Disregarding or Facing Agreements in the Press? – Sunday, 22.8.2010

Posted on 23 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

The Mirror was created to mirror the Khmer language press – that is to focus on important dynamics in society, as they are reflected in the press. That includes also to observe when there seem to be discrepancies between different streams of reporting. And it includes also to observe what seems not to be reported in the Khmer language press, though one would expect it.

Monitoring what is going on includes also to observe the reaction to one’s own publication. The main website of The Mirror by now gets up to 10,000 visits per month (it started in January 2007 with zero – replacing the former edition printed on paper).

While observing this wide interest with satisfaction, it is also disappointing to see that some important pieces of information, related to the conflicts with Thailand, are regularly not reported in the Khmer press. If this impression is wrong, we would appreciate to be informed which publications and public documents in the Khmer press we missed. The Mirror does not have access to confidential information; what we use and quote is publicly available, especially on the Internet.

In response to careful, detailed documentations, where we asked for specific responses, if our documentation is deficient, so that we can correct and improve it, there was either no response – and the public debate continues as if it were not missing some important points – or I get mail saying just “You are completely wrong!” I do not mind to get such mail, if it points to where I am wrong – I appreciate corrections.

Therefore I am repeating here some essential points, and I will do so until they are receiving proper attention in the present situation of tensions.

I was utterly surprised, talking recently to a friend who is a regular reader: when I mentioned some of the facts which had been on The Mirror repeatedly, he had obviously missed them. He thought the controversies about the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage list were related to Thailand referring to maps drawn by Thailand, and therefore Thailand was denying that the whole area around the Temple of Preah Vihear was designated a World Heritage Site.

The contrary is true, according to the documents. Emphasis in the following sections is added during editing.

For Preah Vihear

From the Cambodian 2008 submission document, THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR – Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO), Edited by the Council of Ministers, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 2008:

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand… The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and constructive atmosphere to discuss ways and means of strengthening the neighborly cooperation for a further reach for long lasting cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand… The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An,…The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.

On 18 June 2008, a Joint Communique was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, including a map presented and signed by Mr. Var Kim Hong, the Head of the Cambodian Border Committee, which was – as far as we know – never presented in the media in Cambodia (again – any correction of this information is welcome), but it was repeatedly in The Mirror, including the Cambodian proposed map for the listing, the last time here. The text says the following:

1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.

2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.

3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;..”

This is the last public map, a Cambodian map, which was to “supersede” – that is: to replace – the formerly used Cambodian maps.

As a consequence, this was decided:

The World Heritage Committee,

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;…

14. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners,…

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents: c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP [“revised graphic plan of the property”]; d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan)

All these points were to be implemented after convening this international coordinating committee, inviting the Government of Thailand and others, to work together and to present their results.

Questions:

– Why is the discussion in the Khmer media not referring to the official documents about the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, clearly limited in nature: “only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.” This is not based on a map unilaterally drawn by Thailand, but it relates to what the Cambodian side had officially brought to the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There is nothing to be discussed with Thailand.”

– Why are the Khmer media disregarding that there were – from the beginning – the following requests by the World Heritage Committee: “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand… [to provide the expected results] – a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone…” It has never been reported in the press that the Cambodian Government did invite the Thai Government according to this request by the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There are no buffer zones.”

Reading the documents, it seems that Thailand is not insisting on some unilaterally drawn Thai maps, but looks forward that the documented decisions of the World Heritage Committee be implemented.

For the Border

This is a different legal issue from the World Heritage Listing (though, of course, related).

In order to demarcate the border between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding “on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary” was concluded between the two countries in June 2000, long before the Preah Vihear World Heritage Listing was on the agenda of the relevant UNESCO committee. This Memorandum is related to the whole stretch of the border. That the whole length of the approximately 800 km border is to be demarcated shows that both sides agreed that this is not yet done – there is not yet mutually agreed border. Both sides agreed on this – otherwise they would not have signed this joint agreement.

While there is frequent reference to this Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 in the Khmer press, it was quite difficult to find it in Cambodia, also consulting with several persons from the media did not help. One e-mail request to a friend in Thailand immediately provided a source on the Internet.

But there is a noteworthy difference in the handling of the related task: While in Thailand, related government officials and agencies are accountable to the Thai National Assembly about what they do related to the border – the executive is monitored by the legislative – we are not aware that either the Cambodian National Assembly nor the Khmer press have requested similar information to monitor the activities of the Cambodian government officials and agencies involved. The different legal arrangements under the different constitutions of both countries result in different procedures.

Shortly after Prime Minister Hun Sen had made his conciliatory declaration about a win-win solution by mutual dialogue without a winner and a loser, several statements from various other sectors of the government were released, strongly blaming Thailand and calling for multilateral negotiations. The Prime Minister added his voice – but more recent news say that there still may be a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers soon in Brussels at an ASEN meeting.

Whatever the future will bring in terms of bilateral or multilateral meetings – the written submissions and the documented decisions will have to be faced. To continue to disregard them can hardly bring the solution where both sides win, the goal that Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as important for all.

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The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education – Monday, 9.8.2010

Posted on 10 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the World Bank on 5 August 2010 in Washington, the World Bank approved US$23 million as grant aid and loan to reinforce higher education in Cambodia.

“The announcement reads that of the US$23 million, US$11.5 million is grant aid and the other US$11.5 million is a loan.

“The World Bank Country Manager in Cambodia, Mr. Qimiao Fan, stated, ‘Investment in human resources for sustainable development and poverty alleviation is part of the strategy of aid for Cambodia.’

tho”According to the announcement about funding for Cambodia, released on Friday evening [6.8.2010], the project to strengthen higher education quality and to promote capacity aims at consolidating teaching quality, management, and research capacity, and will also provide scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study.

“The World Bank Country Manager added, ‘I hope that the new project will help Cambodia, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, to strengthen quality standard of education as well as to build up educational capacities for the public and the private sectors.

“High ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia welcomed this aid – it is what Cambodia needs for the development of human resources. Also, such development requires involvement from the local authorities, donors, and non-government organizations.

“The five-year project will concentrate on:

  1. Strengthening of the capacity of higher educational systems in Cambodia by promoting the development, management, and good governance of higher education institutions. This includes strengthening the capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Research and Studies, the Committee on Quality Education, and of institutions of higher education.
  2. Contributing to development of competitiveness and new kinds of loans that can help consolidate teaching and management, as well as offer real solutions to developmental problems in Cambodia.
  3. Providing scholarships to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study, based on the definition of the target groups of the poor, and on educational criteria.
  4. Monitoring and assessing the management of the project.

