Monday, 29 September 2008

Former U.S. ambassador to speak at UWF Oct. 10

Pensacola News Journal
From staff reports
September 29, 2008

The University of West Florida will host former U.S. ambassador Sichan Siv at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Communication Arts Lecture Hall, Building 36, Room 191.

Siv holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. He escaped Cambodia's killing fields in 1976 and was resettled as a refugee in Wallingford, Conn.

Siv will give a brief lecture followed by a book signing of his new book, "Golden Bones," which recounts his American dream. The event is free and open to the public.

Siv was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2001 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate as a United States ambassador to the United Nations, serving until 2006.

From 1989 to 1993, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Siv served as deputy assistant to the president for public liaison and as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia. In the private sector, he has held positions in social services, educational exchange, financial management and investment banking. Currently, he provides global strategic advice and gives motivational speeches around the U.S. and the world.

Sompong declines to give speech at UN

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
New York

Mon, September 29, 2008

Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat skipped his speech at the United Nations General Assembly due to fear of violating the constitution since his government has not yet announced policies to the parliament.

Sompong was scheduled to deliver his speech to the assembly on Monday at the UN headquarter in New York but he assigned the Thai Permanent Representative to the UN Don Pramudwinai to deliver on behalf of the Thai government.

"As long as the government has not yet announced the policy to the parliament, I should not say anything about policy commitment to the international community," Sompong told reporters.

The 2007 Constitution's article 176 requires the government to announce its policies to the parliament before running the administration.

The second paragraph of the article allows the ministers to function only in urgent matters or to prevent damage.

"I consider that the speech is not an urgent matter. There would be no damage to national interest if I did not make the speech, he said.

Some 20 bilateral meetings were also cancelled since the minister feared he needed to touch upon policy matters during the meetings with his counterparts.

However Sompong presided over the information Asean meeting on the sideline of UN meeting on the same day as Thailand was the current chairman of the regional grouping whose foreign ministers were in New York for the UN.

Sompong said he regarded the Asean meeting was a non-policy binding since he just conducted the meeting to follow up the preparation for Asean summit due in Bangkok in December.

The Asean ministers also listened to report by Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan on the Asean restructuring as well as progress of border dispute settlement between Thailand and Cambodia, he said.

Asean meeting is an important matter for Thailand to carry on since Bangkok is holding rotation chairmanship.

"I cannot assign the Foreign Ministry's Permanent Secretary or our ambassador to chair the meeting since other attendances are ministerial levels," he said.

"I regard the meeting on the sideline of the UN is a routine, not a policy commitment," Sompong said.

The foreign minister hoped the Asean and the UN members would understand his situation and Thailand's domestic political difficulties.

Cambodian PM orders investigation into anti-government leaflets

The leaflets insult King Norodom Sihamoni and leaders of the ruling Cambodian People's Party. [Reuters]

ABC Radio Australia

September 29, 2008

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered an investigation into the distrubution of leaflets insulting the country's king, Norodom Sihamoni and leaders of the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

The political fliers flooded the city prior to last week's opening of the National Assembly.

The Phnom Pehn Post reports the leaflets call the King "a puppet" of Hanoi and Beijing and described the Prime Minister as a national traitor.

The Opposition Sam Rainsy Party says it had nothing to do with the leaflets.

'Unnecessary' dam project threatens rarest wildlife

The Independent
By Michael McCarthy
Environment editor
Monday, 29 September 2008

One of the world's rarest reptiles, the critically-endangered Siamese crocodile, is gravely threatened by a proposed dam in an unspoilt region of Cambodia, British conservationists warn.

Construction of the Chay Areng dam in the Cardamom mountains will wipe out a fifth or more of the remaining population of the crocodiles, which stands at fewer than 200 individuals in the wild, according to Fauna and Flora International (FFI), which is based in Cambridge.

It will displace hundreds of indigenous people from their homes, and do enormous damage to the wildlife in a valley which alone holds more than 30 globally threatened species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians, ranging from tigers, Asian elephants and pileated gibbons to the white-winged duck, the yellow-headed temple turtle and one of the world's rarest and most prized freshwater fish, the Asian arowana.

