reconstruction and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. – Presentation in English with translation to Khmer, Friday, 23 January 2009, auditorium, Paññasastra University, Phnom Penh, at 14:00.

“Mr. Richard Rogers went on to say that this research again supports the perception of many people that the corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have to be settled with transparency, if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is to maintain justice under the eyes of the Khmer general public. Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers must know well the extent of this corruption, if corruption really occurred, in order to decide whether that corruption affects the rights for just hearings of their defendants or not’

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s co-investing judge You Bunleng said that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint affects the reputation of the judges and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a whole. Mr. You Bunleng continued to say that Nuon Chea’s lawyers linked those judges in their statement given to the press. Nuon Chea’s lawyers should make efforts to work hard to find evidence to defend their case, otherwise they will be sued for defamation by the Khmer judges.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #6, 19.1.2009

  • Civil Society Organizations [Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, Cambodian Defenders Project, and Cambodian National Research Organization] and [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarian Condemn the Heng Development Company for Using Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asks the Government to Prepare a Special Budget of US$500 Million to Face the Challenge of the Economic Crisis

Deum Tnot, Vol.2, #329, 19.1.2009

  • The President and Members of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia Inform [the Phnom Penh municipality] about a Flower March to Honor the Soul of Mr. Chea Vichea on the Fifth Anniversary of His Death [the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia was murdered on 22 January 2004]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1850, 18-19.1.2009

  • Every Year, 1,800 Cambodian Women Die During Childbirth [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission in Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]
  • During Recent Years, Cambodia Achieved Macroeconomic Stability [according Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, the average income of a Cambodian citizen per year increased from US$247 in 1994 to US$625 in 2008]
  • An Australian Man Was Found Lying Dead in a [Phnom Penh] Guesthouse on the Day He Was to Leave to Sihanoukville
  • A Girl Had Lied that She Escaped from the House Where She Worked for a Wage in Fact Had Escaped from Her Own House [after quarreling with her older brother; her mother came to take her back from police, and she apologized for her daughter’s lies – Phnom Penh]
  • Israel Prepares to Declare a Ceasefire Unilaterally for Three Weeks in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #329, 18-20.1.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice & Equity] Suon Serey Ratha Asks [the Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng to Release more Information about Murder Cases [of politicians, artists, trader union leaders, journalists, and monks] and about Arrest Murderers Made, Leading to Prosecution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #186, 18-19.1.2009

  • The Government Should Take Action against the Heng Development Company That Used Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens [injuring three people in Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6555, 19.1.2009

  • The [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Recognizes only 42 of the Approximately 2,000 Civil Party Plaintiffs [no reasons given]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

  • Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4798, 1819.1.2009

  • The Kandal Provincial Governor Claims the Control over the [contested] Land by the Heng Development Company Is Legal [Mr. Chun Sirun said that the company has many legal documents for the land, based on the verdict number 40V, dated 2 October 2006, and on the verdict number 12V, dated 26 February 2007, released by Kandal court, and the police said that protesters hit them and broke the windows of two machineries of the company]
  • The Government Issued an Order that Civil Servants Have to Retire whn Reaching the Age Limit [of 55 – an extension is not allowed]
  • A Man Who Raped His [16-year-old] Daughter Almost 40 Times Is Arrested [Sihanoukville]

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