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 9 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2322, 8-9.8.2010

  • Most Citizens in Banteay Meanchey Stop Eating Pork [because it is infected with diseases, which harm the people’s health]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7029, 9.8.2010

  • The Head of the Royal Government Protested [by sending letters] to the United Nations about Abhisit’s Remarks Threatening to Use the Army [Mr. Abhisit allegedly was quoted by The Nation, to have said “…we will cancel the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 if the problems of aggression cannot be settled. We will use both diplomatic and military means.” Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed this remark violates the UN Charter]
  • Fifty Three Male and Female Teen Gang Members Were Rounded up in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3953, 9.8.2010

  • A Human Right Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Condemned the Actions of the Authorities against Representatives of the Residents of the Chi Kraeng District, Where at Least Forty Six People Face Arrest [after they protested over a land dispute in Siem Reap, and some were already detained since 2009]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #25, 8-9.8.2010

  • The World Bank Provides US$23 Million for Education
  • A Man Was Fatally Axed by an Unknown Person, Leaving His Wife and Daughters [Kandal]
  • The UNESCO Secretary General Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Negotiate over the Preah Temple Issue [on 7 August 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #232, 9.8.2010

  • A Woman Fainted and Six Others Were Injured in a Protest Was Confronted [by police and bodyguards] over a Land Dispute [around 50 citizens from Battambang came to protest in Phnom Penh over a land dispute of 1,672 hectare with a military police official – a picture from the Phnom Penh Post is accessible here:]

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Khmer Krom Position [and appealed to the Cambodian government not to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to restrict the freedom of expression of Khmer Krom people]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5271, 8-9.8.2010

  • Thai Extremists Set a Deadline for the [Thai] Government to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding [signed in 2000 Cambodia] within Seven Days [otherwise they will protest again in front of the Government House]
  • Cambodia Warned that Thailand Would Become a Lawless Country if It Decided to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about Border with Cambodia [Deputy Prime Minister Sok An is quoted to have said so]

Note

1

As the “MoU” is frequently referenced – though we are not aware that it has ever been published in the Khmer press (if it was, we would appreciate information when and where this was done) – we present here its Article V, as it was quoted by the Thai side in the context of the work foreseen in the minutes of the World Heritage Committee about the decision in 2008 to list the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying that the World Heritage Committee

  • “Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,..
  • “Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards…”

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary. 14 June 2000

Article V

To facilitate the effective survey along the entire stretch of the common land boundary, authorities of either Government and their agent shall not carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, except that which is carried out by the Joint Technical Sub-Commission in the interest of the survey and demarcation.

According to this Article V, certain activities in the border area require mutual coordination and cooperation.

2

It should also be noted that the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has no intention to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the border with Cambodia. In a live television debate of several hours last Sunday, with representatives of the newly-formed ‘Thailand Patriot Network’ and civil society groups, including some “yellow-shirt” persons from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who request the cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Thai prime minister not only publicly rejected their request during this live TV debate, he also stated again the position of the Thai government to respect the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice, that the Temple of Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia and not to Thailand. – What is necessary, he says, is to work according to the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 on the border.

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia – Thursday, 5.8.2010

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, called on and ordered the authorities and other relevant officials at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders to suspend importing pigs as they may have the blue ear pig disease which is spreading.


“He stated during the certificate granting ceremony to bachelor students of the Build Bright University at the Koh Pich conference hall in the morning of 4 August 2010 that the blue ear pig disease broke out in China in May 2010, in Vietnam and Laos in July 2010, and then in Thailand. Now it entered Cambodia, affecting pigs to die in farms in Kampot, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chnnang, Kandal, Prey Veng, and Takeo.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries has taken immediate action, because when such a disease happens in the country, even the transport of animals in our country is banned, but while there are such restrictions, the provinces along the borders still allow the massive import of pigs.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen called on the provincial authorities at the borders, especially at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders, to suspend the import of pigs in order to prevent the outbreak of this pig disease. He said, ‘All authorities, including customs and CamControl officials, must prevent it. It does not violate the principles of the World Trade Organization, but it is a measure to save the lives of animals from this disease that spreads from place to place. As for the pigs that have already been transported to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, they must be banned from being transported to Phnom Penh, as it can harm human and animal lives. Our problem now is not just to meet the demands of the consumers, but to guarantee the quality of lives of humans and of animals.’


The Prime Minister took the opportunity to issue a restrictive order, because when such a disease breaks out, there need to be emergency measures taken. Previously, there were infectious diseases like diarrhea and many children suffered from it. Now there comes the blue ear pig disease, but at the border such pigs are permitted to be imported.


He mentioned the Minister’s of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, H.E. Chan Sarun’s wordings, who had said that the illegal import of pigs through the provinces along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is more active and alarming. Samdech Hun Sen questioned [the official staff], ‘You work at border posts or at the provinces, do you care about public health or about our citizens’ health?’


“Together with the appeal and the restrictive order, the Prime Minister also called on local pork vendors not to increase the prices too much, while the import of pigs from Thailand and Vietnam is suspended. Before, there were many such cases where the traders marked their prices up, and the prices of other meat like beef, and fish, followed and so did the prices of other things. Some said that pigs imported from the west and from the east killed local pigs, while they themselves try to work for their own interests without caring about the consumers. Therefore, there should not be too much price increases and the outbreak of the disease must be prevented, as now veterinarians as well as the Departments of Animal Health and Production, both in the capital city and in the provinces, are dealing with this issue.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.9, #1450, 5-6.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia Tries to Avoid War even though Thailand Sends More Troops [to the border]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7026, 5.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Expressed His Position about the [World Heritage Committee] Meeting in Brazil and the Border Issue while the Siamese [Thai] Government Wants to Negotiate [he said there is no winning nor losing for Cambodia and Thailand regarding the meeting of UNESCO in Brazil. He wants the border issues to be solved with peace, respect, friendship, and cooperation]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Royal Government Respects the [Khmer Rouge] Court over [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Conviction [that sentenced him to 35 years in prison, but he will still serve around 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment for cooperation with the court investigations]
  • Grade Quality Wood Trading Still Occurs in Opposition to the Measures of the Government to Stop Illegal Logging [Kompong Chhnang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3950, 5.8.2010
  • Another Australian Company [the Southern Gold] Announced to Have Found Gold Ore in the Snuol District of Kratie

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #22, 5.8.2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen Wants a Bigger Cambodian Market Share Abroad [to export rice and other grains]
  • Within Three Hours, There Were Two Robberies in Phnom Penh [taking away some money and jewelry]


Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #230, 5.8.2010
  • Cambodia Is Open for Negotiations [over border issues] with Thailand, and the Prime Minister Guaranteed the Citizens that There Will Be No Armed Clash [along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • Cambodia Exports Fishery Products [of 10,000 tonnes] to International Markets [Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam] Amounting to US$20 Million within the First Six Months of 2010 [US$5 million more than during the same period last year]
  • Four Institutions Have Roles [as buying and selling representatives of stock exchange bonds] in the Cambodian Stock Exchange [the ACLEDA Bank, the Canadia Bank, the OSK Indochina Bank, the Tong Yang Bank from South Korea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5268, 5.8.2010
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Wants to Send Officials to Negotiate with Cambodia over Border Tensions
  • More Than 110,000 Victims Received Emergency Assistance from the Cambodian Red Cross during the Forth Term [from 2006 to 2010; according to the 5th convention of the Cambodian Red Cross presided over by the King]



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Chan Sarun: Courts Bury the Cases of Forestry Crimes – Wednesday, 4.8.2010

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, accused courts of keeping cases of forestry, agricultural, and fishery crimes unsolved. He said that 70% of crimes nationwide were sent to courts.

“Speaking to forestry administration officials in Phnom Penh, Mr. Chan Sarun said that the problem results from a lack of cooperation. He said, ‘Forestry, agricultural, and fishery crimes were not brought for trials at courts due to a lack of cooperation between prosecutors and officials in investigations.’

“Early this year, the government launched a massive suppression campaign against illegal logging. This suppression after Prime Minister Hun Sen told military commanders in November that he would not spare any military commanders who are are involved in illegal logging. In April 2010, Prime Minister Hun Sen removed the Director General of the Forestry Administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, from his position on the grounds that he failed to intercept forestry crimes.

“But many conservationists criticized the suppression is ineffective, claiming that many officials involved in illegal logging are rarely brought to courts.

“The statement of Mr. Chan Sarun on Friday last week during a session to assess the enforcement of forestry administration criticized lower level forestry administration officials for negligence. He made many recommendations requesting lower level forestry administration officials to take restrictive action immediately to crack down on all images of forestry crimes and to prevent them from happening in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun added, ‘We must gather all intercepted and seized grade quality wood and put it for public bidding. The money from the selling will be made national resources.

“Mr. Chan Sarun did not mention how many cases of forestry, agricultural, and fishery crimes that were sent to courts and he could not be reached for more comments early this week.

“The head of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Chiv Keng, said on Monday that, believing that the figures mentioned is old ones, but he acknowledged that the provincial courts must make more efforts to speed up hearings on forestry crimes.

“Mr. Chiv Keng said, ‘Courts, including the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, heard almost all cases. I encouraged provincial courts to work on all forestry crimes.’

“A prosecutor of the Siem Reap Municipal Court, Mr. Ty Sovinthal, said on Monday that the Siem Reap court does not kept any forestry crimes unsolved. Anyway, he does not know how many cases of forestry crimes that had been heard by the court.

“In response to Mr. Chan Sarun’s statement, the head of the Department of Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Tim Sipha, said on Monday that he had ordered officials to step up cooperation with prosecutors. He stressed, ‘We have already encouraged, but punishments are courts’ authority. At present, we are cooperating with prosecutors to investigate some cases in order to gather more evidence.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #229, 4.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2318, 4.8.2010

  • A Request [by 13 trade unions and associations] to Discuss the Increase of Worker Salary Was Rejected [by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia; currently the minimum wage of workers is US$61]
  • [A Secretary of State of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Prak Sokhon and [the deputy head of the National One-Village-One-Product Committee], Mr. Serey Kosal Were Appointed as [4-star] Generals

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7025, 4.8.2010

  • [Four] Robbers Robed the Bags of Hotel Staff and Fatally Shot a Man Which Left His Wife in Mourning [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3949, 4.8.2010

  • The Hearing of Chi Kraeng District Residents over a Land Dispute Was Delayed after Citizens Lighted Incense Sticks to Pray and There Was a Call [from families of the suspects, the Sam Rainsy Party, and ADHOC] for the Release of the [12] Accused [the hearing was postponed because the head of the trial council had health problem]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #21, 4.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Encourages to Check the Potential [for more cooperation] along [the Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border
  • Cambodia Is Not Afraid when Siam [Thailand] Plans to Take the Memorandum of Understanding from the Year 2000 as a Reference for Talking [with the World Heritage Committee]

Note

If any of our readers knows where the text of the Memorandum about the intended proceedings to clarify the border between Cambodia and Thailand – either in Khmer or in English or in Thai – is available, please let us know at mirror@gmx.org

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #229, 4.8.2010

  • Chan Sarun: Courts Bury the Cases of Forestry Crimes
  • Vietnam Asked Cambodia to Cooperate in Suppressing Those Who Intend to Overthrow the Hanoi Government [according to a meeting of Cambodian and Vietnamese officials in Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5267, 4.8.2010

  • Speed Is the Cause of Many Traffic Accidents [in July 2010, 126 people were killed and 642 others were seriously or lightly injured in 391 traffic accidents countrywide]
  • After a Crash between Two Cars, Three People Died and Five Others Were Seriously Injured [Battambang]

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Preah Vihear – Who Said What and Why – Sunday, 1.8.2010

Posted on 4 August 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

When the media in both countries – Cambodia and Thailand – quote various sources to make conflicting claims, it is again an occasion to try to mirror these sources and leave it to our readers to draw their conclusions.

As ever, such a statement is always combined with the invitation to point out if the sources we quote are misquoted, or if there is an important reference missing. But it is not convincing to accuse the writer of this documentation simply to be wrong without showing substantive evidence, as happens sometimes. What follows is all based on publicly available documents. But as this case is complex, the following text is long; maybe a lot of confusion comes from not reading the texts. The pieces presented here were selected in the hope that some quick negative conclusions – not based on available texts, either disregarding, or even contradicting them – can be clarified. All this is written, to quote words from the final agreements negotiated by Senior Minister Sok An with representatives of Thailand and UNESCO before the decisive meeting of the World Heritage Committee in July 2008 – in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation – as it is stated in the final joint document before the 2008 decisions.

The Early History

Going back in history is often necessary to clarify facts. But their meaning may have changed over time. As a German, I know that there was a time when the Germans considered that Karl der Grosse, crowned in the year 800 – not long before the temple of Preah Vihear was started to be built – is at the beginning of our German history, while also the French considered Charlemagne as their’s. Actually, at his time, he ruled over large parts of western and central Europe, not over France or Germany as they exist now. But since the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman – a French with a good German name – took the initiative in 1950 to create again common political entities in Europe – the European Union – we have almost forgotten the old historical and emotional divides.

