Archive for the ‘Siem (សៀម)News’ Category
BANGKOK, May 10 (Xinhua) — Thai foreign minister urged his US counterpart not to downgrade the southeast Asian country in its latest review of the human trafficking situation during his visit to the United States, Thai News Agency reported on Friday.
Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand, said on Thursday upon his return from a visit to Washington that he had discussed several issues with his US counterpart John Kerry during his visit from May 5 to 8.
During the Monday meeting on Monday, Surapong said he highlighted the Thai government’s efforts in dealing with the problem of trafficking. He cited the example of Thailand’s newly- established One-Stop Crisis Centres on assistance and protection for various target groups, including victims of human trafficking.
The minister said he hoped the efforts would be reflected positively in the upcoming U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which is to be published next month.
The TIP report has put Thailand on the Tier 2 Watch List for three consecutive years and the government is concerned that the country may slip into Tier 3 if no meaningful action is taken to deal with the human trafficking problem.
A country in the Tier 2 Watch List is not yet compliant to the maximum standards to combat trafficking in persons and is in danger of falling to Tier 3, which is worse.
Kerry said he would consider Thailand’s request and effort, but expressed concern over Thailand’s lengthy judiciary procedures in tackling human trafficking cases, Surapong said.
The two ministers also discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, as well as global issues of common concern.
On regional issues, Surapong welcomed Washington’s strategic rebalancing policy focusing on re-engagement with Asia, particularly the importance the US has given the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to centrality.
He stressed that American engagement in ASEAN integration efforts can serve as a stabilizing force in the region.
The partnership will help address political-security challenges in the ASEAN region, including transnational crime, human trafficking, piracy, and disaster.
Si Sa Ket April 13, 2013 1:00 am
Villagers ready to evacuate as Thai, Cambodian troops take position
People living in this border province are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the Preah Vihear Temple and its surrounding area will not trigger a war or bloody clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops.
“We are worried about the possibility of a battle,” Prayote Meemui, 50, said yesterday. Prayote lives in the border village of Phoomsaron in Khantaralak district.
“We have been hearing the exchange of gunfire from time to time recently,” he said.
In response to Cambodia’s request, the ICJ is scheduled to hear statements from both countries between April 15 and April 19 before it forms an opinion on its 1962 judgement in relation to the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple.
At the centre of the dispute is not just the ancient Hindu temple, which is now inscribed as a World Heritage site on Cambodian soil, but also its surrounding 4.6 square kilometres.
“My neighbours and I will watch the live broadcast of the ICJ hearings. We have to be alert at all times,” Prayote said, adding that he believed Cambodia would become dissatisfied if the ICJ ruled in Thailand’s favour or vice versa.
Locals say they have noticed that both Thailand and Cambodia have been moving more troops and weapons to the border zone since mid-March. While both sides claim to be doing military exercises, the locals believe that they need to be prepared for possible evacuation.
“I keep my car’s tank full at all times,” Niran Lumthaisong, 50, said, adding that he had packed up all their important documents and belongings to ensure that he and his family can leave the area immediately in case of emergency.
He said seven border villages in Si Sa Ket’s Tambon Sao Thong Chai have already set up protection teams, which will guard villages should a border clash erupt and most residents need to evacuate.
“We need security teams because evacuees cannot remove all their belongings immediately,” Niran explained.
Thailand and Cambodia have locked horns over the Preah Vihear Temple issue several times before, especially after Cambodia registered the Hindu temple as a World Heritage site.
Prayote said he hoped the ICJ would deliver a neutral verdict and support joint management of the area surrounding the temple.
Thai officials have closed down the Mor E Dang cliff, a popular tourist attraction, since the beginning of this month. The cliff is close to Preah Vihear and Thai authorities are concerned that some groups might go there to stage a protest, which might encourage the use of violence.
Soldiers have now been posted to guard the entrance to the Mor E Dang cliff.
BANGKOK, April 9 (Xinhua) — The next round of the continuing peace dialogue between the Thai authorities and some Muslim insurgent leaders, set for April 29, will possibly be postponed, a high-ranking Thai security official said Tuesday, Thai News Agency reported.
National Security Council (NSC) Secretary General Paradorn Pattanathabut said the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur will be the venue of the talks, but Malaysia’s general election is scheduled for later this month.
“It might be inconvenient to meet on the set date. We are waiting for a confirmation from Malaysian officials,” Thai News Agency quoted Gen Paradorn as saying.
The first round of talk was also held in Kuala Lumpur as the Malaysian authority helped facilitating the meeting.
He stressed that the peace process will carry on despite ongoing violence in Thailand’s deep South but admitted that the escalating unrest has a negative impact on the talks.
He said security forces in the southern border provinces have been placed on high alert in light of increasing attacks by insurgents.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 incidents a day, in Thailand’s Muslim, ethnic-Malay dominated three southern border provinces — Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla — since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.
The Foreign Ministry will submit the Thai position to be presented at court hearings on the Preah Vihear dispute to the cabinet on April 2.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Thursday the ministry will ask for opinions from the cabinet before the Thai team leaves for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings at the Hague in the Netherlands on April 15-19.
