Tuesday, 10 June 2008

sacravatoons : " HO-5-HONG "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at http://sacrava.blogspot.com/

Japan: Dispatch of a Governmental Election Observation Mission for the General Election in Cambodia

1- The Government of Japan has decided to dispatch a governmental election observation mission, comprising about 25 members, for the General Election (National Assembly Election) in Cambodia to be held on July 27 (Sun), 2008.

2- Of the 25, approximately ten personnel will be recruited from among the public through such media as the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3- This mission will be dispatched to Cambodia late in July for about ten days to observe election campaigns and the voting.

4- It will be the fourth general election since the first one held by the United Nations since the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. The upcoming election is noteworthy as its fair conduct will demonstrate the development of the democracy in Cambodia.

5- As a "peace fostering nation" which comprehensively contributes to peace and development in the international community, Japan has proactively supported peace process in Cambodia and its reconstruction thereafter. Therefore, Japan's participation in the observation activities of this general election and providing necessary assistance are expected to promote democracy in the country.

6- The Government of Japan contributed about three million US dollars as assistance for the general election of the counterpart funds of the Japanese non-project grant aid, and about 148,000 US dollars for a grass-roots grant aid scheme to train the electorate.

Cambodian groups decry arrest of editor, closure of radio station, in run-up to elections

10 June 2008
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

Cambodian rights and free expression advocates are anxious and concerned in the run up to general elections in late July, sounding the alarm over recent attacks on the media that threaten the press and the open conduct of campaigns.

The Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ), a partner of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, this week expressed grave concern over reports that the Cambodian Ministry of Information (MOI) last week shut down a newly-established private radio station in Kratie province, 315 Kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh, on grounds that the radio owner had not complied with its operating contract with the ministry.

After securing permission from the MOI, Radio Angkor Ratha FM 105.25 went on air on May 15, 2008, and opened its airtime to the full range of Cambodia's political parties, including the Samrainsy Party, the Human Rights Party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, FUNCINPEC and the League for Democracy Party.

Barely two weeks later, on May 28, the station was ordered to halt its broadcasts, allegedly for violating provisions in its operating contract with the Ministry.

Ten days later, on June 8, human rights groups reported the arrest of Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of the Phnom Penh newspaper, "Moneaksekar Khmer".

In a joint statement, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), and the Cambodian League for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (LICADHO) denounced the arrest as "politically motivated".

Dam Sith has been charged with defamation and disinformation. CCHR says he has been "sent to Prey Sar prison for pre-trial detention".

The ADHOC-CCHR-LICADHO statement says "Dam Sith was charged following a complaint against him by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, regarding an article published in Moneaksekar Khmer on April 18. The article reported on a speech made by Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) president Sam Rainsy, at a Khmer Rouge victims' commemoration on April 17, in which he made comments about several government ministers. Hor Namhong subsequently filed a court complaint against both Sam Rainsy and Dam Sith." The rights groups say that the arrest of Dam Sith betrays the Cambodian judiciary's "continued disregard for the civil provisions of the 1995 Press Law, in favor of using the older UNTAC Criminal Code of 1992".

CAPJ, CCHR, LICADHO, and ADHOC all linked the closure of the Angkor Ratha 105.25 and the arrest of Dam Sith to general elections scheduled for July 27. All the groups warned that the recent developments could have a chilling effect on Cambodia's free press, and restrict the free and fair conduct of party campaigns and the overall elections.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), a coalition of free press advocacy groups from the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, joins the Cambodian groups in calling for the release of Dam Sith, the lifting of the closure order on Angkor Ratha, and the Cambodian government's assurance for free expression and press freedom in Cambodia. Such freedom is crucial to the credible conduct of elections, and must be assured even beyond the heated political season.

Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and the Ministry of Health on Drug Issues Follow-Up

Posted on 10 June 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 564

Development of Community-Based Drug Abuse Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Cambodia

“Phnom Penh: The workshop based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [UNODC] in the Asia Pacific region and the Ministry of Health on Development of Community-Based Drug Abuse, Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Cambodia for five cities and provinces seriously affected by drug use is very important. This was stated by Lieutenant-General Lour Ramin, the secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, during the workshop at the Cambodiana Hotel on the morning of 6 June 2008.