Furthermore, says FFI, an economic assessment showed that the 120ft dam, which is being promoted by a Chinese power company, is not necessary for Cambodia's future electricity demand and is in effect surplus to requirements. FFI is calling on the Cambodian government to cancel the scheme.

Were it to go ahead, the Siamese crocodiles would be the most notable casualties of the project in wildlife terms. The stocky, 10ft-long reptile, which feeds largely on fish and snakes, is extinct over 99 per cent of its original range, with tiny remaining groups in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam apart from Cambodia, where the Areng river habitat is the most secure and significant breeding site in the world, harbouring between 40 and 50 individuals.

If the Areng river is dammed, says FFI, this fragile population will be seriously reduced or wiped out. The inundation will destroy vital lakeside nesting areas, shallow feeding zones, sandy basking areas along the river, and essential lakeside burrows used for shelter. The organisation also fears that the 1,000-plus Chinese workers who will be brought in to build the dam will begin poaching the other wildlife in the valley, saying that this has happened in similar schemes elsewhere.

The whole range of the Cardamom mountains in western Cambodia has hitherto been one of the best unspoilt areas of montane rainforest in South-east Asia, having been protected from exploitation for decades by the region's wars. FFI says it is "the untouched jewel in the crown of Asian biodiversity".

But now it is being opened up, especially by the Chinese, who are offering to build hydropower and other generating infrastructure for the Cambodians in exchange for a future share in the country's untapped natural resources, which include oil and gas. Many of the rivers of the Cardamom range have dams proposed for them, and one, at O'Som, is already going ahead.

FFI says its recognises that Cambodia needs more electricity and some of it will come from hydropower. But it says that a 2007 report, the Master Plan Study of Hydropower Development in Cambodia, commissioned by the Japan International Co-operation Agency and the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy, identified 10 priority sites that would be sufficient to meet the projected national demand – and significantly, these did not include the Chay Areng.

"The Areng dam is unnecessary and surplus to requirements," said Jenny Daltry, a senior conservation biologist with FFI. "Hundreds of households of an indigenous people, the Khmer Daeum, will be displaced and have to move. These are people who have been there for hundreds of years and who really do live in harmony with nature and have set up their own protected areas in the forest, and six villages of them will go, and possibly seven.

"In wildlife terms, it will be a disaster. The crocodiles, which represent at least a fifth of the world's population in the wild, will disappear and there will be catastrophic damage to other wildlife.

"It is still up to the Cambodian government to approve or reject the proposal from the Chinese company and we strongly feel it should be rejected."

19 charged in Cambodia over trying to sell a public building

ABC Radio Australia

In Cambodia, 19 people including a senior ranking defence official have been charged after trying to sell off a public building.

The Phnom Penh Municipal court has heard the 19 defendants used forged documents in their attempt to sell the Fisheries Administration offices in the capital.

The Phnom Penh Post reports the attempted fraud highlights a growing problem of illegal land speculation in the country.

Foreign developers say Cambodia regulations could stifle building

ABC Radio Australia

A group of foreign developers say Cambodia's new building regulations could stifle the Kingdom's construction boom.

The new laws require builders to place large cash deposits with the government and apply for several additional licences before starting projects.

Shin Woo Kim, a legal adviser to the Korean Real Estate Development Association has told the Phnom Penh Post that Cambodia would be seen as a high risk country if the new regulations on housing developments take effect.

The new Finance Ministry rules also require developers to purchase site insurance and deposit at least two per cent of the total project cost in a ministry account.

The Ministry says the regulations will tighten a largely unregulated construction sector.

Ex-sex slave crusades against forced prostitution

Sun Sep 28, 2008
By Gary Crosse

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Abandoned as a child in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge's murderous reign, Somaly Mam has no memory of her family and doesn't know her true age or name. But she recalls when she was sold to a brothel.

She traces a dramatic and haunting journey from sex slave to crusader against forced prostitution in her newly released memoir, "The Road of Lost Innocence," which reads like a Dickensian tale of triumph over adversity.

