Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia – Thursday, 22.10.2009

Posted on 23 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635

“The National Assembly has adopted a demonstration law limiting demonstrations to not more than 200 people. This law is considered by the opposition parties as a restriction of the power of the people in Cambodia. However, government representative claimed that this new law helps maintain social stability.

“During the session of the National Assembly yesterday, 21 October 2009, 76 parliamentarians out of 101 raised their hands to adopt this demonstration law, while the parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party and from the Human Rights Party did not.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy told reporters in the morning of 21 October 2009, ‘At present the government cares only about cracking down on demonstrations and wants to eliminate the right of citizens who have reasons to protest.’ The people will get angry and feel pain when they want to present what they demand, but cannot do it though their demands are right. The government does not solve the citizens needs, but wants to intercept their presention.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy stressed that the Sam Rainsy Party wants to organize the country rightly, to eliminate the root causes of demonstrations, but the government just eliminates the demonstrations. Regarding the law limiting the number of people to only 200 to participate in a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that it is a ban anticipating the expression of the power of the people in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘They do not want that large scale demonstrations can be held. If large scale demonstrations are held, the state fears the power of the people. People take power to control the country to serve the real benefit of the people, but not to serve the benefit of any dictatorial party or any dictators or their groups.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the Sam Rainsy Party does not support this law, as it has gaps which the state could use as a pretext to prevent people from demonstrating peacefully. It abolishes citizens’ right to express their opinions through peaceful demonstrations.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, spoke to journalists expressing the same view as Mr. Sam Rainsy: that this demonstration law banishes people’s power in Cambodia, especially when citizens want to demonstrate to demand that leaders resign from their positions. He said, ‘For example, citizens may want to demonstrate over politics… to demand that some leaders resign.’

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that in countries that practice democracy, people can hold demonstrations to demand that some leaders leave their positions – which is called people’s power. While in Cambodia, it is now to be assumed that the Ministry of Interior will not allow this kind of manifestation, using the reasoning that it might be against national security, or against safety and public order. These are pretexts that governments use to prevent the people from demonstrating. Mr. Kem Sokha said that also the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians do not support this law.

“When asked whether this law interdicts people’s power or not, Mr. Kem Sokha said, ‘Of course. We see the direction. After we heard the words of the parliamentarians of the ruling party, it seems that they are afraid of the power of the people.

“A democratic regime is a regime where power can be changed peacefully, and leaders are established through general elections. But if the elected leaders act against what they had promised, citizens can demonstrate for a change of power.

“An investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that limiting the number of people who can participate in a demonstration is not right for a country that practices democracy.

“This demonstration law also requires demonstration leaders to inform the authorities in advance, and Mr. Oum Sam Ath explained that the need to request for a permission, and this 5-days in advance, requires then to wait to see whether the demonstration is permitted or not – which is a new restriction, including the limitation of the number of demonstrators. This law is not according to the concept of democracy.

“However, a representative from the Ministry of Interior claimed during the session of the National Assembly since a few days ago that this law ensures social stability.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Nuth Sa An, said that the Ministry will ask the government to develop a policy how to publicize this law among the citizens.

“Though this law limits the number of people to 200 who can join a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that this is not acceptable, and the Sam Rainsy Party plans to hold big demonstrations in the future. Mr. Sam Rainsy said that a planned big demonstration – though a specific date has not yet been set – is a demonstration to assemble tens of thousands of citizens victimized by land disputes from the provinces and cities countrywide.

“It should be noted that people’s power exists in many countries in the world, like in the Philippines, in Siam [Thailand], and in Indonesia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 51:
The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 October 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1416, 22.10.2009

  • Three Korean Men Raped a Karaoke Parlor Woman in a Room while She Was Drunk [they were arrested – Siem Reap]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #317, 22.10.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Shows the Green Light to Receive [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra and He Prepared a Residence [in Cambodia] for Him as a Friend
  • The Number of People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Has Increased to 202 Cases, and the Number of Deaths Remain at Three
  • The Iranian Government Asked to Step Up Cooperation with Cambodia [especially between the parliaments of the two countries – according to the Iranian ambassador to Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2078, 22.10.2009

