Tuesday, 16 September 2014
The head of the National Assembly’s top human rights commission has warned Banteay Meanchey’s provincial governor to settle a land dispute involving 230 disabled soldiers’ families from the province’s Malai district, saying he will be sacked if the matter is not settled within three months.
After meeting representatives of the soldiers’ families, CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang, president of the Commission on Human Rights, Complaints and Investigation, said authorities had turned a blind eye to the dispute.
“If the provincial governor fails to settle this matter, we will summon him for questioning, and we will ask the government to sack him if necessary. If he does not respect the guidelines, how can we allow him to be the provincial governor?” said Eang.
Him Yoeun, one of the three representatives of soldiers – mostly ex-Khmer Rouge fighters – said they would only return to the negotiating table if they were given a guarantee they wouldn’t be arrested.
“Unless we have a confirmation letter saying we will not be arrested by any institution, we will not come back, because in the past, when our representatives went, they were arrested. It has already happened twice.”
PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, accompanied by businesspeople and senior officials, flew to Nanning City of southwest China's Guangxi province on Monday to attend the 11th ASEAN-China Expo.
Senior officials accompanying the prime minister included Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia Chea Chanto and Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, as well as other members of the government, Sry Thamarong, minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport before the departure.
The 11th ASEAN-China Expo and the ASEAN-China Business and Investment Summit under the theme"building the 21st century Maritime Silk Road"will be held from Sept. 16 to 19, and Hun Sen is scheduled to deliver a speech during the opening ceremony of the expo on Tuesday. "It is the eighth time that Prime Minister Hun Sen attends the expo,"he said. "This clearly reflects Cambodia's active role in promoting the expo, which is a good platform to further broaden relations between China and ASEAN in general and between China and Cambodia in particular."
He said Cambodian companies have their products showcased in 88 booths at the expo and a troupe of Cambodian artists has also performed at the event.
The annual event of ASEAN-China Expo is a crucial platform to further promote economic and trade ties between China and Southeast Asian countries.
As Cambodia continues to consider inking a deal to ship workers to Saudi Arabia, seven migrants have already fled notoriously poor labour conditions in the Middle Eastern nation.
The workers were enlisted by a private construction company in Jeddah, according to the Thai Embassy in Saudi Arabia, which is assisting the men in the absence of a Cambodian diplomatic presence in the county.
“They came to the embassy on August 18 because they did not know where else to go for help,” said an embassy official who declined to provide his name. “Their employer had delayed their salary for two months.”
The men told the embassy that they wanted to return home because the work was “too heavy”, according to the official, who added that the seven had all been legally employed in Saudi Arabia, with the proper visa and work permit.
The Cambodian Ministry of Labour has repeatedly said that it has not yet dotted all the i’s in a pending memorandum of understanding to send workers to Saudi Arabia. Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng said in May that the agreement would be signed “as soon as possible” following an examination of conditions in the host country.
“Until now, there is no recruitment firm licensed to send workers to Saudi Arabia … but workers can still go on their own by contacting an employer directly,” said An Bunhak, director of Top Manpower Co Ltd.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly come under fire for a spate of abuse scandals involving foreign workers. In 2011, Indonesia placed a moratorium on sending domestic workers to the country after the beheading of a maid found guilty of killing her abusive employer.
While yesterday marked a year since the death of 29-year-old Mao Sok Chan – shot dead by security forces during clashes at a Phnom Penh bridge – his family is still waiting for justice.
Sok Chan’s mother, 57-year-old Tith Sang, told the Post that after a year of waiting, she remained in the dark about the truth behind her son’s death.
“I waited for the result of the authorities’ investigation … but until now, it has been hidden. The gunman has still not been found, while my son is dead. There is still no justice,” she said.
Sang added that she did “not believe” the government’s investigation would offer any “real justice” but hoped she would be proved wrong.
“I still demand that government officials find and arrest the gunman who shot my son to death and sentence him,” she said.
Construction worker Chan had been trying to return home across the Kbal Thnal overpass on the evening of September 15, 2013. Opposition protests elsewhere in the city had resulted in extensive roadblocks, with angry drivers on the bridge engaging in an unruly ad hoc protest against authorities there. Police ultimately opened fire on the crowds, fatally shooting Sok Chan in the head.
In addition to his death, numerous people were injured by police wielding electric prods and batons, and shooting live ammunition to disperse what they called a violent mob.
