The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on External Aid – Tuesday, 24.8.2010

Posted on 25 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“They provide legal assistance, but they are not a non-government organizations. They accept work for profit, but they are not working just for money. The Samrith Law Group, the first institution in Cambodia providing legal services to serve public interests, is opening a new page for profit-based lawyers’ groups, saying that the reliance on funding from donors [for free legal services to the poor] can be reduced.

[This long article has been abbreviated – abbreviated sections are marked by three dots …]

“The manager of this lawyers’ group, established in 2008, Mr. Ith Meakthura, said, ‘We want to show to other lawyers in Cambodia that even though we are private lawyers, we can help poor communities.’

“As the Cambodian government cannot offer legal assistance services, this role is normally left to a handful of non-government organizations that depend on international aid agencies, such as USAID and AusAid to support their operations.

“Until early this year, two major organizations of Cambodia offering legal aid, the Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia [the web site http://www.lac.org.kh did not work at the time of this writing] were forced to restrict their expenditures after donors reduced their funding support…

“A senior lawyer of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group, Mr. Ly Ping, said that his group is using a service pricing system with different levels, depending on the capacity of clients to pay. That means they can also offer services with no payment charged. While the Samrith Lawyers’ Group receives also some funding support which is gladly received, they can gain income from their own work as the basis for their operations, in case no aid is provided…

“Mr. Ly Ping stressed, ‘This is our commitment. We want to help. It is an obligation. It is a general feeling of human beings. And we make enough money.’ He added that as for public interest activities, the Samrith Law Group handles also big cases which take a long time, maybe one year, to deal with one or two cases. Such work brings income through services such as consulting, research, and training for some of these private cases, and sometimes donors provide funds for some cases…

“Part of the reason leading to the creation of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group were limitations they saw in the system that relies on the support for non-government organizations. The Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia were established specifically to offer legal aid and related services, but for some other non-government organizations, legal aid is just one part of what they do.

“But to establish the budget of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group faces also obstacles. A major problem of the lawyers’ group are disputes, that happen between personal interests, on which they depend, and public interests, that they want to serve. Since in big land dispute cases they may face the rich and the powerful, the lawyers’ group has to ensure that they proceed carefully, to guarantee the further flow of personal cases to deal with, on which they depend.

“Mr. Ly Ping said, ‘Therefore, our strategy which cases to select is very important. We try to accept moderate cases. Such cases are not too big.’ According to the head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Vireak, though the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has accomplished some initial success, one needs to see whether they can use sustainable choices to replace existing, traditional practices or not.

“Mr. Ou Vireak said, ‘It is too quick to say. I think that legal aid can help to a certain level, but the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has not yet played an important role in legal aid. The real question is always the bigger picture: can they make a change to the court systems in Cambodia?'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2335, 24.8.2010

  • [The former and now fugitive Thai prime minister] Thaksin Resigned from the Position as an Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and Thailand Will Send Its Ambassador Back to Cambodia Today
  • More Than Ten Luxury Cars Transported Ebony Wood across the Svay Leu District; Forestry Administration Officers Said They Were Not Aware of That [Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7042, 24.8.2010

  • More Than 200 Kilogram of Wild Animals [snakes, turtles, porcupines, and civets] Were Intercepted in Suong District [five people were held – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3966, 24.8.2010

  • The Authorities Must Care about the Construction of Roads in Phnom Penh That Do Not Have Proper Culvert Systems to Drain Out the Rain Water That Floods the City When There Are Heavy Rains

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #38, 24.8.2010

  • A Sihanoukville Court Released a [police] Officer Who Raped an 11 Years-Old Girl [court officials could not be reached for comment on 23 August 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Began to Construct a Five Stories Court Building

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

  • Names of Officials to Declare Their Assets Will Be Published [according to the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • Members of the Authorities [police] Suppressed Citizens Who Protested over Flooding, Resulting from the Boeng Kak Lake [sand filling] Development [they used shields and electric batons to disperse about 200 protesters who gathered in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh]
  • [About 300] Amleang Commune Residents Blocked a Road to Protest over Land Disputes [with the sugar company owned by Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat – Kompong Speu]
  • [Prince] Ranariddh: To Merge FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party Will Result in the Loss of Positions [according to legislation about political parties, if two parties merge, the Ministry of Interior will delete the former parties’ name from the list of registered parties]
  • The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on Aid

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5284, 24.8.2010

  • Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [warned the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • There Are Only About 50 Hectares for Coffee Growing Left in Cambodia, and Coffee Growers Are Competing with Coffee from Laos and from Vietnam [before there were more than 500 hectares with coffee grown in Ratanakiri]

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Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament – Saturday, 21.8.2010

Posted on 22 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: According to the first study by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, since the general elections in 1993, or within 17 years, only six ministers appeared at the parliament to clarify questions. But government officials explained that, based on the regulations, there clarifications can be given both directly and verbally, or through letters.

