Thursday, 10 March 2011
Published : March 10, 2011
Published : March 10, 2011
BANGKOK, March 9 -- Thailand is ready for this month's Thailand-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) meeting in Jakarta in just three weeks time, March 27-28, as proposed by the Indonesian government and expects the meeting to ease border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said here Wednesday.
Mr Abhisit said Thailand has always been ready to hold bilateral negotiations with Cambodia and if Phnom Penh agrees to resume talks it would be considered a good sign as related bilateral issues could move ahead toward solution.
Thailand and Cambodia will discuss in detail the format of the talks, he said, adding that to invite anyone to witness the bilateral talks would not be a problem.
The premier said Indonesia, in its capacity as current chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and playing a facilitator’s role for the bilateral meeting would only acknowledge the meeting but would not involve the details of the discussion.
It would be considered beyond the framework of the JBC, which is in a bilateral talk format, if a third party joined the discussion, he said.
Mr Abhisit said that he hopes that the JBC could be a first step to ease tensions between Thailand and Cambodia.
Regarding the invitations by Thailand and Cambodia to Indonesia to send observers to their respective sides of the border, Thani Thongphakdi, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry spokesperson said earlier that Indonesia has sent the draft Terms of Reference of the observation mission to both Thailand and Cambodia.
He sad the Thai government, in principle, has no objection to the Indonesian proposal.
Nevertheless, Mr Thani said, Thailand and Cambodia would need to discuss details of the proposal’s implementation in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable conclusion.
He added that It is hoped in this connection that the issue could be brought up at the next the General Border Committee (GBC) meeting chaired by the two defence ministers, to be convened as soon as the Cambodian side is ready.
Credit by: MCOT online news
March 10, 2011
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday appealed to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, calling for response to the terms of reference (TOR) for Indonesian observers and the proposed meetings on March 24 on Cambodia-Thai border dispute.
"I'd appeal to my Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva to respond as soon as possible to Indonesia on TOR and the proposed meetings on March 24-25," he said, adding that "Cambodia has positively responded already."
The premier's remark was made following a letter from Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Wednesday, which was sent to Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, and other ASEAN foreign ministers.
The letter wrote that Cambodia has responded positively to the TOR and proposed meetings on Cambodia-Thai General Border Committee (GBC) and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) in Bogor, Indonesia on March 24-25, however, "I am look forward to hearing positive responses from Thailand," said Marty in the letter.
"It is almost one month since the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting on Feb. 22, we firmly believe that we all have recognized the urgency of the practical activities," Marty wrote.
In the letter, Marty said that there were some changes to the conditions of TOR and asked Cambodia and Thailand to resort to a new TOR.
Hun Sen said some changes to the TOR include the guarantee that the implementation of the TOR will not affect the territory, security or public important interests, and results of negotiations on the border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand.
Another change involved the period of Indonesian observance -- reduced to 9 months from 12 months as it was in the old TOR, because Indonesia has only 9 months to take over the ASEAN rotating chair.
"Cambodia also absolutely agreed with the new TOR and respond positively to Indonesia on Wednesday already," said Hun Sen.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia; however, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.
The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes happened, resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.
The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, which unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on both sides of the border, had killed and wounded many soldiers and citizens of both sides, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Leaders of the People's Assembly of Thailand and Thai Patriots Network on Thursday submitted a petition to the Supreme Court asking it to appoint independent investigators to investigate Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon for failing to protect Thai territory from being trespassed on by Cambodia.
The petition was filed by Admiral Bannawit Kengrian, chairman of the People's Assembly of Thailand, and Chaiwat Sinsuwong and ML Walwipa Charoonrote, leaders of the Thai Patriots Network.
Citing Sections 275 and 276 - which concern criminal action against holders of political positions - of the constitution, the petition states that between Feb 4-20 Mr Abhisit, Mr Suthep and Gen Prawit failed to perform their duties to prevent Cambodian soldiers from intruding to occupy more than 3,000 rai of Thai territory, causing casualties on Tha villagers and soldiers.
In the petition, Supreme Court president Sobchoke Sukharom is asked to set up independent investigators to conduct investigation to establish whether the three had neglected to perform their duties.
Mr Chaiwat said if the court accepts to conduct the independent investigation the petitioners would bring TPN coordinator Veera Somkwamkid, if he is released, to testify.
Veera is currently serving time in a prison in Cambodia after being found guilty of illegal entry and espionage.
On Mar 11 a letter will be submitted to the Thai embasy in Phnom Penh, the foreign minister, the defence minister, and the permanent secretary for foreign affairs to reply why they allowed Cambodian troops to trespass on Thai soil, Mr Chaiwat said.
If they do not reply to the question, a petition would be filed against them with the Administrative Court.
Moreover, Mr Chaiwat said a petition would also file with the International Court of Justice, the International Red Cross, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, accusing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen of human rights violation against Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who was also handed down a jail sentence in Cambodia.
March 10, 2011
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—A Cambodian court has convicted a British man of sexually abusing two girls and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
Tweet Be the first to Tweet this!Submit to DiggdiggsdiggYahoo! Buzz ShareThis Authorities say 38-year-old Matthew Harland was arrested in May last year at the house he rented in the capital, Phnom Penh. He was found to be living with two sisters aged 11 and 12.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Kor Vandy convicted Harland Thursday on charges of buying sex from the girls and ordered him to pay each child compensation of one million riel ($250).
Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign pedophiles because of poverty and poor law enforcement. In recent years police and courts have increasingly targeted sex offenders.
(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. Adds that girls are sisters; corrects amount of compensation paid to each girl.)
A Tokyo medical school student shines a light on marginalized AIDS patients in Cambodia in his first documentary film now showing throughout the country.
"I wanted to show the reality of people who accept their fate as they strive to survive in a tough life," said director Kota Hada, 26, of his first documentary about people living with AIDS in Cambodia, titled, "Soredemo Unmei ni Yes to Iu" (We Still Say Yes to Destiny).