“The secretary-general added that the Project TD/CMB/04/H83 “Development of Community-Based Drug Abuse Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Cambodia” [as part of the Asia & Pacific Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Information Center] had been implemented in the 2005 to 2010 national planning of the National Authority for Combating Drugs. The H83 project agreement had been signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, head of the National .

Authority for Combating Drugs, and UNODC, and its implementation is administered and monitored by the general-secretariat of the National Authority for Combating Drugs. This project has started to create groups engaged in counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services, and the members of these groups come from government institutions and non-government organizations that support these polices and anti-drug programs, including concerns for health, HIV, AIDS, education, social affairs, human rights, justice, and good governance. Based on the results of the survey on drug addicts in 60 communes of twelve cities and towns badly affected by drugs, there is hope that state institutions and non-government organizations, that have the ability and have the necessary human resources, will initiate community based counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation services for drug addicts. At the same time while the program is implemented in selected places, there will also be training about treatment and rehabilitation services, and methods to protect persons who get easily involved in drug use.

“At the workshop following from the Memorandum of Understanding of 29 May 2008, members from twelve cities and provinces which are seriously affected by drugs, formulated the following recommendations: 1. Publish the results of the surveys in the cities and provinces. 2. Evaluate the needs for training and for the strengthening of the capacities on the provincial and city levels, in order to intervene at the communities. 3. Plan training and strengthen capacities based on the evaluation of the needs. 4. Link health centers, referral hospitals, and drug addicts’ treating centers to reduce the need for many drug related actions on the commune level; and 5. Collect and organize documents providing multi-sector solutions for counseling and community based treatment for drug addicts, which include drug addicts’ treating centers at the localities of the rehabilitation services, including education, preventive education, creation of supporting groups, the control of problems etc.

“Lieutenant-General Lour Ramin pointed out that documents of the project, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, president of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, on behalf of the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, agreed to the following points:

The funds will be managed on an annual basis by the Ministry of Health for expenses of salaries and of other expenses related to medicines for the centers selected, and for centers created by the royal government countrywide in the future.

Staff of the Ministry of Health will continue to train different skills such as psychology to doctors and medics through the International Organization for Migration [IOM] and other relevant programs.Asia & Pacific Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Information Center]

Continue training of different skills for staff of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, regarding rehabilitation and other relevant programs. Be prepared to accept new good methods when projects finish, and include new methods to the learning programs of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.Train law enforcement officials to use drug control laws which consider the situation of drug users who are victims, and allow those who voluntarily receive treatment, to have the right to get treatment. Create more centers for counseling on treatment and on rehabilitation at cities and provinces, such as Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and Kompong Cham.

“This program provides very important solutions to reduce drug use in Cambodia, and it is expected to be highly efficient for the rehabilitation of drug addicts in different localities, with the involvement of the National Authority for Combating Drugs to fight drugs as well as the Royal Government, to prevent drug use and to reduce different problems which might happen because of the spread of illegal drug use.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6366, 9.6.2008

PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE, NSC satisfied with new map

The Bangkok Post
Tuesday June 10, 2008


The National Security Council (NSC) is satisfied with the new version of the border map of the Preah Vihear temple site re-drawn by Cambodia, but says a field survey is still needed to verify all the details.

Experts from the Royal Thai Survey Department will conduct a joint survey with Cambodian officials to make sure the new map does not include the overlapping areas, the source of the long-running dispute between the two countries since the International Court of Justice's ruling that the ancient temple belonged to Cambodia.

The NSC's decision was announced following its meeting yesterday. After the completion of the survey, the matter will be forwarded for cabinet consideration before Thailand replies to Cambodia whether it agrees with the new map, said Tharit Jarungwat, chief of the Department of Information under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The map was re-drawn and handed to Thailand last Thursday following an agreement between the two countries to do so during a Unesco-brokered meeting in Paris late last month.

If Thailand approves it, Cambodia will use the map in applying with Unesco _ the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation _ for registration of the temple as a World Heritage site early next month in Canada.

Supreme Commander Gen Boonsrang Niempradit said in most part the redrawn map by Cambodia was in line with what Thailand wanted, and the disagreements that still remained only involved some minute details.

