Saturday, 16 October 2010

Banteay Meanchey Province : Flooding in Poy Pet






















Photos by Dap

ទំនាស់​ដីធ្លី​នៅ​ខេត្ត​រតនគិរី - Rattanakiri Court Carries Out Verdict over Land Dispute

CNN Hero: 'I have never been chosen by anyone for anything.'

 via CAAI

Posted: October 14th, 2010

Programming Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com  


Aki Ra is helping to make his native Cambodia safer by clearing land mines - many of which he planted years ago as a child soldier.
AKI RA
Editor's Note: Aki Ra is helping to make his native Cambodia safer by clearing land mines - many of which he planted years ago as a child soldier. Since 1993, he and his Cambodian Self Help Demining organization have cleared about 50,000 mines and unexploded weapons.

When I got the call, I had spent the day working in Siem Reap. I spend much of the week in the minefield with our team. I was very excited to be recognized for the work our NGO does. I have never been chosen by anyone for anything. I am very grateful to be recognized by CNN for the work we do.

I hope that it will bring more help to Cambodian Self Help Demining and Cambodia to clear the many landmines and unexploded ordinance that is left in our country.

Our organization is run by Khmer people, working for our country. We want people to know that the landmine problem in Cambodia has not gone away. People are being injured all the time and we are working to make Cambodia safe.

ASIA: Laws driving HIV prevention underground

via CAAI

BANGKOK, 15 October 2010 (IRIN) - In a region where carrying a condom has been construed as evidence of illicit activity, 10 million women sell sex to 75 million men, who then have sex with another 50 million people, according to the multinational Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia.

Photo: Maria Font de Matas/IRIN
Condom possession can prove problematic in some countries

"The technology is there to prevent infections, but punitive laws get in the way," said Steve Krauss, regional director of UNAIDS Asia Pacific.

Asia's AIDS epidemic is linked primarily to unprotected paid sex, according to the commission, but policies outlawing sex work are undermining HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by fragmenting and stigmatizing the sex workers and turning condom possession into an act that could lead to jail time, NGO officials say.

Until recently, Cambodia was praised by the international community for its implementation of the 100 percent Condom Use Programme, which allowed for selective enforcement of anti-sex work laws and required condom availability and use for sex workers. But a national anti-trafficking law introduced in 2008 broadly criminalized sex work, and sent sex workers into hiding.

Now officials are interpreting the law to implicate even those who distribute condoms, according to a July 2010 Human Rights Watch report .

The closure of most brothels in Cambodia as a result of the law drove thousands of sex workers into underground karaoke bars, massage parlours and parks, making them more vulnerable to police corruption and HIV infection, said Andrew Hunt, founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers based in Bangkok.

"The full impact of this new law is still unknown," said Hunter on 15 October, speaking from a conference in Thailand that gathered 140 civil society and government officials and sex workers from Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand, to discuss issues of HIV/AIDS and sex work.

"Police actually think they have a duty to arrest sex workers and use condoms as evidence. They need legal training - most countries do not accept condoms as evidence in court - but most sex workers never make it to court," Hunter said.

Fighting stigma

The Cambodian law is but one example of policies driving an industry into hiding and making containing HIV a challenge, according to UNAIDS. A coalition of agencies working on HIV/AIDS reported that all the eight countries at the conference had created obstacles to accessing HIV services for vulnerable sub-populations: Cambodia and Papua New Guinea specifically criminalize HIV transmission or exposure.

New International Labour Organization (ILO) standards adopted in June 2010 include sex workers in all areas of non-discrimination, but experts say that while policies can change, without proper understanding and implementation, the stigma and violence that surround sex work will continue to threaten human rights and HIV prevention.

"Most sex workers say access to justice and process is equally important to law reform - they have no faith that changing the law will make a difference," Hunter said.

Kay Thi Win, programme manager of the Targeted Outreach Programme, a peer-to-peer project in Myanmar primarily run by current or former sex workers, confirmed that sex workers are up against more than policy. "Stigma is the issue," she said. "But if the policies change, we need the police to be trained."

Q&A: Cambodian deportee’s wife talks about moving back to her homeland

via CAAI
Friday, October 15th, 2010

Posted by Holly Otterbein
categories Immigration

Vyreak Sovan
Marley Dang, the 3-year-old son of a local Cambodian awaiting deportation.

Last week, I wrote about Mout Iv, a Cambodian refugee, Olney denizen and American permanent resident for the last 24 years, who was awaiting deportation — and other local Cambodians like him, who have been deported recently because of criminal convictions (a fact that fits squarely into President Obama's immigration policy aimed at deporting more people with criminal backgrounds, regardless of how old their convictions are or whether they're refugees, apparently).

After the story went to print, I interviewed a Cambodian refugee named Lynn, who lived most of her life in Philadelphia, until her husband, Saul, was deported to Cambodia in 2007 for a crime he committed 10 years prior. His crime was theft by stolen property; according to Lynn, he bought a stolen car from a friend. Saul came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old, and Lynn was 4 months old when she landed here. They now live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Lynn told me, "I am not very good with details or my feelings," but still agreed to talk. This is my interview with her:

City Paper: Why did you decide to move to Cambodia with Saul? Not every wife does.

