Saturday, 29 January 2011

Thailand: Yellows may join up with reds to topple the govt

via CAAI

Sat, Jan 29, 2011
The Nation/Asia News Network

Members of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) interviewed yesterday said they were willing to fight temporarily alongside the red shirts if that is what it takes to topple the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration and reclaim "lost territory" from Cambodia.

"I guess that can be done, because it's our country. We don't even use our [political] colour at this rally," said Boonthai Sirichoke, a PAD member from Samut Prakarn, adding that this government would definitely be removed if the red and yellow shirts joined forces. However, he said he believed the yellow shirts alone could topple the government.

Waen, a 47-year-old yellow-shirt from Chiang Mai, said she would not speculate but would follow instructions from PAD leaders, even if it meant joining forces with the red shirts. "We are just the mass, we don't have the right to question it."

Yupin Prasertsri, an elderly woman from Amnat Charoen province who came with her daughter to take part in the rally yesterday, said they were ready to join forces with the red shirts "because we want to topple the government".

"I can accept it because we have the same goal of getting rid of corruption and defending national integrity," she said. The PAD believes that the government is too soft on the border issue because of vested interests of politicians and generals who reap benefits from illegal cross-border trade.

Her daughter, who asked not to be named, said: "I can accept it because now it's about national interest and not colours."

The rally yesterday drew a moderate crowd of about 5,000 in the evening, with more arriving after dark. Half a dozen villagers who claimed they owned land along the Thai-Cambodian border that was allegedly taken over by Cambodians over the past three decades were invited to speak onstage.

A female villager burst into tears, telling PAD supporters that even though she had a title deed for the land occupied by Cambodians for 30 years, not a single government had helped get her land back.

"My father was so upset that he developed a mental problem," she said, adding that the family ended up having to work as hired help in Bangkok and elsewhere, and suffered immensely because they could not work on "their own land".

$11.7 million more for Khmer trials

via CAAI

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) Tokyo announced Friday it will provide a further $11.7 million to the U.N-assisted tribunal trying former Khmer Rouge leaders for atrocities.

The Japanese Embassy here said $8.8 million is for the international component and $2.9 million is for the national component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal is formally known. "This contribution will cover 25 percent of the ECCC's operational cost throughout the year 2011," it said.

The ECCC, which has spent more than $80 million since being set up in 2005, although it has so far convicted only one Khmer Rouge figure, has a budget of $87.1 million for 2010-2011.

Japan is its single largest donor, accounting for nearly half of the total pledges and contributions made to date.

The embassy said this year is critical for the ECCC's judicial proceedings with the hearings of appeal of the case of former chief jailer Kaing Guek Ieu, alias Duch, to commence at the Supreme Court Chamber and trials of five other Khmer Rouge leaders to start at the Trial Chamber.

The embassy said the trials are intended to deliver justice for the victims and ensure atrocities never occur again.

John Burgess lecture reflects on ancient and present Cambodia

via CAAI

By Yvette Villasenor
Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011

Students and faculty gathered Friday evening to listen to an art lecture presented by John Burgess, the journalist and author behind "Stories in Stone."

Burgess began his career as a journalist in Thailand in 1971 as a sub-editor for The Bangkok World, an English-based paper. Later, he found himself interested in the scripted stones that lay in the heart of Angkor, Cambodia, where he got the idea for his book "Stories in Stone."

As students and faculty filled the lecture room, Burgess began his lecture on his adventures and findings of the Sdok Kok Thom inscription and the enigma of Khmer history he found in Angkor. He also shared his experiences about Cambodia's architecture, scripture and overall culture.

"Angkor has remained largely off the map for the world's consciousness," Burgess said.

He believes the Sdok Kok Thom findings and the fall of Khmer hold significant historical importance and sharing his experience with different audiences will grow knowledge of this particular culture and how it relates to other cultures with an equally impressive historical importance as Ancient Rome or Egypt.

Many students stayed after the lecture to speak with Burgess and other students and faculty.

"The lecture was intriguing," said Minh Tran, an art studio major. She believes having lectures about personal experiences will open the eyes of more students and draw them to learn more about other cultures.

Pat Chirapravati, professor and director of Asian studies at Sacramento State hopes to grow the Asian studies department by providing students and faculty with informational, insightful lectures once a month to open eyes to different cultures of the world.

"Our campus is so diverse," Chirapravati said. "I want to stimulate students to learn about the world and look beyond."

As Chirapravati works to further grow the Asian studies department, she encourages students who are interested in her department to come to her office.