''The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be handling the remaining problems [the disagreed part] so that relations between the two countries are not affected,'' Gen Boonsang said.

He expects the two countries to soon reach a deal on the issue.

But an agreement on the joint development and management of the area could be signed in future, he said.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama earlier said that according to the new map only the temple and 30 metres of its adjacent areas would be put up for listing.

Cambodia's previous proposal to Unesco also included the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre border between Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district and Preah Vihear province for listing.

OMD makes foray into Cambodia and Laos via tie-up

The Edge Daily
by Kathleen Tan

Omnicom Media Group (OMD) has made further inroads into the Indochina market with its entry into Cambodia and Laos via a Cambodian advertising agency, Red Dot (Cambodia) Co Ltd.

The move expands OMD’s network in the region’s developing markets. OMD entered Vietnam eight years ago via a Vietnamese partner, VAC Media.

Omnicom Media Group Southeast Asia regional managing director Jim Goh told The Edge Financial Daily in a telephone interview from Singapore yesterday that its business in Cambodia and Laos would consist of more full-service offerings than specialised ones at the moment.

Goh said the advertising market in both countries was relatively small compared with neighbouring Vietnam. He estimated Cambodia’s adex to be around US$60 million to US$70 million per annum, which he described as “really, really small”, with Laos’ adex to be significantly less.

However, he foresees that Cambodia’s ad industry would reach the specialisation level in two to three years’ time, depending on the state of the economy. “With WTO (World Trade Organisation) opening Vietnam up further to foreign investments, it has changed how the advertising industry works in this market. Likewise, when Cambodia opens up, there’ll be more competition, efficiency and expectations,” he said.

“Some clients are looking to deal with media on its own. Five to six years ago, when clients talked about Vietnam, they preferred full service but now they’d rather have specialised service offerings as international, global and regional clients start looking at media separately from the creative,” he said.

“Even in Malaysia, eight years ago (the trend was) full-service, but now, there are all sorts of specialisations — CRM, digital, creative, media, events and activation… likewise in Cambodia, eventually,” he said.

Asked about the state of the advertising industry in Cambodia, Goh said it was “very basic” as the industry was very dependent on the economic development of the country.

He said OMD had put plans in place four to five years ago but it was only three years ago that the company “went through a number of agencies before settling for Red Dot”. Goh said Red Dot was chosen based on its business philosophy and the way it worked, which complemented that of OMD. The deal was signed in December last year but was only announced last week.

Goh added that under the tie-up, Red Dot would handle “the full works” with mostly below-the-line (which includes direct mail, public relations and sales promotions) and activation (events, promotions, retail display, outdoor, digital, and customer relationship management) accounts, with broadcast being the main medium of choice.

“Print media is marginal due to its low cost of entry point,” he said.

OMD and Red Dot share some common clients in Cambodia, among them Visa International and Fonterra.

Goh added that OMD was not targeting specific sectors as it had a wide clientele, from private sector to government. “It depends on opportunities in the market as they come along,” he said.

Goh said OMD had spoken to some clients in Malaysia and Singapore about representing them in Cambodia. Clients like consistency in account handling, he said.

Red Dot was started in 2001 by John Seow, a Singaporean who is currently its managing director. The company gretw from a workforce of three to 50 over the last eight years, expanding its reach to Laos early last year. Aside from Visa International and Fonterra, Red Dot’s clientele in Cambodia include Sony-Ericsson, Dumex, Seiko, Rado, Duracell, World Vision, Khmer Airlines and the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

Seow, in a statement last week, said the tie-up with OMD would propel Red Dot to a new level, enabling it to take more aggressive steps toward media campaigns. “With OMD’s resources behind us, we will be able to offer our clients a whole new level of brand-building and media communications capabilities,” he said.

Aside from the three Indochina countries, OMDs’ regional network covers Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka via its partners. One of the world’s largest media agencies, OMD operates in more than 80 countries, servicing clients such as Visa International, McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Standard Chartered Bank. It was recently awarded the global media planning and buying business for Intel Corp.

Journalists, rights groups condemn Cambodian jailing

Radio Australia

A Cambodian rights group says the imprisonment of a newspaper publisher affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party is creating a climate of fear in the run up to next month's general election.

