Sunday, 21 March 2010

An Opposition Party Parliamentarian Accused the Minister of Agriculture of Being Inactive – Saturday, 20.3.2010
via CAAI News Media

Posted on 21 March 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Phnom Penh: In a letter from the opposition party parliamentarian Mr. Son Chhay, delivered through the office of the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay accused the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, of being inactive.

“Mr. Son Chhay, as a parliamentarian, sent the letter to Minister Chan Sarun through an arrangement from the National Assembly, asking the Minister to clarify the lack of activities in the ministry.

“Mr. Son Chhay wrote that there are complaints from citizens living along the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers, appealing to the Minister and to related authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers, to monitor the selling of pesticides, and to intercept fishery crimes more effectively.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that citizens often complain that institutions and departments of the Ministry of Agriculture are not active. They do very little to serve farmers. Thus, citizens requested the Minister of Agriculture to provide them training in agricultural techniques or to timely save their crops from being damaged by insects and to offer treatment for their livestock when it suffers from diseases. Some farmers said that at their place, some non-government organizations are working in agriculture, but it is not enough. Therefore they require agricultural officials at the province and district levels to do more. Mr. Son Chhay also asked the Minister of Agriculture to encourage his fellow officials to assist farmers regularly, and he asked for a detailed nationwide report from the Ministry of Agriculture. Doing so would allow to see whether agricultural officials work or not.

“Mr. Son Chhay implied that agricultural officials act irresponsibly, and the Minister has to take timely action against them.

“Regarding the selling of pesticides and fertilizer, the Ministry of Agriculture does not seem to care about it. At some border crossings, pesticides and fertilizer are imported without proper checking to be sold at the markets. Many types of pesticides were not carefully checked by the Ministry of Agriculture, and there is nothing in Khmer written on those products to show farmers how to use them. This is dangerous. Some farmers applied pesticides in a wrong way, which led to poisoning.

“To allow such problems to happen without taking action related to the selling of pesticides shows that the ministry is irresponsible.

“Relating to the destruction of fish by illegal fishing, the Minister Chan Sarun does not supervise fishery officials who collude with traders to do fishing during the season when it is prohibited to fish. Fishery crimes that lead to the destruction of fish are, for example, the use of fine-meshed nets during all seasons, so that both big and small fish are being caught. Other serious activities which lead to the destruction of fish resources is fishing during the season when the fish lay eggs, and the destruction of flooded mangrove forests.

“Therefore, the fishery crimes mentioned above lead to the destruction of all fish resources in Cambodia. In the evening of 19 March 2010, Minister Chan Sarun told Kampuchea Thmey that he had not yet received Mr. Son Chhay’s letter, but he is glad to clarify the case any time.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We organize the work as a team, according to the administrative procedures in our institutions. Moreover, we assign teams to mentor and to observe the actual situation where the people live, and we regularly supervise our fellow officials.’ He welcomes Mr. Son Chhay and he is prepared to provide clarifications.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2206, 20.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 March 2010

Monk's Poems Recall Khmer Rouge Horrors
via CAAI News Media

'Beautiful' poems by Cambodian monk who led Mass. temple tackle horrors of Khmer Rouge regime


Associated Press Writer
LOWELL, Mass. March 20, 2010 (AP)

During Buddhist monk Ly Van Aggadipo's final days, he wrote often in a notebook. Temple followers knew the nonagenarian spiritual mentor to many local Cambodian refugees was recording some sort of personal history, but they weren't sure what.

"He told me, 'When I'm gone, make sure others read this so people don't forget what happened,'" follower Sokhar Sao said. "I didn't really understand until he was gone."

Next month, friends and followers will release a book of poetry by Ly Van, who survived the brutal communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and later led the Glory Buddhist Temple in Lowell from 1988 until his death in January 2008. The book, entitled "O! Maha Mount Dangrek," is a collection of two lengthy poems: one an autobiographical piece on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the other about a friend's story of love in the time of genocide.

The title in English means "Oh Mighty Mount Dangrek" and refers to the mountainous plateau between the Cambodia-Thailand border that refugees were forced to climb in order to escape the Khmer Rouge regime.