A sixth-year-student at Nippon Medical School, Hada was one of those run-of-the-mill college students who hang out in bars and play mahjong with friends every day, while feeling somewhat unsatisfied with life.
It was in the summer of his second year at university that the medial student came across a flyer about a project to build a school in Cambodia.
Together with some friends, who were also looking for something they could become passionate about, Hada raised 1.5 million yen in a year by holding charity events at night clubs. They opened a new elementary school in Cambodia in 2006.
The project's success brought him a sense of accomplishment, but he could not stop thinking about an AIDS patient whom he met at a hospital in Cambodia.
"The patient told me about the sorrow of being left behind in Cambodia's post-civil war recovery, but I've done nothing about it," he thought, and decided to produce the film about people living with AIDS in the country. Hada and his two friends raised about 700,000 yen in production costs by working part-time jobs. In April 2010, they started filming the documentary in Cambodia.
The work features marginalized AIDS patients in the country, such as a girl who earns treatment costs for her sick mother through prostitution, a group of AIDS patients who have been forced to live together in a village and children infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission.
As he faced the grim reality of these people, Hada pondered if filming them would change anything.
Words from a female patient in her 20s supported Hada whenever he was uncertain about his decision to make the movie.
"Even my friends have abandoned me, but you put your arm around me. Thank you," the woman said to the young filmmaker.
Hada hopes more young people will get involved in activities to support others, saying, "Many people think only those with lofty ideals join overseas cooperation groups and help people with AIDS. But I want them to know that there are things that an ordinary student like me can do to help."
The documentary will be screened at 31 movie theaters nationwide through the end of March. Details can be found at the film's official website at http://suy.client.jp/index.html/top.html.
Thursday March 10, 2011
PETALING JAYA: Oil palm plantation firm Golden Land Bhd said its units had entered into agency agreements in Cambodia for Golden Land to expand its land-banks for palm oil cultivation by nearly 11,000ha.
The company told Bursa Malaysia in two separate announcements yesterday that two of its wholly-owned units, Pacific Bloom Ltd and Gainfield International Ltd, had entered into agency agreements with Cambodian-based agents Virtus Communications Pte Ltd and Mohan Tirugmanasam Bandam.
Pacific Bloom entered into an agency agreement on March 8 for the Cambodian parties to apply on its behalf for economic concession rights over 10,922 ha of land located in Dang Peng Commune, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia from the Cambodian government for agricultural investment purposes.
A company named Perfect Element Plantation Pte Ltd will be incorporated as a wholly-owned unit of Pacific Bloom for the application of the economic concession rights of the leased property.
Meanwhile, Gainfield International entered into an agency agreement yesterday for the agents to apply on its behalf for economic concession rights over 11,827 ha located in Dang Peng Commune, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia from the Cambodian government for agricultural investment purposes.
A company named NWP Private Ltd will be incorporated as a Golden Land wholly-owned unit for the application of the economic concession rights of the leased property.
Golden Land hopes that the application of the concession rights will increase its land banks for palm oil cultivation.
Story: Liz Gonzalez , Posted: Mar 10, 2011
Story: Liz Gonzalez , Posted: Mar 10, 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Survivors of Cambodia’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime are finally hopeful about getting answers to the question they have carried for 30 years: Why?
An estimated 2.7 million people died in Cambodia during the murderous reign of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.
This summer, four Khmer Rouge leaders will go on trial in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, created by the Cambodian government and the United Nations. This court only has jurisdiction to prosecute the most senior leaders of the “Killing Fields” regime.
This extraordinary court is the first international court to allow survivors to participate directly in the proceedings.
After the Khmer Rouge fell from power, Cambodia’s civil war continued until 1999. Many Khmer Rouge leaders continued to live in the country they devastated.
Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two, the second most powerful member of the Khmer Rouge, is among the top four surviving officials facing trial. The others are Ieng Sary, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs; his wife, Ieng Thirith, who was Minister of Social Affairs and Action; and Khieu Samphan, former Head of State. They have all been awaiting trial since their arrests in 2007.
More than 247,000 Cambodians now live in the United States. Survivors here learned about the trial through the efforts of Leakhena Nou, a medical sociologist and founder of the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC), which is committed to justice, healing and helping survivors write their history.
Nou embarked on an extensive outreach effort across the United States in 2009 to ask whether the Cambodian community was interested in participating in the historic trial.
“Although we are not in Cambodia, we can have our voices be heard from here and very loud,” said Leakhena in San Jose, Calif., last week. The gathering was one of several she organized to update the Cambodian community here on the tribunal and urge their participation in it as civil parties.
ASRIC began collecting survivors’ testimony and recruited legal experts to help people complete their applications to participate. To ensure the survivors in the United States were represented in court, Nou turned to the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) for assistance based on its extensive experience in similar cases.
CJA focuses on deterring severe human rights abuses through litigation. It files cases on behalf of survivors all over the world in such disparate locations as Haiti, Somalia, El Salvador--and the United States.
The organization regards Cambodian genocide as an issue of “transitional justice,” where crimes may have happened a generation ago, but the court process brings everything to light with the aim of moving the country beyond its tragic past.
In its effort to develop the Cambodian legal system, CJA, in addition to filing cases, also trains and advises prosecutors. “We use the litigation as a vehicle to say we can’t have these kinds of things happening in this country; there need to be more legal safeguards to make sure that arbitrary detention doesn’t happen here,” said CJA Legal Director Andrea Evans.
She stressed that holding leaders accountable, even after decades, can help move Cambodia toward a law-based—and more just—system.
One task of CJA is to recommend reparations the court should order. To do so, they interview survivors about what they would find most meaningful.
The extraordinary court will designate an award to survivors if it finds one of the defendants guilty.