The president of LICADHO - the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights - Kek Galabru, says the arrest of Dam Sith jeopardises free and fair elections.

The International Federation of Journalists has also condemned the arrest, saying "democracy cannot prevail where the media is hampered in its efforts to report on politics and the election campaign".

Mr Dam was arrested and charged for printing allegations that Cambodia's foreign minister, Hor Namhong, had ties to the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

He will run for a parliamentary seat as a candidate of the Sam Rainsy Party.

Newspaper publisher arrested in Cambodia

Radio Australia

Cambodia's human rights group Licadho says the publisher of a newspaper known to support the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party is in custody after his surprise arrest on Sunday.

Dam Sith publishes the newspaper Moneakseka Khmer, or Khmer Conscience. He's been charged with printing allegations that Cambodia's foreign minister had ties to the Khmer Rouge regime.

Cambodia watchers say Prime Minister Hun Sen's used a mix of guile and threat to turn the July 27 polls into an undemocratic one horse race.

Presenter: Corinne Podger
Speaker: Licadho spokeswoman Kek Galabru

Cambodian PM blasts alleged drug use comment by opposition party

June 10, 2008

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun has strongly refuted alleged accusations by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) that he had used drugs, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily said Tuesday.

SRP defectors told him that party president Sam Rainsy had said that the premier's cigarettes were laced with drugs, the paper quoted Hun Sen as telling recent ceremonies.

"If I smoked drugs, they would have already died. If I used drugs, I would have ordered tanks to destroy them. I could order the military to kill them because I would have a mental problem if I were drug-addicted," he said.

"Drug-addicted people, they even attack their parents," he said.

Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy denied that he had made such remarks.

Both Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and SRP have been approved to join the general election in July, which will establish the kingdom's fourth government.

Hun Sen said that CPP will score landslide victory, while SRP vowed that it can win premiership.


Cambodian garment exports to U.S. decline seriously

June 10, 2008

Apparel exports to the United States, Cambodia's largest market, have been on serious decline since last October, national media Tuesday quoted the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce as saying.

Officials attribute the decline to increasing competition from Vietnam, which joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007,and the brewing U.S. economic slowdown, said English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily.

Nevertheless, exports to Canada and the European Union have grown marginally, mitigating the effects on the country's garment industry, it added.

In the last three months of 2007, apparel exports to U.S. were 352 million U.S. dollars, 30 percent below the 2006 level, according to the ministry.

In the first three months of this year, exports to U.S. slipped1.44 percent compared with the same period last year, to some 500 million U.S. dollars, it said.

But overall, Cambodian apparel exports have increased slightly,4.78 percent in the first three months of this year over the same period last year, because of rising demand in Europe and Canada, it added.

Exports to EU have been on the rise since 2003, a trend that has been bolstered by the falling dollar, said Kaing Monika, external affairs manager for the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia.

Rising production costs in China have worked in Cambodia's favor, as buyers search for alternative sources of clothing, he added.

In the past decade, garment has been the kingdom's foremost pillar industry and largest foreign currency generator, whose export volumes used to account for some 75 percent of the country's total during its peak years.

Source: Xinhua

No chance to claim temple

By Supalak G Khundee
The Nation
Published on June 10, 2008

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama has ruled out any move to try to reclaim sovereignty over the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear. That right, he said yesterday, was lost 30 years ago.

Noppadon was dismissing calls by the Democrat Party to lay claim to the temple before Cambodia sought World Heritage listing.

He said the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia. It allowed Thailand to refile its claim within 10 years if it found some new evidence. There is no appeal procedure.

Democrat deputy leader Alongkorn Pollabutr had called for Thailand to oppose Cambodia's plan to list the temple as a United Nations' World Heritage site. He rejected joint management of the temple and urged a delay to the listing decision.

"Khun Alongkorn has poor knowledge of the matter since it is a legal technicality. He should not raise the point to confuse society," said Noppadon, a highly regarded lawyer who acted as a representative of Thaksin Shinawatra when he was in exile.

