Archive for May 2013
The provincial commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in Kompong Chhnang province has denied that any of his soldiers are working for the KDC Company, a well-connected agro-industry firm embroiled in a long-running land dispute with villagers in Kompong Tralach district.
Local police said on Monday that three RCAF soldiers working for KDC had filed a complaint against three villagers who they say on Saturday torched a wooden shelter where they were stationed on the disputed land.
Villagers confirmed that the hut had been set on fire—and which they say was built in March when KDC stationed soldiers there to protect the company’s interests—after the soldiers had accompanied unidentified men to the area to start measuring the land for demarcation over the weekend.
Brigadier General Chhou Chan Doeun, commander of the provincial RCAF division, said none of his soldiers had ever been stationed at the disputed land.
“Those who stay at the shelter are company workers. We have never deployed our soldiers there to protect the company’s interests,” he said, adding that his troops had never been “sponsored” by KDC.
Licadho and Human Rights Watch have for years said that state military forces have been used to protect the interests of private companies and powerful landowners.
RCAF district commander Major Mao Heng echoed Brig. Gen. Chan Doeun’s comments, saying that his soldiers had not filed a complaint with police over the arson, even though he admitted that troops had been to visit the disputed land on Saturday.
“They just dropped by to visit old friends,” he said referring to the KDC workers he said were actually stationed at the shelter.
“No soldiers from my unit filed any complaints with police,” Maj. Heng said, adding that perhaps people disguised as soldiers had filed the complaint, as military uniforms were sold at many markets in the country. He also said that he believed one of the uniformed men stationed at the KDC shelter was ex-RCAF, which could also be reason for confusion of military involvement in the land dispute.
However, Ta Ches commune police chief Chuop Chanthoeun stuck by his earlier comments that three official RCAF soldiers who guarded the private company’s land had filed a complaint with his office over the burned shelter and the property they lost in the blaze.
“Today, district penal police cooperated with commune police to investigate the site,” the police chief added, refusing to name the three soldiers who had filed the complaint. No arrests have yet been made.
Reach Seima, a villager representative, said villagers believed the soldiers working for KDC were actual RCAF troops. KDC is owned by the wife of Industry Minister Suy Sem.
“The company is owned by a powerful lady whose husband is a senior CPP official and she is very powerful,” Mr. Seima said.
Officials from KDC could not be contacted for comment.
A total of 51 families in Tralach district’s Ta Ches commune have been locked in the dispute with KDC over a combined 145 hectares of land since 2007.
“that more than 1 in 10 of the country’s registered voters did not appear to exist and 9 percent of past voters had their names unfairly removed from the list.”
The Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Tuesday defended its recent audit of the voter list for July’s national election and told the National Election Committee (NEC) that it had not understood the audit’s findings when criticizing it.
The audit, which was conducted in March by NDI, the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Nicfec), and the Center for Advanced Studies found that more than 1 in 10 of the country’s registered voters did not appear to exist and 9 percent of past voters had their names unfairly removed from the list.
In the wake of its release, the NEC called the results “suspicious” and said it had “no trust of the voter registry audit” because a separate audit conducted by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) had turned out different results.
“Comfrel and NDI/Nicfec conducted two very different studies, using different methodologies and measuring different things, and, therefore, had different findings,” NDI said in its statement.
The statement also says that while NDI conducted a test to see whether people on the voter list actually existed, Comfrel did not.
The NDI has said since March that the NEC does not appear to understand that statistically valid approaches were used in gleaning information about the voter list.
“These measurements are based on internationally recognized standards developed by election-management bodies,” it said.
The only thing both studies did measure was the percentage of voters who thought they were registered, but were not found on the list.
And in this case, “the findings are statistically the same considering the margin of error,” NDI said.
In the light of what election monitors say is a flawed voter list, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has called for the voter list to be redone and the election postponed until all anomalies are resolved. Polls open on July 28 and 9.6 million people are registered to cast votes, according to the NEC’s official voter list.
Registration for the July 28 national election closed yesterday, with eight parties confirmed to have fielded candidates for the National Assembly’s fifth mandate, the National Election Committee (NEC) announced.
At a meeting held at NEC headquarters, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that from a total of eight applicants, five parties have been registered and three others are either in the review stage or need to make changes to their application forms.
“The NEC sent back the CNRP [Cambodia National Rescue Party] candidate list today to have them correct some mistakes,” Mr. Nytha said, explaining that there had been errors in the sex and date of birth of certain candidates. “They have five days to review it.”
The ruling CPP, which has a firm grip of the 123-member legislative body, will go up against Funcinpec, the CNRP, the Khmer Nationality Party, the Alliance League for Democracy, the Khmer Poverty Party, the Khmer Development and Economy Party and the Republican Democracy Party.
CNRP lawmaker Yen Ponharith said a total of nine candidates had errors in their application and that the CNRP would correct the mistakes before the cut off date.
In July, Mam Sonando, the outspoken political critic and owner of the independent Beehive radio station, was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly having encouraged an armed uprising against the government in rural Kratie province.