Although the court cannot award money because the high number of civil parties exceeds available funds, it can order collective and moral reparations. Intended to benefit a large group of people or Cambodian society as a whole, such reparations may include a monument to honor the people who died or a day of remembrance.
CJA plans to begin advocating for specific kinds of compensation in June, when the trial is expected to start. Doing so will increase the likelihood that the court will grant victims an acceptable remedy.
Sophy Saing, a mother of four living in San Jose, took extensive notes during the meeting. “I left Cambodia because I had no food to eat,” she said during the meeting.
“People want answers,” she said. “They want to know what happened and why they killed so many.” She was able to get out of the country with her entire family, unlike most at the meeting. Some brought photographs of those killed, all they had left of their loved ones besides memories.
“Your weapon is the pen,” Leakhena Nou told the survivors. “Now is your chance to break the silence; silence is hurting you and hurting the community and Cambodia. We don’t want to repeat violence; we want to educate these people that we can find justice in a just way.”
In the coming months, ASRIC and CJA will continue their dialogue with the Cambodian community across the United States about how to make this trial meaningful for them, determine what reparations they want from the court and continue with a process of healing.
A panel blames the World Bank for botching a land dispute in Cambodia’s capital.
A woman walks from her home as it is flooded by water and sand at Boeung Kak lake, Nov. 8, 2010.
The World Bank has mishandled a land titling program in Cambodia that led to the eviction of thousands of residents from a lake district in central Phnom Penh, according to an independent inspection panel that evaluated the project.
The panel’s lead investigator said the bank’s mismanagement of the project had caused “grave harm” to the residents of Boeung Kak lake, many of whom had been forced out of the area by the government over the past two years.
The World Bank itself had ordered the setting up of the panel to assess the Cambodian Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP) in response to a request by a group of NGOs on behalf of the lake residents.
The bank had asked the Cambodian government to suspend the project to facilitate a study on complaints by residents over evictions and other issues but the government responded by canceling the project altogether in 2009.
The investigation focused on whether the bank had complied with its own policies during the design, implementation, and supervision of the LMAP, which was launched in 2002 with U.S. $24.3 million in financing by the bank to assist Cambodians across the country obtain property deeds.
While the inspection panel applauded the World Bank for providing more than a million households nationwide with land titles through the project, it described the bank’s response to complaints of unjust eviction filed by Boeung Kak lake residents as “delayed” and “inadequate.”
“Management did not adequately follow up on strengthening public awareness and community participation, and there were delays in implementing dispute resolution mechanisms and the assistance to improve state land management,” the panel said.
Denied due process
Inspection panel chief Roberto Lenton said that lake residents had been denied due process in assessing their claims before being evicted by the government in violation of agreed procedures.
“The panel found that the evictions took place in violations of the bank policy on involuntary resettlement and resulted in grave harm to the affected families and community,” he said.
World Bank president Robert Zoellick responded to the panel’s findings by saying that the organization had made repeated calls to the Phnom Penh to end evictions and hoped for “a positive government response.”
“We are deeply troubled and frustrated about the people who are being forced from their homes,” Zoelleck said.
Zoellick left open the possibility of resolving the land issue.
"We are open to other ways to help these people."
Half of the nearly 4,000 Boeung Kak lake families have been forced from their homes and last week the government warned the remaining residents that they would face legal proceedings if they refused to accept compensation ahead of their pending evictions to make way for a commercial venture.
Residents have maintained for years that government compensation packages were too low.
A company owned by a politician from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party plans to redevelop the 330-acre (133-hectare) lake district into a luxury residential area, office complex, and shopping center.
Many residents say they are entitled to the property under Cambodia’s Land Law, though few of them possess titles, because they have squatted there for decades.
Police and company workers have threatened and harassed the residents in attempts to prevent them from holding meetings and from peacefully protesting against the forced eviction.
Police have also used excessive force against some residents when they gathered to bring the issue to the attention of visiting dignitaries and Cambodian politicians, rights groups said.
Phnom Penh Mayor Kep Chuktema particularly was blamed for not meeting the residents over their complaints, said Ly Mom, a representative of the Boeung Kak residents.
Chan Saveth, senior investigator for the Cambodian Human Rights Development Association (ADHOC), said that the residents did not know who to turn to for help in resolving the dispute.
“The people of Boeung Kak have exhausted all possible means in trying to obtain an appropriate solution to their problem. They have used all possible peaceful means, including the submitting of petitions, group advocacy, demonstrations and the practicing of rituals,” he said.
“So far, they have not been offered any acceptable solution.”
Cambodia’s land issue dates from the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime, which forced large-scale evacuations and relocations throughout the country. This was followed by mass confusion over land rights and the formation of squatter communities when the refugees returned in the 1990s after a decade of civil war.
Housing Cambodia’s large, young, and overwhelmingly poor population has posed a major problem ever since.
During his visit to Cambodia in February, UN Special Rapporteur to Cambodia discussed land rights issues with ADHOC director Thun Saray.
“We propose a swift and satisfactory solution for those who have been affected by the land conflict,” Thun Saray said in an interview recounting their conversation.
UK-based Amnesty International said in a recent statement that as party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international human rights treaties which prohibit related human rights violations, Cambodia’s government “has an obligation to stop forced evictions and to protect the population from forced evictions.”
Reported by Tin Zakarya and Uon Chhin for RFA’s Khmer service. Translated by Chivita. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
March 10, 2011
Cambodia hosted a two-day symposium on the development of the Southern Economic Corridor ( SEC) here Wednesday to attract investment and promote sustainable growth along the SEC of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).
The symposium was attended by some 200 participants, who are provincial governors, private stakeholders, experts, and development partners from 43 provinces along the SEC in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the media release from Asian Development Bank on Wednesday.
The SEC is one of the three priority economic corridors under the GMS Economic Cooperation Program. The other two are the East- West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and the North-South Economic Corridor (NSEC).
