The United States of America Announced to Provide US$5 Million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Two Years – Thursday, 1.4.2010

Posted on 2 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The United States of America announced to grant US$5 million to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, for two years from 2010 to 2011 for the United Nations side of the budget.

“This provision of funds of US$5 million was announced by the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Mr. Stephen Rapp, in the afternoon of 31 March 2010 in a press conference at the US Embassy in Cambodia.

“During the conference, Mr. Stephen Rapp praised the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, though there had been reports of accusations locally and internationally.

“Mr. Stephen Rapp said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal works hard and overcomes all critics to ensure its continuity.

“In recent months, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had been accused over corruption among Khmer officials and was alleged of being the object of interference by the Cambodian government. Regarding this problem, Mr. Stephen Rapp stressed that the United States of America is not concerned about these accusations. The USA consider that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is heading to achieve justice for Khmer citizens who were killed during Democratic Kampuchea, the Pol Pot Regime.

“The spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Dim Sovannarom, expressed his satisfaction toward the United States of America for deciding to provide funds so that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal can continue its proceedings.

“Mr. Dim Sovannarom said that because of the funds from the United States, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal hopes that other countries that had announced to provide funds like the United States, will now also deliver them soon to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for the two years of 2010 and 2011.

“Within the total amount of more than US$85 million, it is seen that the United States of Americas is the only country that provide funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal only for the United Nations side of the budget.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #449, 1.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #449, 1.4.2010

  • The United States of America Announced to Provide US$5 Million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Two Years

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #100, 1.4.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Released a Circular Prohibiting the Copying of Works of Author Who Have the Copyright for the Document to Be Copied [the license of places running such copy operations will be canceled and they will be dealt with according to the law]

Note:

A World Trade Organization study predicts grave negative social consequences:

Cambodia’s Accession to the WTO: ‘Fast Track’ Accession by a Least Developed Country

The implementation of copyright law will affect education and other fields relating to human resource development. In a poor country such as Cambodia, books, CDs and VCDs with copyright simply cannot be afforded because they would be too expensive for the average citizen. Pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs as well as copied books, unlicensed films and even imitations of circus performances and pantomimes may soon cease to exist in Cambodia. With the majority of the population earning less than one dollar per day, the enforcement of copyright law would take away the livelihood of thousands, and cut off many from educational and entertainment materials.

[Boldface added by The Mirror]

Source:
http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/casestudies_e/case8_e.htm

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2216, 1.4.2010

  • The Royal Government Stores Emergency Food Worth US$35 Million for Poor Vulnerable People [where US$17.5 million is from a grant and US$12.5 million from a loan from the Asian Development Bank]
  • The Japan Mine Action Service [JMAS] Grants More Than US$120,000 for Mine Clearance in Battambang

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6923, 1.4.2010

  • Kompong Cham and Koh Kong Forestry Officials Were Removed from Their Positions and Arrested [for working for their personal gain, trading and storing wood illegally]
  • A Truck Carrying More Than 100 Workers Overturned, and 21 Workers Were Killed or Injured [two workers were killed – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3847, 1.4.2010

  • [A Phnom Penh Municipal Deputy Governor from the Cambodian People’s Party] Using a Conference [about data systems and statistics] for Political Propaganda Made Sam Rainsy Party Councilors Walk Out of the Session

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #143, 1.4.2010

  • The [former] King, Samdech Euv [the King Father] and Samdech Mae [the King Mother] Return to Cambodia [from China]
  • More Than 400 Convicts Will Be Pardoned or Their Punishment Will Be Reduced by the King during the Khmer New Year [including for the editor-in-chief of the pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra]
  • More Than 60 Families Do Not Agree to Leave the Burnt Area [of the Railway Community in Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh, to resettle at the Dangkao suburb – the authorities said that they will not evict them by force, but they will persuade them to agree to relocate to a new place where they can have better living conditions]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5165, 1.4.2010

  • The Construction of the Russey Chrum River Hydro-Electric Dam Will Be Started by a Chinese Company [China Huadian Corpoationhave a look by clicking on the name of the company – [中国华电集团公司, short 中国华电], one of China’s five largest power producers] with an Investment Capital of US$558 Million [taking three years to finish – Pursat]

Note:

It is interesting to see also in publications in the People’s Republic of China reporting about citizens concern, when the may have to leave their traditional villages to make room for the construction of a dam – in this case also by the same China Huadian company – and different officials make contradictory statements, leaving the people concerned.

http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn/Dynamics-en/rumours-of-dam-building-leave-villagers-fearing-for-their-future

“Rumors of dam-building leave villagers fearing for their future

“According to the latest rumor, headway has been made with the dam-building plan – which has been halted since 2004. Approval, it is said, has been given for the construction of at least one of the proposed 13 dams to start in the next few months.