Organizers plan a 14-city tour to promote the book with readings and accompanying musical performances by two young Cambodian artists. The tour will begin April 1 at a Middlesex Community College reading in Lowell and continue with stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Minn., and Long Beach, Calif.

The publication of Ly Van's work, printed in its original Khmer and in English, completes a two-year project by followers. The day he died, a follower found the poetry tucked under stacks of old Buddhist texts inside the temple.

On worn pages were handwritten, carefully crafted poems describing Ly Van's memories of labor camps, starvation and infant executions and his dreams of escaping to America.

"We all said, 'Wow ... we have to publish this,'" said Samkhann Khoeun, who studied under Ly Van and served as the book's editor. "Here was something so beautiful describing something so horrible. It brought tears to our eyes."

Khoeun then went on a campaign to get the book published. The Glory Buddhist Temple and local nonprofit groups Light of Cambodian Children and Cambodian Expressions agreed to help with the publication cost, while Khoeun worked on translation with other refugees.

Ly Van was born in 1917 in a small Cambodian village where he and his family lived through the 1970s rule of the Khmer Rouge regime, which perpetrated one of the worst genocides of the 20th century.

An estimated 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease and executions due to the group's radical policies. According to the temple's biography of Ly Van, he was forced to work on farms and public projects 14 hours a day. It was during this time that he witnessed mass executions and large-scale starvation.

In early 1979, when Vietnamese soldiers invaded Cambodia, Ly Van and thousands of others fled to Thailand through dangerous terrain where he and others ended up at refugee camps while hoping for asylum to the U.S. with the help of the U.N.

He and his family were granted asylum and resettled in Lowell, an old mill city less than an hour's drive northwest of Boston.

Today about 20,000 Cambodians live in or around the city, making it second only to Long Beach for the largest number of Cambodians living in the United States.

As a refugee in Lowell, Ly Van helped establish the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, which promotes educational, cultural, economic and social programs for Cambodian-Americans and other minorities, before leading the Glory Buddhist Temple until his death of old age at 90.

But while counseling his fellow refugees and performing volunteer efforts, Ly Van quietly worked and reworked his long poems about horrific moments in his life that he rarely shared.

Besides the epic poems, the new book also features photos of Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia and of refugee camps in Thailand.

Some of the photos are from the collection of photojournalist Jay Mather, whose images helped earn him a 1980 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting with reporter Joel Brinkley while at The Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville, Ky. Others come from refugees' personal collections and the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has documented Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Khoeun said he wanted readers to see images related to Ly Van's poetry.

"We have to face it," said Khoeun, 47. "This is what we went through."

Sao, who has a bullet wound on one of his calves from being shot at a refugee camp, agreed.

"It's painful to see and remember," said Sao, also 47. "Every time I hear the words Khmer Rouge I get a little emotional. So you can imagine what's going on when I read this poetry and see these images."

Around 3,000 copies of the book are planned for the first printing, with proceeds going to costs for a planned second printing, Khoeun said.

The goal is not to make money, Ly Van's followers said, but to share the story of Cambodian refugees with others.

"I think my own children don't believe what we went through to get here," said Sao, a father of four children who were born in the U.S. "I don't talk about it much and can't put it into words like this."

A student's view of Cambodia

A teen service trip to Cambodia not only helps orphans there but does perhaps even more to help the student making the journey.

Children swirl around the Rustic Pathways visitors as they arrive in Sre Brey, a small village about three hours from Phnom Penh by boat. (JOSH FIDLER, Chicago Tribune / February 9, 2010)

via CAAI News Media

By Josh Fidler Special to Tribune Newspapers
March 21, 2010

The road that led me to Cambodia crosses just about every ocean. It's called Rustic Pathways, one of dozens of programs for teens that organize service-project trips around the world — from Fiji to Thailand to Tanzania.

The Rustic Pathways trip that jumped out at me was the 25-plus-year-old company's trip to Cambodia, a country rich with possibility and beautiful landscape. Through research, I learned of the 1970s genocide that no teacher had taught me or even touched on. And I saw an opportunity to help, to teach and, at the same time, to learn. The mission was to teach English to children in small schools and orphanages.