There is a long pre-history for the present history of the Preah Vihear conflicts. But for the discussion of the present situation, it may be enough to start in 1962, when the International Court of Justice in The Hague came to the conclusion that it …FINDS THAT THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR IS SITUATED IN TERRITORY UNDER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CAMBODIA.

Cambodian comments often go further back. Maybe this is not necessary, as the 1962 court ruling is not questioned by the political leadership of the governments of both sides, in spite of the fact that this is often disregarded or denied.

It is not surprising that some people, even some people with a wide group of supporters, have taken different positions. The present government of Thailand accepts the 1962 verdict. Whoever doubts this, should provide quotable evidence. Last week, after a group of Thai nationalists had demonstrated in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok on 27.7.2010, rejecting any discussion of the status of Preah Vihear by the World Heritage Committee, the Thai prime minister invited representatives of the People’s Alliance for Democracy – PAD, widely overlapping in membership with the “Yellow-Shirts” – to clarify where he does not agree, and where he agrees with them. “The PAD wanted an end to the Thai-Cambodia Memorandum of Understanding, because it ‘turned a Thai territory into a disputed territory.’ But Abhisit thought that the MOU turned a territory that Cambodia thought to belong to them, to become a disputed territory. The PAD wanted the government to boycott the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil, because attending the meeting would signify that Thailand accepted the listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site, and only disagreed with the temple’s management plan. But for the Thai prime minister, it is exactly the present management plan which he did not want to see accepted.

To disregard this point is obviously confusing, not clarifying, the state of affairs.

Or is it this way of interpreting the MOU – the Joint Communique – assumed to by the Thai prime minister’s one, also a reason why the media in Cambodia never published the Joint Communique (details further down), neither in Khmer nor in English? It is difficult to understand why such an important document, including a new Cambodian draws map, which was discussed in parliament in Thailand, was not – at that time or later – presented also to the Cambodian public.

The Preparations toward the Listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear

The inscription into the World Heritage List was first proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the UNESCO Director General on 10 October 2001. The necessary detailed documentation was submitted on 20 January 2006. The Cambodian Nomination File was considered by the next session of the World Heritage committee, meeting from 23 June to 2 July 2007 in Christchurch/New Zealand.

Some of the detailed discussions and decisions of the World Heritage Committee may be surprising, as they are very practically oriented, according to the purpose of the World Heritage List, as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. It is not about national interests, but about culture as “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”

Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage… is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate. (Article 6.1).

The inclusion of a property situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction over which is claimed by more than one State, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute. (Article 11.3).

Therefore the Draft Summary Record of the decisions from the 2007 meeting show that the concerns of the World Heritage Committee are of an eminently practical nature, as the purpose of any listings is to make the cultural heritage of the world easily accessible. The notes from the Committee show this clearly:

Having taken note of the willingness to collaborate for the safeguarding of the property of the Sacred Temple of Preah Vihear, expressed by the States Parties of Cambodia and Thailand in the framework of the meetings of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, Requests the State Party of Cambodia to implement, in close co-operation with the neighboring Government of Thailand, detailed arrangements for the conservation of the property, based on the principles expressed by the two States Parties at the 5th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, especially in respect of:

a) Joint management;
b) The continued open border;
c) Mine clearance;
d) Protection of the natural forest areas surrounding the property, especially of small areas where burning has been recently observed on the Cambodian territory.

The formal decision from 2007 states not details, but simply the procedure to be followed:


The State Party of Cambodia and the State Party of Thailand are in full agreement that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear has Outstanding Universal Value and must be inscribed on the World Heritage List as soon as possible.
Accordingly, Cambodia and Thailand agree that Cambodia will propose the site for formal inscription on the World Heritage List at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2008 with the active support of Thailand…
The World Heritage Committee, further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit a progress report to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2008.

As a result of the understanding achieved at the 2007 meeting, preparations for 2008 started, marked by a number of joint Cambodian-Thai agreements and declarations. They are all quoted in the very large 2008 Submission Document:





THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR
Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO)

Edited by the Council of Ministers

PHNOM PENH
JUNE 2008

This document, presented to the public in the name of the Council of Ministers, in English (later, before the World Heritage Committee Meeting, it was also made available in Arab, French, and Spanish), presents the positive common experiences on the way to the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying:

In a spirit of friendship, neighborliness and mutual understanding between the two countries, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand have been working together in recent months to strengthen dialogue and consultation in a number of areas of mutual interests. These fruitful developments focus in particular on inscribing the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR on the World Heritage List in 2008. Thailand has confirmed its decision, as expressed at the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch (New Zealand, 23 June to 2 July 2007), to support the inscription of the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

These confirmations were made:

1

Firstly, by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Samak Sundaravej, on the occasion of his visit to Phnom Penh on 3 and 4 March 2008 at the invitation of His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia

2

On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand accompanied by a Thai delegation during their visit to Phnom Penh. The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

3

And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and a Thai Delegation led by His Excellency Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in the presence of a number of UNESCO eminent members, led by Her Excellency the Deputy Director General of UNESCO for Culture, Mrs. Françoise RIVIERE. The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For it part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple

This wording became part of the JOINT COMMUNIQUE of 18 June 2008, a joint Cambodian-Thai-UNESCO declaration, the last common step towards the World Heritage Committee meeting on 8 July 2008.






JOINT COMMUNIQUE

On 22 May 2008, a meeting took place between H.E. Mr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia and H.E. Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, to continue their discussion regarding the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List. The meeting was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in the presence of Mrs. Françoise Rivière, Assistant Director General for Culture of UNESCO, Ambassador Francesco Caruso, Mr. Azedine Beschaouch, Mrs. Paola Leoncini Bartoli and Mr. Giovanni Boccardi. The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:


  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schema Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Center by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries; 6. The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand express their profound appreciation to the Director-General of UNESCO, H.E. Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, for his kind assistance in facilitating the process towards the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List.

Phnom Penh, 18 June 2008               Bangkok, 18 June 2008

For the Royal Government For the Government of the Kingdom

of Cambodia, of Thailand, (signed) (signed) Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers Paris, 18 June 2008 Representative of the UNESCO (signed) Assistant Director-General for Culture



Cambodian Joint Communique Map



There had been some final problems: The Cambodian side, represented by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Senior Minister in Charge of Border Affairs Var Kimhong – “in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation” – negotiated and made incisive decisions (having the former Cambodian map as well as graphic references, referring to the 1962 decisions “superseded” by the new Cambodian side map presented here, declaring that Cambodia “accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – all this without much discussion in the Cambodian public. On the other side, however, the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs was instructed by the Constitutional Court of Thailand that the government would need, for such decision, the authorization by the Thai parliament.