2nd batch of Cambodian deminers return from UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan

June 10, 2008

The second batch of Cambodian deminers, 135 officers and soldiers in all, returned to the Bochentong Air Base here Tuesday, after accomplishing their year-long UN peacekeeping tasks in Sudan.

"Now, they come back, safe, healthy and in due numbers, after earning honor for our country," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh told the deminers' family members, government officials, UN representatives and diplomats at the welcome ceremony.

Before their departure from the African country, they had handed over the UN mission to the third batch of 139 Cambodian demining officers and soldiers who left the kingdom Sunday at the base, according to a military press release.

So far, Cambodian deminers have cleared 57,542,488 square meters of areas in Sudan, Ke Kim Yan, Commander in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), told Sunday's send-off ceremony.

Cambodia has taken part in UN peacekeeping operations on humanitarian mine clearance in Sudan for the third consecutive year, he said.

Along with consistent economic growth, Cambodia has been seeking to gain international military presence.

Cambodia sent its first batch of over 130 deminers to Sudan in April 2006 under the UN umbrella, the first time that the kingdom participated in the world body's global peacekeeping efforts.

It has also joined two multinational military exercises respectively in Mongolia and Bangladesh, since peace was established in the kingdom in 1997.


Sacravatoons :" Sunday Court "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at http://sacrava.blogspot.com/

Greater Public-Private Collaboration Required to Combat Human Trafficking

Mon, 09 Jun 2008
Author : Vital Voices Global Partnership

WASHINGTON, June 9 HumanTraffic-combat

WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Vital Voices commends the 2008 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report released by the State Department this week for its emphasis on forced labor in the global economy and the need to step up human trafficking prosecutions and convictions.

This year's report highlights the increased use of slave labor to drive economic growth in the developing world. "It is incumbent on all sectors of society - governments, NGOs and business -- to redouble their efforts to address this ugly underbelly of globalization," said Melanne Verveer, Co-founder and Chair of Vital Voices. "Greater efforts must be made to eradicate slave labor in economic production." The report's detailed focus on global and regional law enforcement is a useful tool in the targeting of labor trafficking offences worldwide.

Vital Voices is pleased to see the report's coverage of the dire situation confronting stateless people in northern Thailand. In July 2007, Vital Voices released a report, "Stateless and Vulnerable to Human Trafficking in Thailand," detailing the legal and practical barriers to the tribal people in northern Thailand and their vulnerability to human trafficking. Due to their lack of citizenship, the stateless often fall victim to trafficking and receive little to no assistance or protection.

Vital Voices also applauds the report's focus on those who recruit migrant laborers. The preventative steps that can be taken by both source and destination countries should be adopted more broadly, including the United States.

The advocacy of individuals and NGOs is critical to the fight against human trafficking. We wish to congratulate the heroes profiled in the report, especially those with whom Vital Voices has been privileged to work.

Vital Voices has been proud to work with Cecilia Flores-Oebanda of the Philippines to promote public-private partnerships. We believe that she and her organization, the Visayan Forum Foundation, are examples to all who are working to combat human trafficking of the progress that can be made when NGO's and government work collaboratively. Cecilia was a distinguished speaker at the Vital Voices Conference: Public-Private Partnerships to End Human Trafficking and Forced Labor, which was held in Hong Kong in 2007.

We are also pleased that the TIP report showcased the importance of film in combating human trafficking, particularly the work of Guy Jacobson and Adi Ezroni, with whom Vital Voices has also been honored to work. Often at great personal risk, they have captured the extraordinary anti-trafficking efforts of Somaly Mam and Mu Sochua of Cambodia in their works and have made an enormous contribution to raising awareness about modern-day slavery among the general public and decision-makers.

We salute Cecilia, Guy and Adi, as well as the many heroes who are working to end trafficking around the world.

In coming months Vital Voices will focus on critical areas outlined in the State Department Report. We will continue to work with the global business community to encourage enhanced corporate responsibility, call on businesses to examine their supply chains and adopt standards to ensure that their operations in no way contribute to human trafficking. We will also highlight exemplary corporate leaders in the fight against human trafficking. Latin America and India will be the focus for targeted programs, and we will be working closely with the Council of Women Leaders which Vital Voices helped to establish, in conjunction with UNODC, in February of this year during the launch of the UN's Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). Under the auspices of the Council, we are collaborating on a program to support a greater commitment and leadership to combat human trafficking in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf states.

