Mao Monyvann, Cheam Channy and Thak Lany, SRP Lawmakers for Kampong Cham province, visited Cambodia-Vietnam border markers #125, 126, 127, and 128 in Ponhea Krek district, Kampong Cham province on June 23, 2010.
A nine-year old Cambodian girl violently raped by her neighbor…a young boy working in a quarry mine in southern India…a woman forced to work as a prostitute in Cambodia’s red light districts in order to feed her children. These are the people served by Lotus Outreach International.
We tackle poverty by working with grassroots organizations in India and Cambodia, because they possess the deepest understanding of their communities’ needs. We empower our local partners by providing critical, on-the-ground support in the areas of funding, program design, performance management, technical support, and training. Delibarately, we work in the poorest regions that are often too remote for the big organizations. Today, we reach over 30,000 women and children in Asia through the following initiatives:
Girls’ Access to Education (GATE), Cambodia Provides educational scholarships to over 600 at-risk and exploited young girls in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey.
Buddha Smiles, India Provides after school education and tutoring to children of illiterate dalits -- or “untouchables” -- who work in the dangerous rock quarries of Tamil Nadu.
Lotus Education As A Right Network (LEARN), India Utilizes community mobilization, legal advocacy and public interest litigation to expand access to quality public education for thousands of marginalized children in rural Haryana.
Integrated Rural Development (IRD) Program, Cambodia An integrated social development program that provides educational scholarships, preventative healthcare training, microloans, and farming resources to over 5,000 rural villagers and ethnic minorities residing in the remote villages of the Cardamom Mountain Range.
Safe Migration and Reduction of Trafficking (SMART), Cambodia A mobile anti-trafficking program which moves from point-to-point along the porous Thai-Cambodian border to educate at-risk migrant laborers and street children on the dangers of human trafficking.
Consoling Through Counseling, Cambodia Provides individual and group trauma counseling to hundreds of young victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence residing in a women’s shelter in rural Cambodia.
Non-Formal Education, Cambodia Provides literacy classes, vocational training and life skills to sex workers and their children in order to help them find better opportunities.
Well Projects, Cambodia Constructs water wells that serve entire villages in the drought-prone regions of rural Cambodia.
Phnong Education Initiative, Cambodia Improves access to education for ethnic minorities in Mondulkiri through children’s scholarships and teacher training.
The Blossom Bus, India Provides daily transportation to and from school for adolescent minority girls who live too far from the nearest school house to walk each day.
Education Scholarships for Child Laborers, India Provides scholarship support and enrollment assistance for over 700 migrant child laborers living in brick factory compounds.
Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.
At present in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 21 June 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia called on the authorities countrywide of all levels to collect and report the accurate numbers of disabled people, in order to facilitate the creation of policies as well as of procedures to assist the disabled people.
“The speech of the head of the Royal Government was welcomed by officials from the opposition parties and from civil society organizations in Cambodia, but they appealed on the Prime Minister to monitor the implementation by himself – otherwise the implementation by local authorities may not be effective.
“Presiding over the closing convention at the National Institute of Education, and the third anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian Veterans Association, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said, ‘I call on the municipal and district authorities and other related authorities to check how many veterans live in their localities, and among them, how many are poor so as to set up programs to assist them.’
“An opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Chea Poch, spoke to Deum Ampil on Monday evening, saying that he strongly supports what the Prime Minister said, adding that Samdech Hun Sen really thinks about the benefits of Cambodia’s disabled people. But he asked Samdech Hun Sen to monitor the situation himself, as some officials do not take up his recommendations.
“Mr. Chea Poch added, ‘Since 1992, and later in 1998 when the war ended, the Prime Minister mentioned this issue, but local authorities do not listen. Therefore, I suggest that Samdech Hun Sen takes practical steps.’
“As an example for a similar situation Mr. Chea Poch pointed to the case of illegal logging, which had led to the removal of the Director of the Forestry Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ty Sokun, but he was not arrested and jailed. On the contrary, he has been promoted.
“A senior investigation official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, praised the concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Cambodian Veteran Association, so that there should be only few disabled people found begging or causing trouble in the society.
“However, Mr. Chan Soveth regretted that the government just creates awareness, but does not initiate programs to support the daily lives of disabled people – now they feel disappointed, though they had sacrificed themselves for the country, but assistance should not be provided based on nepotism.
“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen clearly said that the help for disabled people should be provided without nepotism; that means that all will get help without considering their political orientation.
“Regarding this point, the head of the Royal Government asked to check certain salary lists to prevent the selling or buying and the mortgaging of materials provided to disabled people.
“He said, ‘I ask that those who bought Provisions booklets [to administer the salaries and and material donations] for disabled people to return the booklets to them, either free of charge or by selling them back at appropriate prices.’
“The Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Samheng, said during the convention that all veterans receiving support from the state in 2010 are 90,605 families or 268,082 persons, and the monthly funds spent on them amount to Riel 6,419,834,848 [approx. US$1,503,000].
“Mr. Ith Samheng added that during the convention, additional members of the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association were nominated, where there are 66 members, among them additional 10 permanent members, two additional deputy heads, and three more deputy general secretaries. In total, there are 161 members and 17 permanent members in the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association.
“It should be noted that Prime Minister Hun Sen is the head of the Cambodian Veterans Association, together with three deputy heads: Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, and Minister Ith Samheng.”
(RTTNews) - A lawyer for Thailand's ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has called on the government to hold fresh elections soon to prove it has the mandate of the public after protests left 90 dead in the nation's capital, Bangkok.
Robert Amsterdam, representing Thaksin, said the government's handling of the "Red Shirt" protests showed it did not have the support of the people, and feared the return of Thaksin.