In spite of these last minute reservations, the World Heritage Committee declared the Temple of Preah Vihear a World Heritage site. Instead of peaceful continued cooperation, confrontation and violence followed.

As far as we were able to monitor the Khmer media, the Joint Communique, and the appended map, were never published in the Cambodia press. Neither were the conditions published, which accompanied the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear. The Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, meeting from 2 to 10 July 2008 in Quebec/Canada, state the following (excerpts):


“The World Heritage Committee,


  1. Recalling Decision 31 COM 8B.24, which recognized ‘that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear is of great international significance and has Outstanding Universal Value on the basis of criteria (i), (iii) and (iv), and agreed in principle that it should be inscribed on the World Heritage List’,

  1. Recognizing that the Joint Communique signed on 18 June 2008 by the representatives of the Governments of Cambodia and Thailand, as well as by UNESCO, including its draft which was erroneously referred to as having been signed on 22 and 23 May 2008 in the document WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add.2, must be disregarded, following the decision of the Government of Thailand to suspend the effect of the Joint Communique, pursuant to the Thai Administrative Court’s interim injunction on this issue,

  1. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;

  1. Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,…

  1. Inscribes the Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, on the World Heritage List…

  1. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards;

  1. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property
c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan.

These requirements – to convene an international coordinating committee, to cooperate with the Thai government, to provide a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the Cambodian government – were, according to our monitoring of the press in Cambodia, never published, nor any information about the content of reports submitted by the Cambodian side. Quite to the contrary, and surprisingly, a highly placed spokesperson at the Cambodian Council of Ministers, distanced himself from the results achieved by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, claiming that “there is no buffer zone,” and ‘there is nothing to be negotiated with Thailand.”



After a year of tensions, confrontations, and occasional fighting, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Sevilla/Spain from 22 June to 30 June 2009, could not do much more than the following; it

Requests the State Party [of Cambodia] to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2010, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations by the Committee in its Decision 32 COM 8B.102 [2008 in Quebec/Canada], for the examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.” The decision 32 COM 8B.102 is the one which requests, as stated above, “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners…

In spite of these clear requests by the World Heritage Committee for cooperation, the Thai government declared, even some days before the recent meeting in Brazil, that they had not received any invitation to cooperate, nor information about the Cambodian submission. As a result, representatives of the Thai government, up to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, stated that Thailand could not accept a decision about a management plan, though Thailand would have had to be involved in its consideration, if previous recommendations of the World Heritage Committee would have been implemented.



On the other hand, there were various statements from the Cambodian side – quite different from the spirit of friendship and conciliation, which had been regularly invoked in former joint statements. The following is published especially because it is so different from the attitude in which Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Minister of the Council of Ministers, had brought forward the process toward the listing of Preah Vihear in 2008. Under the date 29.6.2010, the Spokesman & Deputy Director, Office of the Council of Ministers’ Press Department, distributed an opinion text widely to many members of the media, written by Pen Ngoeun, Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers – with the following qualifying note: “This article represents only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the PRU nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers. Considering the way of its distribution and the pubic positions of the author and of the person who distributed the text, and its timing, it seem to be worth while to quote some sections from it:



29 June 2010


OPINION
WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END:


Will it end one day, and soon enough, after 150 years of its happening? Cambodia had nothing to do with it.


Its source was the failure of Siam King Mong Kut and his ministers. Colonel F. Bernard, President of the French Commission for the delimitation of the French-Siamese border in virtue of the Convention of 13 February 1904 had made an observation about the Thais, which is worth remembered. He said: “the superiority of their self-esteem was the primary cause of their troubles and misfortune… He wrote in a book published in 1933, “L’Ecole des Diplomates, within the context of the Thai diplomacy during the reign of king Mong Kut of Thailand, the reign of King Ang Duong of Cambodia and the mission of M. de Montigny, the plenipotentiary of the French Emperor Napoleon III to the court of King Mong Kut. Colonel F. Bernard had mentioned as well that: “The ministers of Siam have had negotiated for a long time already with England and America; they have the intelligence and the ability of the Westerners, which obviously had made them to acquire that “superiority of their self-esteem” which is equated in recent times to “arrogance” and “condescension” which are the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with “former terrorist” turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides… In 1853 King Ang Duong of Cambodia wrote a letter to the French Emperor Napoleon III to express his friendship and solicit his support. The immediate consequence of which had been to stop the armies of Siam from marching at will into Cambodia to conquest and ravage the many provinces of Cambodia to the West and North, and to relieve Cambodia from paying tributes to Bangkok. Siam, now Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since…

The arrogance, the condescension, and the obstinacy which cause the failure of King Mong Kut and his ministers from executing the annexation policy by annihilating Cambodia and her people create an endless nostalgia that Thailand had never allowed itself to wake up and liberate itself from the bad dream of the hungry mad dog. Therefore, Thailand’s territorial ambition on Cambodian territories has become its grand design to be executed by the government of Thailand if any of such a government wishes to have a reasonable life span. From then on, Thailand has learn, acquired, and mastered the art of distortion of the facts, dissemination of misinformation and disinformation, the art of accusation, of denial with arrogance, condescension and obstinacy… In 1954, not even a mere one year after Cambodia acquired full independence from France, Thai armed forces occupied the Temple of Preah Vihear, to be ordered out by the international will, the LaHaye ICJ Judgments of 15 June 1962. Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List. Again, Thailand’s arrogance, condescension, and obstinacy were its primary troubles and misfortune. In 2008, the Temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed unanimously on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee…

And again, some sections of another opinion piece, from the same origin, distributed in the same way, on 13.7.2010:

Thailand plans to oppose a management plan for the Preah Vihear temple while overlapping territory nearby remains subject to dispute, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya says. Cambodia does not have “an overlapping territory” with Thailand. There was a claim by Thailand that uses the unilateral map in similar fashion as the Nazis (led by Hitler) and the Fascists (led by Mussolini) for the purpose sending troops to invade and occupy foreign territory.

One cannot be sure if this is an attack against Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, or whether Mr. Pen Ngoeun, though he is an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, a member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers, does not know that the documents, elaborated with great care by the Deputy Prime Minister, spell out in detail the buffer zones, otherwise referred to as overlapping territories, and it was the Cambodian side, that presented a map to “supersede” the formerly used maps, relating to the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice.