Mr Surapong said approval will be sought regarding a live translation from French to Thai at the oral hearings, which will be broadcast via internet from the court.
The hearings will be conducted in French.
He said a translated broadcast in Thai should be aired so the public can receive information directly from the court. That would avoid any misinterpretation in media reports, he said.
The ministry will also brief the public about Thailand and Cambodia’s positions at the end of each day of the hearing.
Meanwhile, Mr Surapong said Thailand is planning to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) in Poipet and Koh Kong with Cambodia, similar to the SEZ to be developed with Myanmar in Mae Sot. Under the plan, Thailand will develop transport links between the two countries and upgrade border checkpoints, he said.
Cooperation on agriculture, health, human resources and industrial development will also be part of the plan.
Mr Surapong said Thai and Cambodian officials will talk in detail before he meets his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, in May or June to discuss the plan.
Mr Surapong said the Defence Ministry will also hold talks with Cambodian officials on illegal logging of Siamese rosewood along the border and will set up a patrol police unit to stamp out the activity.
Bangkokpost 14-3-2013 by Wassana Nanuam
‘No matter how the World Court’s verdict comes out, we are neighbours and should not fight each other,” Cambodia’s defence minister and deputy premier, Gen Tea Banh said.
“We can [solve problems through] talks. We are supposed to be close friends as both of us are heading for the Asean Economic Community.”
He was urging both countries to stay calm while the Preah Vihear territory dispute unfolds.
However, the Cambodian general dodged a question about his expectations of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict on the ownership of the disputed 4.6 sq km area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple. The ICJ’s ruling is expected later this year.
But the statement contained hints of optimism that Cambodia will win the dispute and will be able to claim ownership of up to 600 rai of the disputed territory.
Of particular concern to Thailand is Cambodia’s attempt to create the impression that it is the rightful owner of the disputed area. A military source mentioned a report which the Cambodian government cites to Unesco, that more ancient artefacts have been discovered around the temple ruins.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia.
The report is seen as an attempt by Cambodia, which put up a fence and a Unesco sign around the “discovery” location, to expand the temple zone beyond the 20×100 metre plot that the Sarit Thanarat government allocated to Cambodia following the 1962 verdict.
The Thai side is also worried about the so-called “5+5″ meeting point _ about 500m from the temple’s naga stairs. Each country deploys five soldiers (rangers for Thailand) to the spot every day from 8am-4pm. Despite the ongoing land dispute, Cambodia has constructed a border patrol police house for its soldiers next to the meeting point.
So at the end of the day, the Cambodian soldiers remain in the disputed area while the Thai side has to walk back to their base, giving the impression that the area belongs to Cambodia.
These rangers are more like “hostages”. If a conflict arises, the Thai rangers could easily be taken captive, as happened in February 2011 when the two sides clashed.
Moreover, all the signs placed at this meeting point read only in Khmer, despite Thai demands to have Thai-language signs erected on the Thai side of the meeting point. “We are supposed to have put up our signs but we don’t want to spoil the friendly atmosphere over such a trivial matter,” the source said.
Another source said Thailand is dubious about its neighbour. When Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat travelled to the Preah Vihear temple to meet his counterpart Gen Tea Banh on Feb 26, Cambodian Deputy Defence Minister Nieng Pad was said to have wanted to welcome the Thai minister and his entourage at this 5+5 meeting point. The Thai side, however, resisted on the grounds it would give the impression that Thailand acknowledges Cambodian ownership of the overlapping area. Instead, the Thai side asked the Cambodian general to offer his welcome at the temple’s naga stairs over which Cambodia has ownership rights.
“We are keen to see that history will not repeat itself,” the source said, referring to a visit of Prince Damrong to the temple ruins in 1930.
At that time, the French resident general and Cambodian officers came to the site to welcome the Siamese prince who was then interior minister. Cambodia cited this historical incident when petitioning to the ICJ in 1962, saying it was tantamount to Siam’s acknowledgement of its ownership over the temple ruins. And the World Court ruled in Cambodia’s favour. The issue blew up again in 2008 when Cambodia registered the temple as a World Heritage site, triggering conflicts over overlapping land around the temple.
Since the Preah Vihear conflict erupted, Thai-Cambodian relations have ebbed and flowed depending on who is in power on the Thai side.
With Yingluck Shinawatra _ whose brother enjoys cordial relations with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen _ in office, relations have improved. Hun Sen has encouraged Thai and Cambodian soldiers to meet more often. The unprecedented meeting at the Preah Vihear temple between ACM Sukumpol and his counterparts was to give an impression that the bilateral relationship has improved and the ICJ’s eventual ruling will not lead to war.
Cambodia is confident, however, that the Yingluck government will be able to control its army should the ICJ rule that Thailand must give up the territory.
But this is pure speculation. We don’t know what the court will decide and whether the army, not to mention nationalistic groups such as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, will agree to act peacefully if the verdict is not favourable to Thailand.
The Suranaree Taskforce has protested to Cambodia for allegedly planting new landmines along the shared border at Surin. The move came after three Thai rangers stepped on landmines along the border on Tuesday.
