Showing posts from December, 2012

Cambodia: A matter of life and death

Last Updated on 24 December 2012 By Tong Soprach   Last month, a sand truck swerved to avoid a car and crashed into wedding tent erected beside National Road 1. More than 20 wedding participants were seriously injured. Who should be held responsible? The wedding party? A court has yet to address this issue. In the past, people always complained that traffic accidents were caused by bad roads. Now the roads are better, but the accident rate is still climbing. This year, road accidents in Cambodia have caused nearly 2,000 deaths and more than 4,000 serious injuries. Fatalities in road crashes outnumber deaths from HIV and AIDS. The number of deaths in traffic accidents is also 10 times higher than those caused by land mines and unexploded ordnance. Fighting on the border of Thailand left 10 Cambodian soldiers dead, causing serious concern and sparking a strong reaction by the Royal Government. Yet the carnage on our roads seems to be accepted as inevitable.

Bank Accounts Rare in Cambodia, Even for Rich

By Simon Lewis - December 27, 2012 Despite an expanding financial sector, increasing access to credit and strong economic growth in recent years, fewer than 1 in 20 Cambodians has a bank account, according to a new policy working paper by the World Bank. According to the paper—released earlier this month and based on questions added in 2011 to the Gallup World Poll, which surveyed at least 1,000 people in each of 148 countries—the low number of people covered by the banking sector is a barrier to Cambodia’s economic progress. “Without financial inclusion, individuals and firms need to rely on their own resources to meet their financial needs, such as saving for retirement, investing in their education, taking advantage of business opportunities, and confronting systemic or idiosyncratic shocks,” the World Bank paper says, adding that those with bank accounts are more likely to save money and be prepared for harder times. Highlighting how underdeveloped the ba

Four years on, Chea Vichea accused back in prison

Last Updated on 27 December 2012 By Abby Seiff and Kim Sarom       Sok Sam Oeun (C) cries at the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post    In a startling about-face, the Court of Appeal this morning upheld the convictions of two men widely believed to have been wrongfully accused of the 2004 slaying of unionist Chea Vichea, and sent them back to prison to serve out the remainder of their 20-year sentences. Born Samnang, 29, and Sok Sam Oeun, 32, spent nearly five years in prison before the Supreme Court ordered their provisional release in late 2008 pending a re-investigation of the case. In January 2004, a week after the Free Trade Union president was gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Phnom Penh, the pair were arrested and charged with the murder. After denying any involvement – weeping and begging for help as police carted them in – one then confessed, though later recanted, saying he had

KR Tribunal Errs in Release of Secret File

By Lauren Crothers - December 26, 2012 The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday released on its website, and then quickly removed yesterday, a confidential court document outlining crimes alleged to have been committed during the Pol Pot regime by suspects Meas Muth and Sou Met. The public dissemination of the confidential 36-page document—in which the Office of the Co-Prosecutors describes why the two former Khmer Rouge officials should be arrested and tried as war criminals—follows the leaking of the information in April 2011. While the identities of the two suspects at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have been widely known since last year, Monday’s posting of the document online is effectively the first time the court has officially named the suspects in Case 003 publicly. Yuko Maeda, a public affairs officer at the tribunal, yesterday expressed regret that the document, known as the Second Introductory Submission, had been published and said that its contents should re

Cambodia: Regional single visa launched

Last Updated on 27 December 2012 By May Kunmakara           Tourists gather to watch the sun rise and take pictures at the Angkor Wat temple, in Siem Reap province. Photograph: Reuters   Cambodia and Thailand will launch their single visa today to facilitate a flow in tourists and enable easier travel between the two countries. Thai newspaper The Nation reported that Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong had agreed on the visa on Tuesday during the nations’ eighth Joint Commission for Bilateral Co-operation. The Nation reported that tourists from 35 nations would be able to enter both countries with the single visa.  Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation could not be reached for comment. In a pilot project under the Ayeyarwady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy single visa scheme, tourists from other countries can apply for entry at either Ca