  • 143 Countries Promised to Support the Cambodian Candidacy as a Member of the World Heritage Committee
  • A House Was Burnt Down Completely because the Firefighter Trucks Did Not Come, though They Had Been Called [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

  • Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer edition], Vol.1, #31, 22.10.2009

  • The Civil Aviation Authorities Will Write a Letter to the Government to Permit Siem Reap Airways to Fly Again
  • Cambodia Cannot Sell Rice to the Philippines this Year [because there is high local demand after typhoon Ketsana hit Cambodia]
  • Burma Rejects Request [of ASEAN] to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5027, 22.10.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech [Hun Sen]: Mr. Thaksin Can Come to Cambodia Anytime He wants and I Prepare a House to Welcome Him
  • Exclusive Interview of Rasmei Kampuchea with the South Korean President, Lee Myung-Bak [he said ‘Samdech Hun Sen cares very much about the development of the Cambodian economy, and both of us have similar views and intentions on many problems;’ the investment by Korea in Cambodia increased 75 times within 12 years from 1997 to 2009; Mr. Lee Myung-Bak is a close friend of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and he had been nominated as advisor to Mr. Hun Sen in 2000]
  • Cambodia Reacts against some Thai Members of Parliament for Suggesting to Prevent Cambodia from Becoming a Member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1813, 22.10.2009

  • A Promise Was Made Again [by government officials from the Cambodian People’s Party] to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law by the Middle of Next Year

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During the Three Quarters of 2009 so Far, 61% of Rape Victim Were Underage Persons – Saturday, 10.10.2009

Posted on 11 October 2009. Filed under: Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

“Phnom Penh: The increasing number of rapes indicates that Khmer tradition is falling apart under the influence of bad foreign culture, spread through porn videos played at some coffee shops, and through drug abuse.

“Based on news from five local newspapers, Koh Santepheap, Rasmei Kampuchea, Kampuchea Thmey, The Phnom Penh Post, and The Cambodia Daily, information collected by End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia – ECPAT-Cambodia – shows in a Media Analysis of Rape, Trafficking for Sexual Purpose, Indecent Cases in Third Quarter 2009 [in Khmer] that there were 69 cases of rape involving 70 victims. To tally the numbers within the three quarters of 2009, there were 216 rape cases and 225 victims, where 137 of them, 61%, affected underage persons. It should be noted that an Australian woman, a tourist, also became a rape victim. [ECPAT-Cambodia is a member of the international network End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes – ECPAT International.]

“Compared to the corresponding period in 2008 with 211 cases, there were 5 cases more. The provinces and cities with a high number of rapes are Battambang with 43 cases, Phnom Penh 22 cases, Kompong Cham 19 cases, Kandal 18 cases, Pursat and Banteay Meanchey each 17 cases, Kompong Speu 12 cases, Takeo 11 cases, and the other cases in other provinces. There were 6 cases of rape-and-murder, where one young girl was raped by seven teenagers living in the same village and then murdered cruelly by cutting her throat and stabbing her several times.

“These inhuman acts were done by 261 suspects, among whom 20 were underage people. Most of the crimes were committed by Khmers, but there were also some cases involving others: 2 Koreans, 3 Vietnamese, 2 Thais, 1 Cambodian Muslim, and 1 case of a woman. Notably, gang rapes [where several teenagers raped one girl or woman] add up to 21 cases, where 2 to 7 perpetrators were involved in the gang-rape cases. There were 15 cases where both the victims and the suspects were underage people. As for the relations between the victims and the suspects, there were 103 cases where the victims were raped by their neighbors in the same villages, in 40 cases by family members and relatives, in 35 cases by people knowing each other, in 9 cases a boyfriend raped his girlfriend, and in 24 cases there is no report about the relationship. As for the law, 217 suspects were arrested, and 147 cases were sent to be solved by the counts, 56 cases were under further investigations by police, in 39 cases the suspects escaped, in 2 cases the suspects were released on bail, and 1 case was addressed out of the court system. There was only one case with a comparatively high verdict, in which the court indicted the suspect for rape, and the perpetrator then was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of Riel 4 million [approx. US$975].