“Findings from the study were shown publicly in a press conference on 20 August 2010. The team leader of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, said that since 1993, probably only six ministers showed up to respond to questions of parliamentarians in the parliament. That means also that within one 3 years period there was only one minister making clarifications. Until now, the Prime Minister has never come to answer to questions from parliamentarians following Article 96 of the Constitution. It is different from other democratic countries where prime ministers and government members regularly appear to give clarifications in parliament.

Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the Chairman of the National Assembly.
The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person.

The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing.

The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received.

In case of verbal reply, the Chairman of the National Assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. If there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time-frame not exceeding one session.

The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the procedures for questioning and for inviting ministers to appear are difficult. Sometimes, only two months after a request letter was sent there is a response, and sometimes it takes even up to one year. Some ministers do not care about answering questions from parliamentarians.

“A parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, presented a study about government members who did not properly adhere to the principles of the Constitution, which set the rules for questioning and answering to questions of parliamentarians through letters, or straight and verbally.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that 132 letters with questions were sent to members of the government in 2009, but they responded to only 23%, or 39 letters, from Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. Within eight months of 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians submitted 47 letters to the government, but only 15 letters received a response.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘In 2009, we sent 24 letters to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and he responded to 13 letters. The Prime Minister answered more questions than others among the members of the government. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, received 21 letters from parliamentarians in 2009 and he replied to 9 letters, and in 2010, he received 8 letters and he responded to 2.’

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians sent 10 letters in 2009 and 2 more letters in 2010 to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Kim Kean Hor, but he did not respond at all. Also, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, did not respond to questions from parliamentarians.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that submitting letters to request clarifications and to invite members of the governments, including the head of the government, to appear to clarify questions from parliamentarians in the parliament itself allow the government time to defend itself and to present its achievements in the past. This also helps to encourages the government to work with responsibility. ‘We aim to strengthen the implementation of democracy and to consolidate national institutions.’

“Also, another statement was released by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians over the loss of their roles in the parliament of Cambodia. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians voiced strong concern about the possible disappearance of democracy in Cambodia, which is affecting national development and social tranquility more seriously.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians appeal to the ruling party to immediately check to fix all the limitations in order to appropriately implement the principles of multi-party democracy, as stated in the Constitution of 1993.

“Responding to the above mentioned concerns, a spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, said that to respond, there are two ways: responding by letter, or directly and verbally. So far, government officials frequently sent official letters, and sometimes they appeared directly in parliament to respond. He added that the government is formed by elections, and the Cambodian People’s Party, that won a massive support in the parliament, always rules the country following democracy and respecting the rights of the citizens, who are the voters. The government is not dictatorial or lawless. The government is on the right tract based on democracy. If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.

“A senior member of the Cambodian People’s Party and a long standing member of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party always obeys the laws and the Constitution since 1993. Also, [the president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin, often allows more Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians than those from the Cambodian People’s Party to express their opinions along with the participation of national and international organizations that carefully observe the proceedings.

“In addition, during the press conference in the morning of 20 August 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians announced that they have sent a letter to the US parliament and Senate to express their support for the United States of America adopting an amendment to financial legislation that requires US listed oil exploration companies operating in Cambodia to publicly disclose their expenditures and income. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians consider that this law helps to promote transparency in the investment and in the management of income from mines, and in the oil and gas sectors in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2333, 21.8.2010

  • Thailand Sent Letters to the Ten Members of ASEAN to Suggest How to Solve the Disputes with Cambodia Bilaterally
  • After an Electric Fault Occurred [producing toxic smoke] in the M.V Factory, 120 Workers Fainted [Kompong Chhnang]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7040, 21-22.8.2010