And so, in late summer I headed off for Cambodia by way of New York. During the next seven days, I came face to face with ancient temples, new friends, history and hope.

Phnom Penh

My introduction to this country begins in its capital. My Rustic Pathways group is small, just four of us. Two guys, two girls, all from the United States and all 16 to 18. With our RP team leader, we spend two days here and begin our sojourn with a visit to Tuol Sleng, now a museum. Originally, Tuol Sleng was a school. Then, after Pol Pot set out to return the country to a totally farming-based economy in the mid-1970s, it was used, paradoxically, to torture and murder anyone who was educated.

Large fences wrapped with rusted barbed wire still surround the school's courtyard. As I walk on ground where thousands of brutal murders took place, this past is impossible to shake — even in the beautiful courtyard. Inside the museum, photos of victims line walls.

The lesson about Cambodia's dark past then takes us to one of the dozen or so Killing Fields; at this one, about 17,000 people were murdered and buried in mass graves. An enormous memorial temple towers here, its windows revealing shelf after shelf filled with human skulls dug up from the graves, reminders of the staggering toll of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. Along the grounds, bones are piled, and old, withered clothes litter the ground. The constant rain increases, and we have taken in all that we can.

The floating villages

We haven't started really roughing it yet. This night, we stay in a hotel a lot like those in the States. But we're soon headed for a different way of life. The next morning we will travel by a small wooden boat with a tin top to a small village called Sre Brey.

The boat ride takes three hours and gives us our first glimpse of Cambodia's floating-village culture. It's one connected by stilted tin huts rising at river's edge and swaying with the wind.

When we arrive at Sre Brey, a Muslim village along the Tonle Sap Waterway, all the children are eager to learn our names and find out how old we are. Age helps the children determine where everyone is placed in "rank." They surprise us with how well they speak and understand English.

After our introductions, we walk with the kids through neat rows of green rice fields to a swimming hole where some of the boys jump in and splash. Everyone soon joins in.

Back at the village, we break up into smaller groups and play games. The hours seem to evaporate. It's dark and the villagers have made us dinner. For each of us, a big bowl of noodles sits steaming next to a large bowl of freshly cooked rice; a platter is filled with pork and some vegetables from the local market.

Finally, it's our turn to repay our generous hosts. It's time to teach. The kids gather their favorite books and their journals and get as close as possible so that we can share the light from a battery-powered lantern. I help 15-year-old Roni read a Bob the Builder book.

The ultimate hosts

We stay overnight in the village. David Goldman, another RP traveler, and I stay in a room that has been netted off so we can sleep mosquito-free. The wood floor is covered with a knitted blanket. It's hot enough to make my brow sweat, but there's no complaining: Strangers gave up their house to give us a place to stay; the family sleeps wherever it can in the village.

The next thing I know, the roosters are crowing. Goldman and I search for the village kids, itching for a soccer game. At nearly 6:30 a.m., we learn, it's blistering hot.

We play for nearly half an hour until sweat makes us look as though we've just come from a swim. The villagers, we notice, barely break a sweat.

The girls are up, and we gather our stuff to leave. The crowd that gathers to send us off is remarkable, for they are all our friends now. We drive on uneven dirt roads for a couple of hours until we arrive at another hotel and unload. After settling in, we head for a local orphanage.

Started by the French, this orphanage is home to about 50 kids, ages 9 to 18. At first, we teach them a little English and play a language game. They eat it up, not wanting to stop until everyone has had a chance to play. As the game winds down, we disperse into the courtyard and play volleyball and soccer, and the kids chase one another through a constant drizzle. Megan McAdams, our group leader from Rustic Pathways, sees an ice cream vendor and buys all the children ice cream. Most kids go back for seconds, some thirds. After nearly 40 frozen treats, the vendor tells her that the price is $2. She gives him a five, and he looks as though he has won a lottery.

The road to Battambang

Tomorrow we head for Battambang, a developing city where you can find a mall and even a few American cafes. We head to the open-air market before going to another orphanage, and we clean out our wallets to buy food for the kids. There have been times when they were surviving barely on one bowl of rice a day.