Protesters reassert three demands to Thai government on temple disputed with Cambodia

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Jan 29 -- Activists of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) encamped near Thailand's Government House for the fifth day Saturday stressed their demands that the government must take action to resolve the dispute over an ancient temple which sits on the border with Cambodia, as well as scrapping three agreements signed by the two countries, threatening that the administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva must consider its future if it fails to resolve the problem.

The ‘Yellow Shirt’ activists of the PAD continued to occupy Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue Saturday afternoon with no sign that they would disperse unless Thailand withdraws from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, revoke three memorandums of understanding signed by Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), and eject Cambodian soldiers and villagers in border areas the group claims belong to Thailand.

The protesters have become enfuriated when a Cambodian national flag was flying above the entrance of Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara temple near historic Preah Vihear temple, charging that the former is situated well within Thai territory.

Praising the Thai army for conducting an exercise near the border recently, PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongphan told a press conference that two days had passed and the Thai government is still unable to remove the Cambodian national flag in front of the temple while the Cambodian government insists that it would not do so.

“The prime minister must display his responsibility for what has happened and explain [to the public] on ways to resolve the problem,” Mr Panthep said.

He also said two out of seven Thais who were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on charges of violating Cambodian territory on Dec 29 and are due to appear for a court trial Tuesday must also be freed because all were apprehended in Thai territory.

Prime Minister Abhisit, his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban and Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya must take responsibility for the situation and consider their political futures if the Thai government accepts the Cambodian court verdict, Mr Panthep said.

Accompanied by two other PAD core leaders, retired Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang and Praphan Koonmee, Mr Panthep said the government would make a big mistake if they disperse the PAD demonstration by force.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit, now attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said in a telephone interview that the border problem with Cambodia must be carried out by peaceful manner, especially as both countries are members of ASEAN --the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-- and his government must uphold the country’s benefits as most important.

“The PAD has every right to make demands but the government must uphold the country’s benefits as its priority,” Mr Abhisit said. “What the government has done would definitely receive support from the majority of the people in the country.” (MCOT online news)

PM: Govt to peacefully solve boarder dispute

via CAAI

Published: 29/01/2011

The Thai government will use peaceful ways to settle the continuing border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Saturday.

During an interview given to AP reporter in Davos, Mr Abhisit said both Thailand and Cambodia are parts of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations and therefore, solving of any conflict between the two countries should be in a peaceful manner.

Asked about the three demands by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the prime minister said PAD has the constitutional right to make such demands or to rally against the government.

“On my part, I will do only for the best of the country”, he said.

The PAD is demanding Thailand’s withdrawal from the Unesco World Heritage Committee, the revocation of the4 2000 MoU sign with Cambodia and ejecting Cambodians in border areas the group claims belong to Thailand back to their homeland.

Confrontation Between Cambodia, Thai Continues

via CAAI

Web Editor: Yu

The military confrontation between Cambodian and Thai troops over the border area near Preah Vihear temple continues on Saturday and troops on both sides are still on high alert, said a close military source standby at the area.

"We're still on high alert to defend our territorial integrity, " a senior officer, who asked not to be named, said on Saturday.

Thai side has stepped up their troops on their border side; they attempted to bring their Thai flag to fly at Cambodia's Keo Sikha Kiri Svarak pagoda near Preah Vihear temple, he said.

"We have warned Thai troops in advance already, if they dare to enter Cambodian territory, Cambodia will use self-defense rights to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

Cambodian Ministry of Defense on Friday has dispatched dozens of tanks and fighting vehicles as well as missiles and ammunition to Preah Vihear temple area. He said that those armaments have arrived at Preah Vihear temple on Saturday morning.

The re-tension between Cambodia and Thailand over the border happened on Thursday after Thailand demanded Cambodia to remove a national flag over Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svarak pagoda near Preah Vihear temple, claiming that the pagoda is on the disputed area, but Cambodian side rejected it.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a declaration on Friday to firmly reject the demand of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to remove the Cambodia's flag at the pagoda near Preah Vihear temple.

The ministry said that according to the map produced by the Franco-Siamese commissions between the period of 1905 and 1908, the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, built by the people of Cambodia in 1998, is clearly situated in the Cambodian territory. Therefore, the flag of Cambodia is legitimately flying over this pagoda.

The ministry called "the statement made by Thai Prime Minister in parallel with Thailand's military exercise at the border with Cambodia is clearly provocative and constitutes a casus belli for future acts of aggression against Cambodia."

Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Just a week after the enlistment, Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Prosecutors: more victims of accused monk possible

via CAAI

Friday, January 28, 2011

Miya Shay

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- As a monk at a local temple is on the run, wanted for sexually assaulting a teen, we're talking to the girl whose accusations made him a wanted man.