Sang said that financial donations from, among others, the Cambodia National Rescue Party and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, had paid for Sok Chan’s funeral and funded a plot of land for her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to “build a home and make a life”.
PHNOM PENH (The Cambodia Herald) -- Koh Kong provincial police on Tuesday morning released Mr. Alex, president of Mother Nature Cambodia, and his ten activists after writing apology letter to authority, a human rights activist said.
Neang Boratino, human rights activist from LICADHO, said that Mr. Alex and ten other environmental activists were freed at around 1:00 a.m after being questioned.
Police advised and asked them to write confession and stop their activities which affected public order and travelling of the local citizens.
Mr. Alex, and his activists were arrested by Kong Kong police when they blocked a road to prevent provincial authority from visiting the citizens at Areng area in Koh Kong's Thmor Bang district.
Secretary of state of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of Cambodia, Mao Havannall (right), and Wilfred Fock Tave, general manager of operations of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, signing the document Monday. Photo: Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority)
PHNOM PENH (The Cambodia Herald) -- Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding and an air services agreement Monday with the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles, the Seychelles News Agency reported.
The report said the agreement was signed by Mao Havannal, secretary of state of Cambodia's State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, and Wilfred Fock Tave, General Manager of Operations of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority.
“The conclusion of this new agreement is proof of Seychelles continued determination in its attempt to open up Seychelles International Airport to the rest of the world, making air services operation possible through a set of legal framework with flexible provisions for charters as well as airline operations for the future,” Fock Tave said in a statement.
Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan said the African country was keen to deepen ties with Cambodia in areas such as air services, tourism, agriculture, trade and investment.
The government of Cambodia is considering to allow local citizens to gamble in casinos. Currently, only foreigners are allowed to gamble in the country's local casinos.
According to an official from Cambodia's Ministry of Economy and Finance, the government is considering to lift the restrictions on local residents, since regulated gambling is now a global industry and because neighboring Vietnam recently completed a draft that could also open the doors of local casinos to the country's citizens.
The ministry’s gaming and casino department spokesperson, Ros Phirun, recently told local English language newspaper Phnom Penh Post that they "have thought about Vietnam legalizing [gambling for locals]. Gambling nowadays is a worldwide industry, not just in one country or two."
This is potentially great news for Cambodian gaming enthusiasts, as it is a complete turnaround from the government's previous position on permitting Cambodian citizens to gamble within its country's borders.
Phnom Penh, the southeast Asian country’s capital, was once known to have a thriving market of slot clubs that were targeted for local players. The clubs were closed down by the Cambodian government in February 2009, thus only allowing its citizens to gamble when abroad.
Since this move by the Cambodian government, the Hong Kong-listedNagaCorp Ltd is the only legal casino within a 200-kilometre (124-mile) radius of Phnom Penh.
Editor: Qin Dexing
A China-invested Apsara International Air is going to launch flights in Cambodia later this month after it has received an air operator certificate from the Cambodia's Civil Aviation, the company's chief executive officer Zhang Xiaopeng said Monday.
Authorities in Cambodia detained 11 environmental activists on Monday for allegedly blocking officials from visiting a proposed China-backed dam site in a southwest province.
Koh Kong provincial authorities rounded up the local activists, including Alejandro Gonzalez Davidson, the president of Mother Nature Cambodia, saying they blocked a road preventing provincial governor Phon Lyvirak and Chinese experts from visiting the Chhay Areng dam project site.
Sam Kitviet, Koh Kong’s provincial police chief, told RFA’s Khmer Service that the 11 had been “invited” for questioning, rejecting claims they had been arrested.
“We invited them to be questioned because they used a car to set up a roadblock [to prevent] the provincial officials from visiting the villagers,” he said.
Although Gonzalez Davidson, a Spanish citizen, was released, the others remain in custody.
Gonzalez Davidson told RFA that villagers set up the road block after receiving information that Chinese experts and officials were traveling to the province to conduct studies on the impact of the dam to be built by China’s Sinohydro Corp., the world’s largest hydropower construction company.
He said villages do not believe that such experts conduct fair impact studies.
‘Very high’ cost
Mother Nature Cambodia contends that the hydroelectric power dam would wipe out the local culture and biodiversity in the Areng Valley, where it would be built.
(Wednesday September 17, 2014) trade unions, labor support organizations and workers around the world will mobilize in support of Cambodian garment workers’ demand to raise the minimum wage to $177 per month. Actions are planned in more than 40 major cities across the globe with supporters targeting stores, offices and workplaces of the multinational brands sourcing from Cambodia including H&M, Gap, Adidas, Puma, Zara, Levis and C&A.
