Posts Tagged ‘SIEM REAP’
More than 8,000 hectares of land was cut from economic and forest land concessions owned by some of the country’s biggest tycoons and awarded to villagers last month, according to documents from the Council of Ministers.
Four sub-decrees signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen order that land from four high-profile disputed areas be divided among nearly 3,500 families in four provinces.
The land is from controversial concessions in Pursat, Stung Treng, Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces — each of which has been involved in long-standing land disputes.
Nearly 2,000 families in Stung Treng’s Thala Barivat district were awarded 3,553 hectares from concessions granted to Pheapimex Fuchang.
The company, owned by Choeng Sopheap, the wife of ruling-party senator Lao Meng Khin, has repeatedly found itself at the centre of land disputes
involving hundreds of thousands of hectares across several provinces.
In Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng district, 196 families have been given 1,090 hectares from a concession owned by Kain Co Ltd. In May, 2012, families wrote directly to the premier, seeking intervention in their dispute with the rubber company.
In Pursat’s Veal Veng district, 311 hectares of land inside the Phnom Samkus wildlife sanctuary, along with 2,977 hectares owned by MDS Import Export, was awarded to 835 families. The latter is carved from a 4,373 hectare economic land concession owned by MDS Import Export Co, Ltd, which has been locked in a long-standing land dispute with hundreds of families, who maintain the company has illegally grabbed their land.
And 305 families living in Preah Sihanouk were given 411 hectares in Prey Nop district that formerly belonged to businessman Mong Reththy.
The re-assignment follows months of land demarcation undertaken by cadastral officials working for provincial land management committees on behalf of Hun Sen’s large-scale land-titling initiative.
In May, amid mounting pressure, the premier issued a moratorium on economic land concessions and called for a reexamination of existing concessions.
A month later, he ordered provincial authorities across the country to demarcate land as part of a titling scheme intended to impact millions. (Though wide-reaching, the former initiative has come under fire, with observers noting that a loophole in the moratorium has given the go-ahead to an unknown number of ELCs already in the pipeline at the time of the ban.)
Mong Reththy, chairman of the eponymous Mong Reththy Group, said he supported the sub-decree, and noted that the land awarded was just a fraction of his concession, which totals more than 11,000 hectares.
“The land cutting has a small impact on my company, but it doesn’t matter, because it benefits the residents who farm their lands, and I will continue to invest my land,” he said.
Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of Hun Sen’s cabinet, declined to comment on the sub-decrees signed by the premier, and referred questions to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction. Ministry spokesman Beng Hong Socheat Khemro could not be contacted yesterday. Further details on the ELCs could not be obtained from the listing hosted on the Ministry of Agriculture’s website, as the page had been breeched by a pro-Taliban hacker.
Senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, Chan Soveth, said the carving of these concessions was a step in the right direction, but urged that more focus be paid to areas in dispute, noting that much of the land demarcation thus far has addressed only non-disputed territory.
“The action of the government can reduce land disputes, but [in order to do so], the government should focus on land disputes,” said Soveth.
(PP Post) ,8/8/2012: More than 200 villagers gathered in Siem Reap’s Kralanh district yesterday to pray and seek solice for relatives executed during the Khmer Rouge regime after their remains were found over the weekend at the southern base of Trung Bat mountain.
Do Dantrey village deputy chief Muth Samkhan told the Post by telephone that cars and motorbikes came to the village in droves yesterday to light incense and pray for the dead.
“Before, we just know that here is a former Khmer Rouge’s prison. We didn’t know they killed a lot of people and buried them underground. We have so much pity, and many cried when they prayed,” Samkhan said.
The village chief added that some villagers from farther afield who had heard the news of the gruesome discovery journeyed to the village to find out if the remains of their missing relatives were there.
Authorities yesterday continued to embargo any more groundwork in the area until experts could arrive to examine the one-time graveyard, now a commercial soil excavation site.