To make sure that Kasit does not bang his head too much against the wall from trying to come up with new innuendo, suggestion and speculation, here is a crude fact to chew: The Temple of Preah Vihear has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2008. Kasit need to pick up the WHC 32 COM 8B. 102 and read it… It is clear from a few sentences above, that Cambodia has implemented the requirements of the World Heritage Committee – WHC – and has conformed herself to the procedures set forth by the Committee. And NOT to leave the door wide open for speculation and mind twisting, Deputy permanent secretary for culture Somsuda Leyananija has the task to tell the truth, as to why… Let’s play the game, fair and square in conformity with the WHC rules and procedures.

It s reported that Cambodia had submitted a progress report to the World Heritage Secretariat, but two weeks before the meeting in Brazil, it had neither be distributed to the members of the committee, it had not been shared with Thailand – in spite of the recommendation by the World Heritage Committee that Cambodia should seek such cooperation – and its content had also not been made available to the public in Cambodia. None of the UNESCO and World Heritage Committee Press Releases, which describe in detail the many decisions taken recently in Brazil, make any reference to Preah Vihear. But the fact that the Cambodian report was forwarded again to next year’s meeting – similarly to what had been done also from 2009 to 2010 – is now reported in Cambodia as a big victory for Cambodia. Asked about his comment, the Thai prime minister said: “Please find out and read the resolution yourself.”

The official Cambodian side acted differently: within 4 hours, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers issued two long statements on 2.8.2010, a “Summary” about the Brazil session, mainly referencing questions of the conservation of the site without reference to any past action taken by the formerly requested joint international elaboration of plans, and some hours later a “Clarification,” stressing that “it was Cambodia who has achieved immense victory,” because the World Heritage Committee:

Takes note that the World Heritage Center has the documents submitted by the State Party;
Further welcomes the steps taken by the State Party towards the establishment of an international coordinating committee for the sustainable conservation of the Temple of Preah Vihear’
Decides to consider the documents submitted by the State Party at its 35th session in 2011.

These are the officially recorded successes. The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers adds, however, some remarks about a Thai “intoxication campaign” against the Cambodian management plan, a campaign which “was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments.” The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers presented its own arguments as follows:

On the contrary, the Thai intoxication campaigns’ spending of B10 millions with the dispatch of 50 delegates in order to oppose the management plan at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments against the World Heritage Centre Report of the two documents submitted by Cambodia. Moreover, Thailand has failed in its efforts to have the Temple inscribed by the two countries, and has failed in its efforts to have joint management of the Temple.

The Press and Quick Reaction unit of the Office of Council of Ministers notes that the signing of the Compromise Decision 34 COM, 7B.66 by Cambodia, Thailand, and witnessed by the Chairperson for the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Brazil clearly affirmed the recognition by all parties concerned of the official documents concerning the Management Plan for the conservation and sustainable development at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, which had never been recognized previously.

It is obvious that the intoxication campaign by the Thai Government to lure the local and international public opinion has adversely damaged its own image and credit as an old saying which goes “If you fan the flame, you blow up the fire or As you sow, so shall you reap.”

To underline further the failure of the Thai Government, it must be stressed for the benefits of the public and international opinion that it is not like what the Thai Government claimed that it had succeeded to “postpone”the Management Plan to next year. In fact, the WHC final decision did not mention either about the terms Postpone – Defer or Delay but choose to use the wording Consider which means that the documents submitted by Cambodia, namely the Progress Report on the State of Conservation and Development of Preah Vihear and its Management Plan, were officially received by WHC and will consider it at the next session.

Much information is available – what will be the next steps? One journalist suggests that “facing reality” may be the only way out, and this includeds new open, mutual talking, again “in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation”

Part of the reality is also geography.

The Temple of Preah Vihear

The Temple of Preah Vihear

This picture provides a view over the Temple of Preah Vihear: 500 meters down, to the left, is the landscape of the Cambodian Province of Preah Vihear; the temple lies at a different level, high above the plain. Until mid 2008, it was easily accessible for thousands of tourists, approaching the Temple of Preah Vihear from the Thai side, on the right of the picture, from the Khao Pra Viharn National Park.

After all, a World Heritage Site is according, to the UNESCO World Heritage concept, “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”






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The Senate and China Signed a Memorandum of Understanding about a Plan to Construct a Convention Hall for the Senate – Saturday, 31.7.2010

Posted on 2 August 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

Note:

Apologies for delays over the past weekend. While I send the Saturday supplement only on Monday, I hope the Sunday and Monday sections will both follow during Monday. There is not much one can do when one is sick.
Norbet Klein

“Phnom Penh: A memorandum of understanding about a plan to construct a convention hall for the Senate was signed in the morning of 30 July 2010 at the special meeting hall of the Senate in the presence of the Secretary General of the Senate, Mr. Oum Sarith, and the director of the ‘Sixth Bureau Cambodian Company of China City Construction Holding (Group) Company’ [???], Mr. Zhang Jin Pheng.

“According to the memorandum of understanding, the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia has planned to build a convention hall in the Senate compound in the Chamkar Mon district on an area of about 7,500 square meters. The conventional hall of the Senate, with 7 stories, will have small and big meeting rooms, a reception room, a dining room, car parks etc. The plan’s realization will cost about US$20 million, to be financed by a grant from the Chinese government, and the construction will take two years after the aid will have been provided by the Chinese government.

“Mr. Zhang Jin Pheng said, ‘In the near future, the Senate will have a new convention hall building set up with modern equipment in a nice style, and it will become part of the new architectural image of Phnom Penh and a symbol of the good ties between Cambodia and China.’

“Mr. Oum Sarith said, ‘Today, I am pleased that the Sixth Bureau Cambodian Company of China City Construction Holding Company cooperates to achieve this goal, and we will cooperate closely with the company to accomplish the task.’ He hopes, ‘The study of the company to develop the technical drawings will be finished within three months after this signature.’

“Mr. Zhang Jin Pheng said that he will try to finish the study soon so that the construction of the 7 story buildings can begin shortly.