Remarkably, she does not see her path from a remote mountain region of Cambodia to an international campaigner as awe-inspiring.

"I never feel that way, I'm still Somaly. I used to work in the fields and now I help victims," she told Reuters in an interview.

Born in the early 1970s, she fleetingly recalls the Khmer Rouge's rule, when an estimated 1.7 million people were executed or died of torture, starvation or disease during a disastrous four-year agrarian revolution in the late 1970s.

Set adrift, she was taken in by an elderly man whom she called "grandfather," an honorific title that belied his cruel character. When she was about 16 years old, he sold her to a brothel to pay off his debts.


Held captive for years, she watched in horror as the brothel owner one day shot a girl in the head for insolence -- one of many acts of violence in Cambodia's notorious sex trade where poor families sometimes sell a daughter to pay debts.

Laws to prevent abuse against women are poorly enforced.

With the help of a Swiss patron employed by a nongovernmental organization, Mam paid the brothel owner $100 to let her go, one of the few ways women can leave safely.

At his hotel, she experienced her first hot shower. "He ... turned on a shiny thing, like a snake, and it flashed to life, spitting at me ... That was the first time I ever used proper soap, and I remember how good it smelled, like a flower," she writes.

Mam eventually married and lived in France for a time before returning to Cambodia determined to help "the girls" in whatever way she could. She started by distributing condoms and soap -- both of which were rarely available in Cambodia's brothels.

Shunned in their home villages, Mam and others formed a shelter for women and girls, the Agir pour les Femmes En Situation Precaire -- Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP).

The largely Spanish-funded grass-roots group expanded to neighboring Thailand and Laos, providing counseling, shelter and education on AIDS prevention. Its members also speak to men on the perils facing girls in the sex trade.


Future Group, a nongovernmental organization that combats human trafficking, estimates the number of prostitutes and sex slaves in Cambodia at up to 50,000, with at least 1 in 40 girls born in Cambodia expected to be sold into sex slavery.

Today, Mam travels the world raising money for the Somaly Mam Foundation to draw attention to forced prostitution, estimating that 2 million to 4 million women and children will be sold into the global sex trade in the next 12 months.

Legalization of prostitution is not the answer, she said, at least not in Cambodia.

"Women are not toys," she said. "All of us, we need equality. If you want to live with dignity, it is without prostitution, without this violence."

Fighting to close notorious brothels made her enemies in Cambodia. Shelters run by her group have come under armed attack and women have been abducted.

In 2006, Mam's teen-age daughter was kidnapped. She was eventually rescued, but Mam still faces threats in her battle against underworld figures who control the trade. Undaunted, she says the work is too important to walk away from.

"You know, these victims and me -- we have the same heart, the same body, the same pain," she said. "It's not just Cambodia. If I can help around the world, I'll do it."

(Editing by Jason Szep and Xavier Briand)

Sompong faces twins tasks in New York

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
New York
September 29, 2008

New Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat has his work cut out today when he chairs an informal meeting of Asean ministers here to discuss restructuring the regional grouping and preparing for the summit later this year.

The ministers arrived in New York on Saturday for the United Nations General Meeting but their task at the UN will be confined to delivering a speech this afternoon.

The foreign minister's speech would basically dwell on the global food and fuel crisis as well as the UN Millennium Goal, said R Don Pramudwinai, Representative to the UN.

The political turmoil at home would not be mentioned during the speech as well as in other formal meetings, he said.

Sompong, who has no experience in foreign affairs, took office only a few days before the UN meeting. As the chairman of Asean, he will be presiding over the informal meeting of the regional grouping on the sidelines of the UN summit.

Key issues in the 180-minute meeting of Asean foreign ministers would focus on the coming Asean summit due in December and the group's restructuring.

Asean needs to be restructured as the new charter would change the 40-year-old regional grouping from an ad-hoc body to a rule-based international organisation.