“But a top local official firmly denied the rumored approval – reportedly announced by another local government official at a Communist Party meeting last month.”

Some organizations turn their concerns into a public campaign:

“Water and Life. We are holding this ‘Nujiang River Sentiment’ exhibition to invite you to join us and struggle to save the last natural river in the world.”

http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn/ <— A picture and questions.

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Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia – Monday, 15.3.2010

Posted on 15 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Recently, the US Department of State assessed the human rights situation in Cambodia for 2009, saying that Cambodia progressed in the prevention of human trafficking. But the United States of America expressed some concerns, such as about the restriction of the freedom of expression, the deportation of Uighurs to China, land disputes, and the growing corruption in Cambodia.

“The report on human rights for 2009 of the US Department of State noticed that Cambodia positively promoted the rights of the disabled, and made also efforts at the national level to protect victims of human trafficking that helps the most vulnerable people. Besides this, the authorities worked to reduce serious crimes – the number of murders declined, compared to 2008. The report continues to say that the United States of America is worried about the restriction of the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press by the Cambodian government, pointing to court cases related to defamation and disinformation.

“The report continues that the United States of America is worried about land disputes, forced evictions, and corruption that frequently happens in Cambodia, while the court systems remains weak. The report of the US Department of State is not welcomed by high ranking officials of the Cambodian government, and they accused it as not being based on thorough observations. However, officials of human rights organization recognized that the report reflects the actual situation, and what is mentioned in the report is true.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia said that the Cambodia government is settling those problems, including through the adoption of an anti-corruption law soon. But meanwhile, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said that in general, the work to prevent the trafficking of women and children still faces some shortages, but the government tried to do it to some extent. The other three points that are unacceptable for the United States of America are real issues, because land disputes is also recognized by the government as a major issue. The claim by non-government organization officials testifies that the situation of human rights violations in Cambodia has not improved.

“It is remembered that in late 2009, the Cambodia government arrested 20 Uighurs and forcedly deported them to China, while they were applying for asylum from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Such action caused concerns from human rights groups, voicing the concern that those Uighurs might receive the death penalty in China. Due to this deportation, the Cambodian government was strongly criticized by many local and well-known international human rights organizations.

“At present, heavy human rights violations happen in Cambodia, not different from the concerns raised in the report of the US Department of State. Typically, like in a land dispute in Kompong Thom, the authorities ordered armed forces to evict citizens without any justification, to grab land for a Yuon [Vietnamese] company. When citizens protested to protect their land and their shelters, they were shot at like animals – an unacceptable human rights violation.

“In another case, even the freedom of expression of a parliamentarian, who had expressed his opinion to protect the territorial integrity of the country, was restricted. The opposition party president and parliamentarian from Kompong Cham, Mr. Sam Rainsy, was convicted by the Svay Rieng Court to serve two years in prison and was ordered to pay millions of Riel as a fine, because he uprooted border posts at the Khmer-Yuon border in the Samroang commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng, while two villagers who lost their rice fields, Mr. Prum Chea and Ms. Meas Srey, were jailed unjustly.

“After all, the report of the US Department of State regarding human rights issues in Cambodia complies with the actual situation, and officials of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government cannot hide this. Therefore, all members of the international community and donors, especially the United States of America, should encourage the Cambodian government to respect human rights, as stated in the Constitution. That means the government should stop restrictions that violate the freedom of expression, and protect the right of living of citizens by completely stopping to use the word ‘development’ as an excuse to evict citizens from their land.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #434, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Government Reacted against the US Human Rights Report That Overlooks the Efforts of Cambodia [to improve the human rights conditions]
  • US$41.5 Million for Investment Projects Were Approved in February 2010 [mostly focusing on investments in the garment sector and in agricultural product processing; in January 2010, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved US$75 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2201, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Informed the Public of a Temporary Relocation, in Order to Construct a New Court Building [it is relocated to the previous headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism in Tuol Svay Prey II, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • The Republic of Korea Congratulates Cambodia after an Anti-Corruption Law Has Been Discussed and Adopted

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #744, 15.3.2010

  • Chinese Hydro-Electricity Dams Cause Drought and Environmental Destruction to the Mekong River – as [Thai] NGOs Inform the United Nations

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #626, 14-15.3.2010

  • Perpetrators Who Shot and Injured [three] Disabled People [guarding the land of the Vietnamese Tan Bien company] in Kompong Thom] Are Out of the Net of the Law, while Some Victims Do Not Dare to Return to Their Own Homes [as the authorities are seeking to arrest them because of their protests against their eviction from the land]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6908, 15.3.2010

  • Among 569 Poor Communities in Phnom Penh, for More Than 300 Their Problems Have Been Solved [through ‘development-in-place’ and through compensation – according to the municipality]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

  • Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #130, 15.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy] Was Formally Indicted at a Count for Faking Public Documents
  • Cambodia Spent US$59 Million on Electricity Bought from Thailand [about US$19 million] and Vietnam [about US$40 million] in 2009
  • More Than 1,000 Hectares of Conservation Forest Were Destroyed by Fire in Siem Reap, Pailin, and Kampot [because people slashed-and-burnt some places to claim farmland, which led to fire getting out of control]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5150, 14-15.3.2010

  • Nine Members of the European Parliament Will Visit Cambodia [from 18 to 20 March 2010, to study the political and economic situation in Cambodia]
  • France Will Help to Establish a Chemistry Laboratory for the Royal Academy of Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the director of the National Scientific Research Center of France, Ms. Marie-Florence Grenier Loustalot; it might take two to three years]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1887, 15.3.2010

  • Citizens from 10 Villages in Amleang Commune, Kompong Speu, Are Struggling to Demand Their Land Back from a Company of [Senator and Oknha] Ly Yong Phat [who invests to grow sugarcane on this land]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

=

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

=

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

=

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The United States of America Granted US$13.4 Million for AIDS Action Programs – Wednesday, 24.2.2010

Posted on 25 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

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

“The five year sustainable program against HIV and AIDS at the community level will provide health care to citizens suffering from AIDS, those having HIV, and orphans, and in the meantime, it will also help to prevent new infections among vulnerable groups. This program will be implemented by the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance [KHANA], a local non-government organization which has been funded by the United States of America since 1997.

“More than 700 people, including those having HIVS and children suffering from AIDS, government officials, civil society organizations, and development partners participated in the inauguration at Wat Ou Poath in Takeo. Wat Ou Poath will receive aid from the United States of America for this program in order to continue to run an orphanage for children suffering from the impact from AIDS, to offer living places for adults who have HIV, to create a place for HIV blood testing, and to provide other services.

“The US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol A. Rodley, praised the working strategies of this community level program. She said, ‘Working with leaders such as monks at Wat Ou Poath and with our development partner KHANA contributes a lot to combating AIDS countrywide. The United States of America will continue to support these activities.’ The program also aims also to improve the capacity of civil society to provide health care services and HIV prevention with quality and sustainability. To reach this aim, KHANA has trained more than 60 local non-government organizations and supported those taking care of people having HIV at more than half of the communities countrywide by offering caring services to 60% of the communities in Cambodia.

“The aid granted by the United States of America for HIV/AIDS programs in Cambodia in this year amounts to US$18.5 million. The aid is concentrated on the protection, the care, and the treatment for people having HIV and people facing the danger of HIS infection.

“The HIV/AIDS program will also strengthen the national health system, fight maternal mortality, and address also other present priority health issues.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6892, 24.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #418, 24.2.2010

  • Chinese Investors Are Seeking Concession Land of More Than 60,000 Hectares in Cambodia [to plant rubber trees; in 2009, Cambodia exported 42,000 tonnes of rubber, compared with Thailand, the biggest rubber exporting country, which exported 2.74 million tonnes]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2185, 24.2.2010

  • Booyong Company of Korea Donates 3,000 Digital Pianos Worth US$3.6 Million to the Ministry of Education

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #610, 24.2.2010

  • Samdech Euv Claimed that Ruom Rith [supposedly his pen pal from childhood times] Who Was Interviewed by the Internet Broadcaster World Khmer Radio [based in the USA] Is an Imposter

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6892, 24.2.2010

  • The Report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association Says: The Shooting to Kill Khmer Citizens by Thai Soldiers Is a Serious Violation of Human Rights
  • The United States of America Granted US$13.4 Million for AIDS Action Programs

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3816, 24.2.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Hold a Press Conference [through video conferencing] This Evening in Response to a Warning by [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] Var Kimhong [to sue him for using fake maps]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #118, 24.2.2010

  • In Early 2010, the Forestry Administration Suppressed 231 Forestry Crimes [seizing 510 cubic meters of wood]
  • Sixty Percent of the [116] Unlicensed Pharmacies Closed [after the authorities set a deadline to take action against them at the end of February – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5134, 24.2.2010

  • A Younger Sister of the Korean President Lee Myung-Bak Wants to Establish Schools in Cambodia [according to a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen – Phnom Penh]
  • A Man Raped His Daughter for Three Years – When She Could No Bear It Any More, She Informed the Police to Arrest Him [Svay Rieng]
  • A Korean Drove a Lexus Car and Hit a Motorbike, Killing Three People [Kompong Thom]

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ECPAT Cambodia: Rape of Women and Children Increased in 2009 to 322 Cases – Monday, 18.1.2010

Posted on 19 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“Phnom Penh: Rape is, according to the law, as a serious crime – perpetrators and colluders can be jailed up to 20 years and they will also be fined. How did the situation of rape change in 2009 in Cambodia?