CONTACT: Kalpana Simhan
202-861-2625 x 3010

Sam Rainsy Party newspaper editor arrested

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Vong Sokheng
Monday, 09 June 2008

A pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper editor has been arrested for defamation over reports tying powerful Cambodian People's Party members, including Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, to Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, was detained on June 8, but some government officials are questioning his arrest, including Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who told the Post on June 9 that authorities had "no clear reason to detain him."

“I signed a letter asking that Dam Sith be freed as soon as possible," Kanharith said, adding that the government had no role in the arrest.

The matter was “a personal lawsuit between Hor Namhong and Dam Sith,” he said.

Sith has been charged with "defamation" and "disinformation" over an April 18 article in which he quoted opposition leader Sam Rainsy as linking CPP members to the Khmer Rouge, whose 1975-79 regime resulted in the deaths of 1.7 million people and the devastation of Cambodia.

Hor Namhong has denied any ties, and has filed lawsuits against both Rainsy and Sith, who was questioned in Municipal Court earlier this month.

Sith's attorney, Kong Sam On, said that the court has yet to reply to Kanharith's request, while Ke Sakhorn, deputy chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and investigating judge Chhay Kong declined to comment.

Human rights monitors and free press advocates say the arrest is a threat to journalism in Cambodia, and question why Sith can be detained for the alleged defamation.

In May 2006, the National Assembly decriminalized defamation and mandated that all disputes related to the charge be settled through civil lawsuits, not imprisonment.

“The arrest of Dam Sith is a threat to the free press in Cambodia. Dam Sith does not deserve to be arrested because he can publish a correction in his newspaper,” said Chan Saveth of the Cambodian rights organization Adhoc.

“This case clearly shows that the politicians have influence over the courts," he said, adding that Sith was seized by about 10 uniformed and plainclothes military policemen in a Phnom Penh car wash and was being detained at Prey Sar prison.

The International Federation of Journalists and the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists have also called for the immediate release of their colleague.

The IFJ condemned the charges as unlawful and raised concerns over the effect “such harassment of journalists” might have on elections.

“Democracy cannot prevail where the media is hampered in its efforts to report on politics and the election campaign. Journalists must be able to report freely without fear of arrest or harassment,” an IFJ statement read.

Sith is also an SRP parliamentary candidate standing in the July 27 elections with hopes of representing Phnom Penh.

Climate change threatens food security, warns UNDP

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Brendan Brady
Monday, 09 June 2008

ncreasingly unpredictable weather caused by global warming poses a major threat to the Cambodia's already imperiled food supplies, says the UN Development Program.

The kingdom also needed to invest in environmentally-friendly energy sources like solar or wind power to help stave off the impacts of global warming, the agency said.

Agriculture-dependent Cambodia was especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change which have already triggered a damaging cycle of flooding and drought, said UNDP country director Jo Scheuer at a June 5 conference marking the UN's World Environment Day.

“When droughts, floods or storms strike, vulnerable people are forced to sell off productive assets, withdraw children from school and cut back on spending for nutrition and health,” added UN resident coordinator Douglas Broderick.

The conference, entitled “Kick the habit! Towards a low-carbon economy,” aimed at outlining ways for Cambodia to fight or adapt to climate change.

As Cambodia’s energy consumption increases, eventually making the country a net carbon emitter, it was becoming necessary to explore energy efficient technologies used in developed countries which have legal obligations to offset their carbon emissions, Scheuer said.

Solar and wind power projects in particular could be recipients of international funding, he said, adding that the UNDP and the Ministry of Environment had signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly attract such projects.

Prach Sun, secretary of state with the Ministry of Environment, said the government would also seek funds to plant trees to absorb greenhouse gases and would call on local businesses to reduce carbon emissions.

Tim Ponlock, national project coordinator for climate change at the Ministry of Environment, said Cambodia should also prioritize developing its bio-diesel technology to utilize the country’s substantial supply of discarded rice stalks and corn husks for fuel production.