The 'Red Shirts' rally was broken up May 19 in an army crackdown on their vast camp in the heart of Bangkok. Weeks of violent clashes and the final military assault left 90 perons dead, including some foreign mediapersons, and nearly 1,900 injured.
The term of present Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ends next November, and Thai officials have hinted it is unlikely that elections will be held this year as the government does not want to rush into elections before dealing with the deep social divisions that sparked the clashes.
Amsterdam, who was in Tokyo to seek Japan's support for an investigation into the causes of the violence, in which a Japanese journalist was killed, described the "no-elections- this-year" proposal "outrageous", and demanded that elections be held soon.
The London-based lawyer also termed the Thai government's issuance of an arrest warrant for Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, on charges of terrorism as a tactical mistake.
"I think they made a serious mistake in calling him a terrorist," Amsterdam said, adding: "I think they have reduced their chances of any country extraditing him" because of the possibility of a death penalty that the charges carry.
Now living in self-exile in Europe, Thaksin faces charges of corruption and abuse of power but still commands a strong following, mainly in rural areas, because of his populist policies.
The pro-Thaksin Red Shirt movement, comprising urban and rural poor, democracy activists and politicians, demands the holdling of fresh elections in the Buddhist South-East Asian country.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 (Bernama) -- Maybank has opened its eighth branch in Cambodia's Battambang city, the second largest city in the country after Phnom Penh.
Battambang is the main commercial hub of the northwestern region of Cambodia and is about 291 km from Phnom Penh and 140 km from Poipet, the border town between Cambodia and Thailand.
In a statement, Maybank said the new branch offered a range of retail and commercial banking services, namely deposit and placement, trade finance, loans, remittances, foreign exchange and mortgages as well as an automated teller machine.
Maybank Head of International, Abdul Farid Alias said the opening of the new branch was in line with the group's strategy of accelerating its network expansion in Cambodia to tap into the growing demand for banking services in the country.
"With the Cambodian economy expected to grow by about 4 per cent this year, arising from improved external demand and the easing of credit, we believe this is an opportune time to leverage on the strong business potential and rising demand for banking," Farid said.
He added that Battambang's growth prospects were even more evident given its significant population as well as the presence of agriculture and agro-based industries, trading & wholesale business enterprises and tourism.
"There are also a number of foreign investors involved in infrastructure and telecommunication projects as well as property development in the area, which augurs well for the future of this region," he added.
Farid said that Maybank would not only cater to its international customers who have investments in Cambodia, but also to the local market through its range of banking services.
"We are currently working on a regional ATM linkage to provide greater convenience for our customers and this will enable us to also explore the setting up off-site ATMs in Cambodia."
He added that given the growth potential and positive economic outlook for Battambang and Cambodia as a whole, Maybank was confident that its newest branch will record profits from the second year of its operation.
"We intend to maintain our growth momentum in Cambodia with the opening of another three provincial branches by 2011, which will also reinforce our expanding regional network and leadership," Farid said.
Maybank Cambodia has six branches in and around Phnom Penh and one branch in Siem Reap apart from the latest office in Battambang.
Globally, Maybank has over 1,750 offices in 14 countries, with presence in seven out of the 10 ASEAN countries as well as in the key international financial centres of Hong Kong, London, New York, Shanghai and Bahrain.
CAMBODIA may not be ready to host the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, Vath Chamroeun, the secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, told the Phnom Phen Post on Monday that five years may not be enough “for the Kingdom to prepare a sporting event of that magnitude.”
Cambodia’s reluctance to host the games in 2015 prompted the Philippine Olympic Committee to look into the possibility of Manila hosting the event in the same year.
“We will wait for Cambodia’s official communications on this. The executive board will have to take this up,” stated Cojuangco.
Earlier this month, Cojuangco said the Philippines is prepared to host the games on an earlier schedule if Myanmar or Vietnam back out of their turn in the rotation for hosting.
But Myanmar accepted the hosting rights for 2013 SEA Games during a recent meeting of the SEA Games Federation Council in Jakarta after Singapore backed out.
Cambodia was supposed to host the games in 2015, while Vietnam will have its turn in 2017.
The Federation has warned Cambodia that if it misses out on its turn, the wait can “be long and painful as bids are considered on a rotation basis.”
“We are overwhelmed by this show of massive support, but realistically, it may not be possible to mobilize resources, create infrastructure and develop human resources in a time frame of five years from now,” added Chamroeun. Peter Atencio
BEIJING — China said Thursday it had broken up a gang of "hardcore terrorists" who plotted attacks in the western region of Xinjiang, where scores were killed in ethnic violence last year.
Public Security Ministry spokesman Wu Heping said the attacks were planned for last year, after long-simmering tensions between Turkic Muslim Uighurs and majority Han Chinese migrants turned deadly in the regional capital Urumqi last July 5.
Nearly 200 people died in the violence that Beijing claims was plotted by overseas Uighur activists.
Wu said authorities had arrested more than 10 members of a gang of "hardcore terrorists" linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a banned terrorist organization advocating independence for Xinjiang. Among those detained were the group's co-ringleaders, who Wu said had carried out attacks around the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and subsequently traveled through China preaching religious extremism, recruiting members, raising cash, and rehearsing attacks.
"The uncovering of this major terrorist group again proves that the ETIM and other terrorist organizations constitute the gravest terrorist threat that our nation faces at this present time and in the future," Wu said at a media briefing.
Wu said the gang had assembled bombs, pipe bombs and gasoline bombs, knives and other weapons and had planned attacks in southern Xinjiang cities between July and October 2009. The plot was discovered, and the gang members fled to different parts of China and overseas, he said.