For too long, international brands have reaped the benefits of poverty wages whilst claiming a commitment to living wages in their supply chains. It is time for concrete action from international clothing giants and their suppliers.
Last year the Cambodian government’s Task Force for Research on a Decent Minimum Wage found that the majority of Cambodian garment workers require $177.50 per month for a decent standard of living. The Cambodian Labor Law demands that minimum wage “must ensure every worker of a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity,” yet all workers received were further commitments and more rhetoric.
Brands have failed in their social responsibility to Cambodian garment workers and perpetuate a system of poverty wages based on corruption and corporate greed at all levels of the industry.
|The government enforces compulsory treatment for the country's estimated 140,000 drug addicts [Reuters]|
More than 400 people break free in country where UN has recommended drug rehabilitation centres be closed.
AJ: 15 Sep 2014
More than 400 Vietnamese drug addicts have escaped from a rehabilitation centre where they had been detained so that they could receive compulsory treatment, a local official said.
The detainees, many wielding sticks, broke free from the centre near the port city of Haiphong in northeast Vietnam late on Sunday.
"More than 400 inmates fled after breaking the door and threatened the guards of the centre with sticks," Nguyen Huy Hoang, an official from Thuy Nguyen district - where the centre is located - told the AFP news agency.
US-based Human Rights Watch has denounced the conditions in Vietnam's rehabilitation centres and a UN expert has recommended they be closed.
HRW says the treatment centres are "forced labour camps" where inmates do not receive proper healthcare and are often subjected to physical violence.
Police found some of the addicts back at their homes, while about 30 others voluntarily returned to the treatment centre.
"The police are searching for those who are still at large," in Haiphong, the third largest city in Vietnam, Hoang added.
, Time Magazine
Early in the morning of Feb. 17, 1979, Chinese artillery batteries and multiple rocket launchers opened fire all along the Vietnamese border with protracted barrages that shook the earth for miles around. Then 85,000 troops surged across the frontier in human-wave attacks like those China had used in Korea nearly three decades before. They were decimated: the well-dug-in Vietnamese cut down the Chinese troops with machine guns, while mines and booby traps did the rest.
captured Vietnamese soldiers
Horrified by their losses, the Chinese quickly replaced the general in charge of the invasion that was meant, in Beijing's words, to teach Vietnam a lesson, and concentrated their attack on neighboring provincial capitals. Using tanks and artillery, they quickly overran most of the desired towns: by March 5, after fierce house-to-house fighting, they captured the last one, Lang Son, across the border from Pingxiang. Then they began their withdrawal, proclaiming victory over the Cubans of the Orient, as Chinese propaganda had dubbed them. By China's own estimate, some 20,000 soldiers and civilians from both sides died in the 17-day war. Who learned the bigger lesson? The invasion demonstrated a contradiction that has forever bedeviled China's military and political leaders: good strategy, bad tactics.
captured Chinese soldiers
The decision to send what amounted to nearly 250,000 troops into Vietnam had been taken seven months before and was well-telegraphed to those who cared to listen. When Deng Xiaoping went to Washington in January 1979 to cement the normalization of China's relations with the United States, he told President Jimmy Carter in a private meeting what China was about to do--and why. Not only did Beijing feel Vietnam was acting ungratefully after all the assistance it had received during its war against the U.S., but in 1978 Hanoi had begun expelling Vietnamese of Chinese descent. Worst of all--it was cozying up to Moscow. In November 1978 Vietnam signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union. A month later the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, a Chinese ally.
A video of the China-Vietnam War in 1979 from a Chinese point of view.
Although Hanoi said it was forced to do so to stop Pol Pot's genocide and to put an end to his cross-border attacks against Vietnam, Deng saw it as a calculated move by Moscow to use its allies to encircle China from the south.
Monday, 15 September 2014
11 forest activists, including director of Mother Nature's Alex Gonzales-Davidson, were arrested for blocking officials from reaching the Areng region សកម្មជន និងយុវជន១១នាក់ត្រូវអាជ្ញាធរខេត្តកោះកុងចាប់ខ្លួននៅតំបន់អារ៉ែង
Khmerization: The Anti-Corruption Unit arrested the corruption busters because these journalists were investigating corruption committed by the government officials.
Three local reporters accused of extortion were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit on Friday night as they enjoyed a party at a restaurant in Kampot.