“There were some factors reported which were involved frequently in rapes cases, where there were 69 cases where the perpetrators used special opportunities, 47 cases were planned, 22 cases involved drug abuse and alcohol, 6 cases resulted related to watching porn movies and pictures, and for other cases no such circumstances were reported. There were 65 cases resulting from a situation where the victim stayed alone, 35 cases where the victim trusted to go with the suspect, 32 cases happened where the victims were attacked while sleeping, and 20 cases happened while the victims went out for a walk at night.

“During this time, there were 5 cases of human trafficking victimizing 8 women and 5 underage girls, 1 person was 1 Vietnamese. Compared to the same period in 2008, there was a decline of 3 cases. There were 8 suspects, including 1 Chinese man, and 2 were women. Four of them were arrested, and 3 were sent to be prosecuted by the court. Two suspects were under police investigation, and one escaped. There were no reports about how the suspects were convicted by the courts. Places of human trafficking are the road from Takeo to Banteay Meanchey, the city of Phnom Penh, Pailin, and Battambang.

“Within the same period, there were 11 cases of producing child pornography, involving 12 victims, where 10 were girls between the ages of 5 and 17. Among the 12 victims, 2 were Vietnamese and 10 were Cambodian. Involved in these cases were 11 suspects from age 19 to age 68, and most of them are tourists from America, England, France, Japan, and Switzerland. Nine of them were arrested and convicted to serve 3 years in prison. Those cases occurred in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kandal.

“ECPAT-Cambodia noticed that there was a slight increase in the number of rapes, and a slight decrease in the number of human trafficking, based on the information in those newspapers. But the number of victims who were underage is alarmingly high. Also there were cases of extreme cruelty like gang rapes and murders, while the number of suspects that were prosecuted is low. Therefore ECPAT-Cambodia appeals to relevant organizations and institutions, especially to the Royal Government of Cambodia, to strengthen law enforcement by the courts and the police, and to make the related laws widely known to the citizens. All parents have to be very careful about the safety of their sons and daughters, especially when they are very young.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #67, 10-11.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #307, 10.10.2009

  • Radio Free Asia Dismissed [two more staff members:] Sam Borin and San Sovityak
  • The Cambodian Red Cross Has US$570,000 to Assist Citizens Suffering from the Flood
  • Robbers Armed with AK Rifles Robbed Jewelry [worth approx. US$2,000] and Injured a Man Seriously [Kompong Cham]
  • Eighty Countries Support the Cambodian Candidacy as Member of the World Heritage Committee [at the 35th UNESCO General Conference]

Note:

During the last meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in June 2009, the following countries were represented on the committee:

Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, United States of America.

While there are at present 851 sites registered in 141 countries, the World Heritage Committee can have only 21 members.

According to its rules, there cannot be only countries on the Committee which have registered World Heritage Sites, it is not the primary task of committee members to defend the cases of their countries. Countries which want to be on the committee have to offer their services, according to the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, to fulfill the following tasks:

“to work for harmonious synergy among the Organization’s three main legal instruments for cultural diversity:

  • the World Heritage Convention of 1972;
  • the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003; and
  • the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO in 2005.”

In addition, the members of the World Heritage Committee will have to work more on developing the following two fields:

  • “to develop the complementarity of science and culture, notably in the 80 sites which carry the twin labels of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program and World Heritage, and
  • to reinforce the link between biodiversity and cultural diversity.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2068, 10.10.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Powerful Who Protect Gangsters Must Be Punished
  • The Minister of Water Resources Considers Typhoon Ketsana as the Most Disastrous Ever for Cambodia [destroying infrastructure and crops]
  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections (COMFREL) Is Concerned that Relocated Citizens [in the context of clearing sites where they used to live, to make place for business and high rise housing developments] Do Not Have the Right to Register for the Elections
  • A Journalist and His 4-Year-Old Son Were Killed in a Traffic Accident [they were hit by another motorbike – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #506, 10.10.2009