“End Child Prostitution, Abuse, and Trafficking in Cambodia (ECPAT) published figures of rape, of sex trafficking, and of debauchery based on reports in five local newspapers: Koh Santepheap, Rasmei Kampuchea, Kampuchea Thmey, the Cambodia Daily, and the Phnom Penh Post-vp, where there were 322 cases of rape reported. The number increased by 16.77% compared to 2008, where there had been only 268 cases, and by 6.52% compared to 2007, where there had been 301 cases. The 332 cases victimized 337 persons, among whom 202 were underage girls and 2 were boys. Most of the victims were Khmers, but there were also Vietnamese, Cambodian Muslims, and Australians. It should be noted that gang rapes [when two or more men rape one girl] increased to 29 cases – in each case there were 2 to 7 perpetrators involved, and 5 victims were killed after they had been raped.

“ECPAT Cambodia added that these rape cases were committed by 381 perpetrators where one was a woman. Besides Khmer perpetrators, there were also Khmer Muslims, Thais, Vietnamese, and Koreans. 317 of them were arrested, and 235 were sent to courts. 47 escaped and 2 others were not arrested. Among all cases, 66 are still under further investigation by local authorities, in 2 cases the perpetrators were released, and 1 case was solved out of the court system. There were only 6 cases reported where perpetrators were convicted to serve 3 to 20 years in prison, and they were ordered to compensate the victims or the victim’s families with US$1,000 to US$2,500. If we look at the relation between perpetrators and underage victims, it is found that 143 children were raped by their neighbors or persons they know, 27 were raped by their fathers, step fathers, or adopted fathers, 16 were raped by other relatives, and 2 were raped by their teachers.

“The provinces and cities with most rape cases were Battambang with 61 cases, Phnom Penh with 42 cases, Kandal with 30 cases, Banteay Meanchey with 26 cases, Pursat with 25 cases, Kompong Cham with 24 cases, and Kompong Speu and Takeo both with 17 cases. Some factors were found triggering these cases, which include: perpetrators had easy opportunities [to commit rape], victims stayed or went somewhere alone with the perpetrators, or they attend celebrations at night, victims were asleep or having a bath, and in other cases the perpetrators were heavily drunk, or had prepared their plans in advance, or they had frequently watched pornographic movies.

“Based on the above figures, law enforcement by the relevant authorities, especially the courts, remained limited, as giving impunity to perpetrators continued, and this was also because the publication of laws by different relevant institutions was not yet done intensively, and there was carelessness of victims and of the victims’ parents.

“Also, there were 7 cases of sex trafficking (compared to 2008, there were 17 cases and 2007, there were 16 cases) which resulted in 11 victims where 7 of them were underage and one was Vietnamese. Those cases involved 15 perpetrators where 3 were women: 2 Koreans and 1 Chinese. 1 perpetrator was the victim’s friend, and the other was committed by an acquaintance. 13 of the perpetrators were arrested, 5 cases were sent to the courts, 1 escaped, and 2 other cases are under further investigations by the local authorities. Sex trafficking occurred in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Pailin, Takeo, and Banteay Meanchey. There are no report about how the perpetrators were prosecuted.

“In 2009, there were also 18 cases of debauchery with children, involving 24 victims. Among them, only 1 was not underage, 4 were boys, and 1 was Vietnamese. These cases were committed by 18 perpetrators, where 4 were Khmers, 3 French, 2 Canadians, 2 Americans, 1 English, 1 Swiss, 1 Thai, 1 Danish, 1 Israeli, and 1 Greek. Most of them were tourists, but there were also teachers among them, and a foreign monk. 17 of them were arrested and sent to court, and 1 escaped. There were 3 cases brought for hearings where the perpetrators were sentenced to serve 1 to 5 years in prison, and they were ordered to compensate the victims with US$1,000 to US$2,500. 9 of those cases happened in Phnom Penh, 2 cases in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Banteay Meanchey each, and 1 case in Battambang, Kandal, and Koh Kong.

“ECPAT Cambodia noticed that rape in Cambodia continued to occur at a worrying and high level, and most victims were underage, especially in the case of rape. The number of cases brought to be heard at the courts was not so high, simply because of out of court arrangements. ECPAT Cambodia and other related organizations appealed to law enforcement institutions, especially to the police and to court officials, to strengthen and to ensure effective law enforcement. Education about the laws and other related topics should be extended. Also, parents should raise the notion of carefulness with their children, especially with underage girls and other vulnerable groups, not leaving them alone in whatever circumstances.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6860, 18.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 18 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #390, 17-18.1.2010

  • Rice Buyers from Europe Plan to Export 50,000 Tonnes of Cambodian Rice on the International Market
  • [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-Moon Will Visit Haiti, UN Seeks US$562 Million Aid

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2153, 17-18.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Sends Condolences and Donates US$50,000 for Earthquake Tragedy Victims in Haiti

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #582, 17-18.1.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Asked the Head of the Svay Rieng Court to Allow Them to Visit the [two] Khmer Farmer Victims [detained over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6860, 18.1.2010

  • ECPAT Cambodia: Rape of Women and Children Increased in 2009 to 322 Cases
  • Since 1996 and up to 2009, Japan Provided more than US$200 Million in Loans for the Sihanoukville Port Development
  • The Number of Earthquake Deaths in Haiti Might Reach 200,000

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #91, 18.1.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [Mr. Surya Subedi] Starts His Second Visit, Beginning This Monday [18.1.2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5102, 17-18.1.2010

  • Since [border] Disputes Started, Thai Soldiers Shot and Killed Eight Khmer Poor Citizens and Injured 20 [accusing them of cutting trees illegally in Thai territory]
  • A Car Loaded with Fish Crashed into a Motorbike, Killing Two People and Injuring One [Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Three Were Arrested for Preventing the Implementation of a Notification to Confiscate Land in Kompong Thom – Thursday, 19.11.2009

Posted on 20 November 2009. Filed under: 1, Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue for some days, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and then traveling back to Cambodia. I try to be on time as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“According to a news source, at least three disabled veterans, poor citizens, were arrested between 14 to 16 November 2009, when they resisted armed forces and police of the Kompong Thom authorities, coming to enforce a notification to confiscate land, where the authorities claimed that those citizens live there illegally, in Banteay Rou Ngieng village, Kraya commune, Santuk district, Kompong Thom.

“The source of this information claimed that there is an association with more than 1,700 families of disabled veterans, living there since 2004, and that the association lives on more than 10,000 hectares of land, where each family was provided with 3 hectares by the head of that community, for housing and for growing different crops, since 2005. But on 14 and 16 November 2009, about 50 armed forces and other authorities came with machinery to remove their houses, and they arrested three people.

“The disabled veterans said that the authorities burnt their houses, shot at them, and even arrested some people and hit them with riffle handles, in order to evict them to seize the land for the Tan Bieng company [a Vietnamese company].

“Responding to the accusation that the authorities ordered armed forces to burn their houses, shoot at them, and arrest people, the Kompong Thom deputy police chief, who had gone himself to conduct the eviction, Mr. Nou Thany, told Deum Ampil on 18 November 2009, via phone, ‘The accusation is not true. And if there is anything true in it, the authorities used only their right to self protection, because those disabled people used knives, sticks, and gasoline bottles to burn the machinery of the authorities and to chase them away and to hurt them with knives.’ He added that the action was taken following a notification to confiscate the land for the Tan Bieng company, which had received the right from the Royal Government to make some investment on that land. For evictions, the municipality has a policy to offer each of them a plot of land in the nearby Thma Samlieng area, but only somewhat more than 100 of them agreed to register to take this offer of land at the new location. The rest protested, rejecting this policy and they used force against the authorities who went to enforce the eviction order.

“Mr. Nou Thany emphasized that the disabled veterans association does have the right to create an association at that area, but not the right to control the land. Therefore, there was a notification, ordering them to leave. Before they would have to leave, the municipality had set the deadline of 25 November 2009 for them to accept new land; however, they turned to resist strongly on 14 to 17 November 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #340, 19.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #340, 19.11.2009

  • Three Were Arrested for Preventing the Implementation of a Notification to Confiscate Land in Kompong Thom
  • Most Malaria Medicines Are Fake and No-Quality Medicines [according to expert officials of the Ministry of Health]
  • Tragedy as a Boat Sunk [because of strong wind] Resulting in the Deaths of a Man and of Three Children while His Wife Survived [Kandal]
  • Two Young Men Died Immediately after They Were Hit [while riding on a motorbike] Behind a Bus of the Capital Company [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2102, 19.11.2009

  • [About 300] Staff and Workers of the Royal Railways of Cambodia Stopped Protesting after the Ministry [of Public Works and Transport] Promised to Pay Their Salaries on 27 November 2009
  • More Than 600 Square Kilometer of Cambodia Are Still Mine Infested [according to the Cambodian Mine Authority]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #533, 19.11.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy and Ms. Tioulong Saumura Attended the European Community Parliament Meeting about Cambodia Yesterday [in Brussels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6809, 19.11.2009

  • The Red Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Conduct a Large Demonstration on Sunday [29 November 2009] to Dismiss [Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government
  • Special UN Envoy [in charge of AIDS in the Asia Pacific, Dr. Nafis Sadik] Met with a Group of Most Vulnerable People in the City [drug addicts, people infected with AIDS, and orphans – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #49, 19.11.2009