  • A Railroad Construction Company Asked the Authorities to Crack Down on the Stealing of Concrete Supports and of Iron Bars [Kampot]
  • The Ministry of Labor Warned It Will Take Legal Action against Companies with Irregularities in Sending Workers to Malaysia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Labor and 31 companies sending workers abroad]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3964, 21-22.8.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians and a Human Rights Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Expressed Regret over the Verdict against Chi Kraeng District Residents [nine citizens were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment over a land dispute, but they will serve only 17 months and the rest will be suspended – Siem Reap]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #36, 21.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet [Nguyễn Minh Triết]] Will Visit Cambodia [from 26 to 28 August 2010 in response to an invitation by the Khmer King]
  • Cambodia Does Not Accept a Bilateral Solution with Thailand [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Only One of the Students [countrywide] Gets an A Level, and 81.90% Passed [or 87,561 students among the 106,908 candidates passed the Grade 12 examinations]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

  • Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament
  • Ebony [2.377 cubic meters] and Wild Animals [about 166 kg, including snakes, big lizards, and turtles] Were Intercepted at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing [for export to Vietnam; no persons are yet caught – Kandal]
  • Scientific Evidence Shows that Chemicals Are Still Found in Food Sold at the Markets [affecting the health of the consumers – studies conducted by the Royal Academy]

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More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens – Thursday, 19.8.2010

Posted on 20 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“The rich natural resources in Cambodia, especially gold, gems, and diamonds, attract the attention from foreign investors to invest in mining in Cambodia, and the leading companies are the OZ Company and Southern Gold company of Australia. Also, some Yuon [Vietnamese] companies that do not make their identity known, operating illegally on gold exploitation, siphoning national resources out from Cambodia.

“The Yuon press quoted the director of the Saigon Jewelry Company, the biggest gold company in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long [Nguyễn Thành Long], as having said that the company had shown its plan to the Yuon government to ask for permission to invest in factories in Cambodia and Laos. If this company earns the approval from the Yuon government or from the governments where it plans to invest, this company will establish gold manufacturing factories abroad not later than in late 2010.

“Yuon officials said that this company will start its production with the trademark SJC in Laos this year, investing in Laos first, before seeking to create factories and branches in Cambodia. Some other Yuon companies investing in gold trade, such as the Sacom Bank, the Agri-Bank, and the Hun Huang [? – phonetic], and have opened representative offices in Cambodia and are strengthening and expanding their business operations.

“Yuon investors see huge benefits from investments in Cambodia and in gold exploration in the northeast of Cambodia; they have sent skilled workers to come to conduct illegal exploitation with the backing from military officials or civil authorities. Gold deposits in the northeast of Cambodia are being exploited illegally by traders, not leading to national income.

“Recently, Yuon traders had sent a barge on the Sekong river to Siem Pang district in Stung Treng, loaded with gold filtering machines, in an attempt to conduct illegal gold exploitation. The local authorities blocked the barge for some time to clarify questions about legal documents, but they will likely let it go after an intervention from the provincial level.

“Also, citizens in the Veun Sai district in Ratanakiri are worrying about the impact on water quality in the Sesan river, as Chinese gold miners are drilling to explore gold ore on Pang Island. They said that the Chinese company has been operating for two months, employing more than 10 Khmer workers, using two machines for drilling, and disposing waste water into the Sesan river, from which citizens consume water for their daily living.

“Citizens complained that at present, the water in the Sesan river was dirty and can no longer be used, but the local authorities do not intervene. Pang Island in the Sesan river has an area of 200 meter in length and 100 meter in width, and there live Krueng ethnic minority tribespeople, who have settled there since long. Now they are seriously affected by the gold exploitation by the Chinese company Indochine Resources [a holding company for the Indochine Group, ‘the largest mineral concession holder in The Royal Kingdom of Cambodia’ – including Indochine Mining].

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry. Ratanakiri Department, said that the Ministry of Industry provided a license to Indochine Resources in November 2009, to explore metal ore on an area of 200 square kilometers. So far, no companies have been registered also to exploit resources. All are just conducting explorations, and any exploitation in the past was illegal.

“The exploitation means that a company can gain benefits from the ore, whereas exploration means just to drill to find ore samples for experiments, but some companies colluded with expert officials and the authorities in charge to conduct exploitation while they only have exploration rights, so they gain benefits without paying tax to the state on their profits. Such anarchy occurs at the northeast of Cambodia, and some officials and members of the authorities are happy to collect personal benefits from it.

“According to expert officials, in Ratanakiri more than 3,000 square kilometers, or 30% of the size of the province, have been contracted to 19 companies to conduct explorations. Those companies deal with quarries, or they are construction companies, sand companies, gems companies, granite companies, and metal companies etc., and 10 companies have not received exploitation license. Citizens complained that some activities of those companies violate the land they own, and there is also deforestation.