Thomas Crouch, deputy director general of the ADB to Southeast Asian Department, said during the opening ceremony that there are still many gaps in transport links in the SEC compared to the EWEC and NSEC.
These gaps involve not only road links that require substantial improvement, but also transport interconnecting roads, ports, railways and airports, he said.
Cham Prasidh, Cambodian minister of commerce, said the SEC has the essential drivers of growth, including established markets, agricultural and industrial base and world class tourism assets; however, the development of the SEC will not happen overnight or automatically.
"In this sense, it will be important to establish a monitoring system -- a scorecard so to speak -- which can tell us to what extent we are achieving our goals in developing the SEC," he said.
Arjun Goswami, director of ADB Southeast Asia Department's Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, said that the development of SEC is very important to boost cross- border trades among the SEC countries and GMS countries.
"In this regard, in the framework of GMS, China can be a big market for the SEC's countries' agro-based and agricultural products as well as other manufacturing products," he said. " Moreover, the development of SEC will enable China to access to the Southeast Asian nations easier."
GMS comprises Cambodia, China, (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Thu Mar 10 2011
The artefacts, dating back to the Iron Age, were looted from graves in Southeast Asia, and posted for sale on eBay through an Australian gallery.
An investigation by not-for-profit-group Heritage Watch and the Australian government determined the authenticity of the objects.
The federal government will return them to the Cambodian Ministry for Culture and Fine Arts.
Women Role Talks in ASEAN Inter–Parliament Meeting
Thursday, 10 March 2011 07:24 DAP-NEWS/VICHET KHUN
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, MARCH 10, 2011-Cambodia on Thursday hosted the Asean Inter-Parliament assembly meeting to promote women right and their role in region.
The seminar of ASEAN Inter- Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) on accelerating the achievements of MDG5 through the role of women parliamentarians talked widely.
The seminar is meant as a milestone set by women parliamentarians of Cambodia together with women parliamentarians from all AIPA/ ASEAN countries to voice their concern over issues still endured by women in the region.
“I believe women parliamentarians. We are persuading the local women to check health and ns of each country can collaborate with each other in sharing experiences and good practice to find out potentials ideas and programs to accelerate achievement of the MDGS,” Lok Chum Teav Bun Rany, wife of PM Hun Sen said in her speech in the workshop.
“We need the important factors to help women such as political willingness from lawmakers, laws enforcement, providing finance, education and promoting deep awareness, promotion partnership for women parliament,” She noted.
“Women parliamentarians may have important duty in pushing forwards on more women in engaging in politics and decision making at the national assembly and sub national level. She added.
Wife of Former President Marcos Attends Seminar of Women Parliamentarians in Cambodia
Thursday, 10 March 2011 07:18 DAP-NEWS/BUD NISAY
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, MARCH 10, 2011-Madam Imeldal Marcos on Thursday attended the workshop on the role of women parliamentarians to speed up the development of women and offering power for them to decide in families and state affairs.
The seminar also encouraged the women to promote their rights and gender equality in region.
In her nice red dress, Madam Imedal Marcos seat in second row on the stage floor of workshop behind Cambodian PM Hun Sen’s wife, Lok Chum Teav Bun Rany Hun Sen. Madam Marcos listens carefully the speech from Lok chum teav Bun Rany.
A Cambodian student who joined the seminar said that wife of former president Marcos is very younger than her age. Madam Marcos is about 40 years old, he said. Actually, she is 82 years old. “She is still firm in her heath, he noted.
Her dress ( Imeldal) is too brilliant for Cambodian students, a Cambodia girl student note.
She currently chairs the House of Representatives’ special committee on millennium development goals. She is also a member of the following committee: Ecology, foreign affairs, intern-parliamentarian relations and diplomacy, tourism, women and gender equality and appropriations.
Media in Cambodia wants to reach to her for interview but they do not have chance. She was in group of delegation.
Cambodia PM Urges Thailand to OK Indonesia’s Request
Thursday, 10 March 2011 04:18 DAP-NEWS/ SORN SOPHEAK
BATTAMBANG, CAMBODIA, MARCH 10, 2011-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday called on Thailand to respond to ASEAN’s Indonesian Foreign Minister’s proposal to send observers to the conflict area.
PM affirmed that Cambodia had agreed with Indonesia, which is head of ASEAN leading ASEAN to send observers the border.
He added, “If Thailand don’t respond to Indonesia, I would like to appeal to the United Nations Security Council and ASEAN to see whether who loves peace and want to put an end to the border dispute.”
PM continued, “Cambodian side has already informed Indonesia about the position where the observers will be placed and the period of the fact-finding mission.” “If Thailand agrees to Indonesia’s request, Cambodia will send its head of diplomat to the meeting of border committee.”
S. Korea To Continue To Assist Cambodia’s IT Field
Phnom Penh, March 10, 2011 AKP – The Woongjin Energy Company of the Republic of Korea is planning to help Cambodia in preparing an IT system master plan.
During a meeting here on Tuesday with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, visiting Chairman of Woongjin Energy and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Mr. Oh Myung said his company will continue to assist Cambodia in IT field, particularly in preparing an IT master plan.
He further noted that Cambodia has a lot of young human resources, especially in IT field, Ieng Sophalet, assistant to the Cambodian premier told reporters upon the meeting.
Mr. Oh Myung, former deputy prime minister of South Korea, also informed Samdech Techo Hun Sen of the construction of a portion of National Road 3 by Woongjin Energy, which is expected to complete before the Khmer New Year in April.
