Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sacravatoons no 1390 : " World Press Freedom Day "


Anonymous said...

Bravo Mr. Bun Heang !!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are THE BEST .

Anonymous said...

We need to support more people like you. We can share our opinions through your cartoon. I am very grateful that Khmer still has people who love our nation and justice like you.


How can they allow to have press freedom day? Because they are very fearful and scared (they are sweating and can't sleep peacefully like us) of their bad actions being unfold to public.They really knows about themselves what they have been doing. Just hoping that if god really believes in justice then Kamar will return to them one day.

Anonymous said...

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
04 May 2009

Harassment of Cambodian journalists and the murder of an opposition reporter during 2008’s national election period contributed to Cambodia’s “not free” press status by the organization Freedom House, an official said.

The “not free” status is shared by countries such as Burma, China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea, and was issued by Freedom House in its annual report.

“It was actually the impact of the election last year and greater harassment and the murder of the journalist in Cambodia,” said Karin Karlekar, managing editor for freedom of the press at Freedom House. She spoke at a ceremony in Washington marking the release of the report.

Opposition journalist Khim Sambo was shot dead along with his son in July 2008, just two weeks before Cambodians went to the polls to elect National Assembly representatives. That murder, for which no arrests have been made, followed the detention of Dam Sith, the editor of the same opposition paper, Moneaksekar Khmer.

The “not free” rating was a slide for Cambodia, which was given “partly free” status the previous year.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said by phone the murder was under investigation and Freedom House’s rating did not accurately reflect Cambodia’s media environment.

Cambodian journalists “can write whatever, even criticizing the prime minister, which does not happen in other countries,” he said, adding that the “effectiveness and quality are another matter.”

Most of Cambodia’s media, especially broadcast, provide favorable coverage of the ruling party, and critics say biased coverage affects the outcomes of elections.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party, responding to a recent story about land grabbing, called one of the largest papers, Reaksmey Kampuchea, a mouthpiece for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Cambodia ranked 61st of 132 countries in the Freedom House report, in a year where the organization said press freedom had declined in every region for the first time.

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Labels: "Not free" media in Cambodia | CPP-controlled media | Freedom House | World Press Freedom Day

UN Committed to Corruption Talks: Official
By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Origingal report from Washington
04 May 2009

With an emergency infusion of Japanese funding keeping the troubled Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal alfoat, the UN remains committed to seeing corruption allegations properly dealt with, a senior UN negotiator said.

The Cambodian side of the UN-backed, hybrid court, which is conducting its first trial, will now be able to pay its staff salaries for April and May, thanks to $4.1 million from Japan.

“The result of is that the court will not collapse for economic reasons,” said Peter Taksoe-Jensen, who is the UN’s assistant secretary-general for legal affairs.

“I have no other comment than the fact that we continue to need to normalize the flow of funds to the court,” he told VOA Khmer in a phone interview, “and the way to do that is to bring the issue of corruption behind us, together, the Cambodian authority and the UN.”

Taksoe-Jensen left Cambodia negotiations in April, having failed to reach an agreement on how the court should handle allegations of corruption, following reports from staff on the Cambodian side, who said they paid kickbacks for their positions.

The two sides deadlocked over whether to name future complainants or protect their anonymity, with the Cambodians demanding so-called “whistleblowers” be identified. The UN has remained firm on anonymity.

Some donors have proven reluctant to fund the national side of the court, claiming the allegations, if true, could harm the credibility of the court, which took years to make functional and is now trying a former Khmer Rouge prison chief, Duch, for atrocity crimes.

Taksoe-Jensen said he was “very optimistic” the sides would find a way to address the allegations, noting that donors had called on both the UN and the Cambodians to reach an agreement.

A cabinet spokesman, Phay Siphan, said by phone that Cambodia remains open to another round of talks in a negotiation that has spanned the last four months

But observers in the US worry prolonged corruption charges—denied by senior officials—could hurt the credibility and functioning of the court, damaging a chance for justice for the victims of the brutal regime.

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Labels: Alleged ECCC corruption | ECCC funding | KR Tribunal

Opposition Raises Specter of Civil War in Thailand
04 May 2009
Brian McCartan
World Politics Review

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- Thailand calls itself the Land of Smiles, and is known for its tropical beaches, beautiful mountains, good food and friendly people. But that may soon change. While the happy-go-lucky image of Thailand may be hard for many to shake, political observers -- and the government -- are beginning to take the possibility of a civil war much more seriously.

On April 21, Jakrapob Penkair -- a key leader of the opposition United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and reputedly the man behind this month's violent protests in Bangkok and Pattaya -- announced in a BBC interview that the struggle was not over. The UDD, Jakrapob said, would begin using different tactics, possibly even armed attacks. "I believe the room for unarmed and non-violent means to resolve Thailand's problem is getting smaller every day," he told the BBC. He went on to call for new general elections to allow a democratically elected government to take power.

Jakrapob was previously a spokesman for Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup and currently in exile. He was subsequently a minister in the People's Power Party government, until he was forced to resign in May 2008, due to charges of lèse majesté for giving a talk critical of the country's monarchy at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. Rather than turn himself in to the government, as many other UDD leaders did after the protests were crushed on April 13, Jakrapob fled to an undisclosed location abroad.

Thaksin, the nominal leader of the UDD, has given no clear indication that he supports an armed insurgency. Much was made of his call for a "people's revolution" in early April, but some analysts say the statement was taken out of context. Thaksin, they say, was calling for more of a Philippines-style "People's Power" movement than an armed revolt. Nevertheless, several opposition Puea Thai Party members have made public comments about moving "underground" and using "covert action."

The current government does not want either. After forcing the demonstrators off the streets of Bangkok, security forces moved quickly to dismantle the UDD's network, both in the capitol and in the provinces. Provincial leaders were arrested, and local radio and television stations linked to the UDD movement were shut down.

The UDD, however, has not given up. A small demonstration was held in Bangkok on April 25, only days after the government rescinded its emergency decree. The group says it plans to hold a series of protests in the coming weeks. UDD leaders say these protests will be peaceful and held in accordance with the law.

The government does not seem so sure, giving signs that it is worried about possible underground activities by the UDD and their supporters. In the past few days, several government figures -- including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is also responsible for internal security -- have cited intelligence reports of political organizing, which they allege is similar to the underground methods previously used by the now-defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT). Some politicians have even made the leap to saying that the UDD is following a communist ideology.

The CPT waged a guerrilla war against the Thai government from the 1960s to the 1980s, when most of its members defected to the government during an amnesty. The government has said that it is keeping a watch on former CPT members, several of whom were also members of Thaksin's now-barred Thai Rak Thai party.

There may be good reason to. An April 15 article in Asia Times Online cited a UDD organizer who claims that Thaksin had weapons secretly smuggled into northeastern Thailand through Cambodia over the past two years. The transportation and distribution of the weapons was possibly carried out by former members of the CPT.

The military appears to not be taking any chances. In its mid-year reshuffle announced on April 17, it effectively removed any remaining Thaksin supporters from positions of influence. The move was aimed at making it very difficult for pro-UDD elements to stage a coup or support the UDD militarily. This is a concern, since much of the military's rank and file are from areas where support for Thaksin and the UDD are strong.

In another possible indication of concern, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, currently privy councilor and a former prime minister and army commander, recently gave his public support for the creation of a new military command to oversee internal security in the northeast. The northeast, along with the north, represents an area where the UDD's support is the strongest, and is the rumored destination for the smuggled arms. It was also an area of strong support for the CPT.

Nevertheless, it is one thing to march and cheer at a demonstration, and quite another to engage in armed revolt. The rhetoric of their leaders aside, it remains unclear whether Thais are committed enough in their desire for political change -- or in their love for Thaksin -- to take that step.

Brian McCartan is a journalist based in northern Thailand.

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Labels: Possibility of civil war in Thailand | Thai politics

Thai political soap opera: Military behind Sondhi's muder plot

Thai media mogul and protest leader Sondhi Limthongkul, in his first public remarks since his attempted murder on April 17, said at a news conference that foes of political change had conspired to kill him. (Photo: Reuters)

Thai Says Military Behind Murder Plot

MAY 4, 2009
By JAMES HOOKWAY Wall Street Journal

Mogul's Claim, Absolving Political Foe Thaksin, Puts New Twist on Nation's Turmoil.

BANGKOK -- A Thai media baron who was instrumental in toppling two governments said an alliance of military officials and politicians bent on thwarting political change was behind an attempt to kill him last month.

Sondhi Limthongkul's claim, while unproven, was notable in part because the businessman and protest leader absolved his political foe, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and said both men shared a common desire for change.

Mr. Sondhi made the allegation Sunday in his first public remarks since the murder attempt at dawn on April 17. Police say at least five men fired at least 84 rounds from military-grade assault rifles at Mr. Sondhi's car as he traveled to his office in Bangkok's historic old quarter.

Mr. Sondhi had to undergo surgery to remove shrapnel from his skull after the attack, which seriously wounded his driver. No arrests have been made.

The attack was a fresh twist in a continuing political struggle in Thailand over whether the nation should become a functioning, accountable democracy or a place where generals and politicians make deals to determine who wields power, as has been the case for much of Thailand's history.

The rural poor are adding to the volatility by demanding that their voice be heard, too.