Lynn: My husband was deported on June 24, 2007 … a couple weeks later my daughter was born. I never really thought that he was going to get deported because there were rumors that Cambodia wasn't accepting people back and then when it happened, I was kind of in shock. During his deportation process, I already knew I was coming to Cambodia. In January 2008, my children and I arrived in Cambodia. I moved to Cambodia because I wanted my children to be with their father, and I wanted my husband and daughter to meet each other.

CP: More than 30 percent of Cambodians live below the poverty line. Have you found work there?

Lynn: There are not many jobs opportunities here. It is hard for my husband to find a job. I can find one easier than him because of my passport. There is a lot of poverty. Majority of the people is trying to make it through the day. The government doesn't give assistance.

CP: During your husband's deportation process, did you find your lawyer helpful? And what about the lawyer your husband dealt with during his '97 conviction?

Lynn: [During his trial], he pleaded guilty to get a lesser sentence and his [public defender] didn't explain to him that it can get him deported. … After his back judge gave him early parole, immigration picked my husband in December 2003 and took him to York. There we hired an immigration lawyer who took our money and didn't do anything for us. The lawyer told my husband that if he signed out and they don't deport him within six months, they will release him, so my husband signed out. He had to report to ICE once a month. To make a long story short, ICE picked him up on January 2007 and started his deportation process.

CP: Do you speak the language?

Lynn: We speak enough Khmer to communicate with the locals. Sometimes they have trouble understanding us and we have trouble understanding them.

CP: After living in Philly for so long, what has Phnom Penh been like?

Lynn: Living here is different. My first couple of months, I experienced culture shock and it can get pretty lonely without family and friends. The life here is really slow-paced so we get to spend more time with each other. My feelings toward living here is Cambodia is [it's] a fun country to visit, but to live here is a whole different story — especially if you have family somewhere else. Both of our immediate family is still in the states. Our parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and his kids from his previous marriage.

Cambodian Farmers Fear Losing Labnd As Developers Move To Countryside

Groups Question Reparation as Tribunal Continues

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Friday, 15 October 2010

via CAAI
 
Photo: AP
The Sept. 17 amendments were aimed at reinforcing moral and collective reparation—which some victims found lacking in tribunal's first case, for Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch.

“We are all aware that the question of reparation is not easy to deal with, because there are many victims all over Cambodia.”

Nearly one month after the Khmer Rouge tribunal changed its rules for victim complainants, groups say they are concerned the UN-backed court has so far missed a key function.

The court was established to try senior leaders of the regime and to provide a measure of reconciliation to victims. But as it heads into its second trial, victim complainants have less access to court procedures.

It also remains unclear how the measures to improve “moral and collective reparations” will work, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee and the French-based International Federation for Human Rights said at a regional meeting of civil parties in Kampong Cham province Thursday.

The Sept. 17 amendments were aimed at reinforcing moral and collective reparation—which some victims found lacking in tribunal's first case, for Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch. The amendments also established coordination from the court's victim support unit and the lead lawyers for civil parties.

“We are satisfied with the changes, especially providing the opportunity for the [Victim Support Section] to raise funds for reparation,” Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, told those gathered in Kampong Cham. “But it is not yet clear in its functioning. And we have recommended responsibilities for the government for reparation. But this has not been considered.”

Civil society representatives submitted a recommendation to the UN-backed court asking for “fair and adequate” compensation for victims of the Khmer Rouge, whose four senior-most leaders are awaiting trial. They also asked that the court prepare for collective reparation even in the event that those leaders die before the trial is finished.

However, in a joint statement, both the Human Rights Action Committee and the International Federation for Human Rights said it was “regrettable” those recommendations were “not heard.”

“They take the question of the victims as preeminent,” said Reach Sambath, a spokesman for the tribunal. “We are all aware that the question of reparation is not easy to deal with, because there are many victims all over Cambodia.”

The current tribunal rules cannot currently be amended, he added. Meanwhile, the court is preparing for Case No. 002, to try leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith for atrocity crimes, including genocide.

The question of reparation remained high on the agenda Thursday in Kampong Cham.

Long Panhavuth, a program officer for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said reparations must honor and recognize victims and their suffering.

Rong Chhorng, head of the Victims Support Section of the court, said the unit and lead lawyers for civil parties would work with NGOs in the search for collective reparation.

“We must find the finances to achieve our goal,” he said Thursday.

Pen Saroeun, a civil party applicant for the upcoming trial, said he wanted reparations for the province of Svay Rieng.

“We need a stupa and a museum to store the remains that have been discovered since 1979,” he said. “They are still dispersed, and some of them have disappeared.”

Village Rep to EU to Discuss Sugar Company Abuses

Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Friday, 15 October 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: by Heng Reaksmey
Villagers in the provinces of Koh Kong and Kampong Speu have alleged that sugar plantations operated by Ly Yong Phat have pushed them off their land.

A small delegation of Cambodians will travel to Europe this month to explain to EU officials alleged rights and land abuses committed by the sugar plantation of powerful ruling party senator.

You Thou, a representative for villagers who say they have been forced from their land by the company in Kampong Speu province, will meet with representatives to highlight their concerns.

Cambodia has a special trade deal with the EU under the “everything but arms” scheme, but local media reported that the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, owned by Senator Ly Yong Phat, has benefited from the deal while allegedly driving people from their homes.

The EU's local representative said in September his office was looking into the reports.