Though Wu did not identify what countries they fled to, he said three were among a group deported to China in December. That same month, Cambodia repatriated 20 Uighurs it said had illegally entered the country, touching off an international outcry.
During the briefing, several slides were displayed showing knives and what appeared to be pipe bombs made from black powder and ball-bearings. Another showed a minivan and four-wheel drive vehicles allegedly used by the gang, while a third showed a kitchen-like room described as a bomb factory in Xinjiang.
The seizures "firmly frustrated the terrorists' sabotage plot and eliminated a potential threat to public security in a timely manner," Wu said.
No dates were given for the arrests and no reason was given why the announcement was made now, although it comes just before the first anniversary of the unrest.
Last July's rioting was the worst communal violence to hit Xinjiang in more than a decade, but authorities have for decades battled a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule. Uighurs' resentment has been fueled by what many see as Beijing's heavy-handed controls on religion and policies that favor the Han Chinese migrants flooding into their traditional homeland.
Overseas Uighur activist Dilxat Raxit said the announcement was deliberately timed to associate the Uighur cause with terrorism among international audiences. Beijing has made a "unilateral accusations" and its lack of transparency raises questions about the investigation and purported evidence, including the possibility that suspects were tortured into giving testimony, he said.
"China associates all Uighur causes with the ETIM, although no one seems to know what this group is or where they are located," Raxit said.
Reverend Marcus Ramsey, director of the Macau Interfaith Network that collaborated with other missionary groups to help the Uighurs escape to Cambodia, also said greater transparency was needed to give the accusations credibility.
"There's no press freedom, there's no independent verification of these things so I think they have the luxury of being able to make these claims," Ramsey said in a phone interview.
"Of course these things reinforce the claims of the Chinese government, but if they don't open these things up for proper scrutiny by the international community then it's very difficult to say, isn't it?"
Associated Press writer Gillian Wong contributed to this report.
Yasith Chhun has had a tough life. The Maoist Khmer Rouge government murdered his father during the mid-1970s, and a few years later, Chhun resettled in Long Beach, where he became an accountant. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese communists invaded Cambodia, kicked out the Khmer Rouge, and installed a dictatorship led by Hun Sen, also a communist.
Confused? Well you're not alone. In any case, Chhun knew he had to do something about this confusing situation, so in the late 1990s, he formed a group called the Cambodian Freedom Fighters that began plotting with former Khmer Rouge officials (the same thugs who murdered millions of Cambodians including Chhun's father) to oust Hun Sen. Chhun's plan was to carry out terrorist attacks on Cambodian soil that would lay the groundwork for a military coup. Instead, his efforts led to the deaths of several innocent bystanders and in 2008, Chhun was convicted of several federal charges involving killing people overseas.
According to a story today in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Chhun has now been sentenced to life in prison. He read a long statement that apparently failed to explain much about why he was conspiring with the folks responsible for the mess he was trying to solve, leaving the judge unsure of what to say except that he felt sorry for Chhun who was not an "evil" man but who simply had a "tragic life."
The bizarre saga is reminiscent of a similar plan the Weekly covered in detail by several Hmong exiles, including the OC's very own Vang Pao, the former leader of the CIA-backed "Secret Army" who fought the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao guerrillas in Laos during the 1960s and early 1970s. (Charges were dropped against the ailing general last year but remain in place against his alleged co-consiprators at a federal courthouse in Sacramento.
VietNamNet Bridge – Former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni arrived in Ha Noi yesterday, June 22, to start a four-day visit to Viet Nam at the invitation of President Nguyen Minh Triet.
President Nguyen Minh Triet (second right) welcomes former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni. (Photo: VNA)
President Triet hailed the royal family as close and esteemed friends of the Vietnamese people.
He said the visit was a special event in relations between the neighbouring countries, who had a long history of co-operation and traditional friendship.
In President Triet’s meeting with former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk, the two sides reviewed the two countries’ histories, including both nations’ struggles for independence.
Vietnamese and generations of Vietnamese leaders always remembered, respected and were thankful for the profound sentiments and support of the former king and Cambodian people to Viet Nam in the past and during the present, said Triet.
In reply, Sihanouk thanked Vietnamese leaders for their valuable sentiments and support to his family and Cambodia during the past and at present.
Triet and Sihanouk expressed their delight at continued development in friendly relations between Viet Nam and Cambodia. They said they believed bilateral ties would continue to be consolidated and developed in the time to come.
Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh meets with former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni during their visit to Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sang
via Khmer NZ News Media
June, 24 2010
HA NOI — Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh yesterday said King Norodom Sihamoni's visit to Viet Nam was a rare and particularly important event. Welcoming the Cambodian King, Manh said he highly valued the visit.
The Party leader congratulated the achievements made by Cambodia to build and develop the country. He then wished Cambodian people success in building a peaceful, independent and democratic country.
Manh also expressed his deep gratitude to the King, former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk, and the Cambodian people for their support to Viet Nam during the country's struggle for liberation and unification in the past and construction and defence at present.
He also affirmed Viet Nam's policy of giving priority to building and developing relations with Cambodia based on the motto of "fine neighbourhood, traditional friendship, comprehensive and long-lasting co-operation".
Cambodia King Norodom Sihamoni expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome.
He asserted Cambodia's determination to preserve and develop the fine neighbourly relation, traditional friendship, and comprehensive and long-lasting co-operation between Viet Nam and Cambodia.
The same day, Manh also met former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk now on a friendship visit to Viet Nam together with King Norodom Sihamoni.
