Thursday, 2 December 2010

Vietnam, Cambodia to make border map

 via CAAI


Vietnam and Cambodia have put out to tender a project on national border map making between the two countries.

Present at the ceremony held in Phnom Penh on December 1 were international bidders such as Blom Info AS of Denmark, IGN of France, Kokusai of Japan, and the joint PASCO-FINNMAP of Japan and Finland, as well as representatives from Vietnamese and Cambodian ministries and relevant agencies and the inter-committee for border demarcation.

The bidding document was signed by Deputy Head of the Vietnam Foreign Ministry’s National Border Committee Nguyen Hong Thao and Senior Minister of the Royal Cambodian Government Var Kim Hong.

To ensure objectivity, science and accuracy, the two sides decided to choose international bidding to make the border map, showing locations of demarcating border landmarks, to be attached to the future Protocol on border demarcation.

Vietnam and Cambodia are scheduled to fulfill all border demarcation-related work by 2012.

ICAPP Opens In Cambodia To Promote Cooperation Between Political Parties

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, Dec 2 (Bernama) -- The three-day International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) opened here on Thursday, aimed to promote exchanges and cooperation between political parties from different countries in the region, reports China's Xinhua news agency.

It is also the first unprecedented event in the capital city of Phnom Penh after five general assemblies had been held successively in the Philippines, Thailand, China, South Korea and Kazakhstan.

The theme of the ICAPP is "Asia's Quest for a Better Tomorrow" and will focus on particular issues such as economy, energy and environment.

This 6th General Assembly of the ICAPP coincides with commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of ICAPP, according to Xinhua.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen delivered an opening speech in front of former and current head of states and governments, about 100 Asian political parties from some 40 countries, 150 observers, environmental experts from international institutions and the United Nations.

The assembly is also participated by members of the Centrist Democratic International-Asia Pacific (CDI-AP) as well as delegates from the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPAL).

The main purpose of the meeting is to enhance cooperation and exchange of viewpoints among and between different political parties with different ideologies in the region, and to improve mutual understanding and trust among the nations and countries in the region.

Other purposes of the meeting are to promote regional cooperation through the unique role and channel of political parties; and to create an environment for sustainable peace and shared prosperity in the region.

The selection of these topics is in response to the current global context with a view to: achieving economic recovery from the global financial crisis; ensuring energy safety after mineral resources have become gradually exhausted amid arising needs; and ensuring environmental safety following the drastic climate change.

During the ICAPP, the "Workshop on Women as Politicians" and "Workshop on Young Politicians" will also be held, focusing on the roles of women as politicians and young politicians in the areas of economy, energy and environment.

The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) is a meeting forum of political parties of Asia-Oceania countries, which was initiated by Lakas-CMD of the Philippines in September, 2000

PM takes stage in Cambodia conference

via CAAI


KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday addressed the inauguration programme of the sixth International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is a member of the 11-member standing committee of ICAPP.

On the occasion he informed about the ongoing political situation of Nepal. He said that the government is heading towards ending the entire political impasse and reach its targeted destination i.e to take the peace process to its logical end and draft the constitution on time.

Ignoring criticism from all quarters, a team of five led by Nepal went for a 10 day tour to the capital of Cambodia as his capacity as the head of the nation at the invitation of his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Chairman of Constituent Assembly Subhas Chandra Nembang and other political parties had advised him not to go abroad in the wake of political impasse at home.

The PM however insisted that he would cut short his tour if the need arose and went ahead with the tour.

The political convention was first held in Manila in September 2000, before moving to Bangkok (2002), Beijing (2004), Seoul (2006), and Kazakhstan (2009), arriving now in Phnom Penh for ICAPP's Sixth General Assembly this year.

ICAPP has attracted political parties of all hues and colours – leftists, rightists and centrists – from South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific as well, making it a truly broad-based international political forum.

After Cambodia, the Prime Minister will head for Brussels to attend the European Development Day at the invitation of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The two-day ceremony will kick off on December 6.

The PM is scheduled to return home on December 9.

Cambodia PM receives CPV delegation

via CAAI


A delegation from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) led by Hoang Binh Quan, a member of the Party Central Committee and Chairman of its Commission for External Relations paid a courtesy visit to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 1.

The CPV delegation is in Phnom Penh to attend the sixth General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties which is being held in Phnom Penh from December 1-4 with 85 representatives from 35 nations around the region.

At the reception, PM Hun Sen thanked the Vietnamese Party and State for timely sending its condolences to the Cambodian government and people after the recent serious stampede in Phnom Penh.

The PM said the relationship between the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and CPV is very special and expressed his wish that the 11th National Party Congress of the CPV will be held successfully early next year.

Cambodia’s Democratic Warrior

 via CAAI

Why politician Mu Sochua is the country’s best hope for political reform.

Dustin Roasa
December 2, 2010

On a Saturday morning in July, Cambodian opposition politician Mu Sochua traveled to the dusty, sun-baked suburbs of Phnom Penh for a rally. Close to 100 Cambodians—most of them poor women sitting on plastic chairs squeezed into the ground-floor room of a supporter’s house—stood and applauded when she arrived. Wearing a traditional sarong, with her silver-streaked brown hair tied back, the American-educated parliamentarian took a microphone and began to speak. “People are in the mood for change. The government is afraid of the power of the opposition,” she said, her rising voice punctuated by the chants of Buddhist monks wafting in from a nearby temple. A supporter dimmed the lights, and Mu Sochua, who represents the southern Kampot Province, lit a slender white candle, the symbol of her political party. She then led the room in a stirring rendition of the patriotic song “We Are Khmer.”

The next general election in Cambodia is not until 2013, so Mu Sochua wasn’t trying to convince people to go to the polls. But there was still pressing political business to attend to: She had recently been the target of a defamation lawsuit, surreal even by Cambodia’s authoritarian standards. In April 2009, Prime Minister Hun Sen used the epithet “strong legs,” a colloquialism for a prostitute, to describe Mu Sochua in a speech. She sued him for defamation, and Hun Sen countersued—the logic being that accusing the prime minister of defamation is itself an act of defamation. Predictably, the courts, which are stocked with judges loyal to Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), threw out the case against the prime minister, found Mu Sochua guilty, and fined her. She refused to pay the fine, even when the courts threatened to throw her in jail.