Less than 10 months later and just two months after he was released from Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh, Mr. Sonando’s political commentaries are now being rebroadcast by state-controlled radio stations and disseminated by the government to media outlets as a means to undermine the political opposition ahead of July’s national election.
So why has the government’s recent enemy No. 1, become its ally?
In the past week, two audio segments aired by Bayon radio, which is owned by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana, have contained commentaries made by Mr. Sonando in the run-up to the 2008 national election.
In those segments taken from old broadcasts on his Beehive radio, Mr. Sonando’s criticisms of the opposition SRP and Human Rights Party—which have since merged to become the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)—are spliced between recordings of the party’s respective leaders, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, also taking swipes at each other during the 2008 national election campaign.
“The opposition’s policy is to disrupt democracy,” Mr. Sonando says in one dated commentary now being rebroadcast by pro-government media outlets.
“If they cannot eat rice, they want to break the pot,” he continued, using a colloquialism to describe the opposition’s tactic of attacking the country’s democratic institutions if it sees that it cannot win the election.
Although Mr. Sonando was sentenced in October to 20 years in jail for crimes related to an alleged insurrection—a case that human rights groups say was trumped up by the government—it appears the same government is now using Mr. Sonando for its own political ends.
While Mr. Sonando could never be accused of being a supporter of Prime Minister Hun Sen, he also has little time for the current leaders or tactics of the country’s political opposition.
Speaking by phone from Paris, where he said he is raising funds to help Cambodia’s poor, Mr. Sonando said Tuesday that he remains frustrated by the opposition party.
“For four mandates, the opposition party has not been successful in pushing the government to implement the rule of law. The opposition has to protest until the government changes what it has done to break the law or violate people’s rights,” said Mr. Sonando, adding that simply speaking out in the media or on the floor of the National Assembly was not enough to compel the CPP to change its ways.
“Opposition leaders must not be afraid of being jailed or beaten,” Mr. Sonando added.
Since 2009, Mr. Rainsy, who is president of the CNRP, has been in self-imposed exile to avoid an 11-year jail sentence for crimes including incitement and disinformation, which he claims are politically motivated.
Mr. Sonando also said that he was disappointed that threats by the CNRP to boycott the national election on the grounds of a lack of reform inside the National Election Committee (NEC) never materialized.
“The opposition party demanded that the government reform the NEC and told the public that if the NEC doesn’t change they would not join the election, but now they have joined the NEC. So now they support the elections,” he said.
Independent political analyst Chea Vannath said the government is likely distributing the recording featuring Mr. Sonando in order to influence the political convictions of the rural Cambodians he is already popular with.
“I think that Mam Sonando has his own constituency—people who listen to him. So by [broadcasting his critiques of the opposition], what they [the government] are trying to do is use different people who have influence in the society against each other,” she said.
Regarding the seeming contradiction of promoting the views of a man who was convicted of leading an insurrection against the government less than a year earlier, Ms. Vannath said that for the CPP-controlled government “the ends justify the means.”
“The target is not to promote Mam Sonando, the target is to counterbalance the influence of the opposition party,” she said.
Ek Tha, spokesman for the Council of Minister’s Press and Quick Reaction Unit, which has been distributing the audio segments of Mr. Sonando, declined to comment Tuesday, as did Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan.
Satya Rak, the Bayon radio presenter who has produced and broadcast three audio recordings portraying opposition infighting over the past two weeks, said that he chose to include the commentary of Mr. Sonando because it encapsulates what he said is the struggle for power within the opposition.
“I put in Mr. Sonando’s comments in the audio segment because I think what Sonando said about the character and behavior of Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha is true,” he said. “Mr. Sonando had said that the opposition party could not be strong when they fight within their party,” he added.
In March, following international and national outcry, the Court of Appeal overturned Mr. Sonando’s conviction on insurrection and incitement charges, cut his 20 years sentence to just five years and then promptly suspended that sentence too, ordering his immediate release.
Mr. Sonando was also imprisoned for three months in October, 2005, after he was arrested for defaming Mr. Hun Sen by airing interviews highly critical of the government’s border agreement with Vietnam, in which an interviewee accused the government of selling swaths of the country to Vietnam.
“Mam Sonando has been quite popular since he was put in jail, so any political party would gain a lot of advantage by having him on their side, or by having him criticize another political party,” said Moeun Chhean Nariddh, the director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies. “He has reached out to grassroots level people…. He has become in a sense the voice of the voiceless many.”
The Cambodia Daily – May 13, 2013 By James Heenan
I refer to this weekend’s article “UN Official Tells Government Not to Be Defensive on Rights Record.” The article reports on a meeting convened jointly between the Cambodian Human Rights Committee and the local U.N. Human Rights Office (OHCHR) on Friday, which addressed the preparation for Cambodia’s next human rights review by the U.N. Human Right Council 2014.
As a technical discussion, it focused on how the government might best prepare for the review, so that its report is as strong as possible. The meeting was but the latest event in ongoing technical assistance on the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that OHCHR and other donors are providing at the Royal Government’s request.