'We'll never forget'
Vietnamese leaders and people would never forget but always cherish the support from the Cambodian royal family and people in the past and at present, President Nguyen Minh Triet said yesterday.
He made the statement while meeting with King Norodom Sihamoni in Ha Noi.
Triet applauded the friendship visit by former King Norodom Sihanouk, Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni to Viet Nam.
King Sihamoni affirmed that he would follow former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk in further consolidating and developing the friendship and comprehensive co-operation between the two neighbouring and fraternal countries.
The two leaders said they believed that the relations of fine friendship and co-operation between Viet Nam and Cambodia would become even closer and develop to new heights for mutual prosperity, and for regional and international peace and co-operation. — VNS
Cambodia Opens First Sky Bridge in Phnom Penh’s History
Thursday, 24 June 2010 03:34 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PEN, JUNE 24,2010-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen with his wife on Thursday opened the first sky bridge in over 500 years old history of Phnom Penh and in country in a move of facilitating the traffic congestion in city.
Speaking of opening ceremony of sky bridge at the bottom of Monivong bridge in Phnom Penh, PM Hun Sen said that this bridge with 308 m in length and 14 in width and height of 5.2 m is first one in our history and when we have one, we will have second at in front of Kossamak Hopital in western part of Phnom Penh and other sky bridges later. This bridge spent over 6 million US dollars for construction for one year period from 2009.
This bridge will reduce the traffic jam at this location,” he added. He urged Phnom Penh Municipality to expand the size of road at other places to avoid traffic congestion. Now Phnom Penh is in angel of development and people growth. Today we have 277 restaurants, 135 hotels, and 332 guest houses,” he noted.
He ordered to ban sale of kindergarten schools and other health center in city and country and wait for money for development.
Phnom Penh is facing a big concern of road accidents after the number of motors increased to 800,000 sets and 170,000 vehicles in Phnom Penh. All motor riders need to wear helmet to protect life. You need to love your life if not caring other lives” he stresses.
200 Cambodian Peace-Keepers to Be Sent to Lebanese Country within the UN's Framework
Thursday, 24 June 2010 07:13 DAP-NEWS
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 24, 2010 - 200 Cambodian Peace-keeping, Mine-clearing, and War-legacy forces will be sent to the Lebanese country within the UN ’s framework after 89 Cambodian peace-keepers on Tuesday of June 22, 2010 returned to Cambodia safely from Jordan and Chad.
“Cambodia will in July plan to send 200 additional Cambodian peace-keepers to Lebanese country within the UN’s framework and on Wednesday of June 23, 2010 send 3 Cambodian officials to New York in order to negotiate with the UN officials to reach an agreement on the memorandum of the decision on sending 200 Cambodian peace-keepers to accomplish their peace-keeping tasks in Lebanese country,” Mr. Prak Sokhon, Secretary of State of the Council of Ministers said.
It was noticed that Cambodia in the past four years sent 568 mine-clearers, social order- keepers, and observers to Jordan, the Republic of Chad, and South Africa to achieve a great result.
Edited by Mr. Rasmey (Mr. Go for It)
Cambodian Government Denies any Misuses of Contract Bonuses of Oil/Gas Revenues $28 mln
Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:30 DAP-NEWS/ Ek Madra
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, June 24, 2010 – Cambodian government denied any wrong doing of misuses the revenues netted from the bonus contract of the concession deals of oil and gas, said the letter response to the opposition was seen on Thursday.
The government said it received $ 28 million from the French Total Oil company including the bonus contract $20 million, social fund of $6 million and another $2 to be paid by the company voluntarily in a long run, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, also the president of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA), said in the letter.
Sok An’s letter responded to the mounts of questions raised by a leading opposition leader Son Chhay of the country’s biggest opposition party Sam Rainsy (SRP).
Sok An said in the letter as saying: “the revenues have transferred to an account of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) who jointly controls with the ministry of finance and the Cambodian National Petroleum of Cambodia (CNPA),” said the letter was seen by DAP.
The UK-based Global Witness called donors in April to scrutinize the Cambodian government received $28 million from French oil giant Total.
The group’s release came after Prime Minister Hun Sen’s statement that the Total Oil company initially gave Cambodia $28 for receiving exploration right on the Cambodian bloc off-shore early this year.
The company initially injected $20 million as contract bonus and another $8 million for social fund, Hun Sen pointed out.
But Global Witness said that such the bonus should be dominated the coming Cambodia-donor meeting in June.
“Questions regarding oil and mining payments made to the Cambodian government should top the bill at June’s donor-government meeting in light of an announcement by Prime Minister Hun Sen,” said the Global Witness.
The Southeast Asian nation has signed agreements with 23 foreign oil companies including Total, Chevron and Mitsui and others to conduct the feasibility study on its off-shore of six blocs.
In May, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An told Japanese deputy minister for economy, trade and industry, Chiaki Takahashi, that the Kingdom expected to produce oil by 2012 from Block A.
In 2005, Chevron Texaco announced a significant discovery in four exploration wells in Cambodia Block A, a 6,278 square km offshore area—55 percent owned by the oil giant, Chevron. While, Japan's Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. (MOECO), a Thai unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., holds 30 percent, and the remain went to South Korea's LG-Caltex 15 percent.
Chevron has conducted further tests, but it appears near certain that Cambodia is about to become a petroleum producing country.
The revenues from the oil reserves would have a major impact on the economy of the former war-ravaged Southeast Asian nation, which recovered from the “Killing Fields” ruled from 1975- 79 during which an estimated 1.7 million people died.