Mr. Sondhi, 61 years old, is playing a leading role in the debate. In 2005 and early 2006, he stirred mass protests against then-Prime Minister Thaksin, accusing him of corruption. The protests helped pave the way for the armed forces to remove Mr. Thaksin in a military coup later that year.

In 2008, Mr. Sondhi and his yellow-clad allies in the People's Alliance for Democracy helped force the collapse of a government led by Mr. Thaksin's brother-in-law by occupying and shutting down Bangkok's international airports for a week as army and police looked on.

Many commentators had expected Mr. Sondhi to link the attack on him to supporters of Mr. Thaksin. But at Sunday's news conference live on his ASTV satellite network, he said he believed the assault was plotted by a group of military officers and political backers opposed to both Mr. Thaksin's populist version of democracy and his own efforts to promote a culture of accountability. He didn't provide any names.

"I am certain that soldiers were behind this assassination attempt," Mr. Sondhi said, citing the way assailants positioned themselves around his vehicle and how they held their weapons.

Thai army chief Gen. Anupong Paochinda has said bullets found at the scene of the shooting had been issued to a military division. Gen. Anupong couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

An army spokesman said the military would have no official comment on Mr. Sondhi's allegation until police investigators submit their report.

Mr. Sondhi on Sunday linked the causes of his allies in the People's Alliance for Democracy and Mr. Thaksin's supporters, or the "red shirts," as they are known, saying both are pushing for political change in Thailand.

Mr. Sondhi and the PAD are demanding greater accountability and the end of corruption and money-based politics, while the red shirts seek fresh parliamentary elections and want the army and Thailand's courts to stop interfering in the country's democracy.

"The yellows and the reds are seeking something very similar, which is change. The only difference once we have achieved that change is how to go about creating a new politics," or a more effective way to run the country, Mr. Sondhi said.

He also said not everybody is on board with his program for a corruption-free "new politics," though he declined to give names.

If Mr. Sondhi's claim that the army was behind the attempt is true, it could indicate that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva isn't fully in control of Thailand. It might also mean that members of the armed forces could be jockeying for a greater say in how the nation is governed.

Mr. Sondhi commands a large audience through his television and newspaper network and has largely been supportive of Thailand's armed forces and the coup they staged in 2006. He said at the time it was necessary to uproot Mr. Thaksin's lingering influence in Thai society.

Mr. Thaksin now is moving from country to country to evade extradition and imprisonment on a corruption conviction.

"What we may be seeing now is a realignment of alliances," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

—Wilawan Watcharasakwet contributed to this article.

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Labels: Red Shirts | Sondhi Limthongkul | Thai political soap opera | Thaksin Shinawatra | Yellow shirt leader shot

Monday, May 04, 2009
Sam Rainsy addresses workers on International Labor Day

May 1, 2009 - MP Sam Rainsy addresses workers on International Labor Day in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh.

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Labels: Cambodian workers | May Day | Sam Rainsy's May Day message

A message from MP Mu Sochua
From: Mu Sochua
Subject: RE: Parliamentray Immunity

I am forever grateful for the immense support I have received from all of you who are committed to justice.

My case is just one small case among many hundreds and thousands of cases that are part of a justice system that punishes the innocent.

I ask you all to focus on the injustice for our people and not just my case.
The solution is very clear: re-establish a justice system that protects all citizens and not the powerful. A truely independent justice system is a system that gives access to all citizens, a fair due process, competent and impartial judges, and accountable to the people.

The Sam Rainsy Party does not just want to point out the weaknesses of our system, we want to give solutions to the system and we have those solutions and are committed to install justice for all.

The suffering of our people because of the corrupt judiciary is what we need to focus on and SRP is intended to do just that rather than focusing on Mu SOchua's case. The poor sell their land and even their children in order to pay to visit their relatives who are detained. Families are destroyed, even if they are innocent as bribes must be paid to get out of detention and to escape wrong sentencing. The entire country is affected by this total break down of the judiciary.

No matter how we analyze the existing laws, we will come to a dead end unless we clean up the system.

That starts with a political will.

I will follow the court process with the intention of bringing to light where justice stands in Cambodia.

Best regards to all,
Mu Sochua, MP

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Labels: Cambodian politics | Mu Sochua | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen | SRP

Sorry Chris, political tact was not part of Hanoi's PhD curriculum
PM could do with lesson in political tact

Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Chris Reid
Letter to The Phnom Penh Post

Dear Editor,

Perhaps the prime minister does not understand the value of political tact. Lashing out at political opponents at events such as high school graduations and new development ground-breakings is not only inappropriate to the event but comes across as immature and petty.

Does the leader of this nation not truly understand the influence he holds over the Cambodian population?

Positive, intelligent speech would go far to help the general public.

If a political issue is so important, why not call a press conference and face the issue and the press directly and respectfully?

Chris Reid

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Labels: Hun Sen's lack of political tact | KR rude behavior | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen

KRT graft claims will not be investigated ... what else is new in the kingdoom of corruption?

No review of KRT graft claims aired on CNN

Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Georgia Wilkins The Phnom Penh Post

CORRUPTION allegations against the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal aired by the American news network CNN on Friday will not be investigated, a court official told the Post on Sunday.

"There is nothing in the report that is new, or that I haven't heard before," said public affairs chief Helen Jarvis. "There are no specific complaints that are identified or clear enough."

The report included interviews with two court staffers, their identities hidden, who claimed Sean Visoth, the court's chief administrator, took kickbacks totalling US$40,000 a month from staff salaries.

Jarvis said Sean Visoth is no longer on the court's payroll.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, told the Post on Sunday that the corruption allegations were not only unfounded, but were made with malicious intent.

"These are just accusations from people wanting to discredit the court and bring it down," he said. "We have had seven international audits of the court already and none has found solid evidence."

The kickback allegations were the subject of an earlier UN review, the results of which have yet to be made public, despite calls for their release from defence lawyers at the tribunal.

Phay Siphan rejected calls for another investigation, saying the UN "is not perfect. They are not God. They did not come from heaven".

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Labels: Alleged ECCC corruption | Helen Jarvis | No corruption allegation investigation

RCAF, police plates targeted [-Even Hun Sen has to acknowledge the abuse]

RCAF plates on vehicles parked outside Phnom Penh's Sorya Shopping centre on Sunday. (Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN)

Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Sam Rith
The Phnom Penh Post

"Officials have to respect the law, but in Cambodia it is very hard to have officials respect the law" - Son Chhay
Hun Sen says cars with unauthorised police and military number plates could become property of the government.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen warned last week against the use of police and military licence plates by civilians and low-ranking officers, saying the government would seize vehicles bearing unauthorised plates as part of a crackdown set to go into effect this month.

"Officials who put RCAF and police plates on their personal cars have to take them off immediately," he said during the inauguration of a granary at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

"Otherwise, the vehicles will become the property of the state."

National Police Chief Neth Savoeun wrote a letter to officers in February instructing them to begin enforcing in May a law already on the books that outlaws the unauthorised use of police and military registration plates.

Article 91 of the Land Traffic Law, which went into effect in March 2007, gave the drivers of private vehicles bearing police and military plates one year to switch to private plates, meaning drivers who continue to drive with unauthorised plates have been flouting the law since March 2008. Under the law, violators face two to five years in prison and a fine of between 4 million riels and 10 million riels (US$970-$2,424). The law does not stipulate that violators can lose ownership of their vehicles.

Enforcement disconnect

Phnom Penh Traffic Police Chief Tin Prasoeur said he viewed Hun Sen's remarks as a "notice that we have to start implementing" the law.

"We immediately started implementing it after the prime minister's speech," he said, although he said this "implementation" involved only the recording of registration plate numbers that appeared to be in violation of the law.

"We just take the plate numbers down. We do not fine them," he said.

"[right now] we just take the plate numbers down. we do not fine them."
El Narin, deputy traffic police chief, said he believed Hun Sen's remarks would prompt violators to make the switch to private plates.

He said officers were in the process of trying to educate violators about the law and that they would begin assuming possession of their cars "later on".

Hun Sen said the drivers of cars bearing police and military plates are more prone to drive recklessly, a point echoed by opposition Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay, who said such drivers "do not respect traffic lights".

"Officials have to respect the law, but in Cambodia it is very hard to have officials respect the law," Son Chhay said.

He added that he believed the ministries of defence and interior had done little to curtail the use of unauthorised plates.

Touch Chankosal, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, also called on the ministries of defence and interior, which issue the plates, to focus on the problem.

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Labels: Hun Sen's empty warning | Lawlessness in Cambodia | Possible confiscation of vehicles bering RCAF license plates | Power abuse

Hun Sen threatens to abolish ministries [-The 2 departments can't share bribes equitably?]
Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Nguon Sovan
The Phnom Penh Post

PRIME Minister Hun Sen warned he may dismantle the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance because of an ongoing dispute between the Department of Customs and Excise and Camcontrol, which falls under the Ministry of Commerce.

The disagreement centres on control of the country's customs committee, he said.

"The two men have bad blood," said Hun Sen, referring to Pen Simon, chief of the department of customs, which controls tariffs; and Mok Pichrith, chief of Camcontrol, which controls food safety.

The premier lashed out at the officials during a ceremony to inaugurate a new crane at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port at the end of last week.