“It should be noted that the Chinese government has provided aid to Cambodia in many sectors, especially also continually to the Senate. Recently, the Chinese government granted aid for a project to repair three office buildings of senators, a library, and the cabinet of the president of the Senate, and to improve some audio equipment in the main meeting hall of the Senate.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5264, 31.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 31 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2315, 31.7.2010

  • China Provides Scholarship to 54 Cambodian Students to Continue Their Studies [next year, China will increase the scholarship for more 200 Cambodian students]
  • US Officials Praised the Quality of the Exercise of the Multi-National Peace Keepers during the Angkor Sentinel 2010 Exercises Hosted by Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7022, 31-1.7.2010

  • The Canadian Lawyer of [the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra [Mr. Robert Amsterdam] Attacked [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Abhisit, Calling Him a Person Who Wants the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia [when Mr. Abhisit warned to walk out of the UNESCO meeting if it accepts the unilateral Cambodian development plan for the Preah Vihear Temple region]
  • The Siamese Plan Is Unsuccessful; the Conservation and Development of the Preah Vihear Temple Will Be Adopted Next Year [by the World Heritage Committee in Bahrain]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3946, 31-1.7.2010

  • Opposition Party Officials and Forest Protection Communities Criticized Measures of the Government [to intercept forestry crimes] as Ineffective [because there have been more and more reports about deforestation]
  • Cambodia Declared Success about Its Development Plan for the Preah Vihear Temple Region while Siam [Thailand] Said UNESCO Delayed Discussion to Next Year for the Meeting in Bahrain

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #18, 31.7.2010

  • A Gang Woman Was Sent to Court to Be Sentenced [after she caused a traffic accident and then used the name of the Phnom Penh Police chief, Mr. Touch Naruth, to warn the local police and journalists]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5264, 31.7.2010

  • The Senate and China Signed a Memorandum of Understanding about a Plan to Construct a Convention Hall for the Senate
  • The Minister [of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun]: 70% of the Cases of Offenses [related to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries] Sent to Courts Are Not Solved [in the first six months of 2010]
  • In a Case of Drug Production and Smuggling Worth Half a Million Dollar, Seven Accused Were Sentenced to Serve between 12 Years to Life in Prison
  • A Head Monk Was Defrocked for Secretly Having an Affairs with a Village Girl until She Has Seven Months Pregnant [Kompong Chhnang]

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Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers – Friday, 30.7.2010

Posted on 31 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Trade unions agreed that they should have only one voice to negotiate with enterprises if disputes take place.

“The head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said on Thursday, 29 July 2010, that in a meeting about the draft of a Trade Union Law it was suggested by the government that in an enterprise, even though there are many trade union representatives [there are by now 49 different labor federations and associations], there should be only one person chosen to negotiate with the employer. He went on to say that there is no adequate opportunity provided for trade unions to voice their opinion responding to the government and to the Ministry of Labor that created that draft. He said that this law is restrictive and leaves less power to trade unions when they act to support workers.

“The head of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr. Vong Sovann, said on Thursday that a closed door meeting had found that this draft states the obligations of workers and of employers. He said, ‘We think that the draft should be changed to a [general] law on “expert organization,” but it is just our idea and we will send it to the government after the meeting.’ He added that trade unions want the government to consider this and to remove some points. He said, ‘There should not be a requirement to state the financial situation of a union to the Ministry. The draft might rather suggest that trade unions have to be transparent for their members, which is not a problem.’

“Mr. Vong Sovann does not agree with the requirement that legally registered trade unions will have to register again after the draft will have been adopted. Therefore, the meeting will suggest to the government to remove this point. He said, ‘If strikes or demonstrations due to labor conflicts happen, the law should not consider them as crimes which might lead to the arrest of some representatives of the workers.’ Trade union representatives met to discuss also some important key issues like strikes, unjust implementation of the labor law, penalty conditions, and the court system.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

http://www.camfeba.com/

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2314, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Considers Duch’s 35 Year Imprisonment as Insufficient [but he has to serve 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment; he was responsible to oversee the murder of more than 10,000 people in the Tuol Sleng Prison]
  • A Deputy Director of a [Natural Resources and Biodiversity Protection] Organization Was Arrested for Raping an Underage Girl Twice [she is 14 years old, Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7021, 30.7.2010

  • The European Union Released a Report about Cooperation in Cambodia [which focuses on human rights, good governance, and climate change; there was also discussion about the release of European Union Blue Books, written about the support of the European Union in various important sectors, part of its commitment to encourage transparency and to promote understanding about extensive development programs of the European Union]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3945, 30.7.2010

  • Cambodia Announced to Use Troops to Withstand Siamese [Thai] Ambitions to Take Control of the 4.6 Square Kilometers around the Preah Vihear Temple

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #17, 30.7.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Set a Time to Walk Out from the UNESCO Meeting [of the World Heritage Committee, which is to make a final decision at 10:00 p.m. [no time zone given] on 29 July 2010 about the Cambodian management plan for the Preah Vihear Temple region; the Thai Prime Minister said that Thailand has prepared troops to withstand Cambodian troops if the border dispute at the Preah Vihear region would becomes more tense]
  • The Ministry of Agriculture Drafted a Sub-Decree about Agriculture Related Contracts for the First Time [in order to promote trust between farmers and companies]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

  • Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers
  • A Hyundai Truck Assembly Factory in Koh Kong Will Begin Its Operations in September 2010
  • The National Assembly Asked the Apsara Authority to Check Requests of Citizens [from 1,255 families, to allow them to reconstruct their houses and selling stalls]
  • The United Nations Declared that the Right of Access to Clean Water Is Also Human Right

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5263, 30.7.2010

  • HAEDA City Group [from South Korea] Starts the Angkor Resort City Project with US$470 Million as Capital [to construct a four-star hotel, condos, a golf course, a commercial center, a supermarket, a health center, etc.]
  • The National Assembly Decided to Withhold Money of [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua’s Salary [as compensation to Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency: The Exports from Cambodia Increased by 258.7% – Thursday, 29.7.2010

Posted on 30 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The director of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency said that Cambodian exports to South Korea increased up to 258.7%.

“The director of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Gwang-Ho, said on 28 July 2010 that investment and trade between Cambodia and Korea increased remarkably within the first six months of 2010.

“He added that the amount of exports from South Korea to Cambodia increased only by 22% while the exports from Cambodia to Korea rose by as much by 258.7% in the first six months of 2010, compared with the corresponding period last year.

“According to figures provided by Mr. Lee Gwang-Ho, though the export of Cambodia to South Korea went up, the total value of export is still low.

“He said, ‘The export from Korea to Cambodia was US$153,462,000, while the export from Cambodia amounted to only US$22,635,000.’

“The products from South Korea exported to Cambodia are mostly textile products in the form of raw materials needed by the garment factories, cars and trucks, garments, food, pesticide, medicines and other substances, tires and spare parts, whereas the products exported from Cambodia to South Korea include garments, forestry products, aluminum, food, machines used in construction, minerals, and shoes.