  • [Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian] Mr. Cheam Yeap: An Anti-Corruption Law Could Not Be Created for Many Years, because the National Assembly and the Government Sent Its Drafts Back and Forth [but he said that it will be adopted within the first six months of 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #67, 10-11.10.2009

  • During the Three Quarters of 2009 so Far, 61% of Rape Victim Were Underage Persons
  • One Hundred More People Died in Landslides in the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5017, 10.10.2009

  • The Defamation Complaint of Samdech Hun Sen [against Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Will Be Heard Again on 28 October 2009
  • Siem Reap Town Became Like a Water Reservoir, after a Dam, Surrounding the Town, Had Been Built [improperly]
  • Nearly 2,000 Workers of the Tac Fat Factory Are Striking for Two Days with No Solution [after the factory had closed – Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Prosecuted Six People and Sent Them to Serve Six Years in Prison for Campaigning for [multi-party] Democracy
  • It Is Surprising! Obama Received the Nobel Peace Prize! [in 2009 for his hard effort to strengthen international diplomatic developments and cooperation among the people]

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Thursday, 21.8.2008: Hun Sen Government Is Weak, It Conducts Diplomatic Politics by Kneeling Down to Beg Siam to Withdraw Invading Troops from Cambodia

Posted on 22 August 2008. Filed under: Week 574 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 574


Apologies: The link to the Joint Communique and the attached map – see further down – had been broken. It is now fixed. Thanks to the alert from a reader.

“To clarify one’s position by kneeling down under the pressure of the diplomatic politics by Siam [Thailand] or to say that the Hun Sen government is defeated by the Siamese [Thai] diplomatic warfare regarding the incursion by Siamese troops to control the Preah Vihear Temple and the Ta Moan Temple regions – these are two prominent positions to describe the representatives of the Hun Sen government. Hor Namhong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Hun Sen government, promised Siam to revoke Cambodia’s complaint to the UN Security Council about the incursion by Siam into Cambodia, and the Hun Sen government also agreed to beg Siam, by withdrawing its troops unilaterally from the Preah Vihear Temple region, so that Siam also withdraws its troops from Khmer territory.

The press in Cambodia – the Khmer press and the international press alike – have not published (as far as we know – if we are wrong, please inform us) the extremely important Joint Communique, signed by the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of Royal Government of Cambodia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, on 18 June 2008. This was the last joint submission to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, which led to the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. The full document and the appended map [‘the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached’ to the Joint Communique] is here; (it is a big file of 1.3 MB). To read the Joint Communique and to see the attached map, you need to have the free Adobe Reader or a comparable software installed – you can download the Adobe Reader here.

We strongly recommend to have a look, especially also at the map with a tiny stretch of land in red, claimed as the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple.

This document is available internationally, it has been published various time in the Thai media. The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs signed this document, relating to national sovereignty and territory integrity, without asking the Thai parliament for a decision, led to a verdict by the Thai Constitutional Court, accusing him of overstepping is responsibilities, and thus violating the Thai constitution – so he had to resign.

This document – co-signed in the name of the Kingdom of Cambodia – is also the basis for much public opinion in Thailand about the Cambodian government. It is surprising – and important to note – that this document of high international value, is not, or not easily, available to the Khmer public.

It seems that many arguments in the Khmer press are either not aware of this document, or avoid to see it, because of its bewildering implications. To analyze the content of the document might lead to some different conclusions and arguments, different from what is nowadays in the press. We provide today some references to the Joint Communique and invite our readers to appraise the situation, comparing and relating it to the Joint Communique and the new Cambodian map.

We would, of course, be happy to see some such reactions in the Comments you may write – or in e-mail to myself, the editor of the Mirror, at mirror@gmx.org

“This information was made known after a two-day-meeting on 18 and 19 August 2008, and especially, after a high ranking delegation of the government of Cambodia, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hor Namhong, accompanied by senior representatives of the Minister of Interior of Cambodia, also came to visit the Siamese King at his palace in Hua Hin.