Together, the four of us are able to buy seven bags of rice and noodles (enough to last the orphanage three weeks) and even clothes for the kids. There is a church inside the grounds, and monks stroll as kids play soccer and "high kick," a Cambodian form of hacky-sack played with a feathery thing that looks something like a shuttlecock.

We watch the sun rise at Angkor Wat. This ancient and amazing complex of temples has become a magnet for travelers. Strangely, our group seems to be less wowed by this wonder than we have been by the people we have met and kids we have taught. You might chalk it up to any number of reasons — a not very glorious sunrise, the limited time we have to explore, and the emotions of this being our last day together in Cambodia.

Farewell, Cambodia

Our work, undeserving of the word, is over, and it's time for us to explore the market in Siem Reap.

The market is sheltered and provides shade from the slumping sun. Shoppers begin bartering at half the asking price of any item.

For our last meal in Cambodia, where we've eaten everything from pad Thai to frog legs, we head to a multilevel restaurant called Dead Fish. Though the menu offers mostly Khmer (traditional Cambodian) dishes, they serve cheeseburgers too. We're advised to go to the bathroom and see the alligators in an open pool nearby. When we walk by it, the gators are motionless and seem almost unreal. But when the lights come on and we buy fish to feed them, there is no doubt. It's an intimidating sight to see a 400-pound beast voraciously attack the sushi we're serving.

After dinner, we flee, for the last time, tuk-tuks, the scooter-pulled carriages that line the streets, run into massage sellers, head for more ice cream. The end, we know, is near.

Waking up early in the morning, we say our goodbyes to the Rustic Pathways staff and Siem Reap. In Bangkok, we change planes and meet up with kids who had been on other Rustic Pathways trips in Asia.

I arrive home a changed person. While thinking about people stressing about the value of their 401(k)s (and understandably so), I also remember how four teens with pocket change fed 50 children in Cambodia for a month.

Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua Visits U.S., Speaks on Lack of Human Rights at Home

via CAAI News Media

Jim Luce
Thought Leaders and Global Citizens
Posted: March 19, 2010

Jean-Michel Tijerina, CEO and Founder of the Cambodia Project, insisted I must meet her.

After an hour over coffee, I fully comprehended why.

I was talking to the Cory Aquino or the Aung San Suu Kyi - of Cambodia.

And given her courageous outspokenness, I am now very concerned for her safety.

Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua (Wiki) is headed back to Cambodia where she faces possible arrest and imprisonment. Yet she is headed back nonetheless.

She was in New York last week to attend Women in the World: Stories and Solutions, a conference that provides a platform for women across the world to tell the stories that have shaped their lives.

Some of the speakers in attendance are well-known, like Hillary Clinton, Diane von Furstenberg, and Queen Rania of Jordan. Other faces were less familiar but shared no less powerful stories, such as Mu Sochua.

Mu Sochua with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Occasion of the
Vital Voices Tribute to Global Women Leadership last week.

This high-powered event was sponsored by HP, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women, and follows on the heels of the Vital Voices conference at Kennedy Center in Washington last week.

They invited internationally prominent women such as Mu Sochua to participate. In 2005, she was one of 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has received many awards for her human rights work.

Waving to her supporters, the odds are stacked against Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua. Many of her contemporaries in the opposition have been assassinated.

Mu Sochua became a member of her nation's Cabinet in 1998, after having returned in 1989 after 18 years in exile during the period called the Killing Fields. She was then one of two women in high power there.

War and genocide took me away from my native Cambodia when I had just completed high school, in 1972. War exploded in addition to genocide from 1975 to 1979.

In just three years, over one million lives were lost - a quarter of Cambodia's people. The green rice fields of Cambodia became killing fields.

Armed conflict continued until the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1991.

She was the first woman to preside over the Office of Women's Affairs. Prior to her, it had been considered a man's job.

I left Cambodia as a young adolescent and returned as a mother and an activist, working with women's networks and human rights organizations to promote peace and to include strong provisions in the 1993 Constitution to protect the human rights of women.

In 1998, I ran for a parliamentary seat in the North West of Cambodia, the most devastated region, and won. The same year, I became Minister of Women and Veterans' Affairs -- as one of only two women to join the cabinet.