At Wat Angkorchum Cambodian Buddhist Temple, Monk Vuthy Meas goes about his daily routine unsure of exactly why the temple's abbot, Venh Por, hastily returned to Cambodia.

"We built this temple in just three years," he tells us, before describing Venh Por as a decent man.

But prosecutors believe the monk fled to avoid facing charges of sexually assaulting this sixteen-year-old girl.

"I know what he was doing to me, and I guess I feel upset," the teenage girl said.

The teenager said she wanted to speak out after watching other members of the temple defend the monk in public. She says it all began when she, at 15, would accompany her mother to the temple.

"He come in, he touch my boob, and I said why'd you touch my boob?" the girl recalled.

Over the past year, the sexual encounters continued, until she made an outcry at school. Initially, even her own parents didn't believe her.

"They don't believe me. They believe the monk because everybody believed the monk," she said.

But the investigation continued, charges were filed, and Venh Por apparently fled.

The 16-year-old may not be the only victim. We spoke on the phone with another teenage girl who said the monk tried to kiss her on the neck.

Prosecutors say they even though the monk is reportedly out of the country, they will continue to search out other victims.

"When I say anything, it's not a lie. It's true," the girl said.

The 16-year-old says she hopes prosecutors can find Venh Por and eventually bring him to justice.

At the temple, his photo is still on the wall, and members say they still support Venh Port the monk.

Musicians and poets join together for Untold Stories

via CAAI

by David Whetstone, The Journal
Jan 29 2011

HOLOCAUST survivors will be joined in Newcastle tomorrow by musicians and poets in Untold Stories, a moving event in the same week as Holocaust Memorial Day.

One speaker at the event at The Journal Tyne Theatre will be Youk Chhang who survived the “killing fields” of Cambodia when 1.7 million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

Youk Chhang was 14 when the Khmer Rouge began their four-year reign of terror in 1975 and was put to work in the paddy fields where people died every day.

Food and death, he has recalled, became his twin obsessions.

He now runs the Documentation Centre of Cambodia which has built up an extensive archive of documents, photos and films relating to the Khmer Rouge rule.

In the spirit of reconciliation, he has concluded that he could easily have been sucked into the Khmer Rouge killing machine as others of his age were.

Also due to speak tomorrow is Eva Clarke whose mother, Anka, spent the nine months of her pregnancy in Auschwitz concentration camp and gave birth after being transferred to another camp, Mauthausen, on a coal truck.

Eva was born on April 29, 1945, three days before the Americans liberated the camp and days after her father, a German-Jewish architect, was shot. He hadn’t even known Anka was pregnant. Eva’s mother survived the war.

Also due to speak are Manchester-based Jewish refugee Peter Kurer, whose family were saved from the Nazis by British Quakers, and Prof Roberta Greene of the University of Texas, who has worked with Holocaust survivors.

Violinist Bradley Creswick, singer Katie Doherty and the Hotspur Children’s Choir will perform at the event tomorrow and there will be readings from The Galloping Stone, an anthology of poems by Gillian Allnut and clients, staff and volunteers from the Medical Foundation for the Care of the Victims of Torture.

Holocaust Memorial Day coincides with the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on January 27, 1945, and commemorates all victims of genocide.

Untold Stories, which takes place at 3pm, is free but you must register via

Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak flying a Cambodian flag (Photo: CEN)

Cambodia rejects Thai PM's demand to remove flag at pagoda

what is your comment on this issue?  Your idea would be appreciate
Kon Khmer get up and give your voice

Yellow and Red Shirt protests

"Yellow Shirts" Continue Protest on Border Issue with Cambodia

Raw Video: Protests in Egypt Turn Violent

ការ​គ្រប់គ្រង​រយៈ​ពេល ២៦​ឆ្នាំ : 26 Years of Prime Minister Hun Sen Rule

Part 1

Part 2

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press

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Declaration of Cambodian Foreign Ministry over Thailand’s Demand

Phnom Penh, January 28, 2011 AKP – The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has issued a declaration in response to the demand of Thai prime minister to remove Cambodia’s flag from the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda of Cambodia.

The following is the full declaration dated today:

“On 27 January 2011, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand demanded that Cambodia must remove its flag from the KEO SIKHA KIRI SVARA pagoda of Cambodia. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation wishes to reassert as fellows:

- On 13 February 1904, France and Siam signed a Convention to establish the Joint Commissions on the Delimitation of Frontiers between Indo-China and Siam. In the period between the year 1905 and 1908, the Franco-Siamese Commissions produced a total of 11 maps, including the one that demarcates Sector 6 which is the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

- In 1954, Thai troops invaded Cambodian territory and occupied the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR. On 6 October 1959, Cambodia submitted this case of aggression to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Based principally on the above mentioned map produced by the Franco-Siamese Commissions, the ICJ adjudicated on 15 June 1962 as follows,

‘…the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia;’

‘Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory;’

- Article I (c) of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary, signed on 14 June 2000, also recognizes the above mentioned map as a legal basis for the survey and demarcation of land boundary between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand.