"Why are they negotiating an agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance? It is like the two ministries are independent states," said Hun Sen. "There should be an inter-ministerial announcement, not an agreement. If this continues, I will dismantle the two ministries and combine them."

The customs department has the role of chairman and Camcontrol appoints the deputy to the government committee for customs control.

"If the chairman does not give the order, the deputy cannot do anything," said the premier.

He said the two units have joint responsibility for imports. "We created a one-stop service to let the two units work together. The two must harmonise."

Neither Pen Simon nor Mok Pichrith could be reached for comment.

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Labels: Bribe money feud | Camcontrol | Department of customs | Hun Sen's warning

Will the WB help send our Hanoi's PhDs to "real" higher education?

Isn't about time for our Hanoi PhDs to be sent to real school?

WBank to put US$15m towards improving higher education

Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Khuon Leakhena
The Phnom Penh Post

THE World Bank is to inject US$15 million to support tertiary education in private and public universities and institutes in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education has said.

The money will be spent over five years and will be aimed at boosting standards and providing scholarships for needy students, while improving academic research and financial management.

Pith Chamnan, a secretary of state at the ministry, said last week that the funding would be a significant boost in addressing weaknesses in the sector.

"Fifteen million US dollars is enough to support the higher education sector across the country," Pith Chamnan said.

"It is a small sum, but we consider it a start. We must ensure the four areas of spending reach their goals so that education quality will improve."

He said the ministry hoped for further funds if the project was successful, adding that the initial tranche of money had not yet reached the ministry. The cash will be spent between 2010 and 2015.

"The World Bank has previously shown interest in the education sector, but that was predominantly at the primary and secondary education level," he said.

"Tertiary education is very important for development - studies show that an economy improves once a country has people with good-quality higher education."

Pok Thavin, director general of the ministry's Tertiary Education Department, said the Kingdom currently has 77 higher education institutions and 130,000 tertiary students.

But standards are mixed. A recent ministry report noted that some institutions provide little benefit to students, while Prime Minister Hun Sen told attendees at the National Education Congress in March that some master's and PhD candidates were unable even to type on computers.

Pith Chamnan said the World Bank had provided US$3 million for three higher education projects in 2006 and 2007.

One-third had gone to the higher education sector, another third to the accreditation committee that develops educational standards in the Kingdom and the final third to enlarge the Hun Sen Library at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

A report written by the Education Ministry in January showed that the number of scholarships on offer at state higher education institutions now benefits just 12 percent of students, whereas previously, higher education at all public institutions was free.

A total of 10,000 students have benefited from scholarships in the three years since 2006.

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Labels: Higher education improvement | WB Aid

Thailand guarantees security for postponed ASEAN summit
Mon, 05/04/2009

Bangkok - The Thai government on Monday guaranteed full security for a regional summit on June 13 to 14 in Phuket, after the event was derailed last month by protestors.

"Every person in Phuket guarantees there will be an ASEAN summit on June 13-14," Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tuebsuban said.

A summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six main partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea - had to be cancelled on April 11 after red-shirted anti-government demonstrators stormed the summit's hotel venue at Pattaya beach resort, 100 kilometres south-east of Bangkok.

Suthep was in charge of security for the Pattaya summit fiasco, blamed on poor coordination between the police, military and pro-government thugs. It was the first ASEAN summit to be canceled because of protests in the group's 42-year history.

The military will be soley responsible for security at the Phuket summit, officials said Monday.

Thai Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said the government will place the summit venue and a 5-kilometre radius under the National Security Act, prohibiting all protests and allowing authorities to arrest unauthorized gatherings of more than five people.

Phuket, an island resort 600 kilometres south of Bangkok, is a political stronghold of the Democrat Party, which is led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Suthep, a deputy leader of the Democrats, originally wanted the summit to be held in Phuket instead of Pattaya, because he felt more confident about the security situation on the pro-Democrat island, government sources said.

However, Phuket hoteliers were not keen on hosting the summit because of lack of rooms, forcing the government to shift the event to Pattaya.

Thailand's political instability has made ASEAN summit planning difficult for more than a year.

The 14th ASEAN summit plus sessions with its main partners was originally planned for mid-December last year, but was cancelled after anti-government protestors shut down Bangkok's two international airports for a week.

The ASEAN summit was then held in Hua Hin beach resort, 130 kilometres south of Bangkok, on February 28-March 1, but the side-summits with ASEAN's main partners had to be postponed until April because of scheduling difficulties.

Thailand, which is chair of ASEAN throughout 2009, will host yet another summit near the end of the year, politics permitting.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Labels: ASEAN summit in Phuket in June | Postponed ASEAN summit | Thailand political unrest

Asia should rebound next year: ADB president
4 May 2009

BALI: Developing countries in Asia should be able to rebound from the global economic crisis and reach 6 per cent growth next year, the president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Haruhiko Kuroda, said here on Monday.

Growth in the region was expected to fall to 3.4 per cent this year from 6.3 per cent last year and record growth of 9.5 per cent in 2007, Kuroda said.

"With strong national and regional efforts and a mild recovery expected in the global economy next year, developing Asia should bounce back to 6 per cent growth in 2010," Kuroda said at the opening of the bank's annual meeting.

"Therefore, this should not be a time of despair," he said. "Our region continues to grow and will remain the touchstone of dynamism and hope, contributing substantially to global growth and poverty reduction."

The two-day annual meeting on the resort island of Bali was being attended by ministers, central bank governors and officials from the bank's 67 member countries.

On Sunday, Japan, China and South Korea agreed with the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to set up a $120 billion currency reserve pool to counter the global crisis.

Japan and China each committed $38.4 billion, or 32 per cent, to the fund, while South Korea would provide $19.2 billion, the ministers said.

The remainder would come from the ASEAN members - Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos.

Officials said the fund was not intended to replace the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"The region will have a major financial facility supplementary to the major international funding institution, the IMF, which is responsible for that kind of thing," ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said on Sunday.

Japan also said it would establish an emergency fund of up to $60 billion in the event of an Asian financial crisis, a scheme separate from the ASEAN pool.

The ADB has warned that the crisis would keep more than 60 million people in developing Asia trapped in poverty this year and nearly 100 million more in 2010.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned that social and political unrest could erupt in many countries if the crisis went unchecked.

"We have no clear indication whether the worst is already behind us or whether there is more bad news around the corner," Yudhoyono told the opening session of the meeting.

"But we can all safely assume that 2009 will be a difficult year for many economies," he said.

The bank plans to set up a $3 billion fund to provide emergency loans to crisis-hit member countries faster and more cheaply than under the bank's existing programmes.

The fund would help increase total loan disbursements by the bank by $10 billion to $32 billion over the next two years.

Kuroda said Asia would need to rebalance growth, placing more emphasis on domestic demand and consumption rather than exports.

"While the challenges are huge, I believe the crisis is also an opportunity ... for our region - and the world - to fundamentally restructure our approach to development and bring about a more sustainable global balance," he said.

The new approach must also include greater attention to combating climate change as the region needs energy to grow and its share of global carbon emissions could reach 40 per cent by the end of 2030, Kuroda said.

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Labels: ADB economic outlook in Asia | ASEAN | Asian financial crisis | Haruhiko Kuroda

Man Murdered for Leaving Party too Early

In Srah Chak village, Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia, Mr. Chhun Bunthon, 38, got intoxicated at a party, early in the evening, and decided it was time to go. Witnesses said that Bunthon had been so drunk that he couldn't drink anymore.

Mr. Nob Ny, 26, was at the same party as Mr. Bunthon and he was not happy with Bunthon's decision to leave the party early.

When Bunthon attempted to depart, Ny stabbed him to death.

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Labels: Murder

Cambodian media group calls on government to promote freedom of expression
4 May 2009
Source: CAPJ

The following is a statement from the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), a SEAPA partner based in Phnom Penh:

Long live the spirit of World Press Freedom Day

On the occasion of the observance of World Press Freedom Day 2009, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) wishes all the Cambodian journalists great health and success in their noble mission to serve their audiences and readers both inside and outside of Cambodia.

CAPJ noted that the press freedom situation in Cambodia in the year 2008 slightly improved compared to 2007 and still maintained a good score among countries in Southeast Asia in spite of the existing negative points such as the arrests of journalists, the threats ad lawsuits brought forward against them, the denial of access to information to media workers and the numerous pending and unsolved cases ating back to 1993.

CAPJ recorded 32 violations of press freedom in 2008. These include 14 arrests, six incidents of threat, two lawsuits, three cases involving the temporary halt of publication and broadcast, three cases of camera and recorder seizures, three duty-related injuries and road accidents and one case of killing.

Along with the above-mentioned incidents, CAPJ deplores the lack of freedom to freely operate the electronic media as this type of platform continues to be dominated by the ruling party thus giving an unfair opportunity for other parties to make their messages heard to the grassroots people. CAPJ insists on a change of this trend.

CAPJ appeals to the judiciary system to refer to the 1994 Press Law when passing judgment to an accused Cambodian journalist. It also expresses its full endorsement of the recent statement of donor countries' representatives dated April 28, 2009 which called on the Cambodian government to speed up the process of adopting the Anti-Corruption Law and to guarantee the public in general, and the Cambodian press in particular, the right to access information.