Two days after Thai troops were wounded by an apparently new landmine along the Surin province border, The Cambodian Ministry of Defence on Friday called reports that it planted landmines at the Surin border “false and groundless”.
“This type of TMN1 landmine has been used in Cambodian history,” said the statement.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was equally forceful on Friday as denying the mines were planted by Thai forces.
“We will check who planted the landmines there, but we did not put them there,” said Gen Prayuth. “Someone else did.
“I ask soldiers along the border to exercise caution and I feel for them because being a soldier means you have to risk your life.”
The taskforce, which is under the 2nd Army Region, sent a protest note to Cambodia via the Thai Border Committee, Lt Gen Jeerasak Chomprasob, the 2nd Army Region commander, said Thursday.
He said Thai authorities believe the landmines found along the border were newly planted and may have been put there by Cambodian forces.
Lt Gen Jeerasak said he wanted the Cambodian side to clarify the matter.
Thailand and Cambodia have signed the Ottawa Treaty, which bans signatories from using and stockpiling landmines. Cambodia was both a severe victim of mining, and one of the leading nations pushing for the treaty.
The three rangers – Niran Sutham, 28, Sorawut Pra-ngarm, 26, and Sakda Prachaklang, 27 – were injured after stepping on the landmines near a military outpost at boundary marker No.21 in Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district.
The incident happened about 3.30pm on Tuesday.
Ranger Niran’s right leg was blown off. All of the rangers were taken to the military hospital at the Weerawat Yothin army camp in Muang district of Surin, but Niran was later transferred to Surin Hospital.
The three rangers are now recovering.
Ranger Niran said his 15-member team was patrolling the area when he and the two others stepped on three landmines. One of them exploded. A total of 11 landmines were found planted in the area and all were later defused.
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat yesterday reiterated that the landmines found at the location did not belong to Thailand.
The mines were found planted about one metre across the border into Thai territory, he said.
ACM Sukumpol said Lt Gen Worawit Darunchu, the commander of the Border Affairs Department, was also preparing a letter to ask Cambodia about the matter.
BANGKOK, March 7 (Xinhua) — The Thai army on Thursday sent a letter of protest to Cambodia over the landmine explosion at the Thai-Cambodian border in northeastern Surin province that seriously injured three Thai rangers on Tuesday, Bangkok Post online reported.
The 2nd Army’s Suranaree Task Force submitted the protest letter to the Cambodian army via the Thai-Cambodian Township Border Committee.
The letter says the landmine was planted inside the Thai territory in Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district.
The three wounded men were part of a 16-member ranger patrol near Ta Kwai Temple in Phanom Dong Rak. The explosion on Tuesday blew off one man’s right foot, and the two others sustained shrapnel wounds.
23-01-2013 BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai magazine editor was jailed for 10 years on Wednesday for insulting the royal family under the country’s draconian lese-majeste law, a sentence that drew condemnation from international rights groups and the European Union.
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, editor of “Voice of the Oppressed”, a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was found guilty of publishing articles in 2010 defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The articles criticized the role of a fictional character meant to represent the king, public prosecutors said in a July 2011 report. Discussions about the role of the monarchy are forbidden.
“The accused is a journalist who had a duty to check the facts in these articles before publishing them. He knew the content defamed the monarchy but allowed their publication anyway,” a judge said in passing sentence.
The European Union Delegation to Thailand said the verdict and sentence undermined the right to freedom of expression.
“At the same time, it affects Thailand’s image as a free and democratic society,” it said in a statement.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said the ruling was “more about Somyot’s strong support for amending the lese-majeste law than about any harm incurred by the monarchy”.
Rights groups say the lese-majeste law is used by Thailand’s powerful elite to silence political opponents, including supporters of pro-Thaksin groups.
“The lese-majeste law works against the long-term interests of the Thai monarchy,” said David Streckfuss, a Thailand-based independent scholar and lese-majeste expert. “To a society that is becoming ever more politically conscious, the holding and trying of defendants seems arbitrary, petty and a clear violation of human rights.”
Somyot, who was jailed for an additional year on an unrelated defamation conviction, was arrested on the lese-majeste charge while Oxford-educated, pro-establishment Abhisit Vejjajiva was prime minister.
Current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, promised to amend the law during her 2011 election campaign but has rowed back on that since coming to office, causing divisions among her supporters.
Websites accused of defaming the royal family are frequently shut down.
“Thailand’s 2007 Computer Crimes Act effectively muzzles those who want to express an honest opinion and 75 percent of websites shut down since it came into force have been because of so-called anti-monarchy content,” said Sawatree Suksri, a criminal law lecturer at Thammasart University in Bangkok.
Convictions under the law carry a maximum jail term of 15 years.
The 85-year-old king, who has been in hospital since 2009, is seen by many in Thailand as a unifying, semi-divine father figure.
National unease over what follows his reign has contributed to tensions in the country since before Thaksin was toppled by the military in 2006, leaving the country divided broadly between royalists and nationalists on the one side and Thaksin’s mostly lower-class supporters on the other.
(Additional reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Editing by Alan Raybould and Nick Macfie)