- According to the map produced by the Franco-Siamese Commissions, the KEO SIKHA KIRI SVARA pagoda, built by the people of Cambodia in 1998, is clearly situated in the Cambodian territory. Therefore, the flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia is legitimately flying over this Pagoda.

- Such a statement made by the Prime Minister of Thailand in parallel with Thailand’s military exercise at the border with Cambodia is clearly provocative and constitutes a casus belli for future acts of aggression against Cambodia. Cambodia reserves its legitimate rights to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation wishes to emphasize that this statement made by the Prime Minister of Thailand is unacceptable and that the Kingdom of Cambodia firmly rejects such an insulting demand.” –AKP


Cambodian NA Delegation To Attend International Conference in Quebec

Phnom Penh, January 28, 2011 AKP – Cambodian First Vice-President of the National Assembly H.E. Nguon Nhel will lead a delegation to Canada to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CIDEC) to be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 in Quebec.

NA delegations from 77 countries will take part in this six-day conference, according to a press release of Cambodia’s NA Secretariat General.

On the occasion, on behalf of Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, NA president and chairman of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly for 2010-2011, H.E. Nguon Nhel will deliver a speech and join a discussion on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. –AKP



Thai FM To Join Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Siem Reap

Phnom Penh, January 28, 2011 AKP – Thai Foreign Minister H.E. Kasit Piromya will pay a visit to Cambodia to participate in the 7th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation Between Cambodia and Thailand to be held on Feb. 3-4, in Siem Reap province.

The visit will be made at the invitation of Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Hor Namhong, said a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dated today.

The meeting is aimed at strengthening and expanding cooperation in all fields between the two countries, it added.

During the meeting, both sides will adopt the Record of Discussion of the meeting, the press release pointed out. –AKP

Cambodia’s new foreign ownership laws giving condo sales a lift

The Camko City development outside Phnom Penh has reported an uptick in sales.

via CAAI

Byron Perry
Jan 28, 2011

New foreign-ownership laws in Cambodia have boosted condo sales at several developments in the capital Phnom Penh.

The new law, which was rubber-stamped by King Norodom Sihamoni in May of 2010, allows foreigners to own property above the ground floor of a building that is not within 30km of a border.

Kheng Ser, Assistant to the Project Management Team of World City, a South Korean developer behind the US$2 billion satellite city as known as the Camko City development project, told the Phnom Penh Post that sales to foreigners were increasing every month.

“Until now, we had sold 45 units to foreigners, who come from South Korea, Australia, Singapore and China,” he said. “We have sold better since the National Assembly approved the foreign ownership law, and we strongly hope that we will get more and more foreigners to buy our condos this year. I think it’s a good idea to allow up to 70 percent of units to be owned by foreigners.”

The Camko City project started in December 2005 and is expected to be finished in 2018. The development lies on 119 hectares of land in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district that was reclaimed from Pong Peay Lake.

Un Mouy, sales and marketing manager for Taiwanese developer Two Town Co, said that she’s seen a jump in demand from foreigners for their Bal Resort development since the law was passed. 

“We have already sold 80 percent of the project and 60 percent is foreign-owned. Thanks to the new law my project sales [condos] are better and better,” she said. “It was the right time and a good time to invest in housing development. Now we are going ahead with the second lot of apartments.”

Lawyers gather data to defend Veera, Ratri

 via CAAI

By The Nation

Published on January 29, 2011

A team of lawyers for the Thai Patriots Network went to the border area in Sa Kaew province yesterday to collect information for the defence of two Thai nationals facing trespassing and spying charges in Cambodia.

The eight-member group, led by Thammasat University researcher and TPN leader Walwipha Charoonroj, inspected the area in Ban Nong Chan of Sa Kaew's Khok Sung district where seven Thais were arrested by Cambodian authorities in December.

The legal team was guided by members of the Burapha Force's special taskforce in an operation led by deputy commander Lt-Colonel Apiram Ramanat.

Walwipha said the team had submitted a written request with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and had sought permission from Cambodian authorities to inspect the area. She said the information and facts obtained would be used to defend TPN leader Veera Somkwamkid and Ratri Pipattanapaiboon in court, which has scheduled the first hearing for Tuesday. The two face the additional charge of espionage.