Nop Polin, coordinator of the Climate Change Unit of the NGO Geres Cambodia, pointed to his agency’s energy-efficient stoves, which purportedly use just 25 percent of the wood or charcoal consumed by a traditional stove, to show that cleaner energy doesn’t have to be high-tech or expensive.

UN extends breakfast program for poor Cambodian schoolchildren after cash injection

In this April 29, 2008 file photo, a Cambodian boy eats rice in his classroom during a school breakfast, supported by the World Food Program, at Sangkum Seksa elementary school in Udong district, Kampong Speu province, about 70 kilometers (43 miles), west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Last minute funding to buy rice has allowed the World Food Program to continue offering free breakfast to hundreds of thousands of Cambodian children, the agency said Monday, June 9, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)

In this April 29 008 file photo, Cambodian students serve rice in their classroom during a school breakfast, supported by the World Food Program, at Sangkum Seksa elementary school in Udong district, Kampong Speu province, about 70 kilometers (43 miles), west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Last minute funding to buy rice has allowed the World Food Program to continue offering free breakfast to hundreds of thousands of Cambodian children, the agency said Monday, June 9, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Last minute funding to buy rice has allowed the U.N. World Food Program to resume free breakfast for hundreds of thousands of Cambodian children, the agency said Monday.

The program ended this month because of rising rice prices. But a US$5.4 million infusion from WFP headquarters in Rome meant an extension through the end of the school year on July 5, said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the WFP in Bangkok.

Thomas Keusters, the WFP's program director for Cambodia, said he was «delighted» after receiving the news.

«We're going to deliver food to all 1,344 schools so that the school-feeding program can continue until the 5th of July,» he said Monday.

Classes will resume in October and Keusters said the fate of the meal program «will very much depend on the donations we will receive in the coming weeks and months.

Facing a budget shortfall because of the rising cost of food, the U.N.'s food agency said three months ago that breakfast stocks at Cambodian schools would run out before mid-June. Five local suppliers defaulted on contracts to provide rice because they could get higher prices elsewhere, program officials said.

It was just one of many WFP programs facing cuts amid a US$755 million shortfall in the U.N. agency's budget. But in recent days, the WFP received a US$500 million donation from Saudi Arabia along with a total of US$300 million from the United States, Australia and Europe.

Cambodian school officials, some of whom ended their program and others who were about to, expressed joy about the latest news.

«I am very happy if that is true,» said Nheng Vorn, principal of Choumpou Proek school, about 43 miles (70 kilometers) west of the capital Phnom Penh.

His school's rice supply ran out May 27, and the staff cooked the last 64 pounds (29 kilograms) of peas on Friday for the students.About six miles (10 kilometers) from Nheng Vorn's school, the Sangkum Seksa school was set to end its meal program this week.

«But maybe there will be no need to close it if we will really get more rice,» the school's principal Tan Sak said.

Russians to build $US472 MLN Cambodian resort

Artist rendering of the development on Koh Puos Island (Drawing by KPIG)

Russia Today
June 9, 2008

Russian company the Koh Puos Investment Group has begun construction work on a $US472 million island resort off Cambodia's south-west coast. The plans have gone ahead despite the company’s director currently being in prison.

The project will see a 900 metre bridge built on the island of Koh Puos, referred to as Snake island, with a coastal beach in the port city of Sihanoukville.

The bridge, worth $US 31.3 million, is to be finished by 2010, according to Cambodian transport minister Sun Chantol.

In 2006 Cambodia's government signed a deal with the Koh Puos Investment Group allowing the Russian firm to develop and manage resorts on the Island for 99 years.

The director of the Koh Puos Investment Group, Alexandr Trofimov, has been sentenced for alleged sex crimes in Cambodia.

No Abdication for King: Sihanouk

By Win Thida, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 June 2008

Former king Norodom Sihanouk said Monday there was no plan for his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, to abdicate the throne, but he said the royal family does have a plan if ever the monarchy is abolished.

"This is not an abdication, but an exile without protestation, if Phnom Penh would abolish the monarchy," Sihanouk wrote in a letter issued Monday by the Royal Palace.

Sihanouk said in a letter Friday the monarchy had a chance of being deposed, but in that case his son would return to France and he would live in another country. He asked that his name not be used in association with the founding of the coalition party, Funcinpec, and that politics put the throne "under risk."