In reply, the Cambodian prime minister highly appreciated the road construction, which will finish ahead of schedule, stressing the importance of National Road 3 for salt transportation and distribution.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen also welcomed and asked the South Korean company’s to continue to help Cambodia’s IT field, so as to integrate State and private IT system. –AKP
By SOKMOM Nimul
Cambodia Opens Symposium to Promote Growth in GMS Southern Economic Corridor
Phnom Penh, March 10, 2011 AKP — Cambodia opened here yesterday a regional symposium on the development of the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) to find ways to attract investment and promote sustainable growth along the SEC of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
The two-day symposium – “Synergizing Private Sector Dynamism and Public Planning”– brings together some 200 participants, including provincial government officials, private stakeholders experts, and development partners from 43 provinces along the SEC in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Thailand, and Viet Nam.
The symposium, organized by ADB and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will discuss progress in trade and transport development along the SEC, said an ADB press release dated Mar. 9, adding that there will be sessions on central and provincial government policies, the private business environment, and the potential of enterprise clusters and cross-border economic links in manufacturing, agro-business, and tourism for SEC development.
The GMS countries envision the SEC as an engine of economic growth and social development, creating jobs, increasing incomes, reducing poverty and improving the living conditions of the people in the corridor and surrounding areas while ensuring that its development is inclusive and sustainable.
Through the private sector-driven economic corridor approach, ADB is extending the benefits of improved transport links to remote or landlocked regions in the GMS. These regions are poorly linked to more prosperous and accessible neighboring areas.
At the symposium, governors from SEC provinces will speak on the role of provincial authorities in corridor development. They will discuss initiatives to promote and facilitate the development of the SEC, difficulties encountered in expanding trade and investment, and ways of strengthening cooperation and coordination between provincial authorities and the business sector.
The GMS comprises of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC, specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The East-West Economic corridor, the North-South Economic corridor, and the SEC are designated as flagship initiatives by the GMS countries.
By the end of 2010, ADB had extended funds totaling almost US$4.7 billion for 55 investment projects under the GMS Programs with a total project cost of about US$11.6 billion, and an additional US$231 million of grants for technical assistance.
Australia is a key partner in the development of the SEC and the GMS. Through AusAID, Australia is providing US$43.5 million to upgrade the Southern Coastal Corridor in Cambodia and Viet Nam. Australia is providing more than US$302 million for other critical infrastructure and trade projects in the GMS. This will help increase economic integration, access to markets and basic services, as well as providing employment opportunities for poor people in the subregion.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. –AKP
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:00 Phak Seangly
Police officer killed in hit-and-run accident
A 35-year-old police officer was killed after he was struck by a car on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Sunday. Police said the victim was on his way to work when a car struck him as he crossed the street. The car escaped from the scene, but was chased and apprehended minutes later and the driver was sent to the traffic police office in Phnom Penh, where the case will be resolved with the victim’s family.
Scolded son attempts to take his own life
A 25-YEAR-OLD man attempted suicide in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on Saturday, after he was scolded by his 45-year-old mother for drinking alcohol and starting an argument with his neighbour. On Saturday morning, he drank alcohol from dawn until dusk with his four friends and then started an argument with his neighbour. His mother started berating him, so he grabbed a knife and cut his throat, but his friends intervened and sent him to hospital.
Parents intervene in abduction of love
A 20-YEAR-OLD high school student was arrested on suspicion of abducting a 14-year-old girl on Saturday in Banteay Meanchey’s Serei Sophon town, after the girl’s parents filed a complaint with the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police. Police said the suspect and the under-aged girl love each other and he took her to visit his family in Banteay Meanchey’s Svay Chek district, yet the girl’s parents stopped them and turned them over to Serei Sophon town police.
Garbage collector cashes in on laptop
BATTAMBANG town police arrested a 20-year-old man on Sunday, after a 45-year-old man reported a robbery to police. Police said the suspect was collecting recyclable materials on Saturday night, when he broke into a home and stole a laptop while the homeowner was relaxing outside. The suspect was arrested one day later and confessed to selling the laptop for US$100 to a guesthouse owner in Battambang town. The suspect was sent to provincial court.
Knife-wielding motorcyclists released
SEN SOK district police in Phnom Penh stopped a 20-year-old garment worker and his friend, a 26-year-old security guard, after two cleavers were found on their motorcycle on Sunday night. The two men told police they carried the weapons to protect themselves from robberies, and police educated them before releasing them.
Photo by: Ppha Lina
Vendors from Prek Phnov market protest in front of the Appeal Court yesterday after a Municipal Court ruling allowing a demarcation wall between their market and an adjacent one was overturned.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:03 Mom Kunthear
About 100 vendors from Prek Pnov market in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district protested in front of the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday after the court ruled to overturn a municipal court decision on a demarcation wall separating Prek Pnov from a neighbouring market.
The Appeal Court ruling overturned an earlier decision by the Municipal Court on January 22 to allow the demarcation wall separating the two markets.
“Hundreds of vendors are upset with the appeal court officials. We will file complaints soon to Prime Minister Hun Sen, King Sihamoni and the Supreme Council of Magistracy to help us,” Roath Sopheap, owner of the Prek Pnov market, said yesterday.
Vendors said they had collectively contributed money to build the dividing wall in order to better distinguish the two markets, and that without it they are concerned the private market will seize their stalls and property or extort money from them.
“We [had] to spend too much money to rent stalls … at the private market. We don’t want the private owner to demand money from us,” said Ming Thorng, a Prek Pnov market vendor who used to sell at the neighbouring market.
Lim Chanthy, a Prek Pnov vendor, said the wall ensured that there would be no disputes between the two markets.
“The other vendors and I pay a daily fee of 500 riels (US $0.13) to the Prek Pnov market, and we feel safe and comfortable because we have security guards, electricity and good sanitation in the market. This is better than selling at the private market.”
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua speaks to would-be film viewers after a screening of Who Killed Chea Vichea? was cut off after about 25 minutes on Tuesday at a restaurant in Daun Penh district.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:02 Meas Sokchea
The president of the Free Trade Union lashed out against Daun Penh district authorities yesterday, alleging they halted the screening of a controversial documentary about the murder of labour leader Chea Vichea.