The five other Thais who were arrested for trespassing, including Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth, recently returned home after being sentenced to a suspended jail term in Cambodia.

The TPN is part of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy, which is rallying outside Government House to demand decisive action about the border conflict with Cambodia.

Before Walwipha's group arrived, Ban Nong Chan residents expressed dissatisfaction for fear the yellow shirts would stage a protest, which would further complicate the situation in the border area. However, they did not show much opposition after being told by the taskforce that the lawyers' group would be small and that they were only visiting to collect information.

In a related development, Cambodian forces stationed at the border area near the Preah Vihear temple are in two minds about bringing down the Cambodian flag raised at another temple in the disputed area, a security source said yesterday.

Cambodian military commanders General Chea Dara and Maj-General Srey Doek agree with Thailand's demand that the flag raised at Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvara be taken down, while other commanders disagreed, the source said.

Hundreds of Cambodian troops - stationed since the controversy over a stone tablet in which Thai troops were called "intruders" and the disputed area marked as "Here is Cambodia" - are still in place along with heavy weaponry and some 30 tanks.

The source described the border situation as being tense, though no serious incidents have taken place.

Tears shed as crowds gather in Lower Precinct to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

via CAAI

By Tina Junday
Jan 28 2011

TEARS were shed and candles of hope lit as Coventry commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day.

Crowds gathered for a moment of silence in the Lower Precinct yesterday to remember the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust and those who perished in more recent genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Darfur.

There were speeches from Lord Mayor, Coun Brian Kelsey, and Coventry City Council’s chief executive Martin Reeves.

Actor Adam Matthews, of The Museum of Curiosities, acted the part of Holocaust survivor David Rosenberg, who was raised in Antwerp, Belgium. David was present at the performance and his recorded voice related the sombre tale of pain, heartbreak and hope.

David, who was just 16 when Hitler invaded Belgium, said: “My family, my father, mother and two brothers decided to stay.

“Sometimes we heard soldiers march through the town in the middle of the night singing.

“Any tiny scrap of reality was welcomed with open arms in the hope that things would return to normal again.

“I went back to school and the teacher stared at me and told me that as a Jew I was not to take an active part in the lessons. He would tolerate me if I sat on the back row and kept my mouth shut.

“We set out to travel to France to join my father and older brother Louis. I lost 24 members of my close family who mostly perished in Auschwitz and other camps.”

The family suffered many hardships in France and David’s mum made the heartbreaking decision that her two sons, David and Sami, seek safety in Spain.

The duo managed to cross the Pyrenees but were caught and held in prison. He said: “We slept like sardines and food became scarce. Someone had a brilliant idea. If we drank vinegar it would shrink our stomachs and we would need less food.

“To this day I cannot tolerate the smell of vinegar.”

David eventually made his way to England and settled in Manchester where he completed a degree in chemistry.

He tearfully spoke about the performance. “I’m so emotional. It was very good and came from the heart. I survived by sheer luck every time, he said.”

Holocaust survivor Simon Winston also told his story at Coventry’s Central Library.

He survived a siege of his home town in Poland by the German Army in 1941.

His family were incarcerated in a ghetto where many Jews were killed.

But they escaped and spent two years as fugitives. The family came to Britain in 1947.

Jewish Target: 'Not just Nazis behind Holocaust'

Vietnamese cash in on cross-border exchange

via CAAI

By Ben Bland in Hanoi and Tim Johnston in Bangkok
Published: January 28 2011
Vietnamese consumers frustrated by years of high inflation and a depreciating currency have devised a new cross-border arbitrage scheme to earn some extra cash ahead of next week’s lunar new year holiday.

The latest ruse came to light after Cambodian banks such as ANZ Royal, a joint venture of Australia’s ANZ, noticed a sharp increase in dollar withdrawals, particularly from cash machines near the Vietnamese border.

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Bankers worked out that Vietnamese customers were travelling to neighbouring Cambodia, withdrawing dollars from a cash machine at the official dong-dollar exchange rate and then converting the greenbacks back to dong at the superior black market rate.

In spite of impressive economic growth rates, persistent instability has undermined faith in Vietnam’s currency, the dong, which trades against the US dollar at a discount of up to 10 per cent on the black market.

Customers of Vietnamese lender Techcombank – which charges much lower foreign currency withdrawal fees than its rivals – have been at the forefront of the scheme, making instant, risk-free profits of about 5 per cent, but bleeding many Cambodian cash machines dry of dollars.