“Explaining that this is to express sympathy and friendship among good neighbors, between Cambodia and Thailand, and to avoid confrontation between Siamese troops invading and Khmer troops protecting its territory, Hor Namhong and the Siamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Tej Bunnang reported the same content about the results of these negotiations. Hor Namhong said that Cambodia agreed to withdraw a complaint against Siam’s incursion into the Preah Vihear Temple region to the UN Security Council; representatives of the Hun Sen government consider this to be a concession towards Siam so that they agree to withdraw also their troops from Cambodia.

“Moreover, Hor Namhong said also that in response to an order by Hun Sen, Cambodia agreed, on its side, to please Siam by promising to recall the Khmer troops from the Preah Vihear Temple region of Cambodia.

“Hor Namhong said, ‘We will withdraw all troops from the Contested Regions. We will withdraw also the complaint to the UN Security Council.’

“Cambodia filed a complaint to the UN Security Council to ask for intervention, asking to convene an urgent meeting, to solve the confrontation between Cambodian and Siamese troops, after Siam had invaded Khmer territory on 15 July 2008. However, the complaint of Cambodia to the UN Security Council was suspended by a phone call from the Siamese Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on 24 July 2008 to Mr. Hun Sen, requesting him to suspend this complaint (it seems to be a very interesting books), one day before the UN Security Council would have discussed it.

The Khmer press speaks, in general, in general terms, of the invasion into Khmer territory, without considering the declarations of the Cambodian representatives, especially also the new map presented by Cambodia – not bu Thailand! – with the Joint Communique, which says:

“1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription… 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…

2….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.”

On 15 July 2008, Thai troops moved into the “northern and western areas of the Temple” which were not claimed by Cambodia “at this stage” as part of the territory of the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple, listed as a World Heritage Site.

“Mr. Hor Namhong said also, ‘We will withdraw the troops unilaterally form the disputed regions to express the good will of Cambodia, to avoid a confrontation that might lead to armed conflict.’

“What is seen is that Siam has a landslide victory in its diplomatic warfare, hiding its military incursion into Cambodia, when the head diplomat Hor Namhong, on Hun Sen’s order, agreed to do everything by kneeling down to totally beg Siam – like through the promise to revoke the complaint against Siam to the UN Security Council, and to announce to withdraw the Khmer troops from Khmer territory first, so that Siam agrees to withdraw its invading troops also.

What is called here “Khmer territory” seems to be part of the area contested between both countries – but more specifically in this case – an area outside of the perimeter claimed by Cambodia for the listing by the World Heritage Committee – see the note above.

“Observers and experts officials said that the Hun Sen government made Cambodia to be a looser, because that territory belongs to Cambodia, as stated in the verdict of the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1962. If Cambodia dares to order its troops back to the region again, Siam will take the opportunity to use this as a reason to order its troops to control Khmer territory. It is not believed that there will be proper and just solutions in the meetings attended by foreign affairs ministers, interior high ranking officials, and the Cambodia’s Border Committee, to guarantee that Siam will give up its invading ambition ordering its troops to control Cambodian territory.

“Getting out from the Khmer-Siamese foreign affairs ministerial meeting on 18 August 2008 in Hua Hin, and then visiting the Siamese King, Hor Namhong said that the Khmer and the Siamese sides agreed to leave only ten soldiers at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, and twenty soldiers close to the pagoda, in order to lessen the confrontation by both sides.

The Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda lies in the ‘buffer zone on the… western areas of the Temple’ which was ‘at this stage’ not claimed by the Cambodian negotiators as part of defining the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple.

“Furthermore, the head of the Khmer diplomats Hor Namhong said that, as a concession which is quick like an arrow, aiming to defuse the confrontation between the troops of both sides, that the government of Cambodia agreed to withdraw all its troops from the border, and will turn to negotiate peacefully through meetings between the border commissions of both countries.

“In the meantime, regarding about the movement of troops by Siam into the Ta Moan Temple on Khmer territory in the western Dang Rek Mountain region, it was kept as a separate issue. The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Tej Bunnang said that it was not on the agenda to discuss the Ta Moan Temple issue, and both sides agreed to deal with it next time.