  • Court Started to Question a Thai Man about Spying [he had copied flight documents of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of Thai ousted fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to send the copies to Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is Still the Country with the Most Corruption among the Countries in the Region [of Asia Pacific; according to a report of Transparency International, Cambodia stands at the 158th position among 180 countries affected by corruption in the public sector, while in 2008, Cambodia was at the 166th position]
  • Construction Investments Increased by 22% within 9 Months Compared to the Corresponding Period [last year; by the end of September 2009, there were 1805 projects amounting to US$1.165 Billion, while in 2008 there were only 1558 projects]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5051, 19.11.2009

  • A Robber Shot a Policeman to Death and Then after Half-an-Hour Siege the Robber Was Shot Dead by Police [if he had agreed to let police arrest him and not shoot one policeman to death, he would not have be killed – Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh]
  • A Japanese Man [a staff member of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)] Fell from the Second Storey of a Building of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Died [police has not identified why he fell down – Phnom Penh]
  • The Minister of Tourism Asked UNESCO to Help Create a Master Plan for Eco-Tourism around the Tonle Sap Lake

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The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries Including Nearly One Million Cambodian People – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

Posted on 21 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635 – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

“Rome: Because the number of starving people increases beyond the number in previous reports, today (World Food Day – 16 October 2009), the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations calls on the world to remember that more than one billion people do not have enough food to eat.

“The executive director of the World Food Program, Ms. Josette Sheeran, said, ‘Actually, the “World Food Day” is also “No Food Day” for 1 among 6,000 persons [Late addition: Apologies for a grave error during the process of preparing the manuscript: it is “1 among 6 persons” – a much more serious situation. And, according to the original English version we now replaced the former rendering “Word Without Food Day” with “No Food Day.”] in the world in this year. It should be remembered that more than one billion people will not have enough food to eat this year. We cannot change this problem. Therefore, our challenge is to make “No Food Day” become “World Food Day” for hundreds of millions of people who do not have sufficient food to eat.

“The flow of food aid is at the lowest level within the last 20 years, while there are more starving people due to the impacts from rising food prices, from the global financial crisis, and from more climate change.

“This year, the World Food Program plans to provide food to 108 million people in 74 countries in the world, including nearly one million Cambodians. But serious shortage of fund leads to the reduction of food to be distributed to some countries, and to temporary suspension of aid in some other countries. So far, donor countries have granted approx. US$2.9 billion in aid to the World Food Program which plans to spend US$6.7 billion in total for 2009.

“Ms. Sheeran added that during these decades, the World Food Program can supply food to about 10% of the men, women, and children who are starving in the world. But this year is the first year that the agents of the World Food Program seem not to be able to achieve its goal. As an agency to respond to emergency needs, the World Food Program has encountered many unexpected demands in 2009, like the response to the recent flood in the Philippines.

“As for Cambodia, the World Food Program said that even given the development that has been achieved in recent years, Cambodia is still considered as a country with starvation placed at high emergency levels, and it is among 36 countries in the world where there is a very high number of children suffering from malnutrition. Since 1979, the World Food Program has closely cooperated with the Royal Government of Cambodia, with other agencies of the United Nations, and with non-government organizations to alleviate starvation and malnutrition in Cambodia. The overall aim of the World Food Program in Cambodia is to improve food security among starving people through many programs related to education, health, and nutrition, to rise the living standard, and to sustainably build up against natural disasters and against other shocks. In 2008, the World Food Program supported nearly one million of the poorest people and of people with food insecurity.

“To celebrate the ‘World Food Day’, an event was jointly organized under the concerns of achieving food security during the crisis’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program in Takeo. The World Food Program Representative to Cambodia, Mr. Jean Pierre De Margerie, said that achieving food security is still a challenge for thousand of poor and vulnerable people of Cambodia. The follow-up impacts from the rising food prices and the global economic crisis worsen the level of vulnerability in Cambodia, especially in regions hit by the typhoon Ketsana. He added, ‘Efforts to work collaboratively and the good coordination from all relevant partners are the best way to accomplish a regular and sustainable food security in Cambodia.'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2076, 20.10.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Citizens that the State Will Not Collect Fees for Listening to Radio and for Watching TV [after there was a request by the chairperson of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation Propaganda and Information of the National Assembly to collect such fees]
  • Four Robbers Robbed the Srae Prang Village Chief’s House, Taking Kathen [a Buddhist ceremony] Money [approx. US$5,000], and Shot His Son to Death [Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

  • The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries, Including to Nearly One Million Cambodian People
  • More Than 300 Fishermen Protested in Front of the Municipality as Fishing Yields Drop to Almost Zero because of [sea] Sand Dredging [Koh Kong]
  • The Head of the Eye Department [of a Korean university] of [South] Korea Promised to Continue to Provide Eye Treatments and to Train Cambodian Ophthalmologists [by sending Korean volunteers, as they did since 2007]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #29, 20.10.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Asked Global Witness to Stop Criticizing the Cambodian Government of Cutting Trees [the Prime Minister said during the First National Forum on Climate Change that global warming is first of all the result of economic activities in rich countries – the cutting of trees in a small country will now have global consequences]
  • Husband and Wife Who Tortured a Girl Are Detained at Prey Sar Prison [Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Interior Announced to Fine Overloaded Trucks Seriously [as they create traffic hazards]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5025, 20.10.2009