I declined a ministerial post in the next government, joining the opposition party instead, and joining forces with Cambodian democrats to fight corruption and government oppression.

M.P. Mu Sochua visits a paralyzed woman denied quality health services.

But the government there is not particularly democrat and she felt the corruption and nepotism kept Cambodia's women back. She did not wish to be co-opted, so she joined the Sam Rainsy Party, the lead opposition party in Cambodia.

As a minister, I proposed the draft law on domestic violence in Parliament, negotiated an international agreement with Thailand to curtail human trafficking in Southeast Asia, and launched a campaign to engage NGOs, law enforcement officials, and rural women in a national dialogue.

During my mandate, I campaigned widely with civil society and NGOs to encourage women at the grassroots to run as candidates for commune elections, the first of their kind in the history of Cambodia.

Cory Aquino fought with yellow ribbons, Aung San Suu Kyi fights with a dignified silence. Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua leads the opposition with candles.

Although the government rejects these numbers -- and critics are often challenged with misinformation charges -- it appears from credible sources that Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, with 30% of the population living below the national poverty line of 45 cents a day in 2007, with 68.2% of the population living on less than $2 a day.

Mu Sochua wants to improve Cambodia's economy - with the help of Cambodia's women:

My efforts have always been for long-term development which includes development of human resources for Cambodia, where most of our teachers, doctors, and judges were killed during the Khmer Rouge years.

As a woman leader I lead with the strong belief that women bring stability and peace, at home, in their communities and for the nation.

I am a strong supporter and advocate for a gender quota, although this special measure is yet to be adopted by the government.

Leaving the government to join the opposition is not the same as Joe Lieberman being a Democrat or Republican. In Cambodia, they don't play. The head of the opposition party, Sam Rainsy, has been found guilty of destruction of public property and sentenced to two years in prison.

This trumped-up charge was followed by another three weeks later that will likely send him to at least ten years behind bars.

Armed police in Phnom Penh blocking the opposition's anti-corruption march.

Drummed-up charges and show trials are part of the Cambodian judiciary system that is directly controlled by the government. It is a direct form of political prosecution of the government's critics.

A letter to the editor to The Phnom Penh Post this week by a prominent human rights defender points out the charges against Sam Rainsy are similar to the new electoral law in Burma which is designed solely to keep opposition leadership out of atonal elections.

Sam Rainsy, a prominent economist trained in France, was made Finance Minister following the U.N.-sponsored elections in 1993.

However, his parliamentary immunity was stripped and his former party expelled him from his government position in 1995 for his attempt to clean up corruption - forcing him to form the opposition party.

He has survived at least two assassination attempts when leading workers' demonstrations. At one of the demonstrations his body guard died on top of him. He has since fled into exile in Paris.

Mu Sochua explained her dedication to opposition founder Sam Rainsy:

He leads with one thing in his mind: Justice. A man with strong democratic principles, he delegates power, he seeks the truth, and never shies away from threats to his life.

He has walked thousands of miles with the poor to end land grabs, he has lead hundreds of demonstrations to fight for workers' rights.

And he has risked his life more than once to end corruption which is calculated at close to US$500 million per year according to the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia.

Since 1995, Mu Sochua told me -- as we sat in the safety of the Time-Warner Building opposite Columbus Circle in New York City -- that 185 activists from her opposition party have been killed.

She casually mentioned that just to care for that number of bodies was a burden for her and her followers. As hardened as I have become by my travels, I was shocked.

More than once I have come face to face with armed police and military. My strategy for self-protection is to remain vocal, visible and high profile.

The day I joined the opposition party was the day the leader of the workers' movement -- Chea Vichea -- was assassinated. He was the founder of the opposition in Cambodia.

The documentary of his life and death, Who Killed Chea Vichea?", will premiere March 27 at the Frederick Film Festival in Maryland. Chea was shot in broad daylight by assassins, but the government arrested two other men and imprisoned them for their supposed crime.

I was given a private screening of this moving film by its director Bradley Cox and will write its review shortly. Images of Buddhist priests crying as they watch the funeral procession are haunting.