Cambodia Expands Education of Preventing Genocide for Next Generation
Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:33 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 24, 2010-Document Center of Cambodia, a independent agency for truth research of Khmer Rouge regiom in cooperation with education ministry conducted third Commune Teacher Training in Pursat, Siem Reap, and Svay Rieng Provinces to expand education of using books of preventing genocide for next generation in the country.
“It will be held from June 24-30, 2010," Chy Terith, an official for DC-Cam said.
The statement from DC-Cam said that since the fall of the Democratic Kampuchea regime in January 1979, efforts to teach Khmer Rouge history to Cambodians, especially the younger generation, have been limited either to official political propaganda or to stories privately shared between parents and children.
It added that twenty-eight years later, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) published a textbook, A History of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979), written by Khamboly Dy, a Cambodian researcher. It was reviewed by the Government Reviewing Committee and finally approved as a supplementary material for the teaching of Khmer Rouge history in secondary schools throughout Cambodia starting with the 2010-2011 academic year. For the second year in a row, the national high school examination has included five questions on Khmer Rouge history, making the teacher trainings all the more timely and necessary.
The statement stresses that DC-Cam has distributed 300,000 copies of the textbook free of charge to students across the country and plans to distribute 700,000 by the end of the year in order to reach all 1,000,000 students grades 9-12. It has also developed a teacher’s guidebook and student workbook to accompany the textbook.
With these materials, the Center is currently working with the Ministry of Education to train a total of 3,200 teachers nationwide in methodologies for teaching Khmer Rouge history to students objectively and with pedagogical effectiveness. Over 1,600 history teachers will have been trained before the end of 2010, and an additional 1,600 literature and morality teachers will be trained in 2011.
“National and provincial teacher trainings were held in 2009. The two commune teacher trainings have been held in 2010 and the third will be conducted June 24-30with participants from Pursat, Pailin, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Svay Rieng,” it said.
PM Hun Sen Reveals Lawmakers of Sam Rainy Party Related Terrorism Mastermind Chhun Yasith
Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:38 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 24,2010-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday said that lawmakers of opposition Sam Rainsy Party related with terrorism acts in toppling government led Chhun Yasit who was sentenced by the U.S. court for life imprisonment on Tuesday.
I still have document that Sam Rainsy asked for pardon for those lawmakers who related with terrorism acts against government led by Chhun Yasit,” PM Hun Sen said, adding that he also called the prosecution of Yasit is the counterterrorism in the country and the world.
Sam Rainsy who conducted self-exile after Svay Rieng court sentenced in absentia of destroying public property through pulling out the planted border markers with Vietnam could not contact immediately for the case.
Chhin Yasit, 53 convicted for a life in jail by the Los Angeles of the U.S.on Tuesday over the charge of plotting a bloody coup attempt in Cambodia in 2000. In 2001, Chhun was convicted in absentia by Phnom Penh court in June of conspiracy, terrorism and membership of an illegal armed group which called itself “Cambodian Freedom Fighter” (CFF).
Cambodian Low Level of Tax Compared with other Developing Countries
Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:40 DAP-NEWS/ Ek Madra
CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, June 24, 2010 – The U.N expert said on Thursday that Cambodian tax is almost double lower compared with other developing countries and said increase tax collection is important for the Cambodian development.
Cambodia’s low level of tax - estimated at around 11 percent of GDP compared to average of 20 per cent in developing countries – was also an area of concern, said the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist of ESCAP said: “To increase tax collection is important both for the mobilizing of resources for physical and social investment and for enhancing the country’s fiscal space, allowing the country to respond more effectively to economic crises.”
Vann Puthipol, Director of the Cambodian General Department of Taxation, highlighted the importance of “increasing the tax base and improving tax administration” before an increase tax collection is to be made in future.
But Cambodian finance minister and also Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon said the greatest challenge of the country in the medium-to long-term is to enhance the diversification and improve the competitiveness of the economy.
“Diversifying the economy and strengthening its competitiveness will be crucial for Cambodia’s future economic developments,” said Keat Chhon.
U.N Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick said that improving education and building nationally integrated social protection systems are two additional key medium- to long-term challenges for this Southeast Asian nation who emerged from 30 years of civil war ended in 1998, said the release.
Vehicles line up to board the Neak Leung ferry linking Kandal and Prey Veng provinces over the Khmer New Year holiday in 2009. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Japanese Ambassador Masafumi Kuroki signed a deal seeking US$131 million from Japan for the construction of a bridge at the ferry crossing. Hor Namhong said construction is set to begin soon, and that it will be completed in February 2015.
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Mao Monyvann, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian for Kampong Cham province, stands next to a Cambodia-Vietnam border marker in Kampong Cham’s Ponhea Krek district on Wednesday. The lawmaker was part of a group investigating encroachment allegations.
via Khmer NZ News Media
Thursday, 24 June 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea
Lawmakers say that more Cambodian land is being illegally ceded to Vietnam
Kampong Cham Province
VILLAGERS in an area bordering Vietnam in Kampong Cham province have lost land during the ongoing border demarcation process, lawmakers with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party said Wednesday.
Three SRP lawmakers invited reporters to Kak commune in Ponhea Krek district on Wednesday to see what they say is another example of authorities turning a blind eye to the loss of Cambodian territory.
Some residents in Anlong Chrey and Thlok Trach village said an old pagoda that used to be in Cambodian territory now lies on the Vietnamese side of the border – the result of a pair of markers placed in the area in 2008.
“The posts were planted into our land,” said Saum Tuon, who said he has lived in Anlong Chrey since 1987. “Thnort pagoda is now on Vietnamese land.”
