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Archive for January 2012

UN rights office and government sign pact

Vincent MacIsaac, the PP Post 
30 January 2012

As expected, the government has extended by two years its agreement with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for it to have a presence here, the rights body announced late on Friday.

The government and OHCHR signed “a memorandum of understanding extending the technical cooperation program for human rights in the country by both parties for another two years”, OHCHR said in a press release.

Early last year, there had been some speculation that the government would not renew its MoU with the rights body. This followed calls the previous year from Prime Minister Hun Sen that it be shut and its then country representative, Christophe Peschoux, be expelled for “acting as a spokesman for the opposition”.

Peschoux left Cambodia last May, saying his departure was voluntary.

The MoU expired on December 31. The new one took effect on January 1, the press release said.

It did not say whether there had been any changes in its terms, and UN staff have been tight lipped when asked about possible changes to them.

Ek Tha, spokesman for the Council of Ministers and deputy director of its press department, said the new MoU reaffirmed that the government “respects human rights” and “follows the path of democracy”.

“This extension of two years sends a very positive message to the international community, including the stakeholders and foreign investors that we are a democratic government,” he said.

Although there had been some “misunderstanding” with NGOs critical of the government in the past, Cambodia is “a haven, a paradise for NGOs”, he added. “We regard them as friends, not foes,” he stressed.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said negotiations over the MoU lasted more than six months. Although he had not seen the new one he was confident it had not been watered down. “I’m pretty sure [staff at the rights office] would not accept the MoU unless it allowed them to do their jobs,” he said.

Written by Kham

30/01/2012 at 8:43 pm

Cambodia’s ruling party wins majority in Senate race: preliminary results

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) gained a majority in the Senate elections on Sunday, receiving up to 77.81 percent (or 44.3 seats) out of the total 57 seats, according to the preliminary results of the National Election Committee (NEC).

Sam Rainsy Party, which is the country’s main opposition party, gained the remaining 21.93 percent (or 12.5 seats), it said.

“In general, the elections had been conducted with security and good safety,” Im Suosdey, the NEC’s President, said during the announcement of the preliminary results on Sunday afternoon.

The official results will be announced on Feb. 4 if there is no complaint from any political parties, but it will be postponed to March 5 if there is complaint, according to the NEC.

The Sunday’s Senate elections were observed by 131 representatives of political parties, 1,432 national and international observers and 200 local and foreign journalists, according to the NEC.

Only two main political parties participated in the elections. They are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Sam Rainsy Party.

It was voted by 119 Members of Parliament and 11,351 commune councilors at 33 polling stations across the country.

Cambodia’s Senate has 61 seats, but the election was held for only 57 seats as two senators will be appointed by the King and the other two by the National Assembly.

The Senate election is held every six years. The last one was in January 2006, at that time, three parties — Cambodian People’ s Party, royalist Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party — joined the contest. As a result, the CPP won 45 seats, the Funcinpec 10 seats and the Sam Rainsy party two seats.

Cambodia to send 1st batch of medical personnel to South Sudan for humanitarian missions

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Cambodia will send a group of more than 200 medical personnel and military police to South Sudan sometime in March in order to help the country in humanitarian activities, a senior Cambodian military official said Monday.

“This is the first time and a new mission for Cambodia that we will send medics for overseas humanitarian activities under the United Nations global peacekeeping framework,” Lt. Gen. Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Center for Peacekeeping Force, Mine and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance at Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, told reporters Monday after he presided over a ceremony to send medical equipment and supplies, light and heavy vehicles and water tanks to South Sudan for medical missions.

“As scheduled, the shipment of all these things will arrive in South Sudan’s Juba within 45 days,” he said, adding “soon after they arrive, we will dispatch more than 200 forces including 76 experienced military medics and military police.”

“This will be a new pride for Cambodia,” he said.

Cambodia has firstly sent its troops to Sudan in April 2006 under the UN umbrella and the demining mission in Sudan was ended in September last year.

Beside this, the country has also sent troops to Chad, Central African and Lebanon for humanitarian missions.

Sem Sovanny said so far, Cambodia has sent 1,074 troops to these countries including 594 in Sudan.

Cambodia’s political parties conclude 21-day campaign for Senate vote

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s political parties had ended electoral campaigns for the third legislature of the Senate on Friday, two days prior to the vote.

Mao Sophearith, member of the National Election Committee (NEC), said Friday that during the 21-day campaign, the parties had promoted their political stances through marching and broadcasting on the National Television of Cambodia.

“In general, the campaign had been done smoothly with good environment and security,” he said in a press briefing to conclude the campaign. “There was no any violence happened during the period.”

Only two main political parties will participate in this Sunday ‘ s election. They are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Sam Rainsy Party, a main opposition party in the country.

According to the NEC, the Senate has 61 seats, but the election is held for only 57 seats as two senators will be appointed by the King and the other two by the National Assembly.

Each of the two parties has named 57 full candidates and 57 reserve ones to the NEC to compete in the election.

The Senate election on Sunday will be voted by 119 Members of Parliament and 11,351 commune councilors at 33 polling stations across the country.

The results will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

The Senate election is held every six years. The last one was in January 2006, at that time, three parties — Cambodian People’ s Party, Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party — joined the contest. As a result, the CPP won 45 seats, the Funcinpec 10 seats and the Sam Rainsy party two seats.