Mu Sochua receives the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for leadership in human rights from Allida Black, Director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Project at George Washington University. U.S. Mission Photo: Eric Bridiers.

The reason I fear for Mu Sochua's safety is because the Government of Cambodia wants her gone. Try to follow this story - she is charged with "defamation." As I understand it:

The Prime Minster insulted my new friend Mu Sochua. She insisted he apologize. He said, "forget-about-it - just sue me!" So she did.

However, her lawyer was immediately threatened with being disbarred, so he had to drop her as a client. The case was then closed for 'lack of evidence.'

But the case was far from over. The Prime Minster then took her to court - for having sued him. He claimed she had committed a 'conspiracy to defame his reputation.' Unbelievable.

She lost this suit in June of 2009. She was told by the court she must pay a $4,000 fine. She refused and appealed - and lost again in November 2009.

Now -- about the time she will return home -- it goes to the Supreme Court there. The Court is controlled by the Cambodian Government, where she will most probably lose again.

"If I lose, I will not pay that fine," she told me defiantly. I will go to jail first!"

She faces this verdict upon her return. I call on the world press to monitor this closely, and for the people of the world to reach out to their Cambodian Embassies and let them know: The Whole World Is Watching.

Mu Sochua has a 25-year history now of advocacy. As a Member of the Cambodian Parliament and mother of three, Mu Sochua has played a crucial role in the empowerment of women and has worked tirelessly to lead the fight against gender-based violence.

Her political issues are both specific and universal:

Human Rights of Women. She campaigns widely to defend the human rights of women through the adoption and full implementation of legislation against gender-based violence.

Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children. She travels around the country to sensitize villagers to the danger of trafficking, pursues the prosecution of traffickers through a strong network of local organizations, and leads the fight against corruption of officials.

Women in Politics. She is the principal leader of the women's movement for transformative leadership, campaigning widely for legislation and policies to promote women's participation and positions in decision-making.

The Urban Poor. She advocates for the rights of squatters to improve their living conditions and gain lease-hold rights to land. She also supports the development of communities for squatters with schools, health centers, sanitation, and access to employment.

Land Rights. She advocates for the rights of tenants in her constituency of Kampot and throughout Cambodia, investigating evictions and land-grabbing first-hand, listening to villagers' stories, and supporting formal complaints.

There are said to have been at least 11,600 victims affected by land disputes in 2009. When urban communities are forcibly evicted and relocated to remote areas lacking proper sanitation, jobs, and food security, female heads of household suffer the most.

Malnurishment of infants and children under five double. Relocation of rural communities are even more dangerous to women as the families who are already vulnerable are further facing more violence as they are relocated to less secure, unfamiliar areas.

Forced evictions and illegal economic concessions happen almost on a daily basis, with villagers arrested without arrest warrants and leading the poor to chronic poverty and food insecurity.

Civil society and local human rights organizations working to empower the landless are often subject of government scrutiny, law suits, and illegal detention.

Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua, whose is in danger for leading the opposition, with Jean-Michel Tijerina of the Cambodia Project and me in the safety of New York City. Photo courtesy of Nozomi Terao.

Healthcare for women in Cambodia itself is beyond comprehension to me. According to Mu Sochua:

Maternal mortality rates in Cambodia are higher than any other country in the region although some progress has been made in the at five years.

There are currently over 4,000 deaths of women during delivery or five women die in childbirth per day, and one woman dies every five hours from childbirth. An average of 19,780 children die per year -- with 55 dying every day during the first year of life.

Education is also a mess. According to Mu Sochua's research:

The literacy rate among women are 55.6%; only 12.6% of girls in rural areas attend lower school and 4.1% of rural girls attend lower secondary schools. Drop out rates also at primary level is at 50%.

Last month the organization that I founded, Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) presented its 2010 Distinguished Global Citizenship Awards for Helping Humanity. U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, were awarded.

It is obvious to me that this Cambodian Member of Parliament, the Hon. Mu Sochua, must receive my organization's 2011 Distinguished Global Citizenship Awards for Helping Humanity. It is up to the world to make sure she is not in prison so she can receive it.