Chaotic But Widespread Voting in Philippines: Monitor

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer

Washington, DC Friday, 15 October 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: AP
Cambodia is preparing for commune elections in 2012 and national elections the following year.


"The Philippines, which has been a democracy since 1946, operates in a system of electoral anarchy, where folded papers are used as ballots and 10-year-old children vote in lieu of their parents."

Despite concern raised by critics, a Cambodian election expert says Cambodia's process is better than some, particularly the Philippines.

“Because in the Philippines, there is behavior that does not follow procedures and the election law, so they can't compare to Cambodia,” said Keo Darith, a monitoring coordinator for the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.

Cambodia's electoral organization is orderly, better equipped and includes secret ballot booths, he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.” Keo Darith recently monitored an election in the Philippines.

Cambodia is preparing for commune elections in 2012 and national elections the following year. In past elections, some groups, including the opposition, have complained of registration and voter-list flaws that denied some the right to vote.

The National Election Committee this month has begun to register new voters, in a process that ends Oct. 20.

The Philippines, which has been a democracy since 1946, operates in a system of electoral anarchy, where folded papers are used as ballots and 10-year-old children vote in lieu of their parents, Keo Darith said.

For all that, voters are more attentive than in Cambodia, which in recent years has seen a drop-off in election participation and where access to voting information is limited, he said.

Keo Darith said he supports a computerized voter list equipped with biometrics that would make it easier for people to vote.

Authorities Count Storm Toll, Warn of Flooding

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Friday, 15 October 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: AP
Since Monday some 13 provinces are facing flooding problems.

A total of four people have died in storms and flooding since Sunday, government officials said Friday, as officials nationwide counted the toll of heavy rain for the week.

A severe storm system battered the coast on Sunday, while continued rain flooded streets and fields nationwide. Authorities in several provinces have begun issuing alerts for anticipated flooding.

In Phnom Penh, flooding was reported in different neighborhoods as the week progressed.

Officials at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal were forced to work out of the office, as the premises became inundated.

Council of Ministers Approves $2.3-Billion Budget for 2011

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Friday, 15 October 2010

via CAAI
 

Photo: AP
Last month, September, Cambodia purchased 94 T-55 tanks from eastern Europe to bolster its military capacity.

The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a draft budget of more than $2.3 billion for 2011, an increase of $445 million over the year before.

The Council approved military and security spending of $298 million, including $185 million for the Ministry of Defense.

The Ministry of Interior was budgeted $111 million, the Ministry of Health $165 million and the Ministry of education $218 million.

Defense and security spending reflected an increase of $22 million over the previous year, the largest increase overall.

Spending for the Ministry of Interior rose $1 million, while the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education saw increases of $21 million and $20 million, respectively.

Tourists' millions elude the poor locals' nets


via CAAI

BEN DOHERTY | SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - Oct 15 2010

Boa is 19, the sixth of 11 children. With all of his family, he lives in a small thatched two-room house on the outskirts of Siem Reap.

Three mornings a week, he and his siblings, with a gaggle of children from his ramshackle suburb, walk to the neighbouring forest carrying makeshift nets fashioned from long branches, wire and plastic bags. They go to catch butterflies.

"We have to catch butterflies to sell because we are a poor family. We have no money. The money we make is to help the family, for food and to go to school. Without this, we cannot go to school," Boa said through an interpreter.

The butterflies they catch -- usually between 60 and 100 between them -- are taken to the Butterflies Garden restaurant in Siem Reap town.

They are released inside the restaurant's massive net, to flutter around the diners sitting in the garden café. For their toil, the children are paid about 5 000 riel (about R8) each.

Despite the annual flood of international tourists to the Angkor temples and the estimated £380-million they are predicted to bring this year, Siem Reap remains one of the poorest parts of Cambodia.

More than half of all families live below the poverty line, surviving on less than R8 a day. Four villages in 10 have no access to safe drinking water and 53% of all children are malnourished.

Literacy rates are some of the lowest in the country, at 64%, and just 10% of children finish high school.

"Siem Reap is one of the poorest provinces of Cambodia, which is a bit weird seeing the number of tourists going there," said Philippe Delanghe, the head of the United Nations's cultural unit in Cambodia.

The majority of tourists' money is spent with foreign-owned hotels, tour companies and restaurants. Suko Om, the manager of the Butterflies Garden restaurant, says it spends between £250 and £315 a month buying butterflies from about 25 local children.

The business also offers jobs to older children, as well as access to a local school, food and even a place to sleep.

But he still feels the restaurant is only working at the margin of a larger systemic problem.

"There is revenue coming into Siem Reap because of the tourists, but most of the businesses are foreign-owned. Almost all of the money just goes straight back out." -- Guardian News & Media 2010

Foreign visitors to Angkor Wat rise by a quarter to 804,000

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

via CAAI

Oct 15, 2010

Phnom Penh - The number of foreign tourists visiting the Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia's key tourist attraction, climbed 24 per cent in the first nine months of this year, local media reported Friday.

The Apsara Authority, which manages the temples, told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that 804,000 people had visited the complex this year compared with 649,000 in the same period last year.

However Bun Narith, who heads the Apsara Authority, said the impact on revenues was unclear.

'(For example) some 200 to 300 government delegations attended meetings in Siem Reap, and they visit Angkor Wat for free,' he said.

The president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents said up to 80 per cent of foreign tourists visit Angkor Wat, which is situated outside Siem Reap town in western Cambodia.