Siev Bun Sorn, 54, whose nine family members were killed in Trung Bat mountain prison, said that he was shocked and pitied his family, whom Pol Pot’s men murdered at the site.
“My anger disappeared for years, but when I saw the bones, I got angry immediately but could not let alone the thought of how much he had suffered,” Bun Sorn said, adding he had only escaped a similar fate by being transferred to a work movement unit.
He said he would be joining other mourners in a traditional Khmer ceremony once authorities allowed the public into the area.
“I am not sure I can find any bodies of my family members, because it was many years ago and they were buried in only one hole,” he said.
Vann Bunna, director of Siem Reap’s Department of Cult and Religion, said that his officials would begin research today to report to the province about the status of the bones and where they should be kept.
6/8/2012 Indian Express
A mass grave thought to contain the remains of hundreds of Khmer Rouge victims has been uncovered in northwestern Cambodia, authorities said.
Workers found the skeletal remains of at least 17 people last week when they used an excavator to dig up soil for commercial use in Kralanh district, said Siem Reap province deputy military police chief Nhim Seila.
“Some of the skulls were found blindfolded and the hands and feet were tied up with shoelaces,” Nhim said, adding that many of the skulls appeared to have suffered heavy blows.
“According to locals, this was a place where the Khmer Rouge killed people every day during the regime. I think there are hundreds of skeletons in the grave,” Nhim said.
Military police have closed off the site for inspection. The Cambodian countryside is littered with thousands of mass graves from the Khmer Rouge regime’s reign of terror in the late 1970s when up to two million people died from starvation, overwork, torture or execution.
The Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which researches the atrocities, identified the area in Kralanh as a “Killing Field” in 1998 and estimated some 35,000 bodies are buried there, its director Youk Chhang told.
He said he hoped Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court, which is currently trying the three top surviving Khmer Rouge leaders, would examine the site for potential evidence of crimes committed by the regime.
“The bones cannot find peace until the truth they hold in themselves has been revealed,” he said.
It is not uncommon for Cambodians to uncover Khmer Rouge graves and monks and villagers usually take the bones to a local pagoda or cremate them, Youk added.
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia will deploy thousands of security personnel to police a mass rally for ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra this weekend, officials said Thursday.
Thaksin, a deeply divisive figure in neighbouring Thailand who lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, is set to address tens of thousands of his “Red Shirt” supporters on Saturday in northwestern Siem Reap province.
Phnom Penh said it will foot the bill to provide crowd control and protection for the former Thai leader, who has strong links to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“We have a duty to provide security for Thai people and for Thaksin,” national police spokesman Kirt Chantharith told AFP.
He said there was no specific threat to anyone’s safety, but noted that the Red Shirts had a long-standing rivalry with Thai political opponents.
“This is a huge and historical event,” he said. “Many thousands of security forces will be in place,” including national police, military police, soldiers and bodyguards.
Mass rallies by Thaksin’s supporters in the Thai capital in 2010 descended into the kingdom’s worst political violence in decades, with more than 90 people – mostly civilians – killed in a military crackdown.
Thaksin remains a much-loved figure for many poor Thais, but is hated by much of the Bangkok-based elite in military, palace and bureaucratic circles who see him as autocratic and a threat to the monarchy.
The former tycoon, whose sister Yingluck became prime minister in Thailand last year, told the Red Shirts via a video address from neighbouring Laos on Wednesday that he expects to set foot in Thailand again this year.
Tep Bunchhay, the governor of Siem Reap town, best known as the gateway to Cambodia’s famed temples, told AFP by telephone that authorities had prepared a large campsite for the visitors.
He confirmed that Phnom Penh would take care of those expenses as well, though he expected “some of it” might be paid back by Thailand’s ruling Puea Thai Party.
Thaksin’s fans will also be granted free entry to the Angkor temple complex during their stay, both officials said. A standard day pass to the country’s most popular tourist attraction costs $20.