“According to Mr. Lee Gwang-Ho, by March 2010, Korean investments were still the biggest in Cambodia. The total investments by Korean companies registered is about US$2.7 billion.

“He went on to say that the fields of investment of Korean investors in Cambodia are the following: 52% in real estate, 21% in construction, 7% in the production sector [South Korea establishes production facilities in Cambodia to create products], 3% in the mineral sector, 3% in tourism, 3% in banking, 3% in services, 3% in agriculture, 2% in technical services, and 1% in telecommunication.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5262, 29.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2313, 29.7.2010

  • Almost Ten Persons Armed with Weapons Robbed Documents of Oknha Ly Say Kheang [at his company – Phnom Penh]
  • More Than 3000 Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory Continue to Strike [to demand that the factory re-employ one representative of them; ten of them sustained injuries after a clash with police – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7020, 29.7.2010

  • [About 100] Citizens [representing 225 families] from the San Kor Commune in Kompong Svay District Asked for an Intervention by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [near his residence in Phnom Penh; their rice fields of about 821 hectares are to be delivered to a private company by order of a court – Kompong Thom]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3944, 29.7.2010

  • Google Corrected a Section of Googlemaps [on the Internet] for the Preah Vihear Temple Region after Cambodia had Protested in February [before, half of the temple had been shown to be in Thai territory]
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Condemned that Armed Forces Had Suppressed Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory, Injuring 15 Workers [Phnom Penh]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #16, 29.7.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Warned to Walk Out from the UNESCO Meeting [of the World Heritage Committee if it supports the unilateral Cambodian development plan for the Preah Vihear Temple – the World Heritage Committee had requested that Cambodia should develop a management plan together with Thailand and up to six other countries]
  • Cambodia Has One Million Hectares of Land for Rubber Plantations [according to the head of the Rubber Plantation Department, Mr. Ly Phalla]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #225, 29.7.2010

  • Vietnamese Rubber Plantation Companies Step Up Investments in Cambodia to US$1 Billion [to plant rubber trees on 100,000 hectares]
  • [President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun: The Answers to Test Items [of mathematics of the Grade 12 exam] Leaked on Tuesday Night [in Phnom Penh, Kompong Cham, Svay Rieng, and Sihanoukville; the exam finished on Wednesday 28 July 2010; he planned to send a report to the Ministry of Education]
  • A Plane Crash in Pakistan Killed 150 People

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5262, 29.7.2010

  • Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency: The Exports from Cambodia Increased by 258.7%
  • Cambodia Does Not Care about the Decision of the Thai Cabinet That Opposes the Preah Vihear Temple Development Plan
  • Two Big Casinos [Holiday and Kompong Som City] Allow Khmer Citizens to Do Football Betting [while it is prohibited – Sihanoukville]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2306, 21.7.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7013, 21.7.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

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

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #9, 21.7.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5255, 21.7.2010

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

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Borders Link and Borders Separate – Sunday, 4.7.2010

Posted on 7 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

The Mirror carries regularly reports about incidents considered to be border violations, but much more frequently information about smuggling. Some people are caught and sent to court; the border with Thailand has been beyond regular control, so that finally an attempt had to be made that even a large number of illegal border crossings had to be brought under control, as The Mirror had reported on 10 June 2010, from which we quote again:

Illegal border entries closed in crackdown

Between 30 and 40 illegal border crossings in Banteay Meanchey province have been closed in an attempt to curb the smuggling of pigs, gas, petrol, fruits and expired perishable foods from Thailand to Cambodia, provincial officials said Wednesday.

“We have closed more than 30 illegal border crossing points along the border with Thailand to stop smuggling, and this closure is forever,” Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Im Phoansophal said…

He declined to provide any figures supporting this claim, though he accused local businessmen of resorting to smuggling in order to evade taxes.

“Businessmen have always used these illegal crossing points to smuggle their goods. They prefer to do things this way because they don’t want to pay tax on items, and they think it will cost less to just bribe local officials,” he said.

Obviously, these 30 to 40 border crossings had been used regularly and formally – though illegally – for some time, before there was an effort made to put this chaotic situation to an end. This surely does not mean that there is no illegal border crossing going on any longer at the Cambodian-Thai border, which extends for about 800 kilometers, for long stretches through forested areas.

When a Thai newspaper published a report, saying that Thai anti-government activists, suspected of having been involved in the bombing of a building in Thailand during the recent violent confrontations in Bangkok, had entered Cambodia, Cambodian government officials quickly denied this and accused the Thai government and the Thai media of making false accusations against Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post reported on 29 and 30 June 2010:

In a statement issued Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers said there was no evidence the men had entered Cambodia. The statement also called on the Thai government to end what it described as a “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia…”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday that the allegations were “stupid.”

“Cambodia completely denies this kind of provocative information,” he said…

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia,” and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia.” …

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,… also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

These official and massive Cambodian denials – assuming that nobody could have crossed the border without having their names registered in an official border crossing list – were combined with accusations against the Thai government and media, requesting “they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

This war of words was accompanied by the forwarding of a document by the Spokesman and Deputy Director for Press Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit – a document written by Pen Ngoeun, an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, representing “only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers.” In spite of this disclaimer, it is interesting that this long document was widely published at this time and with this background, asking: WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END.

This long document is accusing that Thailand, since 150 years, has taken a negative attitude against Cambodia. “This writing is not a piece about history, but as far back as the eyes can see, the Kingdom of Thailand has kept its enmity towards Cambodia,” which is similar to “the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with ‘former terrorist’ turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides…” This negative attitude was also the cause which made Cambodia to entrust its destiny to French colonial rule. “Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since.”

“Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List.

Would Thailand wake up from the bad dream of a hungry mad dog? It had to be decided by Thailand. It had nothing to do with Cambodia.”

It is appropriate to say that not only persons in positions of political leadership will have to find ways to help to establish good neighborly relations. This will also be necessary in Cambodia, not only by using a different type of language, but also by seeing some facts, not published in Cambodia and therefore hardly seen, and therefore also not considered in Cambodia.

What this Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers calls “various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List” related to the contested 4.6 square kilometers around the Temple of Preah Vihear, is described with quite different words in a document, based on a meeting at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on 18 June 2008, inscribing the Temple “without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – “without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary.” The related map, superseding the maps formerly presented in Cambodia’s nomination file, signed by the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia Var Kim Hong at the same time, is here:

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Joint Communique

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries…

Finally, after, and in spite of all the strong denials and accusations, the two Thai bombing suspects, Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, were arrested in Cambodia and handed over to Thai authorities.

We recall:

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

Will this now – with reversed roles – be considered and implemented in Cambodia?

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