Ek Yuth, a villager from Thlok Trach, said she has not lost any land as a result of the border markers that were planted in 2008. But she claimed that she lost 15 hectares of land in 1995, when Vietnamese authorities barred her from planting on land she believed was hers.
“When I planted the rice, they pulled it out,” she said.
Mao Monyvann, an SRP lawmaker from Kampong Cham, said Wednesday’s visit was intended to publicise evidence that the demarcation process is threatening Cambodian sovereignty.
“The SRP wants to see clearly with our own eyes whether the border posts were planted in Khmer land or not,” he said.
But Var Kimhong, the senior minister in charge of border affairs, brushed off the opposition lawmakers’ concerns.
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Lawmakers with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party inspect a border marker in Kampong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district on Wednesday.
The posts “were not planted into anyone’s land. It is on the borderline,” he said, and noted that National Assembly President Heng Samrin also has a house in Thlok Trach village.
“It is Samdech’s village. He has a family living there,” Var Kimhong said. “Do not worry instead of Samdech.”
Wednesday’s exercise was the latest in a series of trips SRP lawmakers have taken to border areas to draw attention to claims of Vietnamese encroachment.
Earlier this month, opposition members publicly announced their intentions to visit a border area in Takeo province, only to have their progress blocked along the way.
On Wednesday, SRP members did not tell officials beforehand that they were coming, and they faced little resistance.
Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the SRP’s continued border trips have been part of a deliberate political strategy.
“I think they’re successfully playing to this core constituency – those who feel that Cambodia is being swallowed by Vietnam,” he said.
Thursday, 24 June 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha and Sebastian Strangio
THE leader of a ragtag militia that attempted to overthrow the Cambodian government in 2000 has been sentenced by a US court to life in prison without chance of parole, a ruling that was applauded by government officials on Wednesday.
Chhun Yasith, 53, the head of the US-based Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF), was arrested in 2005 for organising a November 2000 attack on government buildings in the capital that left at least eight dead and 14 injured. In April 2008, the US district court in Los Angeles found him guilty of violating the US Neutrality Act, which outlaws military operations against nations with which the US is at peace.
In a hearing at the court on Tuesday, prosecutors said the CFF was ordered to carry out “popcorn” attacks on soft targets such as karaoke bars and nightclubs before launching an all-out assault to overthrow the government on November 24.
In sentencing Chhun Yasith, Judge Dean Pregerson expressed some sympathy for the defendant, who said he formed a rebel militia to avenge the murder of his father by the Khmer Rouge.
“I don’t think Mr. Chhun is an evil human being,” Pregerson said. “I think he’s had a tragic life – and had the misfortune of being born in a place where terrible things were happening.”
But he said a harsh sentence was unavoidable. “I do not want to be the person who does not say to all those groups that, if you conspire against the US, that the US will tolerate or be lenient to you,” The Los Angeles Times quoted him as saying.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Chhun Yasith said he felt he had to do something for Cambodia after arriving in the US as a refugee in 1982.
“I’ve been punished because I failed, that I’m not good enough to overthrow that government,” he told the court.
Chhun Yasith’s attorney, Richard Callahan Jr, said he would appeal the sentence.
On Wednesday, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong welcomed the sentence, describing the November 2000 coup attempt as a “clear terrorist act”.
“We applaud the decision taken by the US government to prosecute Chhun Yasith,” he told reporters after signing an agreement with Japan seeking funds for the construction of the Neak Leung Bridge across the Mekong River.
“We welcome the elimination of terrorism, and not just terrorism in Cambodia and the US, but in all regions where it threatens people’s security.”
Chhun Yasith, who plotted the putsch from his Long Beach accountancy firm, was an unlikely candidate for the leadership of an armed militia.
A 2001 Time article described him as “a doughy, chino-clad little man”, and a reporter for The New Republic said he looked “more like a bowling pin than a warrior”.
But the former Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) member – expelled in the mid-1990s for misuse of party funds – was deadly serious in his attempts to overthrow the government.
In 1998, after the bloody factional fighting that saw the premier vanquish his royalist Funcinpec opponents the year before, Chhun Yasith travelled to Thailand, where he founded the CFF with the aim of liberating Cambodia from “communist dictators and Vietnamese puppets”.
On November 24, 2000, around 70 CFF fighters, armed with AK-47s, grenades and B-40 rockets, slipped into the capital and attacked several government buildings, including the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ E70 Base in Dangkor district.
Government troops quickly quelled the CFF’s ill-coordinated coup attempt, codenamed “Operation Volcano”.
After the attacks, rights groups and opposition politicians accused the government of arbitrarily jailing law-abiding Funcinpec and SRP members in connection with the plot.
Human Rights Watch reported in December 2000 that within two weeks of the attacks, more than 200 people were arrested across Cambodia, many without warrants.
Chhun Yasith was tried in absentia in Phnom Penh in June 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Richard Kiri Kim, a fellow US citizen who directed the CFF forces in Phnom Penh, was captured after the attack and remains in prison on a life term.
Despite the failure of the “coup”, Chhun Yasith vowed to continue working to topple Hun Sen by force, saying that nonviolent methods would not work against the Hun Sen “dictatorship”. “Next time,” he told a reporter in 2004, “we will attack the whole country.”
When contacted Wednesday, SRP lawmaker Son Chhay also applauded the US court’s ruling against the CFF leader, but expressed concern for other individuals rounded up in the wake of the November 2000 events.
“We respect the US court, because we believe they have done a proper investigation compared to the court in Cambodia, where there was political interference,” he said.
In April, the families of five men imprisoned in connection with the attacks repeated earlier requests that they be pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni. This request was seconded by eight SRP lawmakers the week after.