Kingdom’s 2011 GDP hits 6.9%…cooked number as usual

May Kunmakara and Don Weinland, the PP Post, 27 January 2012

Cambodia’s gross domestic product grew 6.9 per cent year-on-year in 2011, and is set to increase to 6.5 per cent this year, according to preliminary projections from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Agriculture, which was hit hard by floods last year, climbed 3.3 per cent, according to the ministry’s website.

At the same time, industry was up 14.3 per cent, while garment manufacturing alone soared 20.2 per cent. Services gained 5 per cent on a strengthened financial sector, according to the website.

The figure for agricultural growth was not a surprise, ministry Secretary of State Hang Chuon Naron said yesterday. A 10 per cent increase in rubber helped buoy the sector in the face of flood devastation, he said.

The government’s rice-export policy yielded positive results in 2011 that are expected to continue, World Bank senior economist Huot Chea said last week via email.

The government’s preliminary projection was near identical to its end-of-the-year estimate of 7 per cent. Projections for 2011 growth were issued a number of times by the government, often in response to World Bank and International Monetary Fund estimates.

In December, the IMF said GDP would grow at less than 6 per cent in 2011. The World Bank predicted 6 per cent growth, while the ADB estimated 6.8 per cent. The government will issue official 2011 numbers in June, Hang Chuon Naron said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday set Cambodia’s minimum growth target for 2012 at 6 per cent, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong. Economists said the goal was conservative.

“The government is taking a rather cautious approach when it comes to economic outlook,” Cheang Vannarith, executive director of the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said this week via email. Emerging economies in Asia will drive the region’s growth this year, he said. A positive economic outlook in the United States, as well as Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship, should contribute to healthy growth, he said.

The World Bank’s 2012 GDP forecasts for the United States and the European Union in 2012 were 2.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively, “which may have some implications for Cambodia”, the World Bank’s Huot Chea said.

Note: Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living…

Written by Kham

27/01/2012 at 7:14 pm

Thai PM to attend World Economic Forum in Davos

BANGKOK, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will attend the 42th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Friday and Saturday in Davos, Switzerland, Thai News Agency reported on Friday.

Following her official visit to India as chief guest at the 63rd Republic Day celebration on Wednesday and Thursday, Yingluck is scheduled to travel to Switzerland for the WEF.

This year’s theme is “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models” reflecting world leaders worry about global complexities and linkages following the financial crisis that occurred in many parts of the world.

The main objectives of the Thai premier’s participation in the Davos forum focus on building a good image and showing Thailand’s vision in the international arena as well as rebuilding confidence among leaders and investors on Thailand’s economy after the flood crisis last year that caused huge damage.

Yingluck said that she would also use the forum to publicize the World Economic Forum on East Asia to be held in Bangkok from May 30 to June 1.

The premier said she believed that her participation in the forum would rebuild confidence on the part of foreign investors to maintain their existing businesses in Thailand and moreover it could bring new investment to the country.

Yingluck is scheduled to participate in three main sessions including a round table discussion with international leaders and executives, an informal gathering of World Economic Leaders (IGWEL) on “Defining the Imperatives for 2012” covering sustainable economic growth.

She will be a keynote speaker at the opening conference entitled “Women as the Way Forward,” intended to exchange opinions on the values and roles of female leaders.

Yingluck will also discuss with business leaders and CEOs on” Public-Private Interaction on Thailand”to seek ways to develop Thailand’s economic potential and policy on water management and long term reform measures in Thailand.

The Thai prime minister will also meet with leaders of a number of countries, including the presidents of Poland, Tanzania, Switzerland, and the prime minister of Pakistan. She will also discuss with business leaders from Sumitomo Chemical, Coca-Cola, and Swiss Re.

On the sidelines of the WEF, Thailand opens”Thai Night”Friday evening as an invitation and to publicize that it will host the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012, in which Yingluck said ” Thai Night” should draw over 400 business leaders as another chance to tell investors of investment opportunities in Thailand.

The WEF is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Over 2,500 participants from all over the world, including heads of state or government, business leaders, and members of the media are joining this year’s meeting.

Cambodia’s political parties conclude 21-day campaign for Senate vote

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s political parties had ended electoral campaigns for the third legislature of the Senate on Friday, two days prior to the vote.

Mao Sophearith, member of the National Election Committee (NEC), said Friday that during the 21-day campaign, the parties had promoted their political stances through marching and broadcasting on the National Television of Cambodia.

“In general, the campaign had been done smoothly with good environment and security,” he said in a press briefing to conclude the campaign. “There was no any violence happened during the period.”

Only two main political parties will participate in this Sunday ‘ s election. They are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Sam Rainsy Party, a main opposition party in the country.

According to the NEC, the Senate has 61 seats, but the election is held for only 57 seats as two senators will be appointed by the King and the other two by the National Assembly.

Each of the two parties has named 57 full candidates and 57 reserve ones to the NEC to compete in the election.

The Senate election on Sunday will be voted by 119 Members of Parliament and 11,351 commune councilors at 33 polling stations across the country.

The results will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

The Senate election is held every six years. The last one was in January 2006, at that time, three parties — Cambodian People’ s Party, Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party — joined the contest. As a result, the CPP won 45 seats, the Funcinpec 10 seats and the Sam Rainsy party two seats.