  • The National Assembly Continues to Discuss the Demonstration Law
  • A 64-Year-Old Man Raped Two Young Girls [8 and 9 years old – he was arrested – Pursat]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1811, 20.10.2009

  • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy: We Do Not Want Peace like Peace for Slaves [he said so while the National Assembly was discussing the defamation law

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Different Challenges to Act? Different Conceptions of Communication? – Sunday, 29.3.2009

Posted on 30 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

Looking back at the end of a week to the past information carried, it is often difficult to understand easily what happened – or what not happened.

On Friday, we mirrored a report that in January 2009, there were 40 children under the age of six living with their parents in prisons. “The Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior is asking the Ministry of Economy and Finance to increase the monetary allowances for prisoners from Riel 1,500 [approx US$0.37] to Riel 2,800 [approx. US$0.69] per day, so that they can eat enough food.” And: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…”

An increase from US$0.37 to US$0.69 per day is an increase of US$0.32 per day per person, that is $12.80 for all 40 children per day; that is $384 per month. For all 40 children for one whole year, this upgrade would cost $4,604.

Here are some other figures to which we referred during the week, as they had appeared in The Mirror:

  • US$200,000 were donated by the Japanese Government to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • US$18 Million had been loaned to the Government, but the World Bank might withdraw them
  • US$7.07 million were spent for the Senate in 2008
  • US$12.6 million are provided to Cambodia by the World Bank to expand international trade
  • US$100 Million is a loan from the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group to expand a mobile phone network
  • US$35 million on loan from Japan for the construction of clean water production

And US$4,604? Of course all these other moneys were not designated to feed 40 children under six in prison, and the paperwork on the way from the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and then the search where, in the national budget to find US$4,604, also takes its time, while sorting out regulations.

But: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…” Who is in charge? Who cares? Who could even care to get things moving, without being in charge?

= = =

But there were other problems to be faced, and not only by 40 children, but by the whole nation.

Not many publications have a prestigious history like The Economist from London. It began publishing in 1843 and has continued as a weekly magazine until the present. In 2007, it had a world wide circulation of more than 1.3 million.

In addition to its publications, The Economist has also a research arm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and it is regularly organizing Economist Conferences around the world. Such a conference was held early this year also in Cambodia, on 16 February 2009 in Siem Reap, under the heading: Business Roundtable with the Government of Cambodia – On the verge of a breakthrough? [see The Mirror report in Rasmei Kampuchea of 13.2.2009] The Prime Minister was a keynote speaker at this conference. It was considered a special event that an Economist Conferences had been organized and was held in Cambodia. This had been announced:

Key issues to be discussed included:

  • In light of recent oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Thailand, what is the government doing to settle border claims with its neighbors?
  • With predictions that oil could start flowing by as early as 2011, how will the government manage Cambodia’s newfound wealth?
  • In evaluating the investment climate, are private equity firms being overly optimistic?
  • What new business opportunities are there for investment in Cambodia’s much needed infrastructure?
  • Given the recent boom in property development and construction, is greater regulation of the industry necessary and if so, what impact will this have on property investors?
  • How will Cambodia’s garment industry deal with greater competition from China and Vietnam? What is being done to boost efficiency in this important industry?
  • With a recession hitting the US, what is Cambodia doing to diversify its export markets?
  • How will the government offset growing inflation and an increase in commodity prices, particularly of oil?
  • Is Cambodia’s economy ready to move away from de facto “dollarization” to the Riel and what will this mean for business?

That this event was planned – as the many other Economist Conferences around the world – for high level business leaders, was obvious from the admission prices to participate in his one-day-only event:

US$ 990 Early Registration Fee (by 9 January 2009)
US$1,250 Standard Registration Fee
US$1,000 Corporate Network Members’ Fee

These high level conferences are prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is described on their own Internet website with the following ambitious words:

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world’s foremost provider of country, industry, and management analysis. Founded in 1946 when a director of intelligence was appointed to serve The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit is now a leading research and advisory firm with more than 40 offices worldwide. For over 60 years, the Economist Intelligence Unit has delivered vital business intelligence to influential decision-makers around the world. Our extensive international reach and unfettered independence make us the most trusted and valuable resource for international companies, financial institutions, universities, and government agencies.

The appreciation for the fact that Cambodia had been the site of an Economist Conference turned into hostility, after – on 19 March 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit published a 34 pages document: Manning the barricades – Who’s at risk as deepening economic distress foments social unrest?