CAMBODIA: Activists need foreign support, but they themselves must end autocratic rule — Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: Activists need foreign support, but they themselves must end autocratic rule — Asian Human Rights Commission Contributors: Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth In my adult life, even as a political scientist conscious of the use petitions as a method of nonviolent action and persuasion, I have signed only three. I signed a first petition a few years ago. The text comprised opposition to land grabbing in Cambodia. In the second and third, I joined others in appealing to President Obama not to visit Cambodia and participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Phnom Penh until the Cambodian regime agrees to release Beehive radio station director Mam Sonando; to allow opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia to participate in the 2013 elections; and to undertake reforms as suggested by United Nations Special Rapporteur Professor Surya Subedi. Yet, I am more a student

CAMBODIA: LRWC and ALRC denounce attacks against HRDs and problems with judicial independence — Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: LRWC and ALRC denounce attacks against HRDs and problems with judicial independence — Asian Human Rights Commission date: September 25, 2012 document id: ALRC-COS-21-08-2012 HRC section: Item 10, Cambodia speaker: Vani Selvarajah A Joint Oral Statement to the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre, (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization in general consultative status Madame President: Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and Asian Legal Resource Centre welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia 1 . We share his view that freedom of expression is a principal concern. Cambodian human rights defenders and journalists regularly experience judicial harassment and violence for upholding human rights

CAMBODIA: The country must not repeat Burma's mistake — Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: The country must not repeat Burma's mistake — Asian Human Rights Commission CAMBODIA: The country must not repeat Burma's mistake Contributors: Ou Ritthy Many opposition politicians, NGO personnel, students, researchers, taxi drivers, vendors and city dwellers expected US president Barack Obama, who attended the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, to push the Cambodian government to better respect human rights and democratic principles, especially free and fair elections in the Kingdom. They hoped for a US pressure to release political prisoners, notably Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, land-dispute protestors, and to allow opposition leader Sam Rainsy in self-exiled in Paris, to return to Cambodia to participate in the 2013 election. Many opposition politicians, NGO personnel, students, researchers, taxi drivers, vendors and city dwellers expected US president Barack Obam

CAMBODIA: Cambodian activists must believe in individuals’ capacity to accomplish the impossible — Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: Cambodian activists must believe in individuals’ capacity to accomplish the impossible — Asian Human Rights Commission Last week, a young political science graduate from a foreign university vented his frustrations in an e-mail from Cambodia at many Cambodian compatriots who don’t like to read. If they don’t read, they don’t learn. And if reading articles is painful, they certainly won’t read an entire book! Initially, I planned to write about US President Barack Obama's visit to Cambodia, during which he reportedly spoke forcefully to Cambodian premier Hun Sen regarding the administration's abysmal record of human rights violations. But e-mails from Cambodians in the country and abroad reoriented my focus, hence, today's article. Don't like to read Last week, a young political science graduate from a foreign university vented his frustratio

ADB Links Corruption, Political Culture

By Colin Meyn - December 10, 2012 The government is beset with high-level corruption, a lack of transparency in public procurements, poor auditing practices and political interference in the country’s main anti-corruption body, a report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sent to the media yesterday states. In a 66-page report that looks at how the government is managing its finances and fighting corruption, the ADB says that many of the country’s laws on public finances are simply not being implemented and that public procurement of goods and services needs to be improved at all levels of government, especially at a national level. “Most aspects of governance need to recognize ongoing informal links between the dominant political party, medium-sized and large-sized businesses, and senior levels of government,” the ADB report, which was originally published in January, says. “Furthermore, there is a limited tradition of accountability for performance

UN Says Information Ministry Decided to Halt Equity Weekly

By Denise Hruby and Kuch Naren - December 10, 2012 The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) said last month’s suspension of the “Equity Weekly” television program was uniquely due to a decision made by the Ministry of Information after the show aired a feature on economic land concessions in Ratanakkiri province. “[T]he suspension was initially suggested by the Ministry of Information and agreed to by UNDP Cambodia,” a UNDP spokesperson said in an email. “Equity Weekly,” which is broadcast every Sunday on the state-run channel TVK, funded by UNDP and aims at promoting good governance through investigative journalism, was taken off the air after the station received a complaint from the Ministry of Information announcing its displeasure over archive footage showing images of logging in the country. “The decision was taken following a technical error in the identity of a portion of the footage used in a story related to the [Virachey] National Park in Ratanakkiri p