"In waiting for this abolition, we thought a long time ago about following a plan," Sihanouk wrote Monday.

In the meantime, the royal family would remain in Cambodia through the election period, leaving Aug. 1 to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

"After that King Sihamoni will have a general check-up at the central hospital of the state in Beijing," Sihanouk wrote. "After the check-up he will return to Cambodia. My wife and I will continue to stay for some period in Beijing to have general check-ups and medical treatment."

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to comment on the message.

Court Mulls Bail for Opposition Editor

Dam Sith, the edotor of Monesekar Khmer

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Orignal report from Phnom Penh
09 June 2008

Phnom Penh Municipal Court is considering a request from the government that a jailed opposition newspaper editor be released on bail, officials said Monday.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said Monday the ministry sent an official letter to Phnom Penh Municipal Court Monday morning requesting the courts release on bail Dam Sith, the editor of Moneasekar Khmer, a daily newspaper aligned with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Dam Sith, a parliamentary candidate for July's election for Phnom Penh, was arrested Sunday and charged with defamation and disinformation for publishing an article that quoted Sam Rainsy implicating Foreign Minsiter Hor Namhong with the Khmer Rogue regime.

Hor Namhong has denied in the past any involvement with the regime during his time as a prisoner at the Boeung Trabek camp in Phnom Penh, which operated between 1975 and 1979.
Dam Sith is currently being held in the capital's Prey Sar prison.

Lao Mong Hay, a researcher at the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, said the arrest was a violation of press law, and he appealed to the courts to drop the charges against him. Dam Sith had only quoted the words of Sam Rainsy, Lao Mong Hay said.

Phnom Penh Judge Chhay Kong said Monday he had received the ministry letter this morning and was considering a release on bail.

Dam Sith's attorney, Choung Choungy, said Monday he was surprised that the ministry had sent a letter to the court and said his client was clear of any wrongdoing. He had only quoted from Sam Rainsy's speech, the attorney said.

Groups Press Parties on Corruption Law

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 June 2008

Rights groups with more than a million signatures demanding anti-corruption legislation are now pushing competing political parties for July's election on their positions.

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption will ask each party for a commitment on passing an anti-corruption law that has been stalled in the draft process for years.

"Corruption in Cambodia is serious, and we note that up to now, there has been no reduction of corruption," Sek Borisoth, program officer of Pact Cambodia, told reporters Monday morning.

"At the time of the election period, we take this opportunity to call for the political parties to make their promise to voters on how they will fight against corruption."

Corruption costs Cambodia an estimated $300 million and $500 million per year. Cambodia has enjoyed an economic growth rate of around 10 percent per year, but it still required $600 million from donors each year.

The Coalition said in a statement Monday that even though there is economic growth, corruption ensures only a select group benefit.

The government has promised for more than a decade to draft and pass an anti-corruption law, but it has so far failed. Donors urged the government in 2006 to adopt the law.

The draft law should only apply to the current status of members of government, Sok Samoeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, told reporters Monday.

"If we had a perfect law to review the property, maybe this drafting of the law would be blocked," he said.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Prime Minister Hun Sen had mentioned several times the importance of the law, and this is one of the political platform points of the Cambodian People's Party.

Sin Vannarith, secretary-general of the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party, said his party, if elected, would require government members to declare their assets and would push for the adoption of the anti-corruption law.

Trafficking a Global Threat: US

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
09 June 2008

Cambodia may have moved out of US "watch list" status for its efforts to combat human trafficking, but it still must improve its efforts, US officials said.

The US moved Cambodia onto its list of "tier 2" nations last week, saying it had improved its efforts but still fell short of US standards for combating trafficking.

“Globally, human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report. "It deprives people of their human rights and dignity. It increases global health risks. It bankrolls the growth of organized crime and it undermines the rule of law. In recent years we’ve witnessed a hopeful global movement uniting civil society, governments, and international organizations-not just to confront this crime, but to abolish it.”

Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph Mussomeli, who is currently in the US, said Cambodia had shown a clear commitment over the last two years to fight trafficking, though the government does acknowledge it has a "serious problem."