Taking advantage of a seemingly bad situation, Mu Sochua used rallies, like the one I attended, to draw support for both her legal dilemma and her broader goal of democratic reform. And, in late July, as criticism from human rights groups in Cambodia and abroad mounted, the government backed down and ordered her fine deducted from Mu Sochua’s parliamentary wages. She was spared from prison—but the damage, at least to the government, had already been done.

Using the defamation suit as a springboard, Mu Sochua had positioned herself almost overnight as the leading opposition figure in Cambodia. Her story garnered significant attention from both the local and international press, the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament have highlighted her case, and many Cambodians now see her as the natural successor to Sam Rainsy, the longtime opposition leader who was forced into exile following his own court convictions for criticizing the government. “Before the defamation case, she was not very well-known by the Cambodian public, but this case has raised her profile significantly,” says human rights activist Ou Virak. “She’s the only woman who’s willing to stand up to Hun Sen.”

Although Cambodia is ostensibly democratic—national elections are held every five years—Hun Sen dominates the country with an efficient, omnipresent patronage network that rewards loyalty and punishes dissent. Corruption is endemic, the country’s health and education systems are among the weakest in Asia, and, while the per capita income has doubled over the last decade from a starting point of nearly zero, the fruits of that growth are hoarded by a political and military elite.

It was not supposed to be this way. In 1992, after years of Khmer Rouge rule and Vietnamese occupation, the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) arrived in Phnom Penh to administer elections and bring an end to decades of armed conflict. Driven by guilt from complicity in Cambodia’s misery, donor countries like the United States and France made UNTAC the largest and most expensive nation-building exercise of its time, and hopes were high that it would establish a multiparty democracy that would protect human rights.

In 1993, 90 percent of Cambodians ignored threats of violence from remnants of the Khmer Rouge, who were fighting an insurgency against the government from bases on the border with Thailand, and voted in the UNTAC-administered national election. By 1997, however, the royalist party that won that election was forced out by Hun Sen, himself a former mid-level Khmer Rouge commander, in a bloody coup. That same year, Sam Rainsy nearly died in a grenade attack widely thought to be orchestrated by troops loyal to Hun Sen.

Today, nearly 20 years after the arrival of UNTAC, diplomats and aid workers rarely use the lofty rhetoric of democracy. Rather, there is tacit acceptance that Cambodia has settled into a “one-party plus” existence, as a recent U.S. government-sponsored assessment put it, with the opposition providing the patina of pluralism. “Democratic space is shrinking, and dissenting views are being stifled,” said Yeng Virak, head of a Cambodian legal-aid organization. “Cambodia is going back to square one.”

Mu Sochua has witnessed much of this tumult firsthand. As a young girl growing up in a merchant family in Phnom Penh in the 1950s and ’60s, Mu Sochua’s father warned her never to go into politics. “He had many friends in government, and he knew about corruption,” she told me. She intended to take his advice, but the war in Vietnam intervened and sent her on the long path to becoming a politician. With Phnom Penh under rocket attacks from a growing Khmer Rouge insurgency, she left for Paris in 1972 and ended up in San Francisco a year later. In 1975, news stopped arriving from Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge had taken Phnom Penh, and she later learned that her parents had died.

After helping resettle Cambodian immigrants in the United States and earning a master’s degree in social work from the University of California at Berkeley, Mu Sochua returned to Southeast Asia in 1981 to work with the 300,000 Cambodian refugees living in camps along the Thai border. Determined to help rebuild her country, she moved back to Phnom Penh in 1989, worked with UNTAC, and, in 1998, successfully ran for parliament as a member of the royalist FUNCINPEC Party, which was then part of the ruling coalition. She was appointed Minister of Women’s Affairs that same year, and she authored Cambodia’s first domestic violence law.

The defining moment of her political career, as she describes it, came in 2004. Chea Vichea, a labor leader and government critic, was shot dead in the middle of the day while reading a newspaper on the street. “I saw his body covered with blood, and heard his daughter saying to her daddy, ‘Wake up, wake up,’” she recounts. Unable to work any longer in Hun Sen’s regime, Mu Sochua left the government to join the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. She vowed to promote policies that protected democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

But it’s been difficult to make a dent in her country’s political and policy landscapes: Mu Sochua made her move out of the ruling coalition at a time when Hun Sen’s CPP was ascending, and, since then, successive national elections have only seen it consolidate its hold on parliament. Opposition politicians accuse the government of electoral cheating, and, undoubtedly, some vote-buying and intimidation occur. But, in reality, the CPP has evolved into a sophisticated political machine that no longer needs to cheat on a large scale to win. (That’s why international observers agreed the 2008 election Cambodia’s freest and fairest yet.) With its vast financial resources, far-reaching party apparatus, and control of the country’s broadcast media, the CPP has managed to use carefully crafted propaganda to keep many Cambodians, particularly rural ones, on their side.

Where does this leave the opposition? With no real legislative power, it is reduced to publicly antagonizing the government, a tactic polling has shown Cambodians don’t respond to. “It’s a chicken and egg issue. Because of the opposition’s antagonistic approach, there are lawsuits against them, which feeds their antagonism,” Ou Virak said. Lacking the resources necessary to spread its message and win more votes without this aggressive edge, the opposition has turned to stoking moral indignation about Cambodia’s situation abroad, operating more like a dissident movement in an authoritarian country than a political party trying to build a constituency.

But the international community, including the United States, remains an unreliable partner, according to activists in Cambodia. Donor countries can take credit for some achievements—for instance, the revitalization of Cambodian civil society after it was decimated by the Khmer Rouge. But embassies and the U.N. today are hesitant to publicly criticize the government on its human rights record, allowing their abuses to go on largely unchecked. “What the international community is failing to do is fulfill their role of promoting democracy. The donors announced $1.2 billion in aid the same day the court upheld my defamation conviction. What’s the message?” Mu Sochua said.

It’s between a weak opposition and unreliable international support where Mu Sochua might be able to step in and change things. Although she speaks of feeling a kinship with Barack Obama and the U.S. Democratic Party, it’s her emphasis on issues particular to Cambodia, such as land rights for the thousands of poor farmers and government corruption, that has attracted a strong following. By holding rallies and meeting face-to-face with voters—a style of retail politics not typical in this country, where many people do not know who represents them in parliament—Mu Sochua is building a grassroots movement that many Cambodians see as the best chance to revive the opposition and hold Hun Sen’s government accountable for its actions (and inactions).

Though it is virtually impossible to quantify her support, political observers in Cambodia say Mu Sochua’s star is rising—particularly after she used her increased visibility in the wake of the defamation case to promote her agenda. “She is a role model for many Cambodian men and women,” Yeng Virak said. At the rally I attended, Mu Sochua invited a woman to the front of the room and handed her the microphone. Dressed in worn pajamas, with her eyes cast downward, the woman tearfully described the daily police harassment that makes it impossible for her to make a living as a vegetable seller in the local market. Mu Sochua put her arm around the woman and said, “The problem is no justice. We must find justice for her.”

While it is unlikely she could find this justice by single-handedly unseating the ruling CPP (the next elections are years away, and the CPP’s apparatus is still mighty), Mu Sochua could shine a spotlight on human rights, judicial, and other abuses better than any Cambodian political force in recent memory. Granted, this sort of opposition has always been a difficult to build. While Sam Rainsy was exiled, lesser critics, including the head of a cultural foundation who dared to ask whether a lighting system being drilled into Angkor Wat might harm the ancient temples, have faced prison sentences and either fled the country or publicly apologized. And the government has Mu Sochua in its sights: When the rally I attended was over, she wanted to tour the local market and talk to poor voters, but her security detail advised against it due to the many plainclothes police lurking. “Things are just too tense right now,” she said.

But there are glimmers of hope that things might be different for Mu Sochua. Back in the car, she discussed the defamation case and the government’s decision to spare her from jail. “Hun Sen miscalculated,” she said. “For fifteen months now, I’ve been dragging this thing out, and I got free publicity.” But, while she may have avoided punishment and been able to augment the reach and media presence of her democratic crusade, Mu Sochua doesn’t think she’s won—not yet. “If the prime minister were to admit that he was wrong in the past, and he called everyone together for reform, that would be a victory for me,” she said.

Dustin Roasa is a journalist living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via CAAI

New International Civil Party Lead Co-Lowyer Nominated

Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:21 By Soy Sophea

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Dec 2, 2010--UN-back Khmer Rouge Tribunal has appointed Elisabeth Simonneau Fort, France lady as international Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyer at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

ECCC statement dated December 2 stated that Simonneau Fort obtained her law degree from studies at Paris II Assas and Paris X Nanterre universities. She has more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer based in Montpellier. She has devoted a significant part of her legal practice defending the rights of victims, with a special focus on children and women, in criminal courts.

Simonneau Fort is a founding member of the association “The Lawyer and the Child” (l`Avocat et l’Enfant), and she has been a member of a group of lawyers providing voluntary services to juvenile offenders.

Simonneau Fort will work together with the national Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyer Pich Ang. The Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers shall ensure the effective organization of Civil Party representation during the trial stage and beyond. Their core responsibilities will include representing the interests of the consolidated group of Civil Parties, overall advocacy, strategy and in-court presentation of the interests of the Civil Parties.

Conference of Asian Political Parties Urges Stability of Korean Peninsula

Thursday, 02 December 2010 08:03 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Dec 2, 2010-The 6th general assembly of Asian Political parties which hosted by Cambodia in Phnom Penh on Tuesday urged the stability in Asia especially Korean Peninsula, which is hot area for the region.

“We all want to live with sustainable development and prosperity in region, “Jose De Venecia, founding chairman and co-chairman of the ICAPP standing committee said in forum.

We need to join together to deal the common issue in region and our region is free from the nuclear weapon, He added.

Over 40 countries and joined by 90 political parties in Asian region, which have central concept in their leading the policy committed to push the regional growth, and work for humanitarian affairs.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI


PM Hun Sen Appointed Chairman Emeritus of CAPDI

Phnom Penh, December 2, 2010 AKP -- Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, was appointed yesterday Chairman Emeritus of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI).

“I am deeply grateful for the confidence in me. The opportunity to serve as Chairman Emeritus of this newly established organization does not only represent the pride for the Cambodian People's Party, but also the pride for Cambodia and its people,” said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, also vice chairman of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in his acceptance remarks of the appointment.

“The establishment of CAPDI, which is formerly known as the Centrist Democrats International Asia Pacific (CDI-AP), is the outcome of our desire to deepen and broaden the organization's engagement with the dynamically evolving political environment. According to CAPDI Bylaws, we are encouraged to get involved with the likes of key institutions of democratic civil society, people's organizations, think tanks, academia, eminent persons, business leaders, media, women and youth groups in order to establish good relationships with the civil society and promote its significance in political, economic and social arena,” he said.

In this context, he added, the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International will not only play its role as an important channel of intra regional and interregional, political dialogue, but also can become a main tool for ensuring regional peace, security, stability and prosperity. Indeed, to realize this vision, a series of hard work is awaiting us.

“Today, the Cambodian People's Party and I are very proud to be bestowed upon the honour and the precious opportunity to contribute to promotion of the Centrist Democrats Movement, a movement of people-centred parties. I believe that peaceful co­existence with all political parties and States on either sides of the political spectrum is the way forward for better Asia. Promoting mutual understanding between different-minded parties and States is necessary, especially in this highly globalized environment. In this regard, I note with satisfaction the adoption of the Phnom Penh Accord which will further promote not only the value and philosophy of Centrist Democrats, but also reaffirm our commitment to build a society and bring about to our peoples peace, development, prosperity and harmony based on the principles of mutual understanding, non-discrimination and respect for the culture, tradition, custom, religion and philosophy of each nation and individual,” he said.

The appointment was made after CAPDI’s Executive Council Meeting on Dec. 1, which was attended by 30 political parties from 15 countries under the presidency of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Minister H.E. Sok An, chairman of the organizing committee of the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of the Asian Political Parties and Jose de Venecia, founding chairman and co-chairman of the ICAPP Standing Committee.

After the meeting, the Phnom Penh Accord was signed by the executive council of 12 political parties from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia and Kazakhstan under the witness by Samdech Techo Hun Sen. --AKP



Press Release of the ICAPP Secretariat

Phnom Penh, December 2, 2010 AKP -- The following is the full press release of the ICAPP Secretariat issued yesterday:

“At the 4th Executive Council Meeting of Centrist Democrats International – Asia Pacific (CDI-AP), the organization has adopted a new name, Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI), to reflect the dire to deepen and broaden the organization’s engagement in the dynamically evolving political environment.

It had on Wednesday 1st December 2010 appointed Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, as Chairman Emeritus of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International at this its 1st Executive Meeting of the CDIAP. The appointment was in line with one of the proposals which were unanimously adopted by CAPDI – the election of new leadership into the CAPDI structure. The others were:

- Renaming of the CDI-AP to Centrist Asia Pacific Democrat International (CAPDI).

- Adoption of New By-Laws of CAPDI

- Proposal for Modest Annual contributions to support small secretariat and related activities

- Adoption of the Phnom Penh Accord

The 4th Executive Council Meeting of CAPDI also approved that the next CAPDI will be hosted by Indonesia in 2011.

At the same time, Secretary General of Pakistan Muslim League-Q and Secretary General of ICAPP, Mushahid Hussain Sayed called on CAPDI to play a key role in promoting peace in Afghanistan, given the fact this country has been the focal point of conflict and a growing international consensus on this. He said that between 4 to 5 millions Afghan refugees have fled to Pakistan, sparking concern that the trend could pose regional concern and that CAPDI should support the peace process in Afghanistan.

Sayed told the meeting that ‘CAPDI could be used as useful tool to promote peace and stability in Asia.’

The meeting, which was chaired by Filipino Hon. Jose de Venecia Jr., echoed his support, which meant CAPDI would look into creating the CAPDI peace commission to support the initiative raised by his Pakistani colleague.

Venecia also said that Cambodia is the prime model of unification after this Southeast Asian nation went through three decades of civil war. ‘It is incredible to see the great leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen to bring about a united Cambodia after about 2 million people were killed by the Khmer Rouge,’ said Filipino Hon. Jose de Venecia Jr., who is also a founding chairman of International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).

Venecia also praised the leadership of the former King Norodom Sihanouk who played key roles in bringing all the concerned parties to the negotiation table to find ways and means to put an end to the conflict.

Venecia said the ruling party of the CPP implemented a win-win policy of integrations for the interest the country.

‘They united Cambodia as Cambodia was not united before,’ he said.

He also praised the Cambodian leaders’ efforts, including Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, in rebuilding the country after years of conflict.

‘They lifted the people from poverty. Prime Minister Hun Sen created a new image of Cambodia.’

‘Congratulations! Hun Sen and Sok An,’ he said.

In accepting the appointment, Prime Minister Hun Sen said: CAPDI encourages involvement from the likes of key institutions of democratic society, people’s organizations, think tanks, academia, eminent persons, business leaders, media, women and youth groups.

‘All of these groups involvement will help us communicate better with civil society while promoting their significance in politics, economics and social areas.”

Thus, CAPDI can be a key tool to ensure peace, security, stability, prosperity, said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In his opening remarks, Sok An, member of the steering committee of the Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) and who is also Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers said that the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties was being held on the 10th anniversary of the foundation of ICAPP and coincided with the anniversary of the founding of the Kampuchea United Front for National Salvation.”

He said that Cambodia’s membership of CDI-AP has been an important part of the larger process of Cambodia’s reintegration into the politics and economics of the region and the world after the tragic decades of genocidal crime and civil war.

CAPDI’s members include political parties, non-governmental organization, business community as well as academicians.

ICAPP launched in Manila, Philippines in 2000, aims to promote exchanges and cooperation in Asia between various political parties with diverse ideologies; enhance mutual understanding and trust among countries; and promote regional cooperation through the unique role and channel of political parties.

The delegates are pleased with Cambodia’s hosting of the event as well as the hospitality of the CPP.” --AKP



DPM Sok An Meets Representative from French Civil Aviation Authority

Phnom Penh, December 2, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An held here on Monday a meeting with visiting Director of Cooperation Affairs for Asia-Pacific region of the French Civil Aviation Authority Mrs. Emanuela Gelini.

The meeting mainly focused on the discussion on the process of cooperation between French Civil Aviation Authority and Cambodian Civil Aviation Authority, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers.

The cooperation includes continued implementation of the MOU between the two Authorities, focusing on security cooperation for civil aviation in Cambodia, maintenance of airport, human resource development, etc.

Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An expressed his thanks to the French Civil Aviation Authority and SCA Company for sending experts to help strengthen the Cambodian Civil Aviation Authority, and requested the French Civil Aviation Authority to further contribute to human resource development in the Cambodian Civil Aviation Authority. --AKP

Sisophon residents protest water prices

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 May Titthara

ABOUT 300 residents of Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon district protested outside the provincial hall yesterday, marking the third time customers have gathered to agitate for a local water company to lower its prices.

Residents say the privately-owned Banteay Meanchey Town Water Supply company has raised its prices twice in the past year to a figure that represents rates of almost four times the 500 riel per cubic metre charged by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.

Last January, the Banteay Meanchey company raised the price from 1,000 riel per cubic metre of water to 1,600 riel. On November 1, the price increased to 1,900 riel per cubic metre.

Pov Sok Vathana, a 31-year-old teacher who participated in the protest, said the company had promised to lower its rates by the beginning of December, but had reduced the price by only 50 riels per cubic metre.

“We don’t agree with this price reduction and [we have] come to protest. We ask the water supply company to cut down the price by 1,000 riel, otherwise we won’t pay for our bills,” she said. “My salary is low, I don’t have enough to pay [this much] for water and I have to pay for many bills.”

Hout Tong Lay, director of the company, declined to comment yesterday, saying that he was in a meeting. Last month, however, he told The Post that the company would not be able to lower its rates.

“We already calculated, we lost on other expenses, therefore we could not reduce the price at 1,000 riel, I hope the villagers will understand,” he said.

State enlists mapping firms

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Sam Rainsy Party members inspect a crater earlier this year in Svay Rieng, finding evidence they said showed an international border marker had been

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Kim Yuthana and Matt Lundy

REPRESENTATIVES from the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments accepted proposals yesterday from five land surveying companies that are hoping to secure a two-year contract to produce topographic surveys of the two countries’ sensitive shared border.

The officials convened at the Council of Ministers building to begin their search for a firm that would replace existing maps – which are nearly six decades old – with more detailed maps using GPS technology.

Var Kimhong, the senior minister in charge of border affairs, said it was necessary to upgrade existing maps, which date from the French colonial era, “to confirm the results of demarcation work on the ground” and ensure the government hasn’t “made mistakes” in its work.

Proposals were accepted from BLOM Geomatics AS (Denmark), IGN France International, Kokusai Kogyo Corporation (Japan), Samboo Engineering Company (South Korea) and Pasco-FINNMAP (Japan/Finland).

In the firms’ respective proposals, the cost of creating the maps ranged between US$1.5 million and $4.5 million, with the costs to be split between the two countries.

“We’re letting technicians from both [countries] study the proposals,” said Var Kimhong. “Then we will make a choice in one week, and let the companies know which will do the work on [the border].”

Var Kimhong said the project would last from December until August 2012, and would involve officials from both countries at demarcation posts to maintain the transparency of the process.

Nguyen Hong Thao, deputy director of the border committee of Vietnam, said during the bidding ceremony that the project was an “important measure to promote the process of establishing peaceful and cooperative borderlines between Vietnam and Cambodia”.

Over the past year, the opposition Sam Rainsy Party has waged a campaign to expose alleged Vietnamese border encroachments in Svay Rieng province. The party’s president, Sam Rainsy has been sentenced to a total of 12 years jail on a series of charges related to the campaign.

In February, Sam Rainsy released a series of maps, which he claimed was evidence four border posts had been shifted up to 500 metres into Chantrea district. The SRP has said the maps were assembled with the help of European experts and were based on GPS coordinates of the four markers in question.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann, didn’t think that bringing in mapping firms from overseas would alleviate the border demarcation concerns.

“The private companies care about profit,” he said. “They don’t care about losing land or not. The government will ask them to do what the government wants.”

Yim Sovann said separate United States aerial surveys conducted in the 1960s were accurate and that new ones would result in the loss of land to Vietnam. Var Kimhong, however, said that the US-drawn maps were not considered official because “the US was never master of Indochina”.

Influential US lawmaker dies

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Thomas Miller

FORMER United States Congressman Stephen Solarz, who played an influential role in Cambodian-United States relations during the 1980s and early 1990s, passed away on Monday at the age of 70.

The nine-term representative from Brooklyn, New York, succumbed to esophageal cancer at a hospital in Washington, DC.

Solarz served on the House foreign affairs committee, taking the helm of the subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in 1981 and shaping – and at times steering – US policy in Cambodia throughout the turbulent 1980s and early 1990s.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday he was sorry to hear of Solarz’s passing, and recalled how Solarz had dubbed the 1993 elections “a miracle”.

“He put a lot forward to bring about peace in Cambodia.”

Solarz is credited with proposing an early version of the plan that would eventually establish the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.

According to the proposal, the UN would temporarily govern until free elections, after which the UN would transfer authority to an elected government. Although the US did not initially adopt the plan, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Gareth Evans pushed it as part of a peace proposal as early as 1990.

Negotiations had snagged on a proposed power-sharing agreement between the Vietnam-backed Hun Sen government and the three-party Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, composed of the royalist FUNCINPEC party, the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front and the Khmer Rouge.

But the Solarz/Evans vision for the enlarged UN role sidestepped the issue and paved the way for the possibility of a legitimate, elected government.

Solarz also came under criticism for supporting the US policy of providing aid and diplomatic recognition to the two non-communist elements of the CGDK.

Solarz believed that supporting the faction led by Prince Norodom Sihanouk would strengthen the hand of the famously mercurial prince against the Pol Pot guerillas. But US policy was viewed widely as instead contributing to the resurgence of the Khmer Rouge.

Illegal gem miners get released

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Thet Sambath

Battambang military police yesterday released five men who were arrested in connection with an illegal gold and gem mining operation in Battambang’s Samlot district.

The five suspects were arrested on Sunday after provincial military police raided their house in Samlot commune’s Kontout village and confiscated a machine used for mining, as well as several tubs and baskets.

They were being detained at the provincial military police headquarters and were being questioned on the identity and whereabouts of the financial backer of the operation.

But Provincial Military Police Commander Por Vannak said the suspects were released yesterday without charges being laid.

“They do not know who their boss is, so how can we find him and make him responsible?” he said. “We just educated them and made an agreement that they have to stop mining gold and gems before we released them.”

He said the men were from Battambang, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces.

“We couldn’t keep them here because we do not have rice for them to eat,” he said.

Fake monks arrested after taking donations

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged two construction workers with impersonating monks after being accused of dressing in Buddhist robes in order to collect donations.

Sok Sambath, 28, and Eang Kea, 30, were arrested on Tuesday night in Prampi Makara district’s Veal Vong commune, according to district police chief Yin San.

“The two men were arrested while they were wearing monk clothes and walking near streets to earn money from people at religious ceremonies in Veal Vong commune,” he said.

He said the arrests followed a complaint filed by villager Buon Mony, who claimed the monks were faking their monkhood for personal gain when he noticed they were not carrying cards identifying them as monks, which are issued to monks by their superiors.

“They were charged [yesterday] as fake Buddhist monks,” he said. “They are now sending them to Prey Sar prison for further investigations.”

Nuon Ngeth, supreme patriarch of Buddhist monks in Cambodia, said people posing as monks had serious implications for the priesthood, especially in the wake of several scandals involving monks this year.

“I appreciate the competence of police in arresting these two people,” he said.

Police Blotter: 2 Dec 2010

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:01 Sen David

‘Gangsters’ accused of sign-of-the-times crime
Police in Battambang’s Banan district arrested five “gangsters” accused of destroying public property during a fight on Monday. One of the gangsters said he and his posse were walking along a road, when a rival gang of five approached them and instigated a fight. In the ensuing fracas, three public street signs were damaged, and the gangsters fled the scene. Police managed to detain five of them, and are investigating the case to see how much each hoodlum has to pay to repair the state’s property.

Masked bandits steal student’s mobile phones
Two students were robbed at knifepoint by two masked thieves in Stung Treng town this week. One of the victims said that as they were riding their bicycles to school, the two men approached them and threatened to kill them if they didn’t hand over what they had in their pockets. The students handed over two mobile phones and a necklace. Police have concluded that the suspects are classmates of the victims because they seemed to “know everything about the victims”.

Toad repast proves deadly for gourmet
A 39-year-old man died in Kampong Cham’s Oraing Ov district on Monday after reportedly eating a poisonous frog. The victim’s family said that the victim was drinking wine with his “one friend”, who did not eat any frog meat. Once the meal was finished, the victim returned home and “looked as he usually does”, but he failed to wake up once he fell asleep. Police said the victim’s death “is not a crime”.

Confession gained in sex assault case
A 20-year-old man was arrested by military police in Phnom Penh on Monday after raping a woman three times because she didn’t love him. The victim, a garment worker, had returned home after work to sleep, when the suspect pounced and raped her. The suspect told police that he loved the victim, but the feeling wasn’t mutual, so he decided the only way to be with her was to rape her. The victim told her mother, who filed a complaint.

Three Chinese nabbed over assault on waitress
Three of five Chinese men were arrested for allegedly groping a female waitress’s chest and shouting in a restaurant in Kampot town on Tuesday. The victim told police the five men came to drink at the restaurant, where she served them food and drink. As she was doing so, one of the men grabbed at her chest, and started “speaking violently” at it. She filed a complaint with police immediately. The suspects attempted to leave but police arrested them on the spot.

Labour firm ends fraud spat

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

CDM Trading Manpower Company agreed yesterday to a compromise with 42 workers who filed a complaint against the labour recruitment firm for alleged fraud and breach of trust.

The workers claimed that the company had taken their US$150 fee but failed to provide promised employment in Thailand and were seeking a full refund.

Ros Savin, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department in Kandal province, said the two sides had reached an agreement whereby those who now refused to accept employment would refunded their money, while those still seeking jobs would receive offers by the end of December.

“We are pleased that the argument between the workers and CDM Trading Manpower Company has ended,” Ros Savin said.

Officials face 20 years: ACU

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:02 Vong Sokheng

ANTI-CORRUPTION Unit officials said yesterday that a Pursat provincial prosecutor and two bodyguards arrested on Monday by the recently established body could each face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.

Om Yentieng, who is also a senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and chairman of the government-run Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said at a press conference yesterday that prosecutor Top Chan Sereyvuth and two personal bodyguards had each been charged with corruption, extortion and false imprisonment.

Kheang Seng, head of law enforcement at the ACU, said the prosecutor and his bodyguards could each face more than 20 years in prison if found guilty on more than one of the charges.

“I am not sure, but according to the law each charge will jail [them] from 10 to 15 years [each],” he said. “But it is [up] to the court to decide to minimise or maximum the jail term.”

Om Yentieng said officials were also searching to arrest Pich Kong You, the younger brother of Top Chan

Sereyvuth and owner of a beer garden, who is accused of posing as and carrying out the work of his prosecutor brother.

He said ACU officials had conducted a “thorough investigation” into the case and that the arrests were made based on “strong evidence against them [that] they were abusing their position of power”.

Also yesterday, the ACU released a report naming 30 low-level government officials working for the General Department of Taxes who were found to have been routinely overcharging vehicle owners for road tax.

Collected annually, road taxes range from 4,500 riel (about US$1.05) for some motorbikes to more than 1 million riel ($238) for some cars.

Om Yentieng said the 30 officials were each found to have been regularly charging tax payers an additional 5,000 riel, which they claimed was for an administrative fee.

He said the report would be submitted to the General Department of Taxes, which would be responsible for deciding the fate of the 30 officials.

“We did not send them to the court but we [did] send them for punishment and they will face suspension or expulsion from the job,” he said.

City Hall orders car lots closed

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:01 May Titthara

AUTOMOBILE businesses operating along Phnom Penh’s Russian Boulevard have been ordered to shut down by the end of this month in the interests of public order and appearances, according to a notice issued by City Hall.

The document, dated November 26, instructs business owners operating along the boulevard in Daun Penh, Tuol Kork, Sen Sok and Dangkor districts to “remove and shut down all kinds of car selling businesses from December 31, 2010”.

According to the notice, the closures have been ordered “to keep public order and improve beauty” in the city.

It warns that if businesses fail to comply with the deadline, “the municipality will take administrative action to remove [property] without any responsibility [for] damages”.

Koet Chhe, deputy cabinet chief at City Hall, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Hem Darith, deputy governor of Dangkor district, said one of the reasons for the ordered closures was that Russian Boulevard is often travelled by delegations of national and international officials.

“We do not want them to sell [cars] because it’s a place where delegations pass by,” he said.

“It’s a big selling place where many automobiles have been brought in and out so it caused disorder,” he said.

Hay Soeung, owner of the Hay Soeung Automobile Shop, which specializes in luxury vehicles and is located on Russian Boulevard in Sen Sok district, said he would ignore the notice as he had previously received permission for his business from City Hall.

He said he was confident that officials would not shut down his showroom because it “makes the city look good to see such business along the main area”.

Licensed firm spreads wings

A bird flies past a WING advert on Sotheros Blvd, Phnom Penh, yesterday. The firm has become the first to be licensed by the National Bank of Cambodia. Photo by: Rick Valenzuela

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins and May Kunmakara

WING mobile money transfer service plans to expand its reach to handle payrolls and loan payments, after being granted the official go-ahead to offer United States dollar accounts by the National Bank of Cambodia.

The firm – owned by ANZ Bank – was granted the first licence to be awarded by the central bank to act as a third party payments processor, at Phnom Penh’s Raffles Hotel Le Royal yesterday.

WING allows its users to conduct money transfers, as well as services such as paying electricity bills and topping up mobile credit, via mobile phones.

It launched in January 2009 for riel-transactions only and presently partners with six Cambodian mobile providers.

It claims nearly 200,000 users, a number which it says it is committed to growing.

With the licence, “a whole range of operations open up to the wider business community”, WING Managing Director David Kleiman said on the ceremony sidelines yesterday.

According to Kleiman, the use of accounts denominated in dollars or riel will help the firm to launch services such as micro-finance payments and meeting of payrolls for businesses such as hotels and garment factories – where transactions are generally conducted in dollars.

Traditionally, many Cambodian firms met payrolls through handing out cash or through bank accounts, but the process often contains risks and costs.

Armed guards were often hired to guard the cash at the firms’ expense, or companies had to shoulder the expense of opening bank accounts for all of their employees, he said.

WING would also like to handle in-bound international remittances as more and more Cambodians were travelling abroad to seek higher-paid work, often sending money back to friends and relatives in the Kingdom, Kleiman said.

Emigrants required a method to transfer money back to their family.

“They need that service, and the mobile phone is the easiest, most ubiquitous, least intimidating way for people to do that,” he said, but added that the focus is on growing their domestic business at the moment.

The World Bank estimated that remittances received in Cambodia would total US$364 million in 2010, from $338 million last year, in its Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011.

Although WING has been issued the first permit, following an August prakas setting out licensing regulations, several other firms are following in its footsteps.

Mobitel’s Cellcard Cash scheme was launched in September, though officials have said it was launched without applying for a licence from the NBC.