“Civil society officials often voiced concern relating to the issues that some mineral exploration companies do not obey the laws, and that the requirements from relevant ministries and the exploitation by some companies affect the environment and the living condition of citizens. Expert officials never take restrictive actions against these companies doing exploitation, though citizens from the region had reported about improper activities of those companies.

“Since private companies started anarchic mine exploration in Cambodia without any interception by expert officials, they have extracted almost everywhere underground mineral deposits, but so far, no money has been paid into the national budget. Officials of civil and international organizations frequently warned that the improper management of mineral resources might seriously damage Cambodia. Therefore, the government must create laws to carefully control mineral resources and income.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.15, #1452, 19-20.8.2010

  • Two Persons Were Killed by Lightning while They Were Transplanting Rice Seedlings [Sihanoukville]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.1, #2331, 19.8.2010

  • Four Workers Were Attacked with Acid – They Sustained Serious Burn over Their Bodies [it is suspected this attack was related to rancor or a triangle love story; the two perpetrators have not yet been found – Phnom Penh]
  • Turtles and Many Other Types of Wild Animals Were Intercepted by Wild Aid [cooperating with the military police of Siem Reap to raid two sites selling animals – pangolins, soft shell turtles, and snakes]
  • A Plane Crash in Thailand Killed Five High Ranking Officials of the Ministry of Environment

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7038, 19.8.2010

  • Mobile Custom Officials Intercepted Two Trucks Loaded with Ebony [about 40 cubic meters illegally cut; the owner of the wood is known, but officials asked not to provide names [officials asked for understanding from journalists that they cannot provide the names while the investigations go on – Prey Veng]
  • The Gold Mining Area in Ratanakiri Cracked Down On Last Month Starts Operating [illegally] Again

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

  • More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Criticized Corruption [over mining proceedings] of the Ministry of Industry, Which Led to the Canceling of the Kravanh Mountain Eco-Tourism Investment Project
  • At Least 145 Citizens Have Been Arrested [since 2008] over Land Disputes due to the Weak Court System [according to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #34, 19.8.2010

  • An Armed Clash Broke Out at the Choam Sa Ngam Border Crossing Point while Troops [of Cambodia and of Thailand] Were Patrolling [there is no report of casualties – Oddar Meanchey]
  • Japan Grants Technical Aid worth More Than US$4 Million for Agricultural Development [to improve agricultural productivity and to promote markets for agricultural products at the west of the Tonle Sap lake through the technical support to the Departments of Agriculture of Battambang, Pursat, and Kompong Chhnang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.9, #240, 19.8.2010

  • ASEAN Begins Discussing about the Cambodian Request for an Intervention over the Khmer-Thai Border Disputes
  • Vietnam Strengthens Military Cooperation with Cambodia [Prime Minister Hun Sen had asked Vietnam during a visit by the Vietnamese Senior General Le Van Dong to help consolidate the defense sector of Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5280, 19.8.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Plans to Provide US$558 Million [cooperation financing] from 2011 and 2013 [to support poverty reduction, to promote rural development, to improve the economy and agriculture, to strengthen the capacity of human resources, and to develop the financial sector and the private sectors]
  • The DK Fund [established 1998 by a Korean who was orphaned and later received a scholarship to study in the USA] Chose Cambodia to Provide Scholarships for Poor Students for Ten Years [the DK Fund plans to create a vocational training center in Sihanoukville, and a health science university in Cambodia]

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The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing – Tuesday, 5.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Phnom Penh: To reduce expenses and to improve the efficiency of the leadership role of all provincial and municipal authorities countrywide, the Royal Government of Cambodia requires the authorities to set up video conference facilities for cabinet sessions every Fridays.

“A letter of the Council of Ministers dated 23 December 2009, sealed and signed by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, informed all provincial and municipal governors in the Kingdom of Cambodia about Internet online meetings through the use of video conference facilities during cabinet sessions, following the wise instruction from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, during a cabinet session on 4 December 2009.

“The letter stressed that, based on the above reasons, the Council of Ministers would like to inform all provincial and municipal governors that the Royal Government has already set up video conference devices, which allow to have direct on-line meetings with the participation from the provinces and cities. To promote the efficiency of the weekly cabinet sessions, and to ease the smooth and timely reporting, as well as to cover other urgent issues the Royal Government is facing, the Council of Ministers would like to ask all provincial and municipal governors to attend the weekly cabinet meetings through the video conference facilities, on every Fridays starting at 8:30 a.m.