'Most guests think they haven't seen Cambodia if they miss visiting Angkor Wat,' Ang Kim Eang said.

The number of tourists to the kingdom is up 15 per cent this year, but big-spending visitors from the United States and the United Kingdom are down 4 per cent. The average foreign tourist spends 112 dollars a day when in-country.

Most of this year's increase in tourist numbers has come from neighbouring Vietnam, whose citizens typically spend less and do not stay as long.

The government is targeting 2.4 million tourists this year, 11 per cent up on last year.

Tourism is one of Cambodia's four economic pillars, along with agriculture, garment manufacturing and construction. Agriculture was the only pillar not badly hit by the 2008 global economic crisis.

DirectRooms.com - Runners Raise Money for Landmine Survivors in Cambodia

"Experienced and amateur runners will be stretching off and warming up in preparation for the Angkor Wat half marathon taking placing at the start of December DirectRooms.com can reveal."

via CAAI
October 15, 2010

PHUKET, THAILAND, October 15, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The race will see competitors sprinting from the start line to gain an early lead before settling into a more gradual pace as runners take to the course to raise essential funds for people affected by landmines.

Cambodia has one of the highest percentages of people maimed by anti-personnel land mines in the world and the country is still littered with the devices resulting in more people needing help. The race aims to support people who have been injured with medical care and provide prosthetic limbs which need replacing every three to four years.

The money raised from race entry fees and from runners collecting sponsorship money is donated to the Hearts of Gold charity.

Athletes will be trying to complete the 21km course in the shortest time possible which starts and finishes from the world famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. For people that feel they can't tackle the whole half marathon distance but still want to take part there is a 10km run for men and women and also a 3km run for families.

Spectators staying in a Siem Reap hotel can also see contestants taking part in the 21km wheelchair race and all events are being held on 5th December 2010.

Lek Boonlert, marketing head at www.DirectRooms.com commented: "The race is for a great cause and generates much needed funds for landmine victims. Hundreds of people will be taking part and hotel accommodation will be getting booked up so any visitors heading to the city should make an early online reservation."

About DirectRooms

DirectRooms an independent discount hotel Reservations Company based in Asia. Established and online since 2000 with over 50,000 hotels worldwide.

For further information please contact Lek Boonlert:

Email: email us here
Tel: + 66 (0)76 241 145

Blood on Cambodian dance floor as police beat up "serial kisser"

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

via CAAI

Oct 15, 2010

Phnom Penh - A 21-year-old man said police arrested him at a public dance and beat him up after telling him he was kissing too many young women, local media reported Friday.

Mey Ravy told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that seven police pounced on him at the dance a week ago in Kampong Cham province east of the capital.

'I asked them why, but no-one responded, and I was handcuffed and thrown,' he told the newspaper. 'When I fell on the ground, one of them used his feet to press on my neck, and they rubbed a lit cigarette into my back.'

He said police then took him to the police station.

Mey Ravy denied the allegation that he was 'kissing and looking at many girls.'

'If I had done that, I would have been killed by those people, and the police wouldn't have needed to beat me,' he said.

Mey Ravy's mother said police came to broker a compromise after she filed a complaint with a local human rights group.

'But I will not withdraw my complaint,' she said. 'They use their authority to torture innocents.'

Local police were not available to comment, but an official who organized the dance in Kampong Cham province claimed Mey Ravy had been a disruptive presence and had kissed many of the women there.

'We told him not to do it, but he didn't listen,' said Khiev Bunthet, denying allegations of violence. 'He fought back against us so we had to arrest him.'

Cambodia's police have a reputation for corrupt and sometimes brutal behaviour, and are seldom held accountable for their actions.

Phnom Penh Authority alerts residents of flooding

via CAAI

Friday, 15 October 2010 10:07 Xinhua

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 15(Xinhua) -- Phnom Penh Municipality Authority has alerted residents living in suburban area of the capital to cautious of any risks to property, animals and human lives that may cause by the flooding.

In the public notice sent out late Thursday and copied to the media on Friday suggested that those living along Prek Thnauth Stream which lies along the suburban area of Phnom Penh must be cautious with their property, animals and human lives.

It said the bad weather is affecting the country and it may cause more rain and flooding in the area.

At least seven communes located in Phnom Penh are being affected by the heavy rain over the past few days and the rain will continue for the next few days.

Due to flooding, at least two workers were reported dead caused by electrocuted while working the factory that submerged by the floods over the past two days.

The first victim identified as Chan Bunthy, 52, while he was working in his metal handicraft in Khand Meanchey in Phnom Penh and another victim was Than Long, 50, while he was working in the construction field as his hand touched with the metal while power supply was running.

The heavy rains over the past several days in Cambodia have damaged a number of houses and other properties while some parts of the country are facing the cut in traffic flows. Enditem.

Criminalization of Sex Work in Cambodia Undermines HIV Prevention Efforts

via CAAI

By Jodi Jacobson, Editor-in-Chief, RH Reality Check
October 15, 2010

Sex work is one of the issues around which our moral blinders cause such great tunnel vision that we end up causing more harm than good. We create laws and policies that we assume are for the "good of the victim" without ever consulting the persons engaged in sex work to see what their own knowledge, expertise, and approaches might suggest. As a result, we end up not only undermining the fundamental human rights of vulnerable populations such as sex workers, we also undermine the very efforts to improve public health, such as through preventing the spread of HIV, into which we pour billions of dollars.