In this document, the basic methodology of compiling the document is laid open, for three possibilities, asking If things feel bad now, how much worse could they get? – and it describes the third and worst possibility with the following words:

Failing confidence in the Dollar leads to its collapse, and the search for alternative safe-havens proves fruitless.
Economic upheaval sharply raises the risk of social unrest and violent protest. A Political Instability Index covering 165 countries, developed for this report, highlights the countries particularly vulnerable to political instability as a result of economic distress…

The political implications of the economic downturn, informed by the results of the Social and Political Unrest Index, are discussed at length in the second half of the report.

The full report, in both PDF and HTML format, is available online at http://www.eiu.com/special.

Putting a lot of detailed data from many countries through these procedures, which contain among others also terms developed by the Political Instability Task Force at the George Mason University in the USA, which elaborate also about further terms which we quote here:

Economic distress appears to be almost a necessary condition for serious instability, but it is not a sufficient one. There are many instances of declines in GDP per head that have not been followed by political instability. It is only when economic distress is accompanied by other, underlying or structural features of vulnerability that there is a high vulnerability to or risk of serious outbreaks of political and social unrest.

Defining political unrest

We define social and political unrest or upheaval as those events or developments that pose a serious extra-parliamentary or extra-institutional threat to governments or the existing political order. The events will almost invariably be accompanied by some violence as well as public disorder. These need not necessarily be successful in the sense that they end up toppling a government or regime. Even unsuccessful episodes result in turmoil and serious disruption. The assessment of what constitutes a “serious threat” still requires judgment and can be arbitrary, but this is a step forward from having no definition at all.

Political Instability Index

The overall index on a scale of 0 (no vulnerability) to 10 (highest vulnerability) has two component indexes—an index of underlying vulnerability and an economic distress index. The overall index is a simple average of the two component indexes. There are 15 indicators in all—12 for the underlying and 3 for the economic distress index.

As a result, a table is automatically calculated from the hundreds of data collected. We quote only the beginning of the resulting Political Instability Index of Rank, Country, and Score:













1

Zimbabwe8.8
2Chad8.5
3Congo Kinshasa8.2
4Cambodia8.0
4Sudan8.0
6Iraq7.9
7Cote d’Ivoire7.8
7Haiti7.8
7Pakistan7.8
7Zambia7.8
7Afghanistan7.8

Naturally, this ranking for Cambodia on Position 4 (from 165, with some countries sharing the same ranking number) was received with surprise, and even rejection. Considering the final results, it was quickly dismissed as a report supposedly produced with a hidden agenda against Cambodia. – More surprising is how the Cambodian embassy in England reacted against the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report, which misunderstands the report as made up of arbitrary statements targeting Cambodia – and therefore asking the Economist Intelligence Unit to “issue a retraction.” This is misunderstanding is obvious from the following excerpts of the letter of the Cambodian ambassador to the Economist Intelligence Unit:

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment with your latest report, “Manning the Barricades” in which you highlight Cambodia as one of the countries most at risk of suffering serious social unrest as a consequence of the on-going global financial crisis.

Your scaremongering allegations are highly dangerous as they could be construed as actively inciting unrest. They also happen to be a gross distortion and misrepresentation of Cambodia’s true position and there can be no justification for these claims.

May I suggest that it is insulting for you to claim that Cambodia is more politically unstable than the war-torn nations of Iraq and Afghanistan…

You also appear to have rather arrogantly dismissed any serious evidence which contradicts your own claims; not least that provided by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, who only in February 2009 addressed a Business Round Table event co-hosted by your own organisation.

You may recall that the Prime Minister used that occasion to record that Cambodia had just enjoyed a decade of blistering growth, more than doubling its per capita GDP between 1998 and 2007. He attributed this great success to political stability, forging deeper integration with the global trade and investment communities; and improved macro-economic management.

You also seem to have ignored Cambodia’s sizable oil and gas deposits, its wealth of natural resources as well as its growing reputation as a “must visit” tourist destination and as a center of enterprise and investment….”

It is extremely unfortunate that the result of an analysis of hundreds and hundreds of international data, which fully agree with the assessment of Cambodia’s economic growth during the last years, is not seen for what it says: that countries which had a high growth rate based on factors now being eroded by the international economic crisis, are facing a more serious danger of disrupting instability than countries which have been anyway politically instable, and economically at a low level. The Economist Intelligence Unit is not questioning past achievements – but it is sounding a warning that these achievements are now facing a most serious challenge, and therefore the new situation merits utmost attention.

This week’s reflection is much longer than usual.

It was written with the hope to improve communication between Cambodian and international voices, which is often mis-communication: while facts are presented with an invitation to rationally discuss them, they are emotionally dismissed. This is not useful, and ways have to be found to communicate better.

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