Union leaders, garment workers and officials from the Sam Rainsy Party gathered at a Daun Penh district restaurant on Tuesday to screen Who Killed Chea Vichea?, a documentary about the former FTU leader’s
murder. Power was cut out about 25 minutes into the film and restaurant security ordered an end to the proceedings.
“The FTU would like to firmly condemn the disorderly activities of Daun Penh district authorities that disturbed the screening on International Women’s Day,” said President of the FTU Chea Mony in a statement.
He urged senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, to take legal action against “the worthless actions” of Sok Penhvuth, Daun Penh district deputy governor.
Sok Penhvuth dismissed the allegations yesterday, saying he would file a court complaint against Chea Mony for “accusing me illegally with no evidence and no documents”.
However, a female employee at New World restaurant, where the film was screened, told Voice of America Khmer that she received a phone call from district authorities on Tuesday, demanding the screening be stopped.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that a power outage could be to blame for the failed screening. He warned the FTU against using electricity problems to provoke authorities and start a Tunisian-style uprising.
“Do they want to do as Tunisia?” said Khieu Sopheak. “Be careful about closing the door to beat the dog.”
He said the documentary was only allowed to be screened in a house or FTU office, claiming the New World restaurant was under the control of authorities, despite being a private business
Screenings of Who Killed Chea Vichea? have been frequently halted in the last year, with authorities calling the documentary an “illegal import”.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
A high-ranking government official has filed a complaint against a customs official in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district over the unlawful confiscation of produce.
Sok Roeun, Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor, said a complaint had been filed last week by Ngor Sovann, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice and an advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The complaint alleged that Kim Nuon, head of Chamkarmon district’s customs office, had illegally seized 50 sacks of onions weighing more than a tonne, which were being transported for sale to markets around the capital.
The complaint condemned Kim Nuon for seizing his onions for his own financial gain under the guise of cracking down on the illegal smuggling of goods.
It further sought compensation of 40 million riel (about US$10,000) and stated that there was nothing illegal about the transportation of the onions.
Ngor Sovann said that the onions were seized on March 4 as family members were lawfully attempting to deliver them by motorbike cart to several markets in Phnom Penh.
“I think that the activities of the Chamkarmon district customs officers, acting under their district customs chief, were very bad and have also violated the rights of people,” Ngor Sovann said.
Yin Wengka, legal counsel for Kim Nuon, denied the charges against his client yesterday and said that the customs official had committed no procedural errors in the seizure of the onions.
“I think that my client had fully performed his duties well, and his role as a customs official in this case is to collect taxes for the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he said.
“If his goods were illegal, it [is justified] that they would be confiscated by customs officials.”
Ngor Sovann said that the onions had been imported from China and Vietnam, and that taxes had already been paid to customs officials upon their arrival.
Kim Nuon could not be reached for comment yesterday by The Post.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:02 Tep Nimol
A private rice-milling residence in Kampong Thom’s Stoung district caught fire yesterday morning, destroying at least US$400,000 in equipment, according to the building’s owners.
Vorn Sophorn, deputy police chief of Stoang district, said that the small rice-milling residence contained ample amounts of rice crops and a wide range of rice-milling machinery.
The owners, Chiv Hong Tang, 63, and Nguon Chhun Hau, 58, said that the fire quickly spread throughout the building and ignited the home of a neighbour.
Vorn Sophorn said authorities had trouble trying to put out the blaze, which they said lasted for more than five hours.
They added, however, that there were no deaths or injuries as a result of the fire.
“According to the victim’s claims, the fire caused $400,000 in damages. One thousand tonnes of unhusked rice were about 20 to 30 percent damaged, while 45 tonnes of husked rice were completely destroyed,” he said.
“The fire could have been caused from a cigarette, or the machinery could have gotten too hot. However, the authorities are still investigating this case to find out the real reason.”
Phan Sopheng, Kampong Thom provincial police chief, said that this was the first instance of a major fire in the province this year that was significantly costly.
“We have a plan to prevent and put out fires, and we have informed the local people to be extra careful with fires in the dry season,” he said.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:02 Meas Sokchea
Prince Norodom Ranarridh on Tuesday welcomed progress towards a merger of Cambodia’s two principal opposition parties but said he remained loyal to his royalist roots and to supporting Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Ranariddh told reporters on Tuesday that he had always supported the union of the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, while acknowledging that he had no interest in such a merger himself.
He added that it was crucial for the survival of the SRP for its president, Sam Rainsy, to enter talks with Hun Sen for his return to the country.
“His Excellency Sam Rainsy has a bad habit … [of depending] on foreigners to resolve Khmer problems,” he said.
“The only person who can resolve Sam Rainsy’s problems is Hun Sen.”
Sam Rainsy has been living in self-imposed exile after being sentenced last year to 12 years in prison after uprooted demarcation posts along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said on Tuesday that it was sometimes necessary for parties from foreign countries to assist in resolving Cambodian conflicts, citing the recent hostilities between Cambodia and Thailand over a long-standing border dispute.
Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:00 Sieam Bunthy
NOODLE makers in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district say they are facing stiff competition from Phnom Penh manufactures, who they claim make the food more appealing through use of illegal preservatives.
The district has long been a regional centre for production of the staple food by small and medium enterprises, but officials yesterday expressed concern that the local noodle makers are being out-competed by products made in Phnom Penh.
Taing Sitha, the owner of Tang Theng noodle manufacturers, said her firm had formerly sold 100 kilograms of noodle per day, but it had recently decreased to between 30 and 40 kilograms daily.
“I am worried that I cannot sell my noodles. I’m afraid that nothing can be done,” she said.
She says she sells her noodles for 2,800 riel per kilogram, while Phnom Penh-made noodles sell for over 4,000 riel for the same amount. However, she said consumers prefer noodles from Phnom Penh, as they often use preservatives, making the noodles tastier and allowing them to last longer.