Cambodia, for example, was until recently praised by the international public health community for efforts to fight the spread of HIV, including a 100 percent condom use program, under which condoms were promoted for sex workers as well as more generally. But a national anti-trafficking law introduced in 2008 broadly criminalized sex work, and sent sex workers into hiding. The law in Cambodia and other countries came in part under pressure from the United States, which has adopted such a broad definition of "trafficking" and so demonized sex work under laws such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that as much as a decade of gains in public health interventions with sex workers have been practically wiped out in a number of countries.

"The technology is there to prevent infections, but punitive laws get in the way," Steve Krauss, regional director of UNAIDS Asia Pacific, told IRIN News.

IRIN reports that according to the multinational Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia, "Asia's AIDS epidemic is linked primarily to unprotected paid sex, but policies outlawing sex work are undermining HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by fragmenting and stigmatizing the sex workers and turning condom possession into an act that could lead to jail time."

This presents a dire problem in a region where carrying a condom has been construed as evidence of illicit activity, but 10 million women sell sex to 75 million men, who then have sex with another 50 million people.

Sex work is a fact of life in an extremely poor country like Cambodia. A July 2010 Human Rights Watch report states:

People engage in sex work for a variety of reasons that are not unique to Cambodia. One primary reason is economic. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, ranking 87 among 135 countries on the UN’s Human Poverty Index, well below Burma at 77. In Cambodia, 40 percent of the population earns less than $1.25 a day. The net enrollment ratio for girls in secondary school is 28 out of every 100 girls of secondary school age. In the current economic climate, women face even more limited employment opportunities and sex work may seem an attractive economic option.

According to a 2004 Asia Development Bank report cited by HRW, “gender inequalities are endemic in Cambodia’s labor markets."

Traditional attitudes towards girls’ education and ‘appropriate’ occupations for women and men have shaped existing inequalities and continue to perpetuate disparities in employment.” The report confirms that most employed women in Cambodia work in the garment or informal sector. While a textile and garment factory worker will earn between $45 to $80 per month, a sex worker can earn a monthly income ranging from $90 to $160. Among those interviewed by Human Rights Watch, many entered sex work as a result of economic pressures (often arising from health problems of family members or landlessness) and a lack of other opportunities for education and employment.

Some sex workers therefore engage in this work because it is economically rational for them. Others are coerced or trafficked into sex work. While it is difficult to estimate the number of sex workers working out of choice versus the number of trafficking victims, HRW cites at least one credible source of data.

The HRW report states:

An academic study by Thomas Steinfatt funded by USAID in 2003—one of the few studies using statistical estimations based on actual counts—concluded there are about 20,829 direct and indirect female sex workers in Cambodia, with 5,250 in Phnom Penh. Of this number, the majority are over 18 years of age. A 2006 report by the Ministry of Health says there are 6,000 direct female sex workers and 26,000 indirect female sex workers. Many sex workers are ethnic Vietnamese. In addition, there are male-to-female transgender sex workers and male sex workers, but exact figures are not available.
While some women enter sex work voluntarily, others are trafficked or coerced. Steinfatt estimates that of a sample of 20,829 female sex workers, 2,488 women and children are trafficked for sex work in Cambodia, or approximately 12 percent. This is similar to a 2006 study conducted by White, Sidedine, and Mealea amongst 250 brothel based sex workers (all female), which found that 14 percent were trafficked, whereas 86 percent chose sex work on their own

Working with sex workers to secure their human rights, ensure they are free from violence and coercion, especially at the hands of police and government authorities, and building trust with sex work communities laid the foundation over many years to build effective HIV prevention interventions in Cambodia and elsewhere.

But the new law criminalizing sex work led to the closure of most brothels and drove thousands of sex workers into underground karaoke bars, massage parlours and parks, making them more vulnerable to police corruption and HIV infection, according to Andrew Hunter, founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers based in Bangkok.

"The full impact of this new law is still unknown," said Hunter on 15 October, speaking at a conference in Thailand that gathered 140 civil society and government officials and sex workers from Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand, to discuss issues of HIV/AIDS and sex work.

What is clear is that police are now interpreting the new law in ways that not only criminalize sex work and reduce condom use, but also implicate even those who distribute condoms in public health outreach campaigns.

"Police actually think they have a duty to arrest sex workers and use condoms as evidence. They need legal training - most countries do not accept condoms as evidence in court - but most sex workers never make it to court," Hunter said.

IRIN cites UNAIDS as noting that the Cambodian law is but one example of policies driving an industry into hiding and making containing HIV a challenge. A coalition of agencies working on HIV/AIDS reported that all the eight countries at the conference on which IRIN reported had created obstacles to accessing HIV services for vulnerable sub-populations: Cambodia and Papua New Guinea specifically criminalize HIV transmission or exposure.

While new International Labour Organization (ILO) standards adopted in June 2010 include sex workers in all areas of non-discrimination, effective education of authorities and effective implementation consistent with the spirit of such new policies lags behind, and until these are addressed, "the stigma and violence that surround sex work will continue to threaten human rights and HIV prevention."

These concerns do not go unnoticed by sex workers. "Most sex workers say access to justice and process is equally important to law reform - they have no faith that changing the law will make a difference," Hunter said.