Son Chhay said he spoke with Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana in April, and that the SRP was using “all possible legal means” to secure the release of those jailed in connection with the plot.
“We do not have the full story of how the people got involved with Chhun Yasith,” he said. “It is our understanding that they are all innocent.”
Ven Dara, whose husband Hem Buntheoun was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the CFF attacks, said she was unaware of Chhun Yasith’s trial, but again called for her husband to be let free.
“I have written a request for an amnesty and the release of my husband, but there is no response,” she said. “I think he should be released, as he was cheated – he did not intend to do it on his own.”
Photo by: Will Baxter
Police keep an eye on villagers outside Kampong Speu provincial court during a March protest against the arrest of two community leaders
via Khmer NZ News Media
Thursday, 24 June 2010 15:02 May Titthara and Will Baxter
A FARMER was arrested and briefly detained by military police in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday after trying in vain to stop employees of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company from clearing his land, marking the third arrest in a controversial land fight.
Rights workers condemned the action as an example of Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat, who owns the company, leveraging the military against villagers to further his business interests.
Around half a dozen military police officers arrested Sruon Kimseng, 43, near his home in Thpong district’s Omlaing commune at around 11am, witnesses said.
His wife, Nuon Sarim, said he had been protesting an attempt by the Phnom Penh Sugar Company to clear his land with a bulldozer.
Sruon Kimseng was held until 2pm at the company’s office, and released only after around 50 villagers gathered outside to protest, she said.
Nuon Sarim said a bulldozer had cleared a 200-metre-wide swathe of land in front of their house, and that he had only been trying to protect it.
“The reason my husband spoke to the company’s staff was just to ask how much more land they wanted to clear and ask them to spare our house,” she said.
So Sok, a villager who took part in the ensuing protest, said the arrest was evidence that local authorities were clearly biased in favour of the company.
“Apparently the company has the right to do anything they want, but what about us villagers? Do we have no right to protect our land?” he said.
A total of 11 villages in Omlaing commune – home to more than 2,000 families – have been affected by a 9,000-hectare concession granted to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company.
On March 24, two other men from Omlaing commune were arrested and later released in connection with the dispute.
Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant with the rights group Licadho, said Ly Yong Phat has a history of using intimidation to carry out controversial development projects.
“This is one more clear example of Ly Yong Phat’s company misusing armed forces for his private interests,” he said.
Noting that officials had previously committed to attempting to resolve the dispute, he said, “The authorities need to be clear about whether they truly want to negotiate or whether their announcement of negotiations was just a smokescreen.”
John Coughlan, a legal adviser for the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the dispute in Omlaing was an example “of a state apparatus – whether that be the courts, or on this occasion the military police – being used to further private business interests”.
Ly Yong Phat has come under harsh scrutiny for his partnership with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Battalion 313, which he is supporting financially under a system – formalised in February – that establishes partnerships between military units, government offices and private companies.
In October of last year, another of the senator’s companies was involved in a violent eviction in Oddar Meanchey province, during which the homes of 100 families were torched and bulldozed by about 150 police, military police and contract workers.
Chhean Kimsuon, a Phnom Penh Sugar Company representative, on Wednesday denied that the arrest had anything to do with the company.
“It was a personal problem between some villagers,” she said.
“Our company’s soldiers saw that this man was having an argument, so we detained him in our office. We asked the reason for the argument and then released him, but it did not involve our company,” she said.
The company has already cleared more than 2,000 hectares and plans to plant sugarcane on about 3,000 hectares this year, she added.
Despite the formalised military-government-private sector patronage system, Chhum Socheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said .
Wednesday that he was unaware that RCAF soldiers were protecting land owned by the Phnom Penh Sugar Company. “I cannot believe that there are a lot of soldiers protecting that company. I will have to check on this issue,” he said.
Thpong district governor Tuon Song declined to comment on Wednesday.
Hab Dam, the chief of Omlaing commune, said she was unaware of Wednesday’s arrest.
A REPORT distributed this week at a conference on public-sector reform includes an update on the government’s census of civil servants that differs from one provided by officials in May.
Ngo Hongly, the secretary general of the Council for Administrative Reform at the Council of Ministers, said on May 18 that the census, which was launched in April, had revealed 2,000 “ghost” civil servants, or workers who are still on the state’s payroll despite having left their jobs. At the time, the government had audited 21 of the 26 government ministries, and had not yet started on offices at the provincial level.
But the report that was distributed on Tuesday, the first day of a two-day conference held at the Council of Ministers says that 1,747 of those names had been provided by government bodies at all levels back in March, before the census was launched. In addition to these self-reported names, the report states, the census has independently uncovered “more than 400 irregular names”.
Asked about the report on Wednesday, Ngo Hongly said, “1,747 is the number of civil servants’ names we received from the ministry, municipalities and provincial levels, which means they were reported from around the country. So, if we sum up 1,747 plus 400, we actually will get more than 2,000 names, which we have already removed from the government payrolls.”
The current census is the third such effort undertaken by the Cambodian government, Ngo Hongly said in May. A 1995 census uncovered roughly 18,000 ghost civil servants, he said, and a census conducted in 2000 and 2001 revealed about 9,000 ghost civil servants.
He also estimated that the 2,000 ghost civil servants uncovered so far this year were costing the government US$2 million per year, and that they were being paid an average of $84 per month.
The report distributed on Tuesday says that audits of all 26 ministries have been completed, and that the government is set to launch audits at the provincial level on June 28.
“More ghost names will be found in the provincial census,” Ngo Hongly said Wednesday.