Meng Saktheara, the director general of the Department of Industry at Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the use of preservatives was common in manufacturing foodstuffs, adding some businesses use illegal preservatives such as borax to make their noodles tender and last longer.
He warned that noodles produced with use of borax will seriously affect the health of consumers – particularly with pregnant mothers – adding the ministry would take measures to prevent its use.
“The Ministry will close businesses that use borax and other chemicals harming consumers’ health,” he said, adding it would hold sessions on March 29 to teach healthier methods of manufacture to noodle producers.
Koh Thom district Industry Office Chief Bich Vuthy said local noodle producers still faced strong challenges from noodles made in Phnom Penh.
“People like noodles made in Phnom Penh, because it can be kept a long time, while noodles made here do not last,” he said.
Tang Chay, a handmade noodle maker in Koh Thom district, also said her sales are decreasing, with orders previously totalling 50 kilograms per day. They have now dropped to about 30 kilograms each day due to increased competition from the capital.
“I’ve run this business for many years, but if it continues to decline, I might go bankrupt,” she said.
PHNOM PENH - TWO French men have been charged with child sex offences in separate cases in Cambodia, officials said on Wednesday.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday charged 35-year-old designer and photographer Mathias Cassar with 'producing and selling child porn on the Internet", prosecutor Plang Sophal told AFP.
Cassar was arrested on Sunday as he was preparing to take pictures of three underage girls at a rented house in the capital Phnom Penh.
Cassar's Cambodian wife was also arrested and faces the same charges.
Mr Plang Sophal added that Cassar is thought to have abused at least eight children, all aged five to 13.
The pair face up to 20 years in jail if convicted, he said. -- AFP
By Albert Alvarez
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
COMMON descriptions I have heard about Siem Reap have been, exotic, tranquil, serene and even sublime.
With all these good reviews about Siem Reap in Cambodia, I think it was worth taking a trip to see what the hype was all about.
Siem Reap has become a popular destination, because of the famous Unesco World Heritage site, Angkor Wat. You may have seen this temple in a movie or in documentaries on TV, but seeing the complex up close can be overwhelming. And to my surprise, aside from the Angkor Wat, there was so much more to see and do, in this very exotic and exciting destination.
To date, there are no direct flights from Cebu to Siem Reap, so allow travel agents or your own resourcefulness to check routes with airlines of choice, based on budget and schedules.
Like any trip, I would suggest that you read up on some basic facts about Siem Reap and Cambodia. Try to familiarize yourself with the popular destinations, lay out of the city and even the customs of the country. The question of where to stay is something important to me, based on the area, type of accommodation and price. For more information, try to check out these websites, http://www.siemreap-town.gov.kh and http://www.tourismcambodia.com/
Fortunately, Siem Reap is not as big as I thought it would be. I managed to walk a good portion of the city in a day. A small walking tour could take you to certain interesting points of the city. You could start at the heart of the city, which for me, would be Old Market. There are some interesting good deals to be made here.
Drop by Pub street, during the day and at night, to see what the social life is like in Siem Reap. Nearby, you can check out the Wat Preah Prom Rath, Wat Bo and Wat Damnak temples. Take a stroll along the Siem Reap River and make your way to the Royal Residence, the Royal Independence Gardens and the Angkor National Museums.
Then, when the sun goes down, make your way back to the Old Market via Sivutha Boulevard, passing by the Central Market, Noon Night Market and Angkor Night Market.
If you are not much of a shopper, check out the Khmer restaurants, other bars and cafes, where you can sample all sorts of food. My favorites were the chicken amok and the banana blossom salad.
Finally, the major attraction in Siem Reap is the Angkor Archeological Park. There are different day passes, such as the one-day, three-day or the seven-day pass. You can hire a guide, to give you a better understanding of the area and a vehicle as well, since the park is enormous. Due to the many number of temples,
I would probably suggest to see the Angkor Wat and the Angkor Thom (Bayon) first. If you have more time, check out Preah Khan, Ta Prohm and Phnom Bakheng. There are more temples such as Prasat Kravan, Bantay Srey, Neak Pean, Ta Som and so on. But you can make your own list of which temples you wish to see based on your own interest and schedule.
Like always, I would advise anyone going on a trip, to always note some important facts about your destination, such as telephone numbers and hotlines of the police, hospitals, banks, credit card companies, ports, airport, bus stations and the tourist office.
Siem Reap, for me, is now a destination I would recommend to anyone who wishes to see a bit of adventure as well as have some rest and recreation. The people are extremely friendly, the food is amazing and the places of interest possess a certain charm that is quite endearing.
I wish that you too will experience the treasures I have found in Siem Reap.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 10, 2011.
Thai army upset about Indonesia as third party
Newspaper section: News
Cambodia has agreed to a two-day General Border Committee meeting with Thailand in Bogor on March24-25 but the Thai army is not happy about the presence of Indonesia as a third party mediator.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi yesterday said Phnom Penh had confirmed it agreed to Indonesia's proposal to organise the GBC meeting in Indonesia and that Thailand welcomes Cambodia's readiness to attend.
The GBC is co-chaired by the defence ministers of the two countries.
Mr Thani said that on this occasion Thailand could discuss with Cambodia the terms for Indonesia to send observers to the Thai-Cambodian border to monitor the situation.
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on Tuesday replied by letter to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa over the proposed meeting. He said Thailand was ready to attend but he wanted to have further discussions about the details, including the format, venue and date.
An army source said its Border Affairs Department had sent a letter notifying Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon about the meeting, which will be held in Bogor in West Java.
If both sides agree to attend the meeting proposed by Indonesia it would be the first time the GBC has met in a third country, the source said.
Gen Prawit last week called his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh on the telephone asking him to bring forward from April to March the 8th GBC meeting, which was originally to be hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap.
"But Gen Tea Banh has not yet replied. This is believed to be because Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen does not want the meeting to be bilateral," the source said.