Cambodia and Thailand traded heavy arms fire over a disputed border in early 2011 under the previous Thai government. But ties have warmed significantly since Yingluck took power, largely thanks to her brother whom Hun Sen has called an “eternal friend”.
By Thik Kaliyann,The PP Post,16 March 2012
More than 30 families living near the Siem Reap River in Siem Reap’s Aranh Sakor village have sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen and member of parliament Seang Nam, asking not to be evicted from their land because of the planned widening of the river.
Village resident Dy Saroeun, 34, said authorities had measured her land, but failed to provide her with any explanation regarding the purpose or result of the measurement.
“We have lived along this channel [of the river] since the Khmer Rouge regime. Why do they want us to relocate if we don’t live on government land?” Dy Saroeun said, adding that she possessed legal documents that proved her ownership of the land.
Siem Reap district governor Tep Bun Chhay told the Post yesterday villagers living by the river did not understand the river was being widened to protect Siem Reap town against the effects of flooding and bolster development.
“Widening Siem Reap’s river has cost more than US$1 million. That is not a joke,” Tep Bun Chhay said.
“We would like to widen the river in a straight line, and that may affect some of those families [living along the river], but we will give them compensation and land.”
In their letter to the premier, villagers asked that the river be widened in its current shape, as opposed to the provincial planning authority’s plan to straighten it out during the widening process.
However, some of the villagers were not bothered by the idea of moving, as long as the government provided them with fair compensation for their relocation.
Resident Seng Sok Heng said she had given authorities permission to measure her land even though she had no information about the final plans.
“We will relocate to a new place if the compensation is acceptable,” she said.
Nineteen families have already been relocated after receiving monetary compensation, as well as a seven-by-15 metre plot of land.
By Sean Gleeson,the PP Post,15 March 2012
The work of a sculptor shaping a human body from stone takes not only time, but also a fine eye to detail and superior craftsmanship.
Earlier this month, the Cambodian government commended three of these craftsmen for their outstanding Apsara-shaped sculptures, after announcing the winners of a national contest.
Top nod went to Banteay Meanchey native Nam Sopheak, second to Siem Reap sculptor Theam Chea and third place to Huon Sophea, from Kampong Thom.
Despite the fact that the limited time did not allow him to finish the craft detail at on the back of his Apsara, he came in third place and hopes to compete again next year.
The stone that he carved was brought from Banteay Meanchey province, and it took him more than 10 days to complete his sculpture.
“The crafts, crowns or decorations of my Apsara can compete with the winning sculpture,” he said. “But one of my Apsara’s legs is slightly shorter. The winning Apsara looks perfect!”
The champion, Lam Sopheak, 25, took 12 days to carve his Apsara sculpture from stone he brought from a mountain behind his house in Banteay Meanchey’s Preah Net Preah district.
If modern artists do not continue their ancestors’ work of carving Apsara and other statues, they won’t be able to show their culture to other countries, he says. His sculptures have been taken to many countries by foreigners visiting Siem Reap.
Each of his Apsara sculptures costs about US $170.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Approximately 50 government officials and civil society representatives gathered here on Tuesday to discuss ways to accelerate the attainment of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Speaking during the opening session of the three-day Advocacy Training Workshop for Least Developed Countries, Cambodia’s Minister of Planning Chhay Than said that among the least developed countries, Cambodia is a leading one in its active work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“The workshop is to find ways to accelerate the governments’ efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and to identify the needs of the poor and vulnerable people in order to fight poverty effectively,” he said.
He said that in the last decade, Cambodia has seen a success in fighting against poverty by reducing the poverty rate of at least 1 percent a year. By the end of 2010, the poverty rate has declined to 25.8 percent.
He added that the GDP per capita is 830 U.S. dollars in 2010, up 8.5 percent compared to that in 2009.
The UN’s Millennium Development Goals focus on extreme poverty and hunger eradication, universal primary education, gender equality and women empowerment, child mortality reduction, maternal health improvement, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases combat, environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
The 10 countries attended the workshop are Cambodia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.
The workshop was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific.