Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Illegal Workers: Police stop migrants, arrest man

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:02 Cheang Sokha

Illegal Workers

POLICE in Oddar Meanchey province arrested and briefly held a man accused of trying to smuggle 26 migrant workers through the O’Smach international border gate into Thailand, officials said yesterday.

Nuon Eth, the police chief in Samrong district, said 20 male and six female would-be migrant workers from Banteay Meanchey province’s Preah Net Preah district had travelled to Oddar Meanchey by taxi. They were stopped on Saturday evening at the border gate and ordered to return to their homes.

“They intended to work in Thailand for a long time,” Nuon Eth said. “We have now educated them and allowed them to go back home.”

Nuon Eth said police arrested an alleged organiser, An Cheth, who was going to charge them 150,000 riels (US$36) each for the trip, though he had yet to be paid.

The police chief said that police had planned to take An Cheth to trial, but were told a court would not consider him a broker because he hadn’t collected any money. He was subsequently released from custody.

Court charges two in illegal detention case

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Police address 35 allegedly underage workers following a raid on Sunday on a labour firm in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district. The girls were being trained to work as domestic helpers in Malaysia

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:02 Meas Sokchea

KANDAL provincial court has charged two men with illegal detention following a raid on a recruitment firm in Kien Svay district, when authorities discovered 35 underage girls being trained to work as domestic servants in Malaysia.

Kandal provincial court deputy prosecutor Keo Socheat said yesterday that of the four suspects arrested during the raid, two – South Manith, 29, and Suo Reaksa, 24 – have been charged and detained pending further investigation. The remaining pair have been released.

“There are four suspects, but police have sent only two of them to the court. I have received the case, attached to the names of two persons. They were accused of human detention,” he said. “They have been detained in prison now.”

Keo Socheat did not provide a reason for the release of the remaining two suspects.

Lun Sophath, the provincial deputy police chief, declined to comment in detail, but said that Suo Sotheara, 24, and Seng Soly, 25, were questioned and then released after police determined that they were not involved in the illegal detention of the workers.

Sunday’s raid was triggered after villagers in Prek Eng commune reported seeing several girls detained in a nearby building. Under the 1995 sub-decree that permits authorised companies to train and send workers abroad, all prospective workers must be at least 18 years old.

Hem Bunny, director of the Department of Employment and Manpower at the Ministry of Labour, said he had heard of some cases in which authorities had charged illegal companies money and then exposed their activities when they did not pay.

He said that any labour firm that opens an office anywhere in the country must register with the provincial labour department and inform the authorities about the nature of its operations.

Suspects not present at paedophilia hearings

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

PREAH Sihanouk provincial court yesterday heard the case against a convicted French paedophile accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

Jean Marie Beranger, 61, was arrested in Sihanoukville in September last year on suspicions of abusing the boy. He was later released on bail, but was re-arrested in Kep in December after being accused of sexually abusing two more boys, aged 12 and 16. On June 28, Kampot provincial court sentenced him to a year in prison in connection with the latter charge.

Beranger was absent during yesterday’s trial, but the hearing continued anyway. A verdict is expected on Monday.

Nuon Phanith, a lawyer provided for the victim by child-protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he was “optimistic” that the court would convict Beranger, who faces an additional three to six years in jail if found guilty.

Also yesterday, the court postponed a hearing in the case of a German man charged with committing indecent acts against two boys aged 11 and 14, after the accused also failed to appear at the court.

Walter Orson Novak, 46, was arrested in Sihanoukville in March last year, but was freed on bail after serving a month of pretrial detention.

Nuon Phanith said the defendant did not appear at the hearing yesterday, and expressed concern that he might have fled the country. He said the court could not find Novak’s passport, which should have been surrendered when he was released.

Police Blotter: 4 Aug 2010

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 10:39 Kim Samath

Police are looking for clues after the body of a 72-year-old woman was found beside her house in Battambang province Sunday. The woman’s body had multiple wounds, leading police to assume she had been killed with some kind of solid object while she was listening to the radio and cutting grass. Authorities are speculating that the woman was killed because of a bitter dispute between her and an unknown suspect. However, nobody witnessed the apparent murder, so police officers will have to rely on their best sleuthing skills to solve this puzzling whodunnit.

Police in Banteay Meanchey province have arrested a man accused of attempting to kill his sister and brother-in-law. The brother-in-law claimed the suspect threatened him and his wife with an axe in front of their home last week. They were too frightened to go outside. When arrested by police, the suspect allegedly admitted that he had become embroiled in a heated argument with the couple, which made him so enraged that he grabbed an axe to warn them not to argue with him.

Police in Ratanakkiri province are on the lookout for a suspect alleged to have beaten a man to death with a garden hoe. Police say the 40-year-old victim was lured by the suspect to a secluded area Saturday night. That’s when the suspect set on him, striking him several times with the axe, police said. The victim’s brother claimed that the suspect had killed three or four people in other areas. Police said they knew the suspect’s identity and promised to arrest the suspect swiftly.

An 18-year-old man has been arrested after he was accused of sexually harassing a 15-year-old girl. The victim said she had known the suspect since May, and that the pair had often spoken about the love they shared. In fact, they were lovers, she declared. But in June, the man allegedly grabbed her hand and planted an unwanted kiss on her. On Monday, police arrested the suspect and sent him to court to face the law.

A 31-year-old man in Prey Veng province was arrested Friday and accused of robbing and killing a 30-year-old motor-taxi driver. Police confiscated a motorbike and a pistol with four bullets following the arrest.

Prison guard charged with drug trafficking

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:01 Chhay Channyda

A GUARD at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh was among a group of three men charged with drug trafficking and placed in pretrial detention this week, an official said yesterday.

Yim Socheat, chief of the municipal anti-drug trafficking bureau, said the guard, 37-year-old Sum Savuth, and two other men were arrested in Meanchey district on Friday after police found them in possession of “seven small plastic bags” full of crystal methamphetamine, or ice.

He said Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday charged all three suspects with drug trafficking, but that all three had protested their innocence.

He identified the other two men as Mok Kongkea and Voa Dara.

“We investigated them for months before we arrested them,” Yim Socheat said. “But they did not confess to the crimes and said they were just drug users.”

Yim Socheat said the three men would not have been arrested if they were only suspected of using the drug.

“We found they were selling drugs to a group of youths,” he said. “We never arrest drug users because they are victims of drugs.” He declined to comment further on the case, citing ongoing investigations.

Prey Sar prison director Mong Kim Heng could not be reached for comment yesterday, nor could Municipal Court officials with knowledge of the case.

BBU chase second place league finish

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Build Bright United’s Nuth Sinoun (right) takes on Chhma Khmao keeper Chhay Rasmei Sovanara (left) during their game Saturday.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Build Bright United wind up their Metfone C-League campaign this afternoon against hot and cold Khemara Keila. The University-backed side confirmed their place in the Super 4 playoffs last week and will look for victory to maintain their charge for a second-place league finish and accompanying 34 million riels (US$8,115) cash prize ahead of rivals Phnom Penh Crown and Preah Khan Reach, who play each other Saturday.

BBU currently share second spot with Crown, a point ahead of PKR.

Khemara, meanwhile, can only leapfrog National Defence Ministry into sixth place with a win today, which would grant them 2 million riels more in prize money if the Army team fail to beat Chhma Khmao Sunday in their last fixture.

With 14 goals to his name, BBU’s top scorer Nuth Sinoun is nine behind Julius Ononiwu of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in the race for the Golden Boot, and will have potentially two more games from the playoffs to claw back the deficit.

TFC seal two tennis Futures events

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Workmen carry out construction of the new players’ facility adjacent to the TFC National Training Centre.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

THE Tennis Federation of Cambodia will host two back-to-back men’s Asian Circuit Futures tournaments from January 15-31 next year and will pass on the last leg of the three-event package to Vietnam.

Confirming the dates and Vietnam Tennis Federation’s “huge interest” in staging one of the events, TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit said international events of this magnitude would open new horizons for the Kingdom’s tennis. “These Futures will really shape our own in the best possible way,” he said.

Financial and logistical constraints had forced the TFC to pass on one of the events to their neighbours, and the VTF was more than willing to step in with the Secretary General Lin Nguyen officially accepting the offer on Monday.

“We are looking for sponsors for these US$10,000 events, though the prize fund would be defrayed by ITF’s Grand Slam Fund project,” said the TFC official. “For us the work has already begun.”

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
TFC General Secretary Tep Rithivit (left) and CCC President Van Sou Ieng check out the progress on the new players’ lounge.

As part of the second phase of infrastructure additions to the newly built National Training Centre, the TFC took up construction of a players’ facility adjacent to the courts nearly three weeks ago.

“Work on this players’ changing room and working space for officials has been going on briskly, and this would also be a big help for us during the Futures, though we need a lot more for those international events. This is where we are banking on support from the Country Club of Cambodia,” said Tep Rithivit after an inspection of the new construction site with CCC President Van Sou Ieng Monday.

“The ITF criteria for Futures events call upon the host Federation to provide a fully fledged players’ lounge, an officiating room, and accommodation for officials, besides buffet food and fruits for players all the time during the events. I am glad to say that some of these requirements will be met by the CCC.”

Reacting to the new developments and the promise of international competitions, Van Sou Ieng said it was a “proud privilege” for his club to help with the hosting.

“The TFC is more than welcome to house some of the officials and even players in the new 18-room hotel that is coming up in our complex. We hope the hotel will be operational by this November,” he said.

Tep Rithivit expressed his enthusiasm for the tournaments, saying: “It is a wonderful two weeks ahead of us. This is the best possible international exposure our players can ever get.”

New national team coach to arrive soon

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

With the Football Federation of Cambodia accepting the South Korean Football Association’s offer to send A-licensed coach Sejin Yeo as the Kingdom’s next national team head coach, preparations are well underway for his arrival sometime next week. Although no specific date had been announced for his impending arrival, sources indicated Sunday that the Korean coach could be here in time to watch Super 4 playoffs action of the ongoing Metfone C-League. FFC Deputy General Secretary May Tola said the federation had already enlisted the help of a few assistant coaches to identify around 40 “good players” for national team consideration. Metfone C-League coaches were also asked to recommend two or three of their best players for a preparatory camp in the off-season. According to May Tola, 38-year old Sejin Yeo had coached the South Korean women’s A-team as well as Korean men’s clubs.

Cabinet appoints Minister Suwit to chair Preah Vihear dispute committee

via Khmer NZ

BANGKOK, Aug 3 - The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday appointed Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti to chair a committee to oversee the Preah Vihear temple dispute and to examine Cambodia's development-management plan for the ancient temple, according to a government spokesman.

Mr Suwit led the Thai delegation to the just ending UNESCO World Heritage Commission (WHC) meeting in Brazil, said acting spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. The minister is charged with responsibility to gather information on Cambodia's development management plan for the temple, which was granted world heritage status in 2008.

The committee will also seek evidence to support Thailand's claim to the contested 4.6 sq km area around Preah Vihear temple, he said.

The committee will comprise representatives from concerned agencies including the ministries of foreign affairs and defence.

Dr Panithan said the Cabinet also acknowledged a report on the WHC meeting given by Mr Suwit and agreed that Thailand would propose to host the WHC annual meeting in 2012.

He also said Mr Suwit assured the cabinet that he had not signed any document at the WHC meeting that could bind the government, but only signed his name to acknowledge the document proposed by Cambodia.

The heritage agency on Thursday postponed reviewing the Cambodian plan until next year when it meets in Bahrain.

Mr Suwit said earlier that the officials are now preparing to look through documents of the Cambodian management plan which is expected to be sent to them in September, to see whether it includes the disputed 4.6 sq km disputed zone.

In a related development, Second Army Area commander Lt-Gen Veevalit Chornsamrit on Tuesday conceded that some Cambodians have set up stalls in the contested area near the temple, but the army has no authority to push them back to Cambodian territory.

The general commented following reports on the presence of Cambodian vendors at the Thai-Cambodian border market in Kantararak district of Thailand's Si Sa Ket province.

Gen Veevalit said that the Thai government is duty-bound to hold talks under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both countries in 2000 and the army's duty is to maintain order along the borders.

He said under the 2000 MoU with Cambodia on land boundary demarcation, both sides agree not to carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, pending the survey and demarcation of the common land boundary.

As for the road to Preah Vihear built by Cambodia, Gen Veevalit said that it was an old road and Cambodia had improved and vehicles could take the route to reach the temple.

He added the Thai army has already submitted complaint letters to the neighbouring country several times.

Preah Vihear was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962. UNESCO named the temple a World Heritage site in 2008, after Cambodia applied for the status while the dispute over the 4.6 sq km contested zone between the two countries remains unsolved.

Under the terms of the listing, Cambodia is required to submit a management plan for WHC approval, but Thailand insisted that the matter should not be discussed unless the two neighbours first resolve their dispute over the zone adjacent to the temple. (MCOT online news)

Vietnam, Cambodia strengthen cooperation in public health

via Khmer NZ

A Vietnamese delegation led by Minister of Health Nguyen Quoc Trieu paid an official visit to Cambodia from August 1-6 at the invitation of his counterpart Mam Bunheng.

The health officials reviewed the result of cooperation between the two ministries and discussed current public health and issues of mutual concern.

They also looked at the implementation of the health quarantine agreement signed on March 6, 2006, which has helped to reduce the spread of infectious diseases in border areas.

Cambodia also applauded Vietnamese health stations which have provided checkups for Cambodian patients, especially those living in poor border provinces.

Vietnam is committed to providing additional health checkups to Cambodian people under the current regulations of the Vietnamese government, maintaining charity activities for poor patients in Cambodia, and sending experts to provide technical assistance to Cambodian health workers.

Both sides agreed to organize seminars to share experiences in health checkups, facilitate the implementation of the Cho Ray-Phnom Penh hospital project, consider the possibility of opening an eye hospital in Cambodia’s capital and discussed measures to contain the spread of infectious diseases.

In addition, they also agreed to co-ordinate in confiscating fake and illegal cosmetics at border gates, share experiences in controlling the quality of medicines and preventing an illegal trade in fake and poor quality pharmaceuticals which might cause health problems.

The Vietnamese delegation visited Cambodia’s Royal Military Hospital, the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, and Cambodia’s University of Medicine.

On the occasion, HCM City’s Medicine and Pharmacy University and Odonto-Maxilo-Facial Hospital signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s University of Medicine and the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.

Book Review: Thaksin and Thailand's Contentious Foreign Policy

via Khmer NZ

Written by John Berthelsen
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and Silkworm Books . 354 pp. Paperback, available from Amazon, US$74.90.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's drastic remaking of Thailand's economy and society didn't just stop at the country's borders. Almost as soon as he took office in 2001, he set out to drastically remake the country's foreign policy as well, seeking to alter Thailand's famed "bamboo diplomacy" to mould himself into Southeast Asia's newest regional leader in the footsteps of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad.

"Thaksin aspired to transform Thailand into a regional player. To be able to accomplish his goal, he crafted an active foreign policy," writes Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a former Thai diplomat who is currently a Fellow at the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Program at the ASEAN Studies Center, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. Pavin is the author of the heavily footnoted and scholarly Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and his Foreign Policy. Thaksin, Pavin writes, "pushed the envelope by binding tightly the country's foreign policy with his domestic populist programs."

The ousted premier's intention to use foreign relations to score political points at home became the driving force for the announcement of a new direction in foreign policy, seeking to make Bangkok a regional center of gravity for mainland Southeast Asia. But as with his domestic policy, Thaksin‘s rise posted a serious threat to the traditional foreign policy elite that had guided policy for generations, and as the domestic establishment did, they sought to cast him out.

A telling episode, the foreword by the UK-based scholar Duncan McCargo, for instance, recounts a famous World War II episode in which the Phibun Songkhram government formed an alliance with Japan and declared war on the United States. However, Seni Pramoj, then the ambassador to Washington, failed to deliver the declaration. When the allies emerged victorious, Thailand claimed its "Free Thai" resistance movement represented the country's real stance. Thus, McCargo writes, "Thailand succeeded in being on both sides during World War II, a rare feat of foreign policy flexibility" and an example of the bamboo diplomacy that allowed policy to bend with the wind.

That was hardly Thaksin's aim. His ambition to reassign Thailand as a "regional hegemon" got assistance from foreign powers, particularly a United States eager to tolerate the prime minister's increasingly autocratic ways in its search for allies to combat what the George W Bush administration called the "global war on terror." Thaksin was very much the globalization advocate, arguing that Thailand had to be prepared for the shifting environment in four areas – the free flow of people and labor, trade and services, investment, and information and technology, and that "the roles of ambassadors and consuls-general were to maintain and expand Thailand's export markets."

In particular, Thaksin reversed policy and steered Bangkok close to the despotic regime in Burma. He also turned Thai foreign policy towards both China and India, both of which proffered wider policy options for Thailand, a recognition that political and international realities were turning away from the west.

Pavin opens the book with 12 pages of pictures illustrating just how much Thaksin appeared overseas – hugging Hun Sen of Cambodia, knee to knee with Lee Kuan Yew, shaking the hand of then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others. "Thaksin's bold foreign policy agendas, his innovative vision of the world, his reasonable English, prompted him to flaunt his ambition to become the region's next leader." Thaksin had taken power as an unabashed business leader with the ambition to bring business principles to governing.

With the old guard going into retirement – Kuan Yew in Singapore, Mahathir in Malaysia, Suharto falling from power in Indonesia – Thaksin began to look like the next architect of a dynamic, emerging Southeast Asia, no matter how much the hackles were rising on the back of the necks of both his domestic and foreign policy establishment in Thailand. Unfortunately, it began to appear that his business interests, with the sale of his Shin Corp to Singapore's Temasek sovereign wealth fund, and his machinations with providing communications infrastructure to the Burmese, were paramount, and they played a major role in providing the excuse for his ouster.

His ambitions were famously cut short on Sept. 19, 2006, when Thailand's military, backed by royalist factions, removed him from power while he was on an overseas trip and instigate nearly four years of chaos that only ended in May when the Bangkok elite appeared to have finally settled all of the scores and took over. And how that the dust apparently has finally settled, with the elite firmly back in charge, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Democrat Party having put down the Red Shirt insurrection, what did Thaksin leave behind him?

"Abhisit has reinstated Asean as the cornerstone of Thai foreign policy," Pavin writes. "Democracy and respect of human rights, long-claimed trademarks of the Democrat Party, feature prominently in Abhisit's foreign policy." Abhisit, Pavin continues, also learned from Thaksin's mistakes, "especially in turning foreign policy into a machine that promoted private interests, and in making an unrealistic and unsustainable foreign policy that focused solely on Thai domination."

Thailand's relationships with its next-door neighbor Cambodia continue to suffer and in fact have been exacerbated by events over the intervening years since Thaksin's ouster, particularly over the Preah Vihear temple, in which Thai nationalists sought to inflame nationalistic sentiment for domestic political reasons. Thaksin, of course, has remained close to Cambodian leader Hun Sen, to Bangkok's outrage.

Thailand's foreign ministry, Pavin writes, "has undoubtedly fallen into the pit of political conflict. The current political situation sees two main opposing political factions, one that supports Thaksin and the other that, to a certain extent, represents the Bangkok elite, exploiting the ministry and using it as a tool to put their political messages across." As a result, "the foreign ministry has been dragged into a seemingly endless, vicious political game that has tainted its reputation deeply and diminished its relative independence in the conduct of diplomacy."

The power struggle of 2001 in the ministry, Pavin, writes, "brought about so many promises in regard to the making of a better and more powerful Thailand in the eyes of outsiders."

Pavin's verdict in the end is that the flaws imbued in Thaksin's foreign policy proved that his vision of foreign affairs was troublesome. The engine that drove his ambitions occasionally sputtered, thus diminishing the credibility of Thailand's diplomacy."

Nor are things likely to get better very soon. As with his domestic policy, that is the sad legacy of a prime minister who sought to grow too big, too powerful, too fast, and the sun melted the wax on his wings. It has been a long and painful fall and, if Pavin is right, it isn't over yet.

Relationship with Cambodian school children leads to long-term

via Khmer NZ

service learning project for Wente '13
Posted by Kasey Sands '13, Red Wing on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010

Morris student Naomi Wente ’13, and her alumni parents, Mark ’87 and Lori Halverson-Wente ’88, Dodge Center, have been instrumental in planning, implementing, and participating in an international service learning program focused on the people of Cambodia. The program, through Rochester Community and Technical College, was honored with the Community College National Center for Community Engagement 2010 Service Learning Collaborations Award.

Wente remembers a call she received, right in the middle of volleyball practice, from her excited parents when she was only 14-years-old. The proposal was to take, through Rochester Community and Technical College where they both work, a trip to Cambodia to experience the culture and do service work. Having never been on an airplane before, she was nervous but excited. Wente, younger brother Jordan, and her parents were off to Cambodia before they knew it.

Wente says, “The trip had a huge impact on me.”

During the trip, Wente noticed things that made her want to lend a hand to the kind Cambodians. Using the restroom turned out to be a life changing experience. “I asked to use the restroom at the school we were at, and they directed me to behind the building in the grass,” Wente remembers. She started asking questions and recognized a great need for improved sanitation, wells, and toilets. “Talking to the young women at the school was my motivation,” Wente says.

This was the birth of 14-year-old Wente’s service project “One Toilet at a Time—Sustainable Sanitation.” At the start of the project, Wente and brother Jordan posted flyers asking for donations to raise funds for a toilet for the school. When donations started raining in, the family was pleasantly surprised, and went straight into action.

Wente’s project was nominated for an online contest for youth service and won, raising even more funds for the project. No longer was the toilet project based on just church funds and the family’s money.

The following year, the Wente family returned to Cambodia with a service group and connected with Phnom Phen Royal University students. The university students helped with the logistics of the project including well and toilet placement. All the new faces helping with the project was a joy for everyone involved. “It makes for a really dynamic trip. You learn so much from the people you are traveling with as well as the people in Cambodia,” says Wente.

Now, as a Morris student, Wente has been raising funds with the help of Morris student organizations to continue to support the projects in Cambodia. Thanks to Karen Mumford, Morris assistant professor of biology, Wente learned assessments techniques to evaluate the work she did when she was younger and to survey the success of her work. With grant support from the Morris Commission on Women, she traveled to Cambodia during 2010 Winter Break to perform follow-up assessment on wells and toilets constructed since the project began.

In total, Wente has now traveled to Cambodia four times. She says she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. She encourages others to find a passion and follow it.

“If you have a dream, follow it. It sounds corny but it’s really not,” Wente says. “Your dream doesn’t have to stop when you go to sleep.”

Opinion: Comrade Duch and Cambodia’s sorrow

via Khmer NZ

Duch's conviction last week was a case of justice delayed being justice denied.

By HDS Greenway - GlobalPost
Published: August 3, 2010

BOSTON — Class and economic differences have all but vanished from the world today as a basis for war and extermination. With the failure of Communism the world has settled back to more traditional forms of aggression based on blood ties, tribe, ethnicity and religion. But most of the 20th century was plagued by class war, the most extreme example being the fate of Cambodia during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979.

A tourist looks at photos of victims on display at the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum, July 25, 2010 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal charged the former prison's commandant, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, for crimes against humanity in Cambodia last week. Duch oversaw the deaths of some 17,000 people during the Cambodian genocide more than 30 years ago. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

The conviction of Kiang Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, for crimes against humanity in Cambodia last week was a clear case of justice delayed being justice denied. Commandant of the notorious Tuol Sleng torture and extermination center in Phnom Penh, a converted school house, Comrade Duch oversaw the excruciating deaths of some 17,000 people during the Cambodian Holocaust more than 30 years ago. That his sentence was less than life in prison is a blow and a mockery to those who suffered during those terrible years.

The great Khmer civilization memorialized by the temple complex known as Angkor Wat ended almost a thousand years ago. Since then Cambodia has been in a long decline, squeezed, as Cambodians like to say, between the “tiger and the crocodile — a prisoner of geography between Thailand and Vietnam. From time to time one or the other has taken advantage of Cambodia’s weakness to invade.

For a while, during America’s Indochina wars, Cambodia seemed a fortunate land. Prince Norodom Sihanouk managed to balance both the external and internal forces of left and right to keep his country out of the fighting that engulfed the other two former French colonies, Laos and Vietnam. Mercurial and eccentric, Sihanouk seemed to lead a charmed life, writing sentimental songs, starring in his own movies and often summoning members of the diplomatic corps to the palace to play bit parts. “Shadow over Angkor,” a spy thriller produced and directed by Sihanouk in the starring role was my favorite.

One time, in the late '60s, some American soldiers on a river craft strayed up the Mekong too far and were captured in Cambodia. Sihanouk had them thrown in prison in Phnom Penh and an international incident was in the making. After inviting the world press in to watch, Sihanouk defused the situation by freeing the Americans in a public ceremony — but not before he had sent his tailor around to the prison to have them fitted for white cotton suits which they wore upon the occasion of their release.

But the Vietnamese were using the eastern fringes of his country to fight the Americans in Vietnam, and the Americans began to bomb them. Sihanouk, as part of his high wire act, knew about and encouraged both. The ides of March 1970, saw the right-wing coup that finally overthrew Sihanouk while he was on a trip abroad. I have never seen convincing evidence that the Americans engineered the coup, but they certainly encouraged and took advantage of it. The new leader, General Lon Nol, tried to take of the Vietnamese by sending his pathetic army — soldiers wearing magic scarves and amulets and chanting Buddhist prayers — who were decimated, and Cambodia descended into bloodshed and barbarity that overshadowed even that of Vietnam.

The peasantry in the countryside were organized by leftists into the anti-Lon Nol Khmer Rouge, or “Red Khmer.” There has never been a political movement quite like it for its twisted ideology and savagery. You could say it was an extreme version of China’s Maoist revolution. But it was so extreme, and so self-destructive that it put Mao to shame. Like the “jacquerie” peasant revolts of 14th century France, the Khmer Rouge were more interested in burning the chateaux and murdering the inhabitants than ruling a country.

Led by half-educated school teachers who had taken the ideals of the French Revolution and Marx to heart, it turned into an auto-genocide after it defeated Lon Nol and took over the country in 1975. As did the French after 1789, the Khmer Rouge declared their own “year zero,” and the tale of how they emptied the cities and turned the entire country into a rural labor camp has been oft told.

Whereas other genocides of the 20th century before and since, the Armenians, the Jews, Bosnians, were based on race or religion, the Cambodian genocide was based purely on class. And class was so narrowly defined that anyone with spectacles could be classified as an enemy and murdered.

I first learned how extreme the Khmer Rouge were while the war still raged with Phnom Penh. A few towns were held by Lon Nol’s forces while the rest of the countryside was in Khmer Rouge hands. A North Vietnamese advisor to the Khmer Rouge had defected to Phnom Penh and I went to see him. Hanoi at first had seen the Khmer Rouge as a leftist ally, and he was sent to help organize them politically. But he said they had no real idea of Communist thought, didn’t understand that you only killed people selectively as political examples, and were killing indiscriminately. He fled for his life.

Almost all the Cambodians I had known were killed during the four years of Khmer Rouge rule before the fed-up Vietnamese invaded and put an end to the horror. And no one who has since visited Toul Sleng, now a museum to man’s inhumanity to man, can help but be affected by the rows and rows of photographs of the victims. Duch had them all photographed and kept careful records of their tortured confessions, their crude cells still stained with blood when I visited. The look of utter horror and hopelessness of the victims staring into the camera is heartbreaking.

If you want to see where the ideals of the French Revolution via Karl Marx ended up in the 20th century go and see the batteries hooked up to bed springs in the sordid cells which Comrade Duch oversaw half a world away.

3 decades later, Khmer Rouge fighters open up about acts of brutality in new doc

In this film publicity image provided by International Film Circuit, filmmaker Thet Sambath, left, interviews Nuon Chea for the film "Enemies of the People". The film is currently playing in limited release in the United States. (AP Photo/International Film Circuit)

By Robin McDowell (CP)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — For more than three decades, Cambodian villages have been home to silent killers: Former Khmer Rouge commanders who slit the throats of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of victims before dumping their bodies into shallow graves.

Filmmaker Thet Sambath spent 10 years combing the countryside trying to find those who carried out massacres so they — together with the genocidal regime's ideological leader, Nuon Chea — could reveal the truth about one of the 20th century's darkest chapters.

Their stories are told in the groundbreaking documentary "Enemies of the People," which is playing in limited release in the United States, with more theatres to be added each week into the fall, its distributor says.

At least 1.7 million people — a quarter of the population — died from execution, disease, starvation and overwork when the ultra-communist Khmer Rouge tried to turn the country into a vast, agrarian paradise from 1975-79.

In the film, Soun, a former militia commander, sits beneath a tree and gazes out at what are now sparkling green rice paddies.

"I come back here to where I killed people," he says wearily, pointing to a half dozen spots where swollen bodies used to pile up. "I feel terrible... My soul, my body is spinning inside. All the things I did are flashing through my mind."

He recalls smelling blood on his hands as he was eating rice one night: Earlier, he was looking into the eyes of a beautiful tailor who was clinging to his knees, begging to be spared. Tempted, he asked if she would live with him forever.

She quickly promised, but when he heard his own boss yell, "What are you waiting for! Hurry up!," he thrust his knife into her and threw her on the stack.

Soun leads the 42-year-old Thet to confront other killers, who have to be convinced, slowly, to confess, and then to those who issued orders to kill ethnic minorities and others suspected of being traitors or spies for Vietnam.

Eventually it becomes clear, as they go up the chain of command, that there was probably never an "original order" from the Khmer Rouge's inner clique to carry out massacres in the countryside. Rather, regional chiefs, and officials directly above them were interpreting what they were hearing at an abstract political level.

The genocide occurred during the troubled times of the Cold War.

The Khmer Rouge faced internal struggles from the start. The two top leaders, Pol Pot, who died in 1998, and Nuon Chea, awaiting trial before a U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, supported China. But many others were looking to their powerful neighbour to the east, Vietnam.

Nuon Chea confesses for the first time in the film that he and Pol Pot together decided to kill all party members considered "enemies of the people." They had to be destroyed, he said defiantly, to "save the party" and "keep the rot from spreading."

But he said he was unaware — or too busy to care — what was happening in villages and the rice fields.

The journey was a highly personal one for Thet, a senior reporter at the Phnom Penh Post newspaper.

When he was a boy, his father was stabbed to death after a public meeting organized by Khmer Rouge cadre, where he objected to plans to seize livestock, gold and other personal property for the party. His mother was forced to marry a member of the Khmer Rouge militia soon after, got pregnant and died in childbirth. His brother also was killed.

Thet thought that finding people who took part in some of the massacres would help him understand and heal. In the end, those who opened up to him, revealing atrocities they have kept secret from even their wives and children, also seemed to benefit.

"I want to reveal to you all the killers I know," said Soun, who also talks at one point about drinking the bitter bile from victims' gall bladders to gain strength.

"When we find them, and they confess the truth, I feel better," Thet days. "I want this documentary to be shown all over the country, in the provinces, in the cities. Then the people who were killers in the regime will come forward and say, 'Ya, I used to do that, too'."

"Otherwise we will be gone soon, and the new generation won't know the story," Thet added.

In one of the most chilling scenes, Thet asks Soun to demonstrate how he killed people. A man lies on his stomach as the former militia commander, at first embarrassed, steps on his back and pulls up his head up. He takes a plastic knife and draws it across his victim's throat.

"You hold them like this so that they cannot scream," Soun says, slowly gaining confidence. "Sometimes I did it another way, because after I slit so many throats like this my hand ached, so I switched to stabbing the neck."

It took years for Thet to win Nuon Chea's full trust.

By the end, the two have formed an unquestionable bond. The war crimes court reviewing Nuon Chea's case has asked for a copy of the film — co-produced by Thet and Briton Rob Lemkin — but he refused, saying he feels it would be a betrayal of trust.

Thet brings Soun and another man who has admitted to ordering countless killings to visit Nuon Chea so they can ask him directly why so many people had to die at their hands. They ask, too, if they themselves might end up in court.

"They are not after people like you," Nuon Chea says in a grandfatherly manner, adding that they should not feel bad about what they did. After all, they were trying to help save the nation.

"You were the fighters, and you should be proud," he says, adding that according to Buddhist teachings, their intentions were honourable, so they need not fear punishment now, or in their next lives.

But the tormented Soun is not convinced.

"I don't know what I'll be reborn as in the next life," he says. "How many holes must I go through before I can be reborn as a human being again. I feel desperate but I don't know what to do."

Garment workers strike back in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Tue 3 Aug 2010

Some 3,000 garment workers in Cambodia struck last week in defence of a suspended union rep.

One striker, a 26-year old mother of three, told Socialist Worker, “We went back to work on Monday but the mood to fight is still there. The company don’t pay enough for me to just have silly days off without good reason.

"I can’t pay my bills as it is. We want more pay and we want to be treated with respect. We shouldn’t have to fight for that—but we will.’’

Vietnam, Cambodia Meet Over Trade, Security

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Prime Minister Hun Sen, center, smokes as he sits with Interior Minister Sar Kheng on his left.

“Both sides agreed to create favorable conditions and further encourage trade and services in the border areas.”

Interior Minister Sar Kheng met with his Vietnamese counterpart on Tuesday in talks aimed at improving trade and relations among provinces along the border.

Trade volume between the two increased more than 120 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. But smuggling and other trade barriers remain.

“Both sides agreed to create favorable conditions and further encourage trade and services in the border areas,” according to a government statement released following Tuesday's meeting.

The two sides also agreed to provide each other with trade preferences, simplify import and export procedures and enhance the prevention of contraband.

“Both sides also agreed to consider the possibility of upgrading the border checkpoints and/or to establish additional new border checkpoints,” according to the statement.

Officials along the border provinces say they need more work done to capitalize on trade, but that Vietnamese investment has begun to bring jobs.

“We do not have the Vietnamese in our province across the border because the road across the border has not been developed yet,” said So Neak, provincial governor of Ratanakkiri.

However, there is some trade, mostly of tools, fruit, cement and fertilizer imports, as well as rice, rubber, cassava and soybean exports.

There, Vietnamese rubber plantations have been established, employing more than 4,000 people, he said.

Similar Vietnamese plantations have employed more than 3,000 Cambodians in Kratie province, Governor Kham Phoeun told VOA Khmer.

“The Vietnamese investment and trade exchange helps boost our people's living, tax collection and work for Cambodians,” he said.

Dismissed Victims Prepare Tribunal Appeal

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

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Photo: AP
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who is found guilty of crimes against humanity by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on Monday, will serve 19 years of 35 year sentence for war crimes.

“We are preparing the appeal because our clients firstly were not pleased with the verdict, and they are unhappy with the decision to dismiss them.”

Lawyers for a number of victims of Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch say they will appeal a court decision to dismiss their clients.

Following last week's verdict of Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, 24 of 90 victims who claimed they lost loved ones in his torture center were dismissed. The names of the remaining were put on the tribunal's website as compensation for their losses.

“We are preparing the appeal because our clients firstly were not pleased with the verdict, and they are unhappy with the decision to dismiss them,” Hong Kim Suon, a lawyer for one group of civil party complainants, told VOA Khmer.

The court, which gave Duch a commuted sentence of 19 years, claimed the 24 complainants had not provided sufficient evidence their relatives were among the more than 12,000 killed at Tuol Sleng.

The announcement of the appeal was among a growing number of indicators that the UN-backed court's first case was not successful in bringing a sense of justice to people hurt by the regime and its policies.

The court is now heading toward its second case, a more complicated endeavor that will try four senior leaders in custody, and possibly Duch, for war crimes including genocide.

Light Duch Sentence a Failure of Justice: Victim

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Tuesday, 03 August 2010

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Photo: Heng Reaksmey
Hisham Moussa, (left), and Chum Sirath, (right), on 'Hello VOA'.

“I have seen that the feelings of victims want Duch to serve from now to life, as he might have freedom afterwards.”

The 19-year commuted sentence for convicted Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch is unlikely to provide a sense of justice to many people who lost family to his notorious torture center, a survivor and UN-backed tribunal monitor said Monday.

A tribunal conviction could have provided three steps toward reconciliation for victims, said Chum Sarath, a lawyer for civil parties who complained as part of the Khmer Rouge tribunal process.

First, justice must be acceptable to the victims, he said. Second, their satisfaction should lead to an alleviation of sadness. Finally, a sense of healing would bring reconciliation.

“There was not even the application of the first step among three, so it's impossible to have healing and reconciliation,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

Hisham Moussa, a tribunal monitor for the group Cooperation France-Cambodia, who also joined “Hello VOA” Monday, agreed.

“I have seen that the feelings of victims want Duch to serve from now to life, as he might have freedom afterwards,” he said.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, faces the prospect of release at the age of 86. Cambodian law does not provide for the death penalty, and judges commuted an original 35-year sentence to 19, citing leniency and time served.

The sentencing had created a mistrust in the international court on the scale of mistrust for the national court, he said.

First Khmer Rouge Sentence

A Cambodian court convicts the former head of the Khmer Rouge Tuol Sleng prison of crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and other crimes.

via Khmer NZ

VOA, 08-03-2010

Photo: AP
Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, in court in Cambodia

Cambodia took a significant step this month in facing up to its brutal past under the Communist regime known as the Khmer Rouge, which was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC, a United Nations-backed court, found Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, guilty of crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and other crimes. The court sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison for overseeing the torture and killing of more than 12,000 people. His prison term was reduced by 5 years to compensate for a period of illegal military detention, and he will receive credit for the 11 years he has already spent in prison from the time of his initial arrest in 1999.

The U.S welcomes the tribunal's historic verdict and completion of the trial against Duch, which represents a milestone for the rule of law in Cambodia. The U.S. applauds the commitment of the national and international judges for their comprehensive and independent work to uphold international standards of justice and due process in this case.

The Cambodian tribunal will reconvene later this year to start proceedings against other former Khmer Rouge leaders. 4 surviving members of the top Khmer Rouge leadership are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. In addition to those tortured to death and executed in "killing fields," many people died of starvation, disease or overwork or in the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh, in which an entire population of the city was driven into the countryside.

These 4 defendants include Ieng Sary, 84, who was foreign minister; his wife Ieng Thirith, 78, who was minister of social welfare; Nuon Chea, 84, known as Brother No. 2; and Khieu Samphan, 78, who served as head of state during the regime. Their trial is scheduled to begin in early 2011.

The United States has long supported bringing to justice the senior leaders and those most responsible for the atrocities perpetrated under the Khmer Rouge regime. In a signal of its ongoing commitment to support the court’s efforts, the United States announced in March that it would contribute an additional $5 million to the court.

Alleged 'sex tourist' faces trial in L.A. federal court

via Khmer NZ

by Shelby Grad
August 3, 2010

A man accused of being a "sex tourist" in Cambodia will face a September trial in federal court, officials said.

Michael James Dodd, 59, was brought from Cambodia to Los Angeles in February. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in federal prison.

Dodd taught English in Cambodia, had sex with a 14-year-old girl and was seen with her on several occasions in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, according to an affidavit for arrest filed in federal court.

In 2002, Dodd pleaded guilty in Saipan to five counts of sexual abuse of a child after he was accused of inappropriately touching 13 female students at an elementary school where he taught, an FBI agent said in the affidavit. Dodd served time in prison and was placed on probation for 15 years.

He also faces criminal charges in Cambodia.

Agents in the FBI's Los Angeles office handled the case because they are working with the Cambodian government and nongovernmental agencies to identify and prosecute U.S. citizens who travel to that country to have sex with minors, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Cambodia's Khmer heritage threatened by looting of archeological sites

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Angkor temples among threatened Cambodian sites highlighted by the International Council of Museums

Florence Evin
Guardian Weekly, Tuesday 3 August 2010

A visitor at the temples of Angkor, which have been looted for their carvings and artworks. Photograph: David Longstreath/AP

Bells, drums, bracelets, bronze statuettes; cornaline and agate beads; a Buddha's head, a lingam, a phallic symbol associated with the Hindu deity Shiva, lintels, fragments of chiselled bas-reliefs and engraved sandstone steles; female divinities, ritual objects, gilded wooden statues … and so the list goes on. In all, the first Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk published on the internet by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) details 46 categories of object.

Despite the measures taken by the Cambodian government to protect its 2,000-year-old Khmer heritage, the widespread looting and destruction of archaeological sites continues.

At present only the immediate vicinity (covering about 230 sq km) of the main Angkor temples – Angkor Wat, Bayon, Baphuon, Preah Khan and Ta-Prohm – which Unesco placed on its World Heritage list in 1992, is protected. Angkorian remains hidden in the forest extend over a much larger area.

Apart from Angkor, attempts to prevent looting have had little effect. "The prehistoric past of Cambodia remains largely unexplored and undocumented," ICOM explains on its site. "The looting of sites from all periods of Cambodia's past robs the world of the chance to understand the unique beginnings and continuous evolution of the Khmer civilisation."

Local people have no idea of the antiquities' value nor even the ban on trade. This explains why, in 2009, only two thefts – of sandstone statues of the Buddha – were reported to Interpol, which keeps track of stolen artefacts for its 188 members, including Cambodia.

Recent thefts have not achieved the same media impact as the spectacular raid on Banteay Chmar temple, east of Angkor, in 1999, when a 50-metre strip of bas-reliefs was cut out and trucked through the jungle to Thailand. Fortunately, the loot was intercepted in Thailand and returned to Cambodia. ICOM's first Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk targets collectors, museums, art dealers, customs and police, but also seeks to inform the general public and raise overall awareness.

Although neither of the two recognised trafficking hubs – Thailand and Switzerland – have ratified the Unesco convention on illicit trade in cultural goods, this development may well make them less attractive.

This article originally appeared in Le Monde

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodia to mark International Day of Indigenous Peoples in Seim Reap Province

Tuesday, 03 August 2010 11:33 DAP-NEWS/ Vibol

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 3, 2010- About 1,000 people representing the Cambodian government, civil society, UN and indigenous communities from across Cambodia will come together for the first time to celebrate the 16th International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in Siem Reap on 9th August, 2010, spokesman for the American Oxfam said on Tuesday.

The celebration is to recognize the aspiration of Cambodian indigenous peoples to exercise control over their ancestral lands, forest and other natural resources vital to their ways of life and economic development, and to maintain and develop their identities, languages and cultures.

Indigenous peoples, making up 5 percent (about 340 million) of the world’s population, are among the poorest of the poor, Seang Soleak, regional communication official for American Oxafam said, adding that explore the cultures and understand the challenges of Cambodian indigenous peoples.

“Despite preservation effort, some of their traditional practices are at risk of disappearing due to development policies designed without their consultation and consent,” he added, noting some indigenous groups continue to suffer in the face of massive development projects that strip their lands of precious traditional resources and displaced their communities. Mining operations are an example of great concern, as mining companies are competing with indigenous peoples for land and water.

Unfortunately, indigenous peoples do not receive fair economic benefits from such development.

He continued that Cambodia has about 30 indigenous groups. Do they share the same stories? Find out about their challenges and explore their cultures. Some 300 indigenous peoples from across the county will join a parade to call for respect for their own rights. They will present their ways of life in an exhibition and a cultural performance during event.

Two senior officials promote four star generals

Tuesday, 03 August 2010 11:08 DAP-NEWS

Cambodia, Phnom Penh, August-03-2010 : Cambodia’s national defense ministry on Tuesday organized a ceremony for promoting the ranks of two four star generals for two senior officials respectively at the national defense ministry.

Prak Sokhon, minister attached to prime minister Hun Sen and he is also secretary of state for the council of ministers and Serei Kosal, senior minister and he is also vice president of one village one product committee have been promoted four golden star generals respecively in miliatry rank for their work, which was signed by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni.

The ceremony is presided over by Deputy PM and defense minister Tea Banh, and participated with other senior military commaders including Gen.Pol Saroeun, commader in chief of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

Four golden star general is the top rank of miliatry unit of Cambodia and only PM Hun Sen is five golden star general. Cambodia has about 12 four golden star generals.

Cambodian group invests in fertilizer production

via Khmer NZ


A contract was signed in Phnom Penh on August 2 by Cambodian Five Star International Group with China’s Jiangsu Right Machinery Group to transfer the new technology for fertilizer production to the first modern fertilizer plant in Cambodia.

The Cambodian plant is expected to be operational by 2011 and produce about 500,000 tonnes of fertilizer per year in 40 high quality categories. This will help farmers raise their production output and living conditions.

This is a joint-venture between Cambodian Five Star International Group and Cambodia Investment and Development Company under the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), with a total capital of US$65 million.
Under the contract, Jiangsu Right Machinery Group will provide two fertilizer processing chains using Japan’s most up-to-date technology.

Cambodian National Assembly delegation visits Vietnam

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The Party, State and people of Vietnam attach great importance to developing the relationship of fine neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-term stability with Cambodia.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Nguyen Duc Kien made the statement while receiving in Hanoi on August 3 Try Chheang Huot, Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly Commission on Planning, Investment, Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Water Resources (Commission 3).

Mr Kien noted with satisfaction the fine development of the cooperative relations between Vietnam and Cambodia bilaterally and multilaterally, especially between their big cities and border localities.

He said the legislative bodies of the two countries have maintained regular visit exchanges to share experience and increase cooperation in line with signed agreements.

Mr Kien expressed his belief that bilateral relations will further develop to bring practical benefits to the two nations.

He hailed Cambodia’s incentives to Vietnamese businesses operating in the country and thanked the Cambodia National Assembly and government for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese nationals to live stable lives and for seeking remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers in their country to be repatriated to Vietnam.

Try Chheang Huot briefed his host on the situation in Cambodia and said his country welcomes more Vietnamese businesses and tourists.

He proposed that Vietnam assist Cambodia to develop export-oriented agriculture and that both countries work closely to complete border demarcation and landmark planting as scheduled.

The Cambodian Commission delegation began a six-day visit to Vietnam on August 2.

Cambodia to celebrate day for indigenous people near Angkor Wat

via Khmer NZ


PHNO PENH, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- About 1,000 people will get together next week in Cambodia's northern province of Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat Temple complex to celebrate international day for indigenous people.

In a joint statement released Tuesday, Oxfam America in cooperation with 17 other local and international organizations said about 1,000 people representing the Cambodian government, civil society, the United Nations and indigenous communities from across Cambodia will come together for the first time to celebrate the 16th International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples in Siem Reap on August 9, 2010.

The celebration is to recognize the aspiration of Cambodian indigenous peoples to exercise control over their ancestral lands, forest and other natural resources vital to their ways of life and economic development, and to maintain and develop their identities, languages and cultures.

Indigenous peoples, making up 5 percent (about 340 million) of the world's population, are among the poorest of the poor, according to the statement.

The statement, however, did not say how many percent that the indigenous people in Cambodia represent the country's total populations of more than 14 millions.

But it did say Cambodia has about 30 indigenous groups, and on the day some 300 indigenous peoples from across the county will join a parade to call for respect for their own rights.

They will present their ways of life in an exhibition and a cultural performance, the statement said.

Editor: Xiong Tong

PETROLIMEX opens representative office in Cambodia

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Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation (PETROLIMEX) opened a representative office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on August 2.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem described this event as another proof of growing friendship and trade relations between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Mr. Khiem also expressed his gratitude to the Cambodian Government for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to do business in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s Trade Minister Cham Prasit praised PETROLIMEX as a reliable partner and the main supplier of petrol and gas to Cambodia.

PETROLIMEX supplies 50 percent of Cambodia’s petrol and gas.