“This shows that it is a strategic trick of Siam in the diplomatic field to create new problems, while Cambodia is weak in this field, as well as in the field to defend the nation.

“Both sides claim that the solution for the disputes at the Preah Vihear Temple is to plan to look for border markers, to clearly mark the border lines. To say so is another political trick of Siam, since, in general, they know that a verdict in the International Court of Justice in The Hague on 15 June 1962 clearly stated, by basing its verdict on the French and Siam treaties of 1904 to 1907, signed by both sides about the Khmer and Siam borders lines, which was marked in an official map in 1908.

The court, in a very lengthy document publishing its verdict, stated that the court

‘…by nine votes to three, finds that the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory
under the sovereignty of Cambodia.’

The text of the verdict clarifies things related to the temple; it does not clarify the border questions in the region. That is why both countries agreed that the next step necessary now is to work on the border demarcation.

As a related question, it would be interesting to know how the different border clarifications – with Laos, with Vietnam, and with Thailand – which have been already accomplished something, or which need still to continue to work, relate to Article 2 of the Cambodian Constitution:

‘The territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shall absolutely not to be violated within its borders as defined in the 1/100,000 scale map made between the year 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 – 1969.’

This statement seems to imply that all border questions which all neighbors are already solved – otherwise, how could there be finite, clear, detailed numbers?] – but many sections of the borderline with neighboring countries are not yet solved..

“Just having seen that the Hun Sen government agreed to kneel down to beg Siam with promises that Cambodia will withdraw its troops, even from the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia, to please Siam so that they withdraw their troops from the areas where they invaded Cambodia, allows everyone to knows that the Hun Sen government is very weak diplomacy, as well as militarily to defend its territorial integrity. How can Khmers then hope that Cambodia, ruled by the Hun Sen government of the Cambodian People’s Party, will not lose Cambodian territory, because they serve the interests of themselves or of factions among the leaders of Siam and of the Hun Sen government?” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #226, 21.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 21 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1725, 21.8.2008

  • Kuwait Asks to Establish Its Embassy in Cambodia and Kuwait Will Come to Invest in Cambodia
  • Thai Opposition Group Asks Britain to Extradite Mr. Thaksin for Trial


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #226, 21.8.2008

    Hun Sen Government Is Weak, It Conducts Diplomatic Politics by Kneeling Down to Beg Siam to Withdraw Invading Troops from Cambodia


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #78, 21.8.2008

  • Price of Gasoline Is Reduced [by Riel 400 to 500, approx. US$0.10] after the Government Had Asked for Reductions
  • US Ambassador to Cambodia [Joseph A. Mussomeli] Will Hold His Final Press Conference on Monday 25 August 2008 [his mandate ends]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6429, 21.8.2008

  • Latest Information from Preah Vihear Temple Area: Number of Delegations, Donors, and Tourists Declines


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3544, 21.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: I Do Not Trust the Constitutional Council; They Wants to Finish the Cases Whenever They Want
  • Yim Sovann [Sam Rainsy Party official]: The Price of Fuel on the Cambodian Market Is Still High because There Are Not Many Companies Competing with Each Other


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4673, 21.8.2008

  • [Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong Compares the Negotiations [over the Preah Vihear Temple] to a Steam Roller [that it is slow but still moving]
  • The European Community Puts a High Value on Elections and Vows to Continue to Help Cambodia

  • [South] Korea Asks Cambodia to Support Investments in Mineral Resources and Energy in Cambodia
  • Many Houses of Members of the Women’s Coalition for Peace and Development Were Destroyed by a Group of Soldiers [15 August – over land disputes – Srae Ambel, Koh Kong]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3390, 21.8.2008

  • Eng Chhay Eang Resigns as Secretary-General of the Sam Rainsy Party, Causing Political Doubts
  • Ministry of Agriculture Prepares to Allow Import of Pike Fish [from Vietnam – making officials in the provinces at the border unhappy, as they have been well off from pike fish smuggling]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – apprehension while waiting for the results of challenging alleged election fraud, the final official election results, and the forming of a new government

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