Officials have said that the census will be completed by the end of the year, but they have declined to say whether anyone caught pocketing the salaries of ghost civil servants will be prosecuted under the Anticorruption Law, which is set to go into effect in November.
In May, Ngo Hongly said that no officials currently working in the government had been discovered pocketing ghost salaries.
A WOMAN accused of beating her 16-year-old niece in Kampot province was placed in pretrial detention on Wednesday after being charged with intentional battery, a police official said.
In Chiva, provincial deputy police chief, said Wednesday that he had questioned the suspect on Tuesday and detained her overnight before sending her to the provincial court Wednesday morning.
“We have enough evidence, both wounds on the girl’s body and eyewitnesses, and she also admitted her guilt, so I decided to arrest her and send her to the court,” he said.
The girl was removed from her aunt’s custody on June 15 after neighbours told police and officials at the rights group Adhoc that she had been subjected to abuse for around six years. Officials said they found more than 20 wounds on the girl’s body, some of them fresh.
Sim Sorphea, head of Adhoc’s women’s rights programme in Kampot, said Wednesday she was pleased that the woman had been charged, and that Adhoc would provide legal support for the victim.
“I will find a lawyer for the girl on Thursday,” she said.
In Chiva said the court had not announced a trial date. Provincial court prosecutor Chhum Samban could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Photo by: David Boyle
Tourists and locals enjoy Sihanoukville’s Otres beach earlier this year. Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities have ordered guesthouses, bars and restaurants along a section of the beach to relocate by June 30 to make way for a municipal garden.
via Khmer NZ News Media
Thursday, 24 June 2010 15:02 Kim Yuthana
Owners vow to fight on after receiving a one-week deadline to vacate the beachfront
ABOUT 70 business owners on Sihanoukville’s Otres beach have been issued an order from Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Sboang Sarath to relocate within a week.
The notice, dated June 16, was delivered to guesthouse, restaurant and bar owners located on a 1.5-kilometre stretch of the beach after a meeting on Tuesday, during which the governor reiterated his intention to move them out to make room for a municipal garden.
According to the notice, the business owners will be forcibly removed if they fail to meet the new June 30 deadline.
“If they do not move, the authorities will evict them, and the authorities are not responsible for their property,” the notice reads.
“The authorities will not let the residents build houses, sell and rent to private [interests] because the area beach is owned by the state. Some of them make the area dirty and do not have manners.”
A similar notice was issued in January, though it was never acted upon.
Business owners on Wednesday vowed to protest the pending eviction, saying that authorities had not given them sufficient time to find other ways to support themselves.
“The vendors will meet to postpone the eviction again on Thursday because this place is our life and our livelihood,” said Sok Heng, a vendor who works on the beach.
Sor Kem, who owns a business that stands to be affected, said the owners had been told at the meeting to “return to where we came from”.
“In the meeting they gave us the paper that said on the 30th of this month the people have to remove their houses and they do not have any other option,” he said. “They will bring bulldozers and take the buildings down.”
Because the businesses are on a public beach, their owners have no legal avenue to resist the eviction.
But business owners such as Rainer Deyhle, who owns Cinderella Dive Resort and Beach Bungalows, have previously complained that officials had been more than willing to sell them operating licences, and have said these should be honoured.
“We do know that our position on Otres Beach is not perfectly legal. None of us will oppose a serious and reasonable solution to this matter, but we do not agree to lose our property for a useless garden which nobody will use and which will make the situation for Cambodian tourism even worse,” he said in an email.
Sboang Sarath could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. His deputy, Phai Phan, declined to comment.
A 12-year-old boy has been sent to Battambang provincial court for questioning after allegedly confessing to police that he raped a 5-year-old girl at his home in Rukhakiri district, officials said Wednesday.
Kuy Heang, head of the provincial anti-human trafficking bureau, said the suspect had confessed to the rape after being arrested Tuesday evening, and that he was sent to court on Wednesday. “We sent the boy this afternoon, accompanied by his father, to provincial court for further investigation following his confession to raping the girl,” he said. “According to the law, we are not permitted to hold children under the age of 13 in police custody, even though he has committed a rape.” District police Chief Ek Searthy said the victim’s mother filed a complaint accusing the boy of raping the girl in his home on Tuesday. He added that the suspect and victim were neighbours, and that the incident had taken place while their parents were out farming. Yat Kimsat, a provincial investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the girl had been sent to hospital.
THE president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court said Wednesday that there were no plans to ask for cooperation from France in securing the return of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who faces charges related to his claims of Vietnamese border encroachment.
Chev Keng said the court had taken no steps to expedite the return of Sam Rainsy, who was charged in March, although his lawyer has said that a warrant was issued for his arrest on May 28. Sam Rainsy is currently residing in France.
“I have not received any report related to Sam Rainsy’s case from the investigating judge, and so far I have no plans” to request that the French government hand him over, Chev Keng said.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday that the government may choose to push for Sam Rainsy’s return using “diplomatic channels”, noting that there is no extradition treaty between France and Cambodia.
But he said that any request for cooperation from France would need to come from the court, and would also need approval from his ministry and the Ministry of Justice. “It’s up to the court,” he said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Wednesday that law enforcement officials are actively working on finding a way for Sam Rainsy to be returned.
He declined, however, to elaborate on any particular methods that were being considered.
“We are the executive branch, which has to follow the court’s verdict,” he said.
Svay Rieng provincial court in January sentenced Sam Rainsy to two years in prison for his role in uprooting border posts in Chantrea district last October. Sam Rainsy and other lawmakers from his party have said that the posts were placed in Cambodian territory.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court laid its charges in March in connection with maps Sam Rainsy released after the verdict, which he said offered proof of his encroachment claims.