The source said the Thai side actually wants the GBC to be a forum for military leaders of the two countries to meet and talk and is disgruntled about the presence of the Indonesian third party.
Meanwhile, the Thai government sees no problems if the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) meeting with Cambodia is held in Indonesia on March27-28, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
With or without a third-party observer, as long as Cambodia was willing to attend the meeting it would be a positive indication that relations between the two nations could move forward, Mr Abhisit said.
Online news: Politics
Cambodia has agreed to a two-day General Border Committee meeting with Thailand in Indonesia on March 24-25, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said on Wednesday.
The GBC is co-chaired by the defence ministers of the two countries.
Mr Thani said that on this occasion Thailand could discuss with Cambodia the terms for Indonesia to send observers to the Thai-Cambodian border.
A source at the Thai Armed Forces Command said the Border Affairs Department had sent a letter notifying Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon about the meeting, which will be held in Bogor, West Java.
If both sides agree to attend the meeting proposed by Indonesia it would be the first time the the GBC has met in a third country, the source said.
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon (left) and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh
Gen Prawit last week called his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh on the telephone asking him to bring forward from April to March the 8th GBC meeting, which was originally to be hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap.
"But Gen Tea Banh has not yet replied. This is because Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen does not want the meeting to be bilateral," the source said.
The source said the Thai side actually wants the GBC to be a forum for military leaders of the two countries to meet and talk, without the presence of a third party.
However, since Cambodia and the Foreign Ministry have agreed to the Indonesian proposal, the Thai military is expected to also agree, the source said.
A meeting of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Commission is also planned in Indonesia late this month, with no date set.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he hoped the meetings in Indonesia will be a starting point in easing tension along the frontier between the two countries.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had informed the ministry that Cambodia had agreed to attend the JBC meeting, Mr Thani said.
The meeting was earlier scheduled for Feb 27 but it was postponed after Cambodia said it wanted intervention by the international community.
"I hope the meeting will help ease tension between the two countries," Mr Abhisit said.
The premier said his government was firm in its stand the Thai-Cambodian conflict should be solved through negotiations at a bilateral level.
However, he would have no objection if the talks were observed by representatives from Indonesia, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Wednesday, 09 March 2011
“We proposed Cambodia to come back to these mechanisms.”
Washington, DC Wednesday, 09 March 2011
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (C), accompanied by Cambodia Foreign Minister Hor Namhong (L) and Thailand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (R) speaks in a news conference after a meeting in Jakarta February 22, 2011.
“We proposed Cambodia to come back to these mechanisms.”
Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to a round of border talks later this month in Indonesia, officials said Tuesday.
The two-day meeting, scheduled to begin March 24 in the city of Bogor, follows deadly clashes between the two sides in February and underscores the role of Indonesia, the current head of Asean, as mediator.
Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told VOA Khmer Tuesday Cambodia is ready to have talks with the participation of Indonesia.
The meeting, at the invitation of Indonesia’s foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, would include members of the Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee and the Joint Border Committee.
Thai government spokesman Panitan Watanayagorn said Thailand would attend the talks, but he maintained the Thai position that discussions should continue bilaterally.
“These are the mechanisms at the bilateral level,” he said. “We proposed Cambodia to come back to these mechanisms.”
Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Wednesday, 09 March 2011
Phnom Penh Wednesday, 09 March 2011
Phnom Penh city workers demolish wooden houses in Boeung Kak lake as a man in the water collects his belongings in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 14, 2011.
“We are facing imminent eviction and daily human rights abuses, and we need immediate intervention.”
A World Bank interior investigation has found that the organization’s Cambodia office failed to protect the land ownership of residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake area ahead of thousands of evictions.
World Bank executives in Washington will now decide what actions to take after an inspection panel found that a $24-million land titling project did not follow Bank policies and failed to provide land ownership to the lake residents ahead of a massive development deal.
The Cambodia Land Management Administration Project was meant to provide titling to many of the country’s landless, following chaotic post-war land administration. It ended when the government cut its financing in 2009.
NGOs acting on behalf of the Boeung Kak residents complained to the Bank, saying their land rights had not been protected under the program. Following an internal investigation, the Bank said it found failures in the project.
“These failures contributed to the forced eviction of some 4,250 families living around Phnom Penh’s iconic Boeung Kak Lake,” the Bank said in a statement Tuesday. “Residents were unfairly denied the right to register their land ownership shortly before the government leased the area to a private developer and began a campaign of intimidation and pressure to force families living in the area to leave.”
Families who have remained in their homes near the lake have appealed to the developer, Shukaku Erdos Hongjun, and the city to allow them to stay. They say a buyout offer of $8,500 is too low and they do not want to move to an inferior relocation site.
Some families have left, after floodwater from the filled lake inundated their homes.
Sok Penh Vuth, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, where the development site is located, denied the government had undertaken any forced evictions.
“I think that the reports do not think of all sides,” he said. “We did not forcibly evict them. We have peacefully made compromises with the people.”
Tun Sopheany, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Land Management, criticized the findings, which noted differences between the government and the World Bank over land titling.
“In my view, this report is to protect the honor of the World Bank,” she said.
Tep Vanny, a lake community leader, said the World Bank should now push the government “to respect the human rights of residents affected by the Boeung Kak lake development project.”
“We are facing imminent eviction and daily human rights abuses, and we need immediate intervention,” she said.
Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, a coalition of organizations, said in a statement the inspection demonstrated “a genuine commitment to truth, rule of law and accountability, which are too often denied to the Cambodian people.”
“We now look to the World Bank Board to do everything in its power to uphold these basic principles and finally bring a measure of justice to those being illegally evicted from their homes,” she said.
The Bank said in its statement Tuesday it would now seek “high-level engagement” with the government and development partners “to support affected communities that responds to their development and livelihood needs.”
The Cambodian office will report back to the board with a plan within 60 days, the Bank said.