CAPJ also would like to make an appeal to the media owners to help upgrade the journalists' living condition by ensuring a decent salary and other benefits for their employees in order to help curb corruption among Cambodian journalsists. Furthermore, it expects the journalists to strictly abide by the media code of ethics in order to place a high value on their profession and avoid a breach of professional ethics.

Last but not the least, CAPJ calls on the government to take a firm stand to put an end to violence against journalists and permanently end the culture of impunity in Cambodia.

Issued by

Mr. Um Sarin
President of CAPJ

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Labels: CAPJ | Killing of journalist | Lack of press freedom in Cambodia | Threats and lawsuits on journalists | World Press Freedom Day

Fire kills 4 karaoke workers
May 4, 2009

PHNOM PENH (Cambodia) - A POLICE officer says four Cambodian women who worked at a karaoke parlor were killed and two other people injured as a fire swept through their room while they slept.

Major Thuch Ra said the four, aged 15 to 22, died early on Sunday in the northwestern city of Battambang.

Another woman and a 25-year-old man were in critical condition from the blaze, which was believed to have started from faulty electric connections.

He said the victims were believed to have been drunk and at least initially were not aware that a fire had broken out.

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Labels: Fire in Battambang

King Father's tirade ignores historical record
Monday, 04 May 2009
Written by Dr Naranhkiri Tith
Letter to The Phnom Penh Post

Dear Editor,

I read with puzzlement the article in your newspaper titled "Sihanouk lashes out King Father's tirade ignores historical recordat journalist's war" (April 21,2009). However, I was not surprised at all to hear the former king's tirade against all those who dare criticising him. What is most incredible is the notion that Sihanouk thinks that he is right all the time.

Can he be right when he was an adversary to the Khmer Rouge during the 1960s, then turned to become their ally in the 1970s and 1980s?

Can he be right when he was against Hun Sen and the Vietnamese in the 1980s when he was leading the national resistance movement against the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, then now he turned to become a close ally of Hun Sen and thanked Vietnam for "liberating" Cambodia?

Can anybody smart enough give me an answer to these questions?

Dr Naranhkiri Tith
Phnom Penh

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Labels: Sihanouk's controversies | Sihanouk's tirade | Tith Naranhkiri

Forced Eviction Coming at Borei Keila

Licadho's Video

Over 30 families living with HIV/AIDS in the "green shed" at the Borei Keila social land concession are facing the prospect of eviction. The families living in the temporary "green shed" have been waiting for new apartments to be allocated to them for the past 2 years, but they are now faced with the prospect of being evicted to the Toul Sambo relocation site 20km outside of Phnom Penh. At Toul Sambo there is inadeuqate housing, no clean water and is far from any markets, schools, employment opportunities and most importantly medical facilities.

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Labels: Borei Keila eviction | Families affected by HIV/AIDS | Forced eviction in Cambodia | Unfair relocation

2009 LICADHO Report: Cambodia’s Media Continue to be Attacked, Threatened and Censored

May 2, 2009
Source: Licadho

Cambodia's media is often described as one of the freest in the region, especially relative to the likes of Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos or China where the media is all but controlled by the government1. But the reality is that Cambodia's media still exists in a repressive environment where the government controls the majority of the media. Those that it does not control, it is not afraid to attack, threaten or censor.

The 15 months reviewed in the latest LICADHO briefing paper - from January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 - saw a number of cases of defamation lawsuits, repeated censorship, attacks, threats and intimidation.

The period review was crucial politically with the national election held in July 2008. The murder two weeks before the vote of opposition-aligned journalist Khim Sambo was a chilling reminder of the risks Cambodian journalists face for doing their job.

"The continued intimidation of the media through physical attacks, threats, charges of defamation and disinformation and murder ensure the lack of an environment free from political pressures for media to cover sensitive and important issues affecting Cambodians," says Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO.

As yet, no one has been arrested for the killing of Khim Sambo, a pattern consistent with the murders of journalists in Cambodia since 1993. In 2008, another journalist fled Cambodia with his family and has since been granted asylum in Norway after receiving death threats for his work for Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Most of the Kingdom's media outlets are aligned to a political party and most favor the Cambodian People's Party (CPP). All eight television channels are aligned with the CPP, as are 11 of the main 22 Khmer-language stations, and 13 of the 24 larger Khmer-language newspapers.

The briefing paper is titled Restrictions on the Freedom of Expression in Cambodia's Media, and is published in celebration of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2009. The briefing paper is an update to LICADHO's previous report on the subject of media restrictions which was published in May 2008 - Reading Between the Lines: How Politics, Money and Fear Control Cambodia's Media.

The report is available from

For more information, contact:
Dr. Kek Galabru, President of LICADHO at 012 940 645

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Labels: Cambodia's media under attack | CPP-controlled media | Degrading press freedom in Cambodia | Licadho | Press freedom in Cambodia

World Press Freedom Day
03 May 2009
By Im Navin
Cambodge Soir Hebdo
Translated from French by Luc Sâr
Click here to read the article in French

On 03 May, to mark the World Press Freedom Day, Licadho publishes a report on the situation in Cambodia.

According to France-based Reporters Without Borders, Cambodia dropped dramatically in the press freedom ranking: ranked 85th in 2007, Cambodia ranked 126th in 2008. Even though Cambodia’s ranking is better than that in neighboring countries (Vietnam, Laos, Burma, China), the press situation in Cambodia seems to be degrading.

In July 2008, two weeks before the general election, Khim Sambo, a reporter close to the opposition party, was assassinated with his son in Phnom Penh. The police still has not found the killers yet. According to Licadho’s report, 14 reporters were threatened in 2008, as compared to 7 in 2007; 10 reporters were arrested, as compared to 6 in 2007. A Cambodia journalist even received asylum in Norway in 2008 following death threats he received.

Licadho, the human rights NGO, selected to underscore the fact that Cambodian journalists continue to be threatened, attacked, and censored. “The continued intimidation of the media through physical attacks, threats, charges of defamation and disinformation and murder ensure the lack of an environment free from political pressures for media to cover sensitive and important issues affecting Cambodians,” Naly Pilorge, Licadho’s director, declared.

The NGO recalled also that the majority of newspapers and TV stations are attached or aligned with one political party. The majority of them support the ruling CPP: all TV channels, half of the radio stations and 13 out of 24 main publications in Khmer.

On the other hand, the Club of Cambodian Journalists chose to focus on the border conflict with Thailand. It assures that reporters in the disputed area could help resolve this conflict. It also underscores that the authorities let reporters do their work on the spot and that soldiers assure their security. However, on the Thai side, Thai army upholds information and prevents reporters from moving freely.

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Labels: CPP-controlled media | Degrading press freedom in Cambodia | Licadho | World Press Freedom Day

Mu Sochua’s case: Hun Sen’s lawyer summoned
04 May 2009
By Pen Bona
Cambodge Soir Hebdo
Translated from French by Luc Sâr
Click here to read the article in French

The government lawyer, who represents Hun Sen in the defamation case brought up by opposition MP MU Sochua, was summoned to the Phnom Penh municipal court for questioning on 07 May.

Ky Tech, Hun Xen’s lawyer and former CBA president, confirmed that he received a summon and that he would show up on that same afternoon. On her side, Mu Sochua declared that she did not receive any summon from the judge yet. “I am ready to go to defend myself at the court regarding my lawsuit,” Mu Sochua said.

The defamation case started on 04 April. During his travel to Kampot where Mu Sochua was elected from, Hun Sen verbally attacked a woman without directly naming her, calling her a “provocateur.” “During the election campaign, she tripped on someone, then she finally accused him of unbuttoning her blouse,” Hun Sen mocked. Mu Sochua did not appreciate this statement. According to her, a man bumped into her while she was trying to get a picture of an army license plate on a car used in the CPP procession. Irked by the attack on her honor, on 23 April, Mu Sochua and her lawyer held a press conference to announce that she would sue “Mr. Hun Sen” for defamation.

According to Ky Tech, the government lawyer, since Hun Sen did not name anyone, Mu Sochua’s declarations constitute an attack on Hun Sen’s honor. Therefore, he sued the opposition MP. The case is also in the hand of the Phnom Penh municipal court.

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Labels: Hun Sen insulting Mu Sochua | Hun Sen's lawyer | Ky Tech | Ky Tech summoned by the court | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen

Even Mu Sochua's lawyer is not allowed to talk to the press or to the public: Justice-a-la-Hun-Xen?

Hun Sen and Ky Tech's role model for justice?

Mu Sochua’s lawyer could face sanction

02 May 2009
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

Mrs. Mu Sochua’s lawyer could face sanction or temporary license suspension so that the court could handle his case, if the Cambodian Bar Association (CBA) finds that he is at fault as claimed by Ky Tech, Hun Sen’s defense lawyer. Ky Tech, the former CBA president and current government lawyer, complained to the CBA, in his name as a representative of Hun Sen, asking the CBA to look into the actions and the words of Kong Sam Onn, Mu Sochua’s lawyer, during the press conference he held with Mrs. Mu Sochua on 23 April 2009, as well as a number of interviews that Kong Sam Onn gave to newspapers. Regarding Ky Tech’s complaint, Chiv Song hak, the current CBA president, said that he did not know about it yet. However, Ky Tech said that his complaint was lodged with the CBA on 30 April 2009.