Stephen Higgins, ANZ Royal’s chief executive, said Techcombank customers had taken $13m out of his bank’s machines, and at least $30m from across Cambodia.

ANZ Royal and Acleda, another large Cambodian bank, have blocked all dollar transactions on Techcombank cards.

A spokeswoman for Techcombank said that while these withdrawals were legally valid, it was raising its fees for overseas transactions “to prevent large cash withdrawals which could lead to black market currency trading”.

Thai PM tells AP: I'll do what's right for my country over Cambodia border

via CAAI

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. In a nod to the post-crisis atmosphere, the World Economic Forum shifts its attention on Friday to austerity measures and priorities for improving the economy. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

By: Matt Moore, The Associated Press
Posted: 01/28/2011

DAVOS, Switzerland - Thailand's prime minister told The Associated Press on Friday that protesters demanding it revoke its pact with Cambodia over a border dispute have a right to make they're demands, but he will do what is best for the country.

Speaking Friday at the World Economic Forum, Abhisit Vejjajiva said that since both nations are part of ASEAN any resolution must be done in a peaceful manner yet protect Thai interests, too.

"You know, they can make their demands. They have the right to do so. We have to do what is the best for the country," he told AP. "We feel that the way we approach the border problems, and the problems — as far as the relationship with Cambodia is concerned — is best for the country, which is that we try to resolve whatever issues come up in a peaceful manner."

Earlier this week, a rally by the People's Alliance for Democracy — also known as the Yellow Shirts — and an associated fringe group, raised tensions in a country still recovering from political violence last year that turned parts of the capital into a war zone. Police on Monday arrested five men accused of plotting to bomb the protest.

The demonstrators set up a stage along a major street near the U.N.'s Asian headquarters and Government House, the prime minister's office that the Yellows occupied for three months in 2008.

The protesters want the government to revoke a pact with Cambodia on settling border disputes; withdraw from the U.N. Education Scientific and Culture Organization World Heritage Committee, which approved Cambodia's application for landmark status for a temple on the border; and force Cambodian residents off land the group claims should belong to Thailand.

"So that we preserve good relations — we are both part of ASEAN — and at the same time we make sure that we protect Thai interests," he said. "So all we can do is to explain to them (that) we feel that this is the best approach and I am confident that majority of Thai people support" it.

The Cambodian issue has its origins in a dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over land near a landmark temple on their border, but has evolved into a Thai domestic political issue.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, but the decision rankled Thailand, which still claims land around the temple.

As for neighbouring Myanmar, he said while its recent elections "may not be perfect," they were "an important first step and what we want to do now is to see the gradual opening up and making sure that political process becomes more inclusive, and we hope that the rest of the world will try to make sure that we can support Myanmar to do that."

He pointed to the release earlier this year of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in November after seven years under house arrest as a "positive step" in that process.

Afterward, she gave a recorded address to the Forum, urging investment in technology and infrastructure, and micro-lending programs in her country, but said investors "should pay close attention to the costs and collateral damage of our development, whether environmental or social."

Suu Kyi's party won the country's last election, in 1990, but the army would not let it take power and refused to convene parliament. The first parliamentary session since 1988 is to convene Monday, dominated by a military-sponsored party.

Suu Kyi spoke to the Davos participants hours after Myanmar's highest court declined Friday to hear a case she filed seeking to overturn the government's dissolution of her party.


Grant Peck in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Smart poised to launch WiMAX

via CAAI

Friday, 28 January 2011

Cambodian wireless operator Smart Mobile is carrying out testing of its WiMAX network ahead of a possible launch in the second quarter of this year, local daily Phnom Penh Post reports, citing Smart’s CEO, Thomas Hundt. The service will initially be available in Phnom Penh, but the network will be expanded to Siem Reap and Battambang, offering download speeds of up to 40Mbps. According to Hundt, the company held its first live test of the system last week during the ASEAN Tourism Forum at Koh Pich, with ‘excellent’ results.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Smart Mobile became Cambodia’s eighth mobile operator when it launched commercial GSM services in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep in March 2009. It is owned by Latelz, a subsidiary of Cyprus-based and Russian-owned Timeturns Holdings. Earlier this month Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera received approval from the Cambodian authorities to merge its Cambodian mobile subsidiary Applifone’s operations with those of Smart Mobile. The new company will operate under the Smart Mobile brand. TeliaSonera’s 75.5%-owned unit TeliaSonera Asia Holding will take 25% of the new company.

Japan, biggest donor to Cambodia's genocide tribunal, contributes another $11.7 million

via CAAI

By The Associated Press (CP)
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Japan has agreed to make a contribution of $11.7 million to the U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal that is trying former leaders of Cambodia's communist Khmer Rouge.