It marks the first time that the ACU, usually seen as an organisation that targets government officials, has arrested journalists.
Im Chiva, deputy chief of Kampot province police, said details on the case were unclear.
“I do not know in detail whether they extorted money or who they extorted from because this case is being investigated by the ACU,” he said.
The journalists – Sor Sunly, a reporter for Hang Meas TV and Kampuchea Thmey, Tol Hok Ly, a reporter for TV 9, and a man known as Sovann who works for Apsara TV – have been sent to Phnom Penh for questioning.
Om Yentieng, head of the ACU, only briefly answered his phone to say he was busy questioning a suspect.
Meas Rithy, deputy director of Hang Meas TV, did not respond to calls but told a local newspaper he was surprised the ACU arrested one of the network’s reporters in Kampot, although he was not aware of any updates on the case.
“I support the ACU’s arrest of our reporter in Kampot if he committed anything illegal, which is against the journalism code,” he said.
On Tuesday last week, Om Yentieng said to reporters during a meeting between the ACU and the private sector that 700 to 800 corruption complaints had been filed to the ACU so far in 2014, an increase from previous years.
Yentieng said that the ACU was cracking down hard on corruption and had arrested “many people”, including eight judicial officials.
Preap Kol, head of Transparency International in Cambodia, said the journalists’ arrest was within the ACU’s rights, although arresting local TV reporters could be seen as avoiding going after bigger fish.
Wild tigers have not been seen in Cambodia for years, but – despite habitat degradation and financial hurdles – there are hopes the species could be reintroduced
Not seen in seven years, the Kingdom’s most famous predator could be set to return to the wilds.
Dry forests in the Eastern Plains and tropical rainforests in the Cardamom Mountains were once home to a multitude of species – from the wild kouprey to the Indochinese tiger.
But after decades of deforestation, much of the forest has now been stripped bare and experts believe the tiger to be “functionally extinct”.
“In recent years, tiger populations in Cambodia have declined so drastically that resident breeding wild tigers are no longer recorded,” a representative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in an email.
But interest is growing in an ambitious project to restore tigers to the wild, with local and international NGOs backing a proposed action plan drafted by the Forestry Administration that would see the species once again stalk the country’s forests.
Dr Keo Omaliss, director of the department of wildlife and biodiversity at the Forestry Administration, is among the plan’s proponents.
In an interview this week, he explained how the population of the Cambodian tiger had declined since the 1960s.
The problem is global. The world’s tiger population declined by 93 per cent since WWF began keeping records, due to both hunters and habitat destruction through land clearing.
Fewer than 32,000 now exist, with just an estimated 320 remaining in the Greater Mekong region.
In Cambodia, the hunting of sambar deer and other tiger prey for food or traditional remedies, as well as land clearing that eliminates their natural habitat, has curtailed the carnivore’s access to food and strained their chance of survival, Omaliss said.
“Wildlife hunters [kill], maybe not the tigers themselves, but the prey,” he said. “Our worry is first, people hunting tigers, and second, people hunting their prey.”
In December, Omaliss’s team accompanied staff from the California-based San Diego Zoo – which participates in global conservation projects – to Mondulkiri province’s protected forest and the Cardamom Mountains to investigate the feasibility of restoring tigers in Cambodia.
Ron Swaisgood, general scientific director of the San Diego Zoo’s Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru, was among the staffers who made the trip.
The group, which did not include experts in tigers or the region, decided against participating in efforts to repopulate, he said in an email.
“After our visit, we decided not to pursue the idea of reintroduction of tigers in Cambodia. We are currently evaluating how we may be able to assist with tiger recovery elsewhere and are not at present considering reintroduction to be one of the options.”
A San Diego Zoo spokeswoman who Swaisgood forwarded a Post reporter to for additional information would not explain what drove their decision and declined to provide access to someone able to clarify.
Omaliss said it came down to a funding issue, though the zoo would not confirm this.
While no one has yet tried to restore Cambodia’s tiger population, other species have been successfully reintroduced in the Kingdom and other countries.
“It’s been done frequently with several species, and without reintroduction, some species would be extinct,” said Nick Marx, director of wildlife rescue and care programs at Wildlife Alliance.
He has overseen the reintroduction of multiple wiped-out species in Cambodia, including binturong (bearcats), gibbons and pangolins, all under strict protocol.
“It’s not the sort of thing to do willy-nilly,” he said, adding that he believes it can be done with tigers.