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Labels: Justice-a-la-Hun Sen | Ky Tech's complaint to the CBA | Lack of freedom of speech

Korea Eyeing SE Asia for Energy Resources
MAY 04, 2009
The Dong-A Ilbo (South Korea)

“Advance into CLV, an alternative to the post-China era!”

Countries are increasingly setting their sights on Southeast Asian countries in preparation for the era in which China loses its attraction as a base for manufacturing and a consumer market.

The Korean government and companies are paying close attention to “CLV,” namely Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The three countries offer more investment opportunities than Thailand and Singapore, where advanced economies have gained the upper hand. In addition, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have shown interest in learning from Korea’s experience of achieving rapid economic development over a short period of time.

Korea’s summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations slated for early next month is also fueling growing interest in the three countries.

○ Edge in energy trade

Energy resources will play a key role in trade relations between Korean and CLV. As of May last year, oil products made up the largest share of outbound shipments to ASEAN nations. Energy resource-related items such as natural gas, crude oil and petroleum took up the second to fourth-largest shares of imported products from the three countries. Korea imports resources from CLV and processes them for re-export to the same countries.

The Knowledge and Economy Ministry in Seoul will dispatch “energy resources delegates” to CLV to boost energy trade. A ministry official said, “Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have been shunned by advanced countries because of political instability, though they have vast energy resources.”

“Now that the countries have achieved political stability, we should waste no time in making inroads into them to gain an early edge.”

GS Caltex is seeking business opportunities in Cambodia, though the country’s prospects for becoming a resource development country remain uncertain. Hoping to produce visible results after 2013, however, the company is carrying out oil field explorations there.

In Laos, which is in the process of transforming from an agrarian country into a mineral powerhouse, small and mid-size Korean companies are participating in exploration projects after winning development permits from the country.

Cheap labor in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam is another attraction for companies. Vietnamese and Indonesian workers earn one tenth of the wages of those in Chinese.

○ Know-how for rapid economic growth

China and Japan have also joined the race to advance into CLV, especially China. Building on what ethnic Chinese have achieved there, Asia’s second-largest economy is expanding its influence.

Japan has been expanding investment in the region centering on Vietnam.

Experts say Korea can beat China and Japan in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by utilizing its know-how accumulated from achieving rapid economic growth. The three Southeast Asian countries are relatively backward in economy, and are eager to follow Korea’s example.

Korea has begun full-fledged government and civil cooperation to teach Korean know-how to the construction, textile and machinery sectors of the three Southeast Asian countries. The Small Business Corporation of Korea is running programs to train personnel and the Korea Rural Corporation is instructing Cambodian farmers on agricultural technology.

A ministry official said, “Vietnam admires Korea for achieving fast growth over the short period of 30 years and seeks to take a page out of Korea’s book.”

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Labels: Cheap labor | CLV | Energy trade | South Korean investment

Year of Angkor ... under Vietnamese occupation and KR remnants' ruling?

Cambodia names multilateral peacekeeping exercise in 2010 as "Year of Angkor"

PHNOM PENH, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has named a multilateral peacekeeping exercise to be held in the kingdom in 2010 as "Year of Angkor," the Jian Hua Daily said on Monday.

The title of "Angkor" can be traced back to the 802-1423 dynasty, when the Khmer nationality had its most glorious period in history.

The exercise in 2010 will have at least 13 participating countries, most of them Asian ones, the Chinese-language newspaper quoted military officers as saying.

In early April, Prak Sokhon, secretary of state at the Cambodian Council of Ministers, told reporters that 2,000 troops from 13 countries will take part in the U.S.- and UN-sponsored exercise to be held in Kompong Speu province in 2010.

The event will be conducted in the framework of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), an annual training event attended by GPOI member nations and other regional and international partners, according to the U.S. Embassy.

GPOI once held such exercises in Bangladesh in 2008 and Mongolia in 2007. Garuda Shield 09 in Indonesia is the upcoming GPOI serial exercise, for which Cambodia prepares to dispatch some60 soldiers.

According to official files, Cambodia respectively sent 40 soldiers to Bangladesh and 43 to Mongolia to take part in these GPOI exercises.

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Labels: Multilateral Peacekeeping Exercises | Year of Angkor

Muggers Target Princess And Pals In Cambodia
Monday May 04, 2009
Sky News

Princess Eugenie and her friends were targeted by muggers in Cambodia, it has been reported.

A bandit grabbed a purse belonging to a friend of the younger daughter of the Duke of York during a night out in Phnom Penh, The Sun said.

Royal protection officers tackled the robber, only to be pelted with rocks by another bandit, the paper added.

Eugenie, 19, and her friends were then whisked away to safety by the police.

A Buckingham Palace source told the paper: "(Police) feared the incident was escalating out of control and took the decision to focus on the safety of their principal."

It is the first time in a decade that SO14 Special Branch officers have stopped a direct threat to a royal.

The princess - who is sixth in line to the throne - is on a gap-year trip which has already included visits to Thailand and South Africa.

There has been criticism of the cost of police protection for Eugenie during the trip, said to be in the region of £100,000.

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Labels: Mugging in Cambodia | Princess Eugenie | Queen Elizabeth II's grandaughter

Princess Eugenie rescued after attack in Cambodia

Princess Eugenie is on a gap-year trip

Monday, May 04, 2009

LONDON (AFP) — Thieves tried to rob Queen Elizabeth II's 19-year-old granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, and her friends while they were travelling in Cambodia, the Sun newspaper has reported.

Royal protection officers had to intervene to protect the princess, the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, when a thief tried to steal her friend's purse as they walked through Phnom Penh one night, the Sun said.

The two officers tackled the thief but were pelted with stones by another man, forcing them to let him go and focus on getting the princess to safety. They also managed to retrieve the purse.

The Sun said it was the first time in ten years that protection officers have stopped a direct threat to a member of the royal family.

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Labels: Mugging in Cambodia | Princess Eugenie | Quen Elizabeth II's grandaughter | Robbery in Cambodia

Sam Rainsy's May Day Message to Cambodian Workers

MP Kem Sokha (L), MP Sam Rainsy (C), MP Mu Sochua (R). Union President Rong Chhun stands behind (between Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy) (Photo: SRP)

May 1, 2009


Opposition leader Sam Rainsy refers to the effects of the global economic crisis on Cambodian workers' conditions. He tells workers about the US$500-million stimulus package he has suggested in order to save jobs and create new ones. Such a plan requires a reduction in corruption and more emphasis on serving the public interest. Sam Rainsy rejects Prime Minister Hun Sen's plan to send workers back to the countryside.

Read text in Khmer at

SRP Cabinet

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Labels: Sam Rainsy's May Day message | SRP

A Perfect Example of Unscrupulous CPP Media
May 1, 2009


Today, CPP mouthpiece Rasmei Kampuchea (Light of Cambodia) shows the extent to which the CPP media can be shamelessly unscrupulous. Instead of publishing a clarification letter as requested by the SRP Cabinet following a baseless accusation contained in its April 23 edition (see our April 27 statement below), it re-publishes exactly the same April 23 article with the same baseless accusation to show that it is not happy with our clarification letter!

Rasmei Kampuchea maintains its invented story and continues to put lies in the mouth of a fake witness, who has since recanted. But it continues to remain totally silent on the most noticeable fact that a CPP member of parliament, Mrs. Long Sakhorn, is illegally filling a river in Sihanoukville in order to grab public land.

SRP Cabinet
April 27, 2009


After making a grave accusation against Sam Rainsy, pro-CPP newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea refuses to publish a clarification from the SRP and ignores journalist code of ethics.

On April 23, 2009, Rasmei Kampuchea published a front-page article with a big headline: "Sam Rainsy is accused of grabbing public land in Sihanoukville." In the article, there is a photo with the following caption: "Stone fence with iron gate closing a dirt road at O Tres village on Mr. Sam Rainsy's land."

Also on April 23, 2009, the SRP cabinet immediately wrote a clarification letter to Rasmei Kampuchea's editor specifying that Sam Rainsy owns no land whatsoever in Sihanoukville. But the SRP cabinet did specify that Sam Rainsy had a few friends who legally owned pieces of land in Sihanoukville and had invited Sam Rainsy to go there a few times. The SRP Cabinet has learned from those friends that a lady named Long Sakhorn, who is a CPP member of parliament, is trying to grab their lands by illegally filling an adjacent river. The victims decided to build a fence in order to prevent Mrs. Long Sakhorn from continuing to fill in the river, which is an act violating the public domain and destroying the environment.

By its adamant refusal to publish the clarification from the SRP, Rasmei Kampuchea shows that it is paid by dishonest people to write stories to defame innocent people and that it is a tool for the CPP to cover up crimes committed by CPP officials.

See letter to Rasmei Kampuchea's editor at
More information on the case at

SRP Cabinet

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Labels: CPP propaganda | Lack of journalistic ethics | Pro-CPP Rasmei Kampuchea

Ms. Mu Sochua vs. Mr. Hun Sen
May 02, 2009
Op-Ed by Jayakhmer
On the web at

Recent dispute between Member of Parliament Mu Sochua and Prime Minister Hun Sen reveals not only the rough and tumble nature of Khmer politics but also the standard by which political discourse are being carried out. If the prime minister managed to incorporate the fact that a woman “tripped on someone and accused him of unbuttoning her blouse” in his political speech, you know that the standard is very low.