Malaysian firm MobilityOne has also announced an intention to offer mobile banking in Cambodia.

Speaking at yesterday’s ceremony, NBC Director General Tal Nay Im welcomed the firm’s potential to spread banking services across Cambodia.

“The presence of WING has been a key contribution to facilitate payment transactions in the economy, especially money transfer services for low income people who don’t have bank accounts,” she said.

Ministry forecasts tourists to reach 6 million by 2020

Light shines through columns at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap. Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:01 Rann Reuy

THE Ministry of Tourism expects the number of tourists visiting the Kingdom to more than double in the next 10 years.

Some 2.3 million foreign visitors are projected to enter Cambodia in 2010, a number which is expected to grow to 6 million by 2020, according to Ministry Director General Tith Chantha.

Speaking to a delegation of Chinese businesses at the Council for the Development of Cambodia on Tuesday, he said growth in tourism would require more hotels to cater for foreign travellers.

Cambodia presently has 438 hotels with 25,000 rooms, but will require 40,000 rooms in 2015 and 70,000 rooms by 2020, he says. The tourism sector could generate as much as US$4 billion in revenue in ten years, he says.

Tith Chantha singled out China as a future source of many of the Kingdom’s visitors.

In the future “I hope that Chinese tourists will visit Cambodia, just like the Mekong River, that flows from China,” he said.

China is presently the fourth largest source of tourists to Cambodia, according to Ministry statistics. Some 140,000 Chinese had visited Cambodia in the year to October, a 41-percent gain on the period from a year earlier, statistics show. Private sector representatives echoed hopes that the sector will grow.

Ho Vandy, head of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said the sector could achieve the growth levels outlined by the Tourism Ministry – provided travel to the Kingdom remained safe.

But a lack of direct flights from large markets was one stumbling block for the industry, according to Luu Meng, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association.

Hotels were likely to gradually increase the number of rooms on offer, but increased direct flights would speed up growth, he said.

CDC Secretary General Sok Cheda said Cambodia’s tourism growth was low compared to neighbouring countries.

Tep Khunnah remembered

An archive photo of Cambodian tennis legend Tep Khunnah, who was one of the best players in the region in the 1960s. Photo Supplied by TFC

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

To restore Cambodian tennis to its halcyon days of the 1960s is to honour the ever lasting legacy of one man, Tep Khunnah, whose life and times have inspired many to shape the Kingdom’s history and redefine its future.

From humble beginnings as a ball boy to the rich elite in the era of wooden racquets, to the day when a benevolent Cambodian doctor stoked his tennis passion and threw the court open to his heart, until the end of his life full of tennis accolades, Tep Khunnah remained a charming leader, a man who rose in the midst of adversities to be a perfect role model for his own and generations ever after.

Every year the tennis community commemorates Tep Khunnah’s memory the way he would have loved the most. “Nothing would have pleased my father more than a tennis event,” says Tennis Federation of Cambodia Secretary General Tep Rithivit. The 15th edition of the week-long Tep Khunnah Memorial tournament opens in Phnom Penh this Saturday.

“Do not play hard, play smart” was Tep Khunnah’s worldly advice for players of all ages. That tennis philosophy of his has stood the test of time and exemplified in his own brand of “touch tennis”, an art he graciously passed on to his younger brother Tep Sokhonnah. The siblings cleaned up at regional events in the sixties as a doubles pair before Tep Sokhonnah took his delicate skills to new heights in France, where he was ranked among the top dozen players and gained the nickname Mr Soft Hands.

If a chronicler sits down to record the history of Cambodian tennis, a sizeable chunk will have to be reserved for Tep Khunnah, his tennis accomplishments, generosity and above all leadership – a footprint that can never ever be erased.

Post reclaim 2nd spot

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:00 Dan Riley

The PPPost team surged back into second place of the PPPost Mini Soccer Championship on Tuesday night with a brace of victories at the Kidzcool Astroturf pitch. A hard fought match against Banzai saw the Post side accelerate away from their opponents in the final five minutes, knocking a few “lucky” goals past Banzai’s self-styled “best goalkeeper in the competition” to record an 11-6 win.

The Post went on to beat Me Mates 9-5 and leapfrog reigning champions Devenco in second through a superior goal difference. JBCF remain three points clear at the summit, with their only loss coming against Devenco.

The most entertaining contest on Tuesday night was saved til last, with Me Mates taking on steadily improving hosts Kidzcool. A nerve-racking final third had the sides notching goals in quick succession at both ends to stay on level pegging. However, a last-gasp strike by Me Mates saw Kidzcool’s hopes of their first points of the campaign dashed, with the final scoreline of 11-10 reflecting the epic battle.

In other games on Tuesday, Cellcard registered wins against Ezecom and Banzai to climb to fifth place. More fixtures play tonight at Kidzcool Children & Family Fun Village on Chhroy Changvar peninsular, while next Tuesday sees the concluding round of the first half of the tournament.

Cellcard 8 Ezecom 5
PPP 11 Banzai 6
Kidzcool 6 Ezecom 8
PPP 9 Me Mates 5
Cellcard 7 Banzai 3
Kidzcool 10 Me Mates 11

Smart v Beeline – 7pm
Infinity v JBCF – 7:35pm
Devenco v ANZ Royal – 8:10pm
Smart v PPPost – 8:45pm
Devenco v Cellcard – 9:20pm
Infinity v Kidzcool – 9:55pm

Family reunites on TV after 31 years

Farmer Suon Thy hugs his long-lost elder sister Suon Koe Noeun on Bayon TV’s It’s Not a Dream to be aired tonight. Photo by: PHA LINA

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:01 Roth Meas

SEVERAL cameras are pointed at a 40-year-old farmer inside Bayon TV’s studio. Suon Thy sobs as he tells his story of wartime separation from his mother, sisters, and brother in a family reunion programme called It’s Not a Dream.

“As I listened to the radio, I heard stories about people who live abroad but who still found their relatives in Cambodia. Why can’t I?” he said, tears streaming down his face.

As soon as he finishes his tale, a video clip shows a woman claiming that she lost a brother in Pursat province. Suon Thy becomes more overwhelmed. A few minutes later, the woman on film, Suon Koe Noeun, steps on to the set. They both run to hug each other, despite not recognising each other as brother and sister.

“It’s hard to believe that he’s still alive,” said his sister.

After 31 years, they are together at last. They had been separated when he was nine and she was 14.