“After receiving the letter, the Phnom Penh Municipality has already set up video conference facilities and started to officially operate them on 4 January 2010. Other provinces have also already made arrangements. This system is really important to connect offices outside of Phnom Penh with the Royal Government as well as with the Prime Minister. The aim of using video conferences is to enhance the efficiency of the work, and to reduce expenses of money, and to save time of the provincial and municipal governors, especially those in remote provinces. Also, the Royal Government wants to observe whether those governors work and are in the meetings, or where else they are, in order to avoid lying to the Prime Minister by just phoning, giving brief responses, now they can ask for instructions from the Prime Minister directly and on time.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #379, 5.1.2010

  • Amnesty International Asked China to Disclose where the Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Are Living
  • A Lexus Hit a Three-Wheel Motor-Taxi near Calmette Hospital, Killing Two People [the offensive car was seized – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2142, 5.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister: Those Who Do Not Recognize the Importance of 7 January 1979 [when the Khmer Rouge Regime was overthrown] are Not Even Equal to Animals
  • An Anti-Drug Policeman Was Shot Dead in a Lexus [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #572, 5.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Said There Is a Today because of 7 January 1979 while the Opposition Party Claimed Today Exists because of 23 October 1991 [the Paris Peace Treaties which (should have) ended the civil war in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #82, 5.1.2010

  • [About 70] Sereypheap Market Vendors Continue to Protest in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [after the authorities demolished the market]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5091, 5.1.2010

  • In 2009 There Were 622 Cases of Forestry and Wildlife Violation Crimes which Were Dealt with by the Authorities [compared to 2008, there were 615 cases; according to a report of the Forestry Administration]
  • Interior Police Arrested a Person Sending Threatening Messages to Kill an Advisor of the Royal Government [Phnom Penh]
  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot to Injure a Khmer Citizen Seriously [he went to find wild vegetables – at the Cambodian Thai-border]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1848, 5.1.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann: The Party Is Collecting Petitions from Cities and Provinces to Send Them to the King to Ask for His Intervention for Mr. Sam Rainsy [over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

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Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers – Friday, 25.12.2009

Posted on 26 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“Mr. Var Kimhong, the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia, led a delegation to clarify border issues at the National Assembly on 24 December 2009. During the clarification, which took more than three hours, Mr. Var Kimhong did not answer the questions of the parliamentarian Son Chhay, who represented the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“His questions, laid out on eight pages, with attached documents and photos, reports, and videos about the Khmer farmers who lost many rice fields because of the way in which border markers were set, were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong, and during more than three hours of his clarification in the National Assembly, he read also border reports from nearly 100 years ago, so that even some parliamentarians did not understand what was going on. What about the citizens?

“Mr. Son Chhay asked the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, to clarify issues regarding the border demarcation with Vietnam, which resulted in the fact that some Khmer farmers lost their rice fields, and he inquired about the experts in this work, and about materials used for the demarcation. There are still many other questions, like the case that even when there was no agreement yet between Yuon [Vietnam] and Cambodia, they came already to construct roads and unilaterally put border markers, like at the Dac Dang point.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said that Cambodia has qualified experts and proper materials, which had cost tens of thousands of dollars when it was bought, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the demarcation and setting of border markers does not just depend only on Yuon or Thai materials.

“Spending almost two hours from 8:40 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong gave clarifications which did not touch the specific questions of Mr. Son Chhay that had been raised during the meeting, as those questions were rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Son Chhay reminded Mr. Var Kimhong to answer the questions which had been raised, ‘What His Excellency is talking is still a problem. We listen to you, but you do not answer the questions at all. Please answer the questions.’ Mr. Son Chhay’s reminder was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin, who rang the bell and turned the microphone of the speaker off.

“Mr. Var Kimhong could not control his feelings and angrily attacked Mr. Son Chhay, as Mr. Son Chhay had asked him not to waste time giving answers not related to the questions. However, Mr. Var Kimhong considered his descriptions as proper answers.

“At about 11:10 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong finished his clarifications, and the National Assembly immediately closed the meeting and did not allow any parliamentarians to continue to ask any questions.

“After leaving the National Assembly, Mr. Son Chhay held a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept Mr. Var Kimhong’s clarifications, and he still has the plan to ask for government representatives to provide clarifications next time.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that Mr. Var Kimhong did not respond to many points, like the case that some Khmer farmers in Chantrea district lost their rice fields, because of the way border markers were set, such as the border markers number 152, 184, 185, 186, and 187.