I have mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, I feel that it is personal issues between the involved parties; and therefore, do not want to get involved with the nature of the lawsuit nor the counter suit. Since it is their prerogatives, I should wait and see how the Khmer legal system handles this grievant process.

On the other hand, when the talk of only stripping of Ms. Sochua’s immunity as an impending possibility, I could not help but only see this heavy handed tactic as an act of oppression.

According to Iris M. Young, a critical theorist and a modern political thinker, oppression as violence is defined as actions that cause “Members of some groups [to] live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person.”

As a Khmer and an observer of Khmer politics, I think the suit and the counter suit that may be seen as frivolous by some are within the law of the land. But, if the National Assembly steps in and removes Ms. Sochua’s immunity, it will send a chilling message to the country and to the world that there is an “untouchable” person or status quo in the country. It essentially implies that if anyone dares to challenge this person or the status quo, the country will mobilize to defeat you. And that would constitute as oppression.

If this is the norm or the standard by which the country has to get used to, Cambodia is drifting further and further away from the kind of democracy I was once hoped that the country would some day achieve.

I hope that the National Assembly will act in the interest of the nation by abstaining its body from this seemingly private issue.

For now let us carefully observe the situation. Again, let us allow the court handles this process.

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Labels: Hun Sen's heavy handed tactics | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen | Op-Ed by Jayakhmer | Political oppression in Cambodia

Cambodia is like a computer with its hard drive wiped out [... by a malware called KR and its remnant still in power]

Ruth Yoffe with an example of Reloop Designs' work.

A Kiwi's plastic-bag initiative in Cambodia

Sunday Star Times (New Zealand)

Ruth Yoffe would be the first to admit that Reloop Designs won't end poverty and save the world from drowning in plastic. But it is making a small difference.

While her fellow New Zealanders grumble about the cost and environmental impact of supermarket bags, the Aucklander has been quietly hard at work in an impoverished corner of Cambodia, leading an initiative that turns waste plastic into beautiful, colourful handicrafts.

Each basket, belt or pot is also proof of the way that Reloop Designs has offered a better life to poor and disabled Cambodians.

Yes, it is heartwarming, says Yoffe, who turned her back on a career in product design in New York to do something worthwhile with her skills.

And on the surface, the process seems so straightforward. Crochet needles turn rubbish into artwork for sale in eco-boutiques in the United States, ticking all the feel-good boxes along the way environmental benefit, economic independence and Kiwi can-do.

Heartwarming yes. Straightforward, never.

The story of Reloop Designs has been a saga of continuing frustration, starting from the very first day she arrived in Kampot 18 months ago, thinking she was helping out with an existing project, only to discover that she was starting from virtually nothing.

"I decided I could either have a nervous breakdown or make the best of it," she says from New York, where she is currently organising sales and trying to attract funding. (And yes, approaching a certain former New Zealand prime minister who has just arrived in town as the new head of the United Nations development programme could be one tactic).

For Yoffe, that first day in Kampot was a nightmare. She could not speak Khmer, and hardly anyone in the town could speak English. On the other hand, poverty and waste plastic were everywhere.

It wasn't as if Yoffe had no experience in development issues. After all, she spent her childhood in nations as diverse as Botswana and Indonesia because her father worked for the UN programme that Helen Clark now leads.

But in Kampot his daughter had no United Nations team, just a pitiful budget, her own initiative and crucially, it turned out her computer with an internet connection.

Finding a translator, she went to the town market to buy crochet needles and yarn in preparation for teaching the group of disabled Cambodians who, she had learned on arrival, would be turning up the next day.

She also urgently had to find help providing the crochet training this group would need, and the search for people with these skills demonstrated the depth of Cambodia's problems.

"I've seen incredible poverty around the world, but people in those countries still had their textile skills," she says.

However, the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s destroyed an entire generation of skills and knowledge.

"Cambodia is like a computer with its hard drive wiped out. The education system is truly appalling. And nobody talks about their history. They haven't even told their children what they lived through.

"On the outside, they're the warmest, welcoming people, but underneath, there's a lot of stuff. They lost their heritage of handicrafts."

Even if no one discussed the Khmer Rouge, its legacy was all around. The vacuum of knowledge meant a tragic ignorance of medicine until recently, polio was rampant, and treatable conditions such as ear infections progressed to permanent deafness and a life on the margins of society.

The day after Yoffe arrived, the two dozen such people who assembled to meet her were incredulous at the idea that anyone could see value in plastic rubbish, but also appreciative that someone had come so far to help them.

THAT WAS when, at last, things began to improve. Yoffe's crochet mission had turned up two elderly women with some basic skills, and she had brought some ideas for designs with her from New York. Plastic bags were collected, washed, turned into yarn and crochet instruction began.

"In that first week I was so touched at how hard everyone worked. They were so enthusiastic, I was taken aback I'd never seen that sort of tenacity. Within about three weeks, the results were quite amazing."

This was the best thing that had ever happened to them. Amid the heat, mosquitoes, poverty and noise an enormous pig occupied a stall close by in the building where they worked Reloop Designs started turning rubbish into handicrafts that would eventually go on sale in eco-boutiques in New York, Wisconsin and Maryland, and in private sales (one last week raised $US800).

The nature of the project means mass production will never be an option, but to Yoffe, that's a selling point. Each bag, belt or basket comes with the artisan's name, "every piece of work comes with a story".

But even though Yoffe was working at a manic pace, creating designs to match the levels of expertise and keeping transparent financial records, she faced her next exercise in setback-management the money was running out.

Fair wages were important. "I want them to have a life. The average wage there is $2 a day they're not surviving on that, everything has gone up. The people who work for the big retailers making jeans are like indentured slaves."

The shipping costs from Cambodia to the US were also horrendous.

That was where the computer came in. "It wouldn't have been possible without the internet," she says, describing her appeal to family and friends for funds to keep the project going. They responded and it was a rewarding moment to realise that yes, something good was happening.

Even success brought its own problems. Yoffe was gratified when other development organisations showed interest in the concept, because she had not planned to stay long-term and it would have eased the pressure on her "I'm not Wonder Woman".

But it quickly became clear they would have hijacked the idea and abandoned her team. Yoffe and the artisans would have none of that.

By this stage, her visa was also running out, and she decided she could not keep approaching friends and family for money. She describes a quite heartbreaking meeting with the Reloop workers when she left them the remaining funds before returning to stay with her boyfriend in New York, exhausted and unemployed, where she is now keeping the project going from a distance.

But in New York, it was like the clock had stopped. Friends were out of work. Retailers were not buying. Charities had no money. Just when she was confident that Reloop could offer consistent quality and a catalogue, the global financial meltdown had arrived.

She says many people are having to re-evaluate their lives, just as she did when she left New York in November 2007.

Despite the constant stress since then, and the financial cost to her personally, Yoffe has no regrets, and she is constantly aware of how successes and setbacks affect the lives of the team in Cambodia.

"I'm very motivated, in a way I had not felt about my work previously. This means everything to me, this is a turning point."

Anyone with organisational/information/contacts/skills that could help the project can contact Ruth Yoffe at Reloop Designs: or (for shipping prices to New Zealand)

Yoffe has a PayPal account for purchases/donations. All revenue goes to the artisans.

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Labels: Charity | Helping poor people in Cambodia | Leraning skills | Reloop Designs | Ruth Yoffe

Sunday, May 03, 2009
Asian nations endorse $120 bn emergency fund

Bali, May 3 (DPA) - Asian nations Sunday agreed on the make-up of a $120-billion regional liquidity fund designed to counter the global economic crisis.

Finance ministers from the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, China and South Korea approved the key components of the scheme, including individual country contributions, Indonesian Finance Minister Mulyani Indrawati said.

Japan and China each committed $38.4 billion, or 32 percent, to the fund, while South Korea would provide $19.2 billion, the ministers said in a statement.

The reminder would come from the 10 ASEAN member countries.

Four of ASEAN's richest members - Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand - would each contribute four percent, or $4.7 billion, to the regional fund, dubbed the Chiang Mai Initiative.

The Philippines committed to 3.1 percent while Vietnam would contribute slightly lower than one percent. The other members of ASEAN are Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

'This is very good news,' ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told DPA.

'The region will have a major financial facility supplementary to the major international funding institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is responsible for that kind of thing,' Surin said.

He said the package was expected to be implemented before the end of the year, when a formal agreement has been signed.

The finance ministers' meeting was held on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting in the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Finance Minister Kauru Yosano said his country would establish an additional emergency fund of up to $60 billion in the event of an Asian financial crisis.

Japan also would provide guarantees up to 500 billion yen ($5 billion) on yen-denominated bonds issued in Japanese markets by developing countries unable to raise funds through bond issuance due to market turmoil, he said.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that the crisis would keep more than 60 million people in developing Asia trapped in poverty this year and nearly 100 million more in 2010.

The International Labour Organisation estimated that 20 million workers would lose their jobs in Asia.

The ADB itself plans to set up a $3-billion fund to provide emergency loans to crisis-hit member countries faster and more cheaply than under the bank's existing programmes.