Soon after Suon Thy meets his sister, his long-lost mother, brother and sister also step on to the set for a tearful reunion.

This is the fourth family to be reunited under the gaze of TV cameras in It’s Not a Dream. The episode featuring the family will be broadcast tonight on Bayon TV at 7:30pm.

Like millions of others, Suon Thy was separated from his mother, brother, and youngest sister when the Khmer Rouge reigned. But he managed to stay close to his elder sister, Suon Koe Noeun, until 1979. They were separated at Aoral Mountain after Vietnamese soldiers pushed Khmer Rouge troops to the margins of the country.

Suon Thy says: “Helicopters dropped bombs on us and Khmer Rouge soldiers forced us to move forward. They said that if we didn’t move quickly, Vietnamese soldiers would catch us and chain us up by piercing our nose or heels. So I and many others fled with them.”

He first moved to Battambang province, then to Thailand and back to Battambang. In 1982 he was given a rifle by the Khmer Rouge and sent to northwestern Banteay Meanchey province, where he settled, married and became farmer.

He now lives there with his wife and three children, farming in Takong village, Namtao commune in Phnom Srok district.

He thought his hometown might be in Kampong Cham province, so last year visited the area and posted notices appealing for news of his family on bridges, trees and buildings.

Then he asked Bayon TV to help.

“I didn’t know that the programme had found my family when they invited me to Phnom Penh. When I saw my sister, it was hard for me control my feelings.”

Suon Koe Noeun, 45, vividly recalls the day she was separated from her little brother at Aoral Mountain.

“I was carrying stuff on my head and held another bundle in my hands, so it was hard for me to hold my little brother’s hand. But I lost him among the crowds about 7pm. I called for him the whole night, but I never saw him again.”

Although she never expected to find her little brother alive, she tried several times between 1990 and 2000 to find him through local media appeals, but heard nothing.

“Last month my neighbours ran to ask my mother whether she had lost a son during the Khmer Rouge regime, because they had heard his appeal on radio saying her name and those of her son and daughters,” said Suon Koe Noeun.

She contacted Bayon TV and gave them as much background information as she could.

Suon Koe Noeun says that she was reunited with her mother Meung Tri, brother Suon Phai and youngest sister Suon Phal after the war. They settled in their former village in Prek Kork, Prek Bak commune, Stueng Trang district in Kampong Cham province.

Almost 350 people have applied to find their families through It’s Not a Dream since Bayon TV and partner Metphone launched the programme in January of this year, according to Programme President Prak Sokhayouk.

She says about 200 cases deal with families separated by war, but the rest are from relatives who have lost touch because people have moved around the country.

Producers send Metphone staff to villages to search for any clues and appeal for information on Bayon radio and TV.

They have traced relatives of eight families successfully, but so far only four have met each other on TV.

“Some people who lost their family were quite young, so they don’t remember a lot of details.

Sokhayouk says that the programme will show four more family reunions in the coming months. And those that appear on TV are treated to a free city tour and meals by the station.

It’s Not a Dream runs a one-hour special tonight featuring Suon Thy’s reunion with his family at 7:30pm, repeated on Sunday at 2:30pm.

Frieze frame at French Embassy

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:00 Emilie Boulenger

THE long walls outside the French Embassy in Phnom Penh have been brightened this week with a long mural of photographs by a 34-year-old French photographer who works in Switzerland, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond.

The artist completed a residence of around 20 days in Cambodia last August, during which he was accompanied by Cambodian photographer Kim Hak.

“The idea was to do a work that fitted the festival’s philosophy. We wanted it to be understood by everybody,” he said.

A long canvas sheet was printed and divided into vertical sections. This work, which is about 100 metres long and 3 metres high, was designed to be viewed by passing vehicles as well as passers-by.

The frieze begins with a man looking at Phnom Penh from the window of Canadia Tower and takes the spectator through very varied views. “I was interested in the transformations of the city,” explained Bernard-Reymond, who worked in the suburbs and even outside the city to finish his project.

He managed to create an artificial continuity between the 70 images on the frieze, with sometimes just a bit of manipulation to enable the transition. “I like to use the doubt that manipulation can introduce in a picture,” he said.

However, the frieze may come down soon after Photo Phnom Penh ends its festival this weekend, organisers said.

Another huge picture by Bernard-Reymond is also exhibited at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. In this heterogeneous image, composed of two panoramic pictures, one of Phnom Penh, the other of the entry of the jungle in Koh Kong, trees and buildings merge together.

Cross-cultural pairs in week-long partnerships

via CAAI

Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:00 Emilie Boulenger

“IT IS quite an unusual system”, said Polish photographer Krysztof Zielinski about Intersection, a project in partnership with the European Commission in Cambodia which enables 12 European and Asian photographers to work together in pairs for one week.

Participants were asked to create a series of dialogues about a set subject. Krysztof Zielinski and Kim Hak took water as their inspiration in workshops as part of Photo Phnom Penh, though it is far from easy to deliver 24 pictures each in such a short time.

“We discussed the theme, but we had no time to go around in such a short time, so we ended up at the riverside,” said Zielinski.

Frustrated that they could not discuss details because of the language barrier, he said the challenge still remained interesting.

“This project aims at creating a real dialogue between Cambodian and European photographers,” said Magali Poivert, who coordinates the event at the French Cultural Centre. “We are like matchmakers in weddings – they don’t all work out the same way. It is part of the project.”

Khvay Samnang and Kent Klich, who will work on intimacy, seem to be happy about this set choice.

“People are walking in pyjamas in the street, but they don’t hold hands,” noted Klich.

So the pair wandered around inside the Building, the soon-to-be-demolished apartments along Sothearos Boulevard that are home to hundreds of families. Step by step, they are gaining the confidence of the inhabitants, completing their project. “For me, it’s easier to photograph, but more difficult to understand,” said Klich.

The two artists are thinking of using an empty room inside the Building to show the resulting pictures to the inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Dileep Prakash and Siv Cheng are working on architecture; Svetlana Khachaturova and Tith Narith on fashion; Nica Junker and Neak Sophal on sports; and Raphael Dallaporta and Heng Ravuth on poetry.

The results of these encounters will be presented by the artists during the Europe/Asia Event tomorrow night at 6.30pm at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and during Saturday’s Night of the Year at 6.30pm on screens carried by “image boats” floating along the Tonle Sap river by Sisowath Quay.