“As for Mr. Var Kimhong, he claimed that Cambodia has qualified border experts who studied everything before setting those border markers. Mr. Son Chhay said that during the setting of some border markers, like numbers 184 and 185, villagers said they only saw Yuon [Vietnamese] soldiers and border officials, while the Cambodia side had only one police officer at some border markers, and only one representative of the authorities at some others.

“Yesterday morning, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians took Video CDs and documents, together with many questions, to the National Assembly, to show slides to the parliamentarians and to the Khmer citizens. But Mr. Heng Samrin said that the National Assembly has little time, and the permanent committee could not approve the request of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“Because the questions were not answered, Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept what was said as clarifications. He said, ‘The government representative came to give answers to details which we had not asked in our questions. We had sent an official request… what he answered was something different.

“Also, Mr. Son Chhay’s the questions about some border issues with Siam [Thailand] and about the report of Mr. Ke Kim Yan [the former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief] were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong. Regarding this, Mr. Son Chhay asked him to answer directly to the questions. But he was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said, before he made his clarifications, that border issues are sensitive. His clarifications seemed not to be clear relating to the point where border markers were set, or how the locations were copied from the map, based on documents that Cambodia deposited at the United Nations in 1964, and sometimes he said the places depend on a treaty of 1985, and an additional treaty of 2005. This additional treaty of 2005 was approved by the National Assembly, by the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party and from Funcinpec, led by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, but all Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians did not approve it.

“All in all, Mr. Var Kimhong did not give answers to the problem of Khmer farmers in Chantrea district in Svay Rieng, because of the border demarcation with Yuon, but he just claimed that Cambodia loses some territory at some places, and also Vietnam loses some territory at other places – as these issues are left from the time of French rule.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #370, 25.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned some Officials Who Want to Become Five-Star-Generals [Prime Minister Hun Sen said the 5-star-general appointments, some days ago reported in Rasmei Kampuchea, is a special case, for only him, Mr. Heng Samrin, and Mr. Chea Sim. He warned others not to try to find ways to also become 5-star-generals. The US military had, throughout its history, only 9 five-star-generals; at present, no US military person holds this high rank]
  • Environmental Experts [of the Wildlife Alliance] Asked the Government Not to Provide Too Much Economic Concession Land

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2133, 25.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: This Year Cambodia Has More Than Two Million Tonnes of Rice for Export
  • The Opposition Party Does Not Accept the Clarifications Provided over the Border Issues

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

  • Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked Not to Discuss the Draft Law on Expropriations Yet [during forced evictions and frequent land disputes, the country is not ready for expropriations]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asked the Khmer Authorities to Stop Intimidating Farmers Who Lost Their Rice Fields due to Yuon [Vietnamese] Border Violations

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6840, 25.12.2009

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Luxury Wood [worth millions of dollars] Were Found in the Khmer-Yuon Buffer Zone [between the provinces of Ratanakiri and Gia Lai]
  • The Murderer Who Used a Cleaver to Kill a [14-year-old] Girl to Rob Valuables Is a Woman [she was arrested – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #75, 25.12.2009

  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Accused the Thai Government of Planning a Coup in Cambodia [preparing to create war with Cambodia – Anything like that was strongly denied by the Thai government]
  • Six Khmer Kampuchea Krom People among 24 [sent to Cambodia by the Thai authorities] Arrived in Phnom Penh [to seek assistance from the government and the UNHCR to receive Khmer nationality]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5082, 25.12.2009

  • The Minister of Health Announced to Stop Allowing Clinics to Sell Medicines
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Rewards US$15,900 for Athletes Who Won Medals at the South East Asian Games [in Laos; Cambodia won 40 medals, in total there where 3 gold medal winners who received US$500 each; 10 silver medal winners received US$300 each; and 27 bronze medal winners received US$200 each; US$1,000 is given to coaches; and US$5,000 for the football team]

Note:

Accordiing to the Cambodia Daily of 25.12.2009, in addition to the rewards from the municipal governor, “the government will pay out some $200,000 in reward money for the 40 medals the country’s athletes and coaches brought home” – though the timing is not yet decided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. As one official explained: “Just one dossier must go through 61 desks before reaching the minister. It is a relay like a snail.”