A tribunal statement issued Friday said that the contribution from Japan — the single biggest donor to the proceedings — will cover about 25 per cent of its budget for 2011. Japan has provided a total of about $67 million to the tribunal, about 49 per cent of all contributions.

An estimated 1.7 million people died under Khmer Rouge rule in the late 1970s. The tribunal convicted its first defendant last year, and later this year is expected to begin trying four former top Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and murder, torture and religious persecution.

Greater Participation by Civil Parties Urged for Tribunal

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Friday, 28 January 2011

via CAAI

Photo: by Heng Reaksmey
Chhum Mey, a surviving victim of torture at Tuol Sleng prison.

“I under [the defendants] are already old, and that’s why I’m pushing the court to do whatever, since they are still alive.”

Two prominent civil party participants at the Khmer Rouge tribunals say the more complainants allowed by the Trial Chamber, the more justice and reconciliation the trials will bring.

Seng Theary, a US-Cambodian lawyer, and Chhum Mey, a survivor of the Tuol Sleng torture center, told “Hello VOA” on Thursday that victim participation is an important aspect of the tribunal.

“Hearing information, seeking truth, that’s totally important for the next generation,” Seng Theary said.

“I wish to appeal that all [civil complainants] cooperate with their lawyers and say, ‘I want to participate,’” Seng Theary said.

The courts have selected more than 2,000 civil party participants for the upcoming trial of jailed Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith. However, those who will actually participate under the lead lawyers to testify are not known.

“I as a civil party do not retaliate or have revenge at all,” Chhum Mey said. “I under [the defendants] are already old, and that’s why I’m pushing the court to do whatever, since they are still alive.”

The upcoming trial should also serve as a precedent for future generations to prevent another Khmer Rouge-style period, he said. And he urged the court to inform those civil parties who will participate in the trial as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Theary Seng said, there is little time remaining for lawyers to explain the relevant legal issues to civil party participants. She urged participants to be proactive in contacting their lawyers, instead of waiting.

Cambodia Refuses To Lower Flag from Contentious Pagoda

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Friday, 28 January 2011

via CAAI

Photo: AP
A Cambodian flag flutters near an entrance gate to Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple on the Cambodian-Thai- border in Preah Vihear province.

“Cambodia reserves its legitimate rights to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Cambodia says it will not remove its flag from a pagoda on a disputed piece of land near Preah Vihear temple, despite a request from Thailand.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement it would not comply with a request from Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to remove the flag from Wat Keo Siha Kiri Svara.

Both sides claim the land surrounding the pagoda, which was also at the center of a prolonged military standoff that began in July 2008 and only ended a few months ago.

The Foreign Ministry called the “demand” for the removal of the flag “insulting” and said recent Thai military exercises near the border were “clearly provocative.”

“Cambodia reserves its legitimate rights to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement said.

The latest row follows the removal of a controversial placard on the border purporting to mark the place where “Thai troops invaded Cambodia” in July 2008 and withdrew on Dec. 1, 2010. That sign has been replaced with one that says, “Here! Is Cambodia.”

Cambodia lays claim to the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda via turn of the century maps and conventions between France and Siam, the former name for Thailand. The pagoda was built by Cambodians in 1998 on land claimed by Cambodia. For its part, Thailand has said in the past it disputes the maps used by Cambodia and demarks the border according to its own surveys.

Foreign ministers from both countries are slated to meet in Siem Reap next week for a bilateral meeting on security and cooperation.

Bangkok sees rise in political tension

via CAAI

Jan 28, 2011

PM Abhisit's one-time 'yellow shirt' allies turning on him; talk of military coup surfaces

By Nirmal Ghosh, Thailand Correspondent

A supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts, poses for a photograph near Government House in Bangkok. -- PHOTO: AP

BANGKOK - POLITICAL temperatures are rising once again in Bangkok, as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's one-time allies turn against him and return to street protests outside his office.

Protesters from the royalist, right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), whose massive street rallies led to the ouster of then-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have been gathering and returning to their old stomping grounds. At their old protest site at the Makkawan bridge opposite the United Nations building, the 'yellow shirts' have taken over the road, erected a big stage and set up an encampment designed for a prolonged sit-in.

So far, however, the protesters number in the low thousands only - far short of the huge gatherings that had led to Thaksin's ouster in 2006 as well as that of the government loyal to him in 2008. There were barely 3,000 in the evenings, and even fewer in the day.

While they had helped pave the way for the entrance of Mr Abhisit's government, the yellow shirts - which are backed by powerful elements of Thailand's old elites - are now turning against him.