TV Program Halted After Government Criticism

By Denise Hruby and Kuch Naren - December 9, 2012 The U.N.-funded television program “Equity Weekly,” whose stated aim is to promote good governance through short investigative journalism pieces broadcast on state-run TVK, was suspended last month, the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) said. The suspension of the popular show followed criticism from the government over the content of a recent feature on economic land concessions. “It was a joint decision between the Ministry of Information and UNDP to temporarily suspend the ‘Equity Weekly’ show,” a spokesperson from the UNDP said in an email. “Several stories elicited strong reactions from the government and the general public.” The UNDP did not say which stories in particular had spurred strong reaction from the government. The UNDP spokesperson said U.N. officials will be meeting with TVK soon to discuss the future of the program, funding for which will continue. Broadcast for about 40 minutes every Sunda

EU Ambassador Says Listen to Envoy’s Advice

By The Cambodia Daily - December 11, 2012 The European Union’s ambassador to Cambodia yesterday urged the government to heed the advice of the U.N.’s visiting human rights envoy, who has come under increasing rebuke from officials for his unflattering reports. Addressing a crowd of about 3,000, mostly garment factory workers, at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park to mark International Human Rights Day, E.U. Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain spoke up for the work of the U.N.’s local human rights office and of the U.N.’s human rights envoy to the country, Surya Subedi. “We believe the work of this office has contributed tremendously to the promotion and protection of human rights,” Mr. Cautain said of the U.N.’s human rights office in Cambodia. “Similarly, the work of the U.N. special rapporteur, professor Subedi, who is here…in Cambodia, provides a unique opportunity for the government of Cambodia to receive expert recommendations for improving human rights,” he co

Great Huangs of history

Wednesday, 05 December 2012 Stuart Alan Becker   The book The Great Dictionary of Famous Chinese (published in 1921), lists 613 Huangs. Here follows a partial list of of famous Huangs, including some of the descendants of Huang Qiaoshan (871-953). Xia dynasty (2205 BC-1766 BC)  Huang Yuan (Prime Minister) Shang Dynasty (1766 BC-1122 BC)  Huang Yin (Yi Yin ) (Prime Minister) Zhou Dynasty (1122BC- 256 BC)  Huang Xie Lord of Chunshen (Prime Minister of Chu) 314 BC-238 BC Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC)  Huang Shigong (Strategist) Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 9)  Huang Ba Duke of Jiancheng (Prime Minister) 130 BC-51 BC Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220)  Huang Xiang (Famous Official) AD 53- AD117 Three Kingdoms Period (220-280)  Huang Zhong (General of Shu Han) AD220  Huang Gai (General of Wu) Tang Dynasty (618-907) Huang Chao (Leader of Peasant Rebellion Army) ?-AD 884 Five Dynasties Period (907-960)  Huang Quan (Painter) c.903-965; Huang Jucai (Painter) 933-? Song Dynasty (960-1279), Huang Ting

Time to invest in people

Friday, 07 December 2012 Pamela Cox   For more than a decade, Cambodia has sustained impressive economic growth. The World Bank expects real gross domestic product to increase by 6.6 per cent this year – a figure to be envied in today’s fragile global economy. At this pace, Cambodia can rapidly become the industrialised and productive economy it aspires to be. Is this the future that Cambodians can rightfully look forward to? The answer is yes, but only if Cambodia invests in its most precious resource – its people – to enable each individual to realise his or her potential and productively contribute to the nation’s economy. Until now, much of Cambodia’s investment has focused on infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing – priority areas during the early stages of the country’s economic development. But with economic progress, it has become increasingly clear that these efforts are not enough to help the country achieve equitable, sustainable growth and, most importan