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1841, 25-27.12.2009

  • [The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Wants the Government to Expel Yuon [Vietnamese] Immigrants from Cambodia

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

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Saturday, 30.8.2008: Khmer Authorities Cooperate with the US FBI to Investigate Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist

Posted on 31 August 2008. Filed under: Week 575 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 575

“Regarding the brutal murder of Mr. Khim Sambo, a journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer and his [21-year-old] son Khat Sarinpheata, on 11 July 2008, so far the Phnom Penh authorities have not arrested the murderer or those who are behind to be convicted according to the law. The weakness of the authorities to find the murderer to be prosecuted makes the general public and some local and foreign civil society organizations strongly criticize the Phnom Penh authorities, because so far, the murderer still lives freely and is staying outside of the net of the law.

“Civil society officials and the general public have requested the Phnom Penh authorities to speed up the investigations to seek the murderer who shot dead the journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer and his son, and also those who are behind the murder to be punished, and also to know the clear reasons why the father and the son were murdered; is it for political reasons or other reasons? – so that the general public and civil society organization officials know the root of the story that led to the brutal murder.

“The reasons for the shooting of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son Khat Sarinpheata to death near the Olympic Stadium on 11 July 2008, while they were returning from their exercises, is not known yet, though it is being investigated by the authorities. Unless the murderer is convicted, the real reasons of the murder cannot be revealed. However, the authorities have not had any clear light that can lead to identify the murderer, as it is not easy.

“Because of complications to look for the murderer, the authorities decided to cooperate with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI – in Cambodia, to cooperate to seek the murderer and those who are behind them to be convicted according to the law. It is hoped that this cooperation will lead to arrest the real murderer to be sentenced soon, because the FBI has high skills in investigation and can provide ideas to the Cambodian authorities to look for the murderer who shot dead Mr. Khim Sambo and his son.

“A high ranking police official who asked not to mention his name said that yesterday, on 29 August 2008, the FBI in Cambodia met for the first time with the Cambodian authorities to discuss the cooperation to seek the murderer and those who are behind the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son. The first time meeting between the Khmer authorities and the FBI was attended by Mr. Touch Naroth, the head of the Phnom Penh police, and some other officials, and by Mr. Laro Tan (a Cambodian-American), the head of the FBI office in Cambodia. Both sides focused on the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son by anonymous persons.

“A police official said that during the meeting between Mr. Laro Tan, the director of the US FBI office in Cambodia, and the Cambodian authorities yesterday, Mr. Touch Naroth reported in detail about the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son Khat Sarinpheata, how the Cambodian police had investigated before cooperating with the FBI office. Also, Mr. Laro Tan was satisfied with the report about the investigation by the Cambodian authorities, and the FBI agreed also to cooperate with the Cambodian authorities.

“The police official continued to say that Mr. Laro Tan responded that he will also ask the director of the FBI in the United States to offer two experts – one for investigations, and the other for drafting a ‘wanted’ circular with a sketch of the face of the suspect, and he is also an expert in performing autopsies

“The cooperation between the Phnom Penh authorities and the US FBI to investigate the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his son Khat Sarinpheata was welcomed by civil society organization officials and by the general public, and it is hoped it will help to find the murderers and those who are behind them to be convicted soon.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3552, 30.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 30 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1733, 30.8.2008

  • Primary Investigation Says Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist Is for Rancor against His Son [who was also murdered. – Why is this so reported? Because a policeman said it might be so]
  • While Prices of Goods Are Going Up, Khmer Rat Meat Is Best-Selling
  • All Kinds of Trees and Wildlife at Kirirom National Park Are Endangered [because preservation officials there allow illegal logging and hunting – Kompong Speu]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #233, 30.8.2008

  • Kampuchea Krom Associations and Organizations Ask for Permission from Yuon [Vietnamese] Embassy to Visit Mr. Tim Sakhan [who has been defrocked on the accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he was accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia – he is now seriously ill and kept in house arrest in Vietnam]
  • Strongman [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Pushes Prince Ranariddh to Be at a Dead End Road, Forcing Him to Swallow His Saliva [to change his mind against his own will – by urging him to return to Funcinpec again]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #86, 30.8.2008

  • Municipal Police Does Not Take Action against Traffic Jams


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6437, 30-31.8.2008

  • Authorities Recruit 30 Persons to Create Militia to Defend Chub Kokir Village [where Thai black-clad uniform soldiers – special Border Unit forces – threaten Cambodian people to demolish their houses – Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • [Cambodia] Urges Negotiations Soon; Thailand Cancels Negotiations for Reason of Crisis [demonstrations in Bangkok]; Cambodia Cannot Accept
  • Constructions Spread on Prohibited Areas Next to Phnom Penh International Airport Fences