Flooding near Cambodian capital forces preparations for mass evacuation

via CAAI

By The Associated Press (CP)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Several thousand people living on the outskirts of Phnom Penh have been told to prepare for a mass evacuation as unusually heavy rains continue.

Keo Vy, a disaster relief official, said Friday at least four people died as a result of heavy rains since Monday and some 13 provinces are facing flooding problems. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to citizens to pay close attention to the possibility of floods, and ordered officials to be ready to help victims.

A letter from the capital city's authorities released to the press Friday said the level of the Prek Thnoat River, located west and southwest of Phnom Penh, has been rising significantly.

"Therefore, our brothers and sisters must get ready and prepare all kinds of means of transportation for evacuating your children and animals to the safe areas in a timely fashion," said the statement, originally issued Thursday night.

Motorboats, tools and several thousand sandbags, tools and motorboats have been prepared to help the villagers, along with more than 1,000 soldiers put on standby. Greater Phnom Penh is home to an estimated 1.5 million people, but only a few thousand — no exact figure was available — are immediately threatened with evacuation.

The Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology has issued two announcements this week saying that virtual nonstop rain due to a tropical depression was expected to last at least until early next week.

Vietnam-Cambodia industrial exhibition to open

via CAAI

10/15/2010

A Vietnam-Cambodia International Industrial Exhibition will take place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from December 12-15.

The exhibition will feature 350 booths divided into two main areas. The first area, organised by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, will display the major export products of each Cambodian province.

The second area, organised by the Ho Chi Minh City Mechanical Electricity Association and the Dang Khoa Trade, Investment and Services Company, will showcase products and services in the mechanics, information technology, construction, transportation, agriculture, biochemical, plastics, and paper industries.

Businesses from Japan, Singapore, China, and Thailand will also join the exhibition.

Killing Fields documentary offers chance for reconciliation


va CAAI

By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/14/2010 

Cambodian kickboxing champion Oumry Ban ,left, talks with Rob Lemkin, one of two directors of the award-winning documentary film "Enemies of the People" at the Long Beach KHMER Kickboxing Training Center. The movie about the Killing Fields of Cambodia will be shown at the Art Theater Saturday October 16th at 1:30 p.m., where there also will be a question and answer session. (Stephen Carr/Press-Telegram) 

Cambodian kickboxing champion Oumry Ban points out familiar faces as Rob Lemkin, one of two directors of the award-winning documentary film "Enemies of the People" shows parts of his film inside Oumry's office at Long Beach KHMER Kickboxing Training Center on Thursday. (Stephen Carr/Press-Telegram)


LONG BEACH - When Rob Lemkin and Theth Sambath made "Enemies of the People," the award-winning documentary about the Killing Fields, they saw it as a strong dramatic and investigative movie.

What they hadn't necessarily seen in it was an opportunity for reconciliation and healing.

Film co-director Lemkin, who is in Long Beach for several upcoming events connected with the movie, said the idea came during a screening of the film in Utah. Lemkin said two Khmer women watched the film and asked Lemkin if he would thank two of the film's subjects who came forward and admitted to killing hundreds of people and were wracked by regret and guilt.

"We took from the responses that maybe this can be a reconciliation (film)," Lemkin said. "That there can be person-to-person reconciliation."

On Sunday, a number of Long Beach Cambodian refugees and their families for the first time will be able to engage in a live videoconference dialogue with Suon and Khoun, two of the perpetrators profiled in the movie, as well as another former Khmer Rouge official.

"This will be the first time Khoun and Suon will come face-to-face with victims," Lemkin says. "We know that three hours on a Sunday won't solve 30 years of deep trauma, but it's a good first step."

The historic video conference is a private event, but residents will have other opportunities to interact with the film-makers and view the documentary in the coming days.

"Enemies of the People" is a documentary feature that won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival as well as about a dozen other awards. The movie follows the quest of a journalist, who lost his father and brother to the Killing Fields, to locate genocide perpetrators and get them to speak on camera about why it happened and why they took part. Among the perpetrators interviewed by Thet Sambath is Nuon Chea, the right-hand man of Pol Pot under whose regime upwards of 2 million Cambodians died from mass executions, starvation and deprivation.
On Saturday, the movie will be screened at the Art Theatre, followed by a question and answer period with Lemkin.

On Tuesday, there will be a screening at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, followed by a panel discussion with genocide survivors, Thet Sambath, via video conference, and Lemkin.


Want to go?
What: "Enemies of the People" screenings with post-movie dialogues.

When: Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m., Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St. Long Beach. $10.

Oct. 19, 7 p.m., Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Free. RSVP required. Call 310.772.2526.

NZ rapist facing new charges in Cambodia



via CAAI

Friday Oct 15, 2010

A New Zealander jailed in 2004 for raping five teenage Cambodian girls between the ages of 14 and 19 is now facing new charges of defamation and disinformation filed by a charity group which looks after vulnerable women and children.

Graham Cleghorn, 62, is serving a 20-year sentence for raping the girls, but has claimed that he was set up, and that the charity, the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre (CWCC), paid the five girls US$10,000 ($13,198.94) each to testify against him.

The girls were employed at his Siem Reap home, near the Angkor Wat temple in northern Cambodia.

Cleghorn represented himself at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the new charges, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

He claimed to have evidence - a letter from a girl stating that a CWCC official had asked her to testify against him in exchange for $10,000 - but said the letter and other documents he would like to present were being stored at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh.