The charter will enhance the role of secretary-general. Former Thai foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan is the current secretary-general. Thailand's legal instrument for ratification was passed by the Senate a couple of weeks ago. The charter would also give birth to the Asean human rights body. The terms of reference for its establishment have not been finished yet.

Thailand and Cambodia would brief the Asean meeting on their border problem that has seen both countries lock horns for months.

The two neighbours have clashed over the areas near the Hindu temples of Preah Vihear, Ta Muen Thom and Ta Kwai. Foreign ministers from both sides held two meetings to settle the dispute but Sompong will need to follow up as many issues remain unresolved.

The border problem with Cambodia might not be discussed bilaterally here as his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong is not attending the UN meeting. His deputy Kao Kim Hourn will lead the Cambodian delegation to the UN and Asean meetings.

Besides the Asean informal meeting, Sompong would lead the other nine ministers of the grouping to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss Asean-UN relations as well as the Asean-UN summit due back-to-back with the Asean summit in Bangkok.

Criticized Hun Sen's Government and his leadership

Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equity (CACJE)

No: 3 Fountain Ave. Cranston RI, 02920 Web:, Email:

"CACJE’s mission is working & advocating for Social Justice & Human Equity"

Immediately Press Release

September 26th 2008


Cambodian Action Committee for justice and Equity (CACJE) denounces the demarche of Hun Sen Royal Government of Cambodia to solve the border problem with the Kingdom of Thailand for delaying for too long the legal action. Therefore, in that way Hun Sen government let the Kingdom of Thailand infiltrates its armed forces to violate the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the western border of Cambodia.

The delaying and the continuing of negotiation by Hun Sen government and the Cambodian People Party with Thailand were intended to cheat Cambodian people, notably to hide its secret deal with Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, ex-Prime Minister kicked out of the power.

On the other hand, the demagogy and the treason that Hun Sen Royal Government of Cambodia tried to hide to Cambodian people was its secret agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam of NOT TO IMPLEMENT the Paris Peace Agreement of October 23rd , 1991 to solve border problem with Thailand because the Paris Peace Agreement of October 23rd, 1991 was not only the fundamental treaty to solve the border problem with Thailand but also with Vietnam and Laos.

The letter of UCAOA of July 3, 2008 to Mr. Jan K.F. Grauls, Ambassador of Belgium and Chairman of the United Nations Security Council of July, and Mr. Noer Hasan Wirajuda, Foreign Minister of Indonesia and Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France and co-chair of the Paris Peace Agreement of October 23rd, 1991 Conference emphasized very clearly the fact that the negotiation of Hun Sen government to solve border problem with Thailand did not represent the Cambodian people will.

Concerning border negotiation, CACJE rejects categorically any negotiation of any Cambodian leaders who committed Cambodian land or Cambodian heritage patrimonies as basis of discussion with foreign countries to solve border problem, because it will end up by Cambodia giving away Cambodian land and Cambodian heritage properties to foreign countries.

The France-Siam Treaty of 1904, 1907, the Court Order of the International Court of Justice of The Hague of June 15, 1962 and the Paris Peace Agreement of October 23, 1991 constituted a solid legal tool to submit our case to the United Nations Security Council in order to defend Cambodia sovereignty and territorial integrity.

with an area of 181, 035 square kilometers as it was stipulated by the map of Cambodia deposited in the United Nations since 1954.

Not only Hun Sen government did not do his duty of defending its motherland, conversely, Hun Sen government let foreign armies invade Cambodia, violate its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Hun Sen government negotiation is aimed to hide his betrayal to Cambodian people and to let Thailand violates Cambodia sovereignty and grab Cambodian Historic Temples and maltreat Cambodian people who lived peacefully on the border. Hun Sen government, the Vietnamese puppet, let Thailand did it in the same way as the Vietnamese mistreated Cambodian people, kicked Cambodian people out of their land and grabbed their land up to these days.

CACJE condemns solemnly before Cambodia History Hun Sen Royal Government of Cambodia and the Cambodian People Party as traitor who let Thailand and Vietnam grab our land, our historic patrimonies, and our ancestral heritage.


Chief Mission