The fund would help increase total loan disbursements by the bank by $10 billion to $32 billion over the next two years, the bank's president, Haruhiko Kuroda, said.

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Labels: $120 billion emergency fund | Asian emergency fund | Asian financial crisis

Borei Keila -- lives at risk
Source: Amnesty International USA

"I want Prime Minister Hun Sen and [his wife] Bun Rany to know that we are living in misery so that they can help and intervene, because we have no one else. We also want to live." - Community member living with HIV and facing forced eviction
Around 32 Phnom Penh families living with HIV-AIDS are facing imminent forced eviction from Borei Keila in central Phnom Penh to a resettlement site without water, electricity and medical services. The families, who now live in temporary shelters, have protested at the planned resettlement to Tuol Sambo, some 25 kilometres from the city, where they would have no means of income and lose access to adequate health services.

Living conditions at Tuol Sambo pose a great health risk while transport costs to continue anti-retroviral treatment and access to medical services in the city would be prohibitive. So far, their protests to the authorities have been unsuccessful.

"They have told us that we will have to leave early May", said Seang Vy, 32, who is blind from opportunistic disease as a result of HIV.

Seang Vy told Amnesty International that members of all the families have visited Tuol Sambo to see the site for themselves; her mother went to check it on her behalf. They describe the housing as cramped, unstable and lacking basic services, but fear the distance to medical facilities the most.

"I wonder if they want us to move there so that we die more quickly. If we get sick at night, there is no means of transportation," she said.

And if they get sick during the day, they may not be able to afford a motorcycle taxi to travel to a clinic. All 32 families have at least one member who requires anti-retroviral treatment, a life-saving treatment provided through government- and NGO-supported programs. However, many have opportunistic infections.

The resettlement site

The housing at the resettlement site in Dangkor district is made of green metal sheets and looks distinct from the other homes in the semi-rural area. When Amnesty International visited the site in April 2009, villagers in the vicinity already referred to it as "the AIDS-village". Seang Vy and the other village representatives expressed strong fears that they will face further discrimination and stigmatization because of their HIV status if forced to live in this separate, distinct enclave. Stigmatization may be further perpetuated by their poverty and lack of job opportunities.

"We are afraid that [in Tuol Sambo] we won't be able to sell anything we might produce, and we won't be able to touch meat or fruit when we go to the market. That's not the case in the city, where people have many ways of living and don't have such ideas", said Thy, 35, a mother of two.

The resettlement housing does not meet minimal standards for emergency shelter with respect to size, fire safety and sanitation, according to Medecins Sans Frontiers, which surveyed the site in 2008 when construction had first begun. The buildings are too close together for safety and ventilation, while the land and the buildings are unstable. The living space is not sufficient for an average family and there is no privacy as the metal sheets separating the flats are only partial.

Tuol Sambo has no clean water supply and only a very rudimentary sanitation system. The housing is made of corrugated metal which makes the inside space very hot, while the outside space between the rows of housing is almost non-existent.

"There is no land to plant even a banana tree," said Seang Vy.

Most of the 32 families are living in severe poverty and would sink even deeper into poverty if they are forcibly evicted to Tuol Sambo.

The housing at the resettlement site at Tuol Sambo is far from adequate: it is cramped and lacks basic amenities, including clean water supply.

Currently they make a living as scavengers or porters in a market near to Borei Keila or as day labourers, earning daily wages of between 6,000 and 10,000 riels (approx 1.50-2.5 USD). A one-way trip from Tuol Sambo to their current work places costs an estimated 15,000 riels, so the forced eviction would effectively deprive them of their means to earn a living.

Thy and her husband, both of them living with HIV, struggle to earn an income due to health problems. She has had to give up her work as a fruit-seller a year ago, and they rely on what her husband can earn as a motorcycle taxi driver. It would be very difficult for him to earn enough driving a taxi in the semi-rural village of Tuol Sambo.

Thy and her husband Prum Pel are both in poor health and struggle to earn a living. Like the other 31 families they rely on access to medical services.

Borei Keila -- a social land concession

The families live within a large poor urban community, Borei Keila, which the government designated as a so-called social land concession for residential development in 2003. Poor, homeless families are the primary beneficiaries of social land concessions, according to the 2003 Sub-Decree on Social Land Concessions. In the case of Borei Keila social land concession it was intended to be implemented as a land-sharing arrangement between a private developer, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and residents. The agreement gave the developer 2.6 hectares of the land in Borei Keila for commercial development, in exchange for constructing new housing for the original over 1,700 residents on two hectares of the land. The remainder, consisting of 10 hectares, was to be returned to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

In March 2007 the Municipality of Phnom Penh resettled the families, who lived in Borei Keila, against their will and reportedly with force, in the so-called Green Houses, temporary shelters built -- just like the resettlement site - of mostly green corrugated metal sheets. The authorities told them that they would stay there for a few months only, to pave way for the construction of a number of residential multi-storey houses. They agreed, hoping that at least those of them who had rented housing since at least 2000 would get flats in the new buildings, still under construction.

Many of the 32 families have lived in Borei Keila long enough to be eligible for flats in the new buildings, in accordance with a 2004 agreement between the Municipality and the community that affords housing entitlements to renter families residing in Borei Keila since the year 2000 or earlier. However, in an assessment process involving NGOs and the UN in March 2007, officials of the Municipality refused to assess the vast majority of cases involving HIV-affected families. Seang Vy, Thy and others believe that the authorities discriminated against them because of their HIV status. Instead of assessing them to determine eligibility for flats in the new buildings, the authorities decided to forcibly evict them.

On 27 April 2009, amid criticism against the imminent forced eviction, local officials - for the first time - publicly acknowledged to journalists that families who are eligible should receive apartments at Borei Keila. However, there appears to have been no decision to halt the planned forced eviction, nor have any representatives of the Prampi Makara District, mandated to conduct such vetting, started assessing the families' eligibility. Sun Srun, the District Governor, told the Cambodia Daily on 11 April 2009 that the families "must accept this offer" [of relocation].

Amnesty International believes that those who have been denied housing for which they are eligible, should immediately be given apartments at Borei Keila. Any family found ineligible, should be provided other adequate alternative housing with access to health services for anti-retroviral treatment and treatment and job opportunities.


The last decade has seen a steady rise in the number of reported land disputes and land confiscations and evictions, including forced evictions, in Cambodia. Victims are almost exclusively marginalized people living in poverty, who are unable to obtain effective remedies. This rise is a result of the lack of the rule of law; a seriously delayed process of legal and judicial reform; and endemic corruption.

In 2008, Amnesty International received reports about 27 forced evictions, affecting an estimated 23,000 people. Some 150,000 Cambodians are known to be living at risk of forced eviction in the wake of land disputes, land grabbing, agro-industrial and urban redevelopment projects. An estimated 70,000 of these live in Phnom Penh.

HIV prevalence is reported to be declining in Cambodia, down from 1.2 percent of the adult population between 15 and 49 years in 2003 to 0.9 percent in June 2007, according to UNAIDS. The number of people living with HIV is estimated at 71,000.

As a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other international human rights treaties, Cambodia has an obligation to stop forced evictions and to protect the population from forced evictions.

Forced evictions are evictions carried out without adequate notice, consultation with those affected, without legal safeguards and without assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. Whether they be owners, renters or illegal settlers, everyone should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats.

Cambodia also has an obligation to ensure adequate provision of health care to all its citizens, including access to treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS. The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights also urge states to ensure universal access to HIV-related goods, services and information, and that they "not only be available, acceptable and of good quality, but within physical reach and affordable".

Cambodian health authorities, which have won international acclaim for their achievements in addressing HIV and AIDS, espouse an approach of "continuum of care" which seeks to address not only the medical issues but also social, psychological, legal, and economic consequences of living with HIV. The Cambodian 2002 Law on Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS provides that no one"shall be quarantined, placed in isolation or refused abode", or expulsed "due to the actual, perceived or suspected HIV/AIDS status of that person or his/her family members."1

Write urgently to the Prime Minister:

Calling on the authorities to protect the 32 families living at Borei Keila from forced eviction, and to immediately determine their eligibility for flats in the new buildings which are being built as part of the 2003 social land concession;
Calling on the authorities to guarantee adequate alternative housing with security of tenure for those found to be ineligible, including access to health services for anti-retroviral treatment and treatment for HIV and AIDS related illnesses or opportunistic infections;
Calling on the authorities to ensure that the families are not discriminated against because of their health status;
Calling on the government to end all forced evictions as a matter of urgency.
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Office of the Prime Minister
#38 Russian Federation Blvd.
Phnom Penh
Kingdom of Cambodia
Salutation: Dear Samdech
Fax: + 855 23 36 0666

1 Law on the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, 2002, (see e.g

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Labels: Borei Keila eviction | Forced eviction in Cambodia | HIV/AIDS infected families

Japan to provide up to 60 billion dollars in crisis fund
May 3, 2009

Bali Island, Indonesia - Japan will establish an emergency fund of up to 60 billion dollars in the event of an Asian financial crisis, Japanese Finance Minister Kauru Yosano said Sunday.