He requested time to get the documents and contact the New Zealand embassy to help him find a lawyer.

Judge Din Sivuthy agreed and set his next appearance for November 15.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said Cleghorn was last visited by New Zealand Embassy staff from Bangkok on October 4.

Cleghorn, 62, is being held in Prey Sar prison, just out of Phnom Penh, since his conviction, which was upheld in 2007 by the Cambodian Court of Appeal.

Last month, another New Zealand man, Michael John Lines, 53, who also has Australian citizenship, stood trial in Cambodia for sexually abusing young girls.

Judge Duch Kimsan of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said he would give a verdict in the near future, but did not specify when.

Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign paedophiles because of poverty and poor law enforcement, but in recent years police and courts have increasingly targeted sex offenders.

Phnom Penh Authority alerts residents of flooding


Friday, 15 October 2010 10:07 Xinhua

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 15(Xinhua) -- Phnom Penh Municipality Authority has alerted residents living in suburban area of the capital to cautious of any risks to property, animals and human lives that may cause by the flooding.

In the public notice sent out late Thursday and copied to the media on Friday suggested that those living along Prek Thnauth Stream which lies along the suburban area of Phnom Penh must be cautious with their property, animals and human lives.

It said the bad weather is affecting the country and it may cause more rain and flooding in the area.

At least seven communes located in Phnom Penh are being affected by the heavy rain over the past few days and the rain will continue for the next few days.

Due to flooding, at least two workers were reported dead caused by electrocuted while working the factory that submerged by the floods over the past two days.

The first victim identified as Chan Bunthy, 52, while he was working in his metal handicraft in Khand Meanchey in Phnom Penh and another victim was Than Long, 50, while he was working in the construction field as his hand touched with the metal while power supply was running.

The heavy rains over the past several days in Cambodia have damaged a number of houses and other properties while some parts of the country are facing the cut in traffic flows. Enditem.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

PM: People’s Safety Is Important in Rain Flood

Phnom Penh, October 15, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has called on all competent institutions and local authorities to pay high attention to the safety of people and to take measures to restore the infrastructures damaged by rain flood.

He made the appeal while presiding over a ceremony in Phnom Penh Wednesday to present graduation certificates to the students of Western University.

Torrential rains started early this week, causing floods in Ta Khmao Town of Kandal Province, lowlands of the Capital City of Phnom Penh, Bati District of Takeo Province, the provincial Town of Siem Reap, and a number of other areas.

He advised the local authorities to cooperate with the Branches of the Cambodian Red Cross in the rescue operation, and told the electricity authority to be cautious in turning off or on the power supply during and after the floods.

He also reminded the authorities to consider the sanitary measures to prevent people from rampant water-born diseases, especially cholera, that could hit as the waters recede.

He expressed concern over an unspecified number of people who are missing due to the storm in the provincial town of Sihanoukville.

In Bati District, rains have flooded and damaged some sections of Highway 2 and people have been evacuated from low areas to highlands.

In Ta Khmao Town, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology sent high-capacity water pumping machines to pump rains water out to reduce the flood level.

Regarding agricultural production this year, Premier Techo Hun Sen said rice growing had so far done on more than 2.3 million hectares of land, or exceeding the annual plan by 3%.--AKP

(By Ravuth M.)

-------------------

PM Asks Cambodian Senior Leadership to Follow up Information

Phnom Penh, October 15, 2010 - Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen appealed to all senior leadership at state institutions improve their capacity building and follow up the information to deal with the current global development.

“We have to work hard together to develop our country, Samdech Techo Hun Sen said here on October 13, 2010 in a graduate ceremony at the National Institute of Education”

“All the government officials have to work hard, if not I don’t know how to work with all of you,” Samdech Techo said added.--AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)

--------------------

Cambodian Information Minister to Visit Thailand Soon

Phnom Penh, October 15, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia’s Information Minister H.E. Khieu Kanharith will pay an official visit to Thailand at the invitation of Thai government, according to a government official.

Secretary of State of Information Ministry H.E. Nov Sovathero told reports yesterday that at the invitation of Thai government, H.E. Minister Khieu Kanharith who is also a government spokesman will lead a delegation to Thailand from Oct. 18-20.

During his stay there, he will hold a bilateral talk with his Thai counterpart and meet with Thai Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva.

According to H.E. Nov Sovathero, a group of 12 Cambodian journalists who are working for state-run Television Kampuchea (TVK), Bayon television, Cambodia Television Network (CTN), and a number of newspapers from Nokor Wat, Kampuchea Thmei, Koh Santepheap and Rasmei Kampuchea will also visit Thailand from Oct. 17-22.--AKP

(By KEO Chandara)

Bokator heritage bid gets boosted


Two Cambodian Bokator fighters spar with bamboo sticks during a training session at the National Sports Complex on October 5. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

via CAAI

Friday, 15 October 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

The presentation of famed Cambodian martial art form Bokator left the audience spellbound at the World Martial Arts Festival in the South Korean city of Chungju earlier this month, as the Kingdom’s six performers secured second spot for their demonstration.

Although the top prize, which went to the team from Uzbekistan, eluded the Cambodian squad they were more than happy to be runners-up.

“More than the prize, we successfully showcased Bokator to the world as the only martial art form which involves both art and combat,” said Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia who witnessed the breathtaking performance at Chengdu’s United Nations Peace Park.