The article inaccurately suggests I “warned” the government not to be defensive in its UPR reporting. The U.N. and OHCHR do not “warn” member states, nor do they “tell” member states what to do in relation to a UPR review. The rules of the UPR are set by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and these formed the basis for Friday’s discussion. The meeting also heard constructive suggestions based on best-practice, including the experience of other member states having been through the UPR.
James Heenan is the representative a.i. at the OHCHR Cambodia Office
១០ ឧសភា ២០១៣
កូនទៅក្រហែងណាក៏ឃើញយួនដែរតាំងពីផ្ទះគុយទាវ បនសំផឹង ស្រីកំដរលក់ស្រាបៀរ ដល់ប្រ ពន្ធនាយមន្រ្តី។
រាស្រ្តខ្មែរសុំទានរីកកើនលើស ផ្សិតល្ងាចទាំងក្នុងនិងក្រៅស្រុក ឯខ្មែរអត់ដី ផ្ទះនៅកើនរាល់ថ្ងៃ លើសកូនទាហាន តាមព្រំដែន។
យួនទិញដីពីសេនាសែន រាប់លានហិតារ ឯយុវជនលក់ឈ្មោះលក់កេរទៅធ្វើកញ្ជះគេជាតិក្រៅ ។
គ្រប់ច្រកមាន ចោរលួចប្លន់គ្រប់ ២៤ម៉ោងនៅគ្រប់ទិស ឯរដ្ឋមន្រ្តីឫប្រមុខខេត្តសុទ្ធតែមហាសម្បត្តិ លួចពីជាតិ និងបញ្ជីលុយ។
រដ្ឋមន្រ្តីតិចយូ ឲ្យម៉ែប្រពន្ធកូនវាធើម៉ែលើអំបែងក្បាលក្រសួងទាំងមូល ឯអ្នកល្ងង់ដូចហេង ឲ្យធំងារសម្តេចចក្រី។
អាហ៊ាមានលុយ វាល់ម៉ឺនដុល្លារអាច ទីញដំណែង ឫងារ ឧកញ៉ាពី ចិនប៉ះកង់មកពីតាកែវ អុងប៉ាង សុក អាន បានស្រេចៗ ឯស្រុកកូនមានស្តេចប្អូនក៏ដូចកូនមានស្តេចបងរស់ក្រោមជើងនាយចៅហ្វា សំអុល ។
ស្រុកកូនមានប៉ូលិសច្រើនព៌ណមែនតែចោរវាកើនលើសជាទ្វេរ មេចោរសុទ្ធតែមានអង្គរ័ក្សការពារវាជិះឡាន ប្រ ណិតៗបិតផ្លាករាជការ ។
ស្រុកកូន មានច្បាប់លើក្រដាសណែនយួនយៀប ឲ្យសែនរេតាមខ្យល់ ឯនាយក រដ្ឋ មន្រ្តីកូនវិញ វាដូចតែគ្នា ថាអាមោហ៍ពីព្រៃចុះឪវាជាចោរ ឯអាមក៏ពីបរទេសនោះចោរមិនត្រឹមលួច លុយទេគឺ ប្លន់យកមេប្រពន្ធគេ ទាំងថ្ងៃក្នុងរដ្ឋការិយាល័យម៉ាស៊ីនត្រជាក់ទៅទៀត ។ល។
ស្រុកប៉ុណ្ណេះហើយ កូនអ្ហើយ ចង់ដូរផ្លាស់រកខ្មោចយក៏អី កូនទ្រាំទំរាំដល់ឆ្នាំក្រោយ ២០២៦ កូន ប្រុសកូនស្រី មិនយូរទេ ពេលនោះសម្តេច ហៃហ្វឹក ហ៊ុន សែន លោកនឹងបូមលុយខ្ចី ចិនឆ្អែត ពោះ ប្រេះធ្នេរស្លាប់ ដូចយាចកជ៌ូជកព្រះវេស្សន្តរជេរ មិនខាននោះហោង !៕
PHNOM PENH, May 10 (Xinhua) — India will provide 40,000 bottles of indelible ink to the National Election Committee (NEC) of Cambodia that will be used in the general election on July 28, a NEC’s statement said Friday.
The ink, which costs about 830,000 U.S. dollars, will be airlifted to Cambodia in mid-June, said the statement, citing Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Dinesk K. Patnaik.
NEC’s secretary general Tep Nytha said the NEC has already issued a letter of appreciation to the government of India for the donation. He said the indelible ink will be used to mark voters’ fingers and it will be unable to be washed off for 7 to 15 days.
The country is scheduled to hold a general election for the 123- seat parliament on July 28. Some 9.67 million Cambodians are eligible to cast their ballots in the upcoming election, said the NEC.
Tep Nytha said as of Friday, 6 political parties have registered with the NEC to run in the upcoming election, adding that the exact number will be released next Monday, which is the deadline of the registration for political parties.
Analysts project that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen will dominantly win the forthcoming election.
Hun Sen, 61, has been in power for 28 years and vowed to stay in the office until he is 74.