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3552, 30-31.8.2008

  • Khmer Authorities Cooperate with the US FBI to Investigate Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist
  • Civil Society Wants Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodian to Be Maintained

  • Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4681, 30.8.2008

    • Siamese [Thai] Police Cannot Control Demonstrators; Demonstration Is Stronger
    • Four Cambodian Children [who were arrested on accusation of entering Thailand illegally on 26 August 2008] Are Released by Siamese [Thais] and Two Siamese Citizens [who were arrested on accusation of entering Cambodia illegally on 27 August 2008] Are Also Released in Exchange


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3397, 30.8.2008

    • Dispute between People and a Company in Kampot over Sand Pumping to Extend the Beach Area [the pumping affects people’s livelihood]

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – some fundamental challenges into the future

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    Saturday, 29.3.2008: Municipality Thanks JICA for Improving Traffic in Phnom Penh

    Posted on 29 March 2008. Filed under: Week 553 | Tags: , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 553

    “Phnom Penh: In the afternoon of 27 March 2008, the Phnom Penh Municipality held a signing ceremony on the Study on Traffic Improvement in Phnom Penh between Phnom Penh City, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency [JICA]. The ceremony was held at the occasion of extending the project for one more year, starting from March 2009 until March 2010. According to the original plan, JICA was going to complete this project by March 2009. The project has been implemented by the Phnom Penh Municipality, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and JICA since March 2007.

    “The signing ceremony was attended by Secretary of State Chom Iek, representing the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, by the Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuk Tema, who is also a direct advisor to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, and by Katsuta Hozumi, the leader of the study team of JICA in Tokyo, Japan, which is paying a visit to Phnom Penh, representing JICA. The director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, governors and vice-governors from all of the seven districts, and other related institutions also participated in the meeting.

    “An expert official from the the Phnom Penh municipality explained that the Study on Traffic Improvement in Phnom Penh, which has been and will be assisted by JICA, involves three important elements, such as providing education to drivers of the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, engineering work to improve intersection roads such as roads with four traffic lights at Preah Kossomak Hospital and at the Stung Meanchey Bridge, and methods to enforce traffic laws for traffic police in Phnom Penh.

    “At this occasion, Mr. Kep Chuk Tema thanked JICA for having helped to conduct the Study on Traffic Improvement in Phnom Penh and at the same time for having decided to extend it for another year, helping to improve the Phnom Penh traffic system. This is very good news for the residents of Phnom Penh.

    “The city governor added, ‘Currently the traffic in Phnom Penh is getting busier and busier, because there has been a substantial increase in the number of people and the number of vehicles. Therefore, the Phnom Penh traffic system needs to be upgraded.’

    “He continued that ‘after JICA has helped to improve the Phnom Penh traffic system, there are much less traffic congestions in Phnom Penh, and the city of Phnom Penh was successful in implementing this.’

    “Mr. Katsuta Hozumi stressed that under the cooperation between the Phnom Penh Municipality and JICA during the last year, these efforts have led to improvements in the situation of the traffic in Phnom Penh.

    “Mr. Chom Iek, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, stated that ‘the ministry and the municipality are building a bridge near the Monivong Bridge, along National Road No. 2, and we are also reconstructing the Stung Meanchey Bridge near the Preah Kossomak traffic light, in order to minimize traffic congestions in Phnom Penh.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4553, 29.3.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 29 March 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1605, 29.3.2008

    • The Whole International Airport Phnom Penh Was Stunned by a Rumor that a Criminal Had Hijacked a Plane [28 March]
    • Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen Visits Laos
    • [Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesperson] Mut Chantha: Sam Rainsy Party Is Not in Good Health as It Was Before
    • World Wildlife Fund Officials Affirm Existence of Wildlife in Mondolkiri Forest Conservation Area
    • USA Helps with Conservation of Elephants in Cambodia
    • Dry Season Lightning Killed Man and His Wife, Leaving Their Children to Live Miserably [27 March – Kandieng, Pursat]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6309, 29-30.3.2008

    • For 500 Years, Cambodia Has Had Full Peace [says Minister Sok An]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4553, 29.3.2008

    • Municipality Thanks JICA for Improving Traffic in Phnom Penh
    • 14 Cambodian Officials Left [to USA on 27 March] to Participate in Trial of Chhun Yasith [allegedly head of Cambodian Freedom Fighters]

    Have a look at last week’s editorial

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