“I am so proud of how well our team performed. Now people all round the world know that Bokator is one of the oldest martial arts, and our case for getting Bokator its due as UNESCO heritage property has been strengthened,” he added.

“What made the presentation so riveting was the ancient music which accompanied the moves. It was almost like recreating the old glory of Angkorian civilization.”

Another major development is also working to the Kingdom’s advantage. The World Martial Arts Union, of which Cambodia is a member, has assumed an advisory role with UNESCO, and it should now be easier for the Bokator federation to lay out their claims for heritage status through the power of the union.

Union rejects industry offer


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, speaks to workers protesting outside the Pine Great Garment factory in Meanchey district at the start of September’s strike.

via CAAI

Friday, 15 October 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear and James O’Toole

THE Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia said yesterday that it would drop all complaints related to last month’s strikes in exchange for apologies from workers and unions, an offer a prominent union leader said had been rejected.

GMAC Secretary General Ken Loo said the offer had come following “several meetings” with union leaders and government officials convened in an attempt to resolve the outstanding disputes within the industry.

“We have two main conditions that we deem necessary. Firstly would be at the confederation level, we need a letter of apology ... not to us, but rather to all stakeholders,” Loo said.

“Secondly, at the enterprise level, the workers in question at the enterprise level have got to apologise to the factories.”

“If the unions accept the facts and acknowledge the fact that they were in the wrong, that’s the end of the issue.”

But Kong Athit, secretary general of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said GMAC’s offer was unacceptable.

“We cannot do that because we are not wrong and the government did not accuse us of being wrong,” he said. “If we apologise to them, it means we admit we were wrong, and then they can make more problems for us.”

Loo said 67 union representatives in total remained suspended in connection with strikes held last month to protest the minimum wage for garment workers. A total of 358 workers who protested the suspensions of their representatives had been fired because they ignored court orders requiring them to return to work within 48 hours, he added.

Kong Athit disputed these figures, however. He said 106 union representatives remained suspended and 677 workers had had their contracts terminated after protesting these suspensions.

Loo said that if the unions and workers did not agree to apologise, the factories that had filed complaints would continue to pursue them through the court system.

“If they don’t feel they were in the wrong, obviously they don’t have to apologise,” he said. “Obviously, we don’t think we were wrong, and the unions don’t admit they were wrong, but somebody’s wrong, so we can only turn to the courts to intervene.”

In a speech last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for employers to drop complaints against workers and union representatives.

Tuomo Poutiainen, the chief technical adviser for the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia programme, said it was still possible to find a compromise that would suit both the unions and the employers. He pointed to last month’s signing of a memorandum of understanding between union and industry representatives related to dispute resolution as a promising step for the Kingdom’s industrial relations.

“In my opinion, there’s basis to find positive cohabitation, and that would play well for the future of the industry,” Poutiainen said.

On Monday, 22 union representatives who had been suspended at the Sangwoo garment factory in Kampong Speu province were allowed to return to their jobs following a meeting with factory management.

Brothel owner gets 10 years


via CAAI

Friday, 15 October 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

SIEM Reap provincial court yesterday sentenced a Vietnamese man and two Vietnamese women to 10 years each in prison after finding them guilty of selling three underage girls for sex in a brothel in Siem Reap town last year.

Patrick Stayton, president of the International Justice Mission, which provided a lawyer for the victims, said yesterday that police raided a brothel on June 29 last year following a tip-off from IJM.

Police arrested Ty Kimhoeung, 50, the owner of the brothel, and released six Vietnamese prostitutes, three of whom were under the age of 18. A Vietnamese woman and Ty Kimhoeung’s son-in-law remain at large after having escaped the raid.

IJM lawyer Sek Saroeun said yesterday that the court found Ty Kimhoeung guilty of procuring prostitution, while finding the two fugitives guilty in absentia of being accomplices.

Stayton said he was unhappy with the court’s decision not to order the three to pay compensation to the three victims.

“We are satisfied with the court’s conviction, which is the right judgment to show they took the case seriously and gave them heavy sentences,” he said. “But we are not happy that no compensation was given to the victims.”

He said IJM might appeal and request the court to “reconsider” the lack of compensation awarded to the victims.

Defence Lawyer Thorng Vanna said yesterday that he thought the sentence was too severe.

“We are not satisfied with the judgment, and it is a very heavy sentence,” he said, and added that a decision to appeal would depend on his client’s wishes.

Also yesterday, Siem Reap provincial court ordered a 44-year-old man to serve pretrial detention after charging him with raping and killing his 11-year-old stepdaughter in Siem Reap town’s Chong Khneas commune on Tuesday, police officials said.

Saom Phorn, 44, is accused of killing Leng Kunthea, whose body was discovered roughly 5 metres from her house on Tuesday. An autopsy revealed the girl was raped, and that she was strangled and suffered head injuries.

Deputy district police chief Mak Sam On said yesterday the court ordered the accused to serve pretrial detention.

“The court prosecutor has charged the accused with sexual assault and intentional murder,” he said.

“He didn’t confess to us, but later confessed to court officials that he killed the girl because she screamed, and he feared that she would alert the
neighbours.”

He added: “It was a brutal killing and the first time in my area that a father has raped and killed a daughter in a long time.”

Court officials could not be reached for comment.