The fund is separate from the amount Japan committed to the Chiang Mai Initiative, a 120-billion-dollar regional foreign-exchange reserve pool, Yosano told a seminar of the Asian Development Bank's board of governors on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Japan has also decided to provide guarantees up to 500 billion yen (5 billion dollars) on yen-denominated bonds issued in Japanese markets by developing countries unable to raise funds though bond issuance due to market turmoil, the minister said.

'I expect that by means of these measures, the current crisis will help trigger a transformation of the economic structure of Asian developing countries into a more balanced one that will enable them to restart their robust growth,' Yosano said.

Finance ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, China and South Korea were due to meet on Sunday to hammer out details of the currency-reserve pool, designed to help defend regional currencies from the effects of the global crisis.

Yosano told reporters after meeting his Chinese and South Korean counterparts on Sunday that Japan and China would would each commit 38.4 billion dollars, or 32 per cent, to the fund, while South Korea would provide 19.2 billion dollars.

The reminder would come from the 10 ASEAN members - Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The 13 countries agreed to increase the fund pool's size to 120 billion dollars, from 80 billion dollars during earlier talks.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda said Saturday the bank planned to set up a 3-billion-dollar fund to provide emergency loans to crisis-hit member countries faster and cheaper than under the bank's existing programmes.

The fund would help increase total loan disbursements by the bank by 10 billion dollars to 32 billion dollars over the next two years, Kuroda said.

The ADB's board of governors were due to hold an annual meeting in Bali on Monday and Tuesday.

The bank warned that the crisis would keep more than 60 million people in developing Asia trapped in poverty this year and nearly 100 million more in 2010.

The International Labour Organization estimated that 20 million workers would lose their jobs in Asia.

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Labels: $60 billion emergency fund | Asian financial crisis | Japanese emergency fund

Cambodian gov't alerts public over upcoming peak of dengue fever

PHNOM PENH, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government has reminded the public to caution against the upcoming peak of dengue fever, which has killed two people nationwide so far this year, national media said on Sunday.

The rainy season started earlier this year, which fueled the spread of the epidemic and brought the number of infected cases to 871 during the first four months, almost two times the number in the same period of last year, according to the Chinese-language newspaper the Jian Hua Daily on Sunday.

Usually, children aged from one to nine years were the most fragile group to the illness, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng was quoted as saying in the report. He added that some 71 percent of the contaminated cases went to children.

"People should frequently clean their water-saving tanks, kill mosquito eggs in their tanks with pesticide and sleep in anti-mosquito nets," said the minister.

According to official figures, in 2007, a rampant year for the disease in the kingdom, 407 children died of it, out of a total of 39,851 infected cases of minors.

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Labels: Upcoming peak of dengue fever

Terrorists might take advantage of the weakness of Cambodia, such as corruption, poverty and lax management of the border: US
Cambodia refutes U.S. underestimation of its anti-terrorism capability

PHNOM PENH, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian Information Minister has refuted a U.S. State Department report about the country's capability of countering terrorism as "not 100 percent correct," national media said on Sunday.

The recently issued U.S. report about the global anti-terrorism situation claimed that terrorists might take advantage of the weakness of Cambodia, such as corruption, poverty and lax management of the border, to carry out illegal acts in its territory, despite the government had made a clear promise to crack down on this type of crime, the newspaper Jian Hua Daily quoted the minister as saying.

In addition, Cambodia lacked training and other resources to counter terrorism, it added.

Khieu Kanharith, also spokesman for the Cambodian government, said "there is no country in the world that can control its border with 100 percent accuracy, neither Cambodia."

However, "the government has established strong and trustworthy relations with different communities in order to nip any social violence in bud," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the newspaper also quoted a senior official of the Interior Minister as saying that there is minimum possibility that terrorists' acts occur in Cambodia, and fighting against money laundering should be the kingdom's priority in the anti-terrorism field.

According to official reports, no major terrorism case with global connection has occurred in the country so far.

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Labels: Corruption in Cambodia | Khieu Kanharith | Lax management of border | Poverty in Cambodia | Terrorism | US State Department

Cambodia to host ASEAN-EU ministerial meeting in late May
May 02, 2009

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) -- Delegations from 40 ASEAN and EU countries will gather here in late May to discuss ways to fight terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling and weapon proliferation, said a statement received on Saturday.

The 17th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and EU (European Union) will review previous and future cooperation between the two regional bodies from May 27 to 28, said the statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

"In particular we will talk about how to control weapons of mass destruction," said ministry spokesman Koy Kuong.

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong and Vaclav Klaus, Czech President and current EU President, will be named as co-presidents of the meeting.

The 16th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN and EU was held in Germany from March 14 to 15, 2007.

The meetings rotate between ASEAN and EU countries.

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Labels: ASEAN-EU FM meeting in Cambodia

Kom Chhluors Neung Srei - "Don't fight a woman": Poem in Khmer by Sam Vichea

Poem in Khmer by Sam Vichea (on the web at
Cartoon by Sacrava (on the web at

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Labels: Hun Sen's autocratic regime | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen | Sam Vichea Poem

Kar Dork Aphey-ek-sith - "The immunity lifitng" - Op-Ed by Srey Sra'em

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Op-Ed by Srey Sra'em

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Labels: Immunity lifting for Mu Sochua and Hun Sen | Mu Sochua vs Hun Sen | Op-Ed by Srey Sra'em

Kdei Sromai K'nhom - "My Dream": A Poem in Khmer by Hin Sithan

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Poem in Khmer by Hin Sithan

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Labels: Hin Sithan | Khmer Dream | Khmer Poem

Press Freedom in Cambodia is seriously under threat: CCHR
Source: CCHR

Media Statement

Phnom Penh, May 02, 2009
Press Freedom in Cambodia is seriously under threat

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) is very concerned with the high number of cases of human rights abuses against journalists and other media workers in Cambodia. Press freedom in Cambodia is seriously under threat.

In 2008 alone, the CCHR has documented and monitored at least 61 human rights abuses against journalists and media workers. Of this figure, there were 15 threats including death threats, threats to commence legal action, and threats to withhold licenses to operate,; 14 arrests made for spurious reasons; and 5 cases of law suits claiming defamation and disinformation being used to silence the media.

The arrest of Mr. Dam Sith, editor in chief of the pro-opposition Moneasika Khmer newspaper and a Sam Rainsy Party candidate for the parliamentary election, was a good example of how political motivations often lie behind charges of defamation and disinformation brought against journalists.

Even worse was the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo, reporter of Moneasika Khmer, along with his son in the run-up to the general election in July 2008. No perpetrator has been brought to justice.

In 2009, as of today, we have observed 8 human rights abuses against journalists including killing, death threats, physical assault, lawsuits, and arrests for alleged extortion.

Given the high figure of human rights violations involving journalist and the media in general, the CCHR calls upon the Royal Government of Cambodia to take appropriate action and follow the recommendations recently made by more than 20 non-governmental organisations in a joint report on freedom of expression and assembly to guarantee press freedom in Cambodia and bring the perpetrators of criminal acts against journalists to justice.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ou Virak, President, CCHR
Tel: +855 12 404051

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Labels: CCHR | Muzzled press freedom in Cambodia | Ou Virak | World Press Freedom Day

Khmer Krom Youth Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Letter of Invitation

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Youth Committee, we would like to invite you to participate at our 3rd World Youth Conference entitled, The Power of Youth – Safeguarding the Khmer-Krom Identity.

For the first time ever, the conference will be hosted at the National Constitution Centre on Saturday 23rd May 2009 in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The conference will start at 9am until 5pm with meals included. All youths are also invited to a party after the conference.

The international conference provides an opportunity for Khmer and Khmer Krom youths from all corners of the globe to meet each other and learn from human rights scholars. It aims to explore and discuss in an open forum the power and responsibility that youths have to protect their Khmer identity.

Meet also the young human rights activists who are making a difference to the lives of their beloved voiceless people in Kampuchea-Krom (mostly in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam).

Lunch will be provided, please register with us so we can prepare for foods. To register, please call/email our youth representatives in Philadelphia in the flyer below.

We look forward to meeting you at the conference!

Click on the poster to zoom in

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Labels: Khmer identity | Khmer Krom plight | Khmer Krom solidarity | Khmer-Krom Youth | KKYFC conference

If you are a British citizen or resident, please help sign petition to demand that Vietnam gove greater religious and political freedom

We are a group of students who have come to the attention of great injustice occurring in Vietnam towards their ethnic minority groups. In particular the Khmer Krom (mostly Buddhists) and Montagnards (mostly Christians) are being persecuted and discriminated against because they simply want firstly religious freedom but also political freedom. The Vietnamese government have put severe restrictions on human rights of several minority groups, especially on their religious and political freedom. The Vietnamese government have been reported to not only restrict but also bully, threaten and spy on these ethnic and religious minorities. Despite guaranteeing religious freedom in their constitution and being a party to the UN Charter and UN declaration of human rights, the Vietnamese government continue to abuse and flout these human rights. Therefore, we ask the UK government to pressure the Vietnamese government to give the freedoms it has signed up to protect. The economy of Vietnam has developed far more quickly than many would have expected so now let freedom and human rights do the same.

Please click here to sign the petition

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Labels: Demand for religious and political freedom in Vietnam | Khmer Krom plight | Montagnard plight | UK petition | Vietnamese oppression

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