The PAD, allied with the ultra-nationalist Thai Patriots Network and the Santi Asoke sect, has adopted a nationalist stance and is accusing the government of allowing Cambodia to grab land along the countries' border. It is demanding that Bangkok cancel a 2000 agreement with Cambodia on border issues, withdraw from Unesco's World Heritage Committee, and expel Cambodian citizens from Thai territory.

Ties between Cambodia and Thailand have been tense since 2008, when an ancient temple on disputed land on the countries' border was granted World Heritage status.

The definitive description of a non-government organisation

via CAAI

Friday, 28 January 2011 16:43 Stuart Alan Becker

THE definition of a non-governmental organisation is a legally constituted organisation that operates independently from any government. NGO is a term usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government status – but in the context of Cambodia, one of the most donated-to countries in the world, NGOs are generally perceived as being of service in one way or another to the poor and marginalised citizens, through health services, vocational training, agricultural or infrastructure development, family and social services or other human-benefiting or humanitarian work.

Because of Cambodia’s turbulent history, owing to a combination of factors including the nation’s geographical location between the two larger powers of Thailand and Vietnam, together with the history of foreign intervention beginning with the French Protectorate, the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge period and the civil war and liberation in 1979 – it is widely recognised that NGOs have been essential in stabilising Cambodia’s population.

While it may be somewhat discomforting for local people to be asked to tolerate well-funded foreigners running around getting involved in poor people’s lives, even the most ardent of Cambodian nationalists must agree that NGOs have played essential roles in stabilising the population following the removal of the Pol Pot regime.

Most NGOs operating in Cambodia work closely with the government, creating a kind of mutual dependency in which the funding and expertise provided by the NGOs are deeply appreciated by state officials – especially at the village level.

Today, more than 30 years after Cambodia opened to NGOs, as the Cambodian population becomes increasingly stabilised, more than US$100 million per year in funding is distributed among the NGOs operating here.

In cases where NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO usually maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organisation. Thus, government aid money could be donated to an NGO from China, Japan, the United States, Germany or South Korea, for example, and the NGO could still retain its non-government status.

In most cases, representatives of the Cambodian government have a mutually beneficial relationship with NGOs which gather the funding and develop ideas about how to get benefits, training and improvements to needy sectors of the population.

NGOs need cooperation from government officials at all levels to get the work done in the provinces, so while there may be some jockeying for advantage, the relationships are often mutually supportive, as in the case of the Kampong Speu Governor’s office and the NGOs working on sanitation projects.

The term NGO is usually applied only to organisations that pursue some wider social aim that has political aspects, but that is not overtly political organisations. Unlike the term “intergovernmental organisation”, the term “non-governmental organisation” has no generally agreed legal definition. In many jurisdictions, these types of groups are called “civil society organisations” or referred to by other names.

According to the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia in its 2010 Review of the NGO Sector in Cambodia, 72 percent of NGOs in Cambodia are local and 28 percent are international NGOs. There are an estimated 2,000 LNGOs and more than 300 INGOs operating in Cambodia today.

In terms of size and financial strength, some of the world’s biggest NGOs are involved humanitarian work such as Oxfam, CARE, World Vision and Save the Children – all large organizations with significant financial clout.

World Vision, for example, had a worldwide annual budget for 2006 of about $2.1 billion. The National Bank of Cambodia estimated Cambodia’s gross domestic product in 2010 at $11.36 billion.

The number of internationally operating NGOs is estimated at 40,000. The line between an “NGO” a “nonprofit” and “civil society” is often blurred in debates. Yet in the case of Cambodia, it is generally true to regard NGOs as organisations involved somehow in providing benefits to the population.

NGOs are defined by the World Bank as “private organisations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development”.

Common usage varies between countries - for example NGO is commonly used for domestic organisations in Australia that would be referred to as non-profit organisations in the US. Such organisations that operate on the international level are fairly consistently referred to as “non-governmental organisations” in the US and elsewhere.

International non-governmental organisations have a history dating back to at least 1839. It has been estimated that by 1914 there were 1,083 NGOs.

However, the phrase “non-governmental organisation” only came into popular use with the establishment of the United Nations Organisation in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter for a consultative role for organisations which are neither governments nor member states.

The definition of “International NGO” is first given in resolution 288 (X) of ECOSOC on February 27, 1950: it is defined as “any international organisation that is not founded by an international treaty”. The vital role of NGOs and other “major groups” in sustainable development was recognised in Chapter 27 of Agenda 21, leading to intense arrangements for a consultative relationship between the UN and NGOs.

During the 20th century international treaties and international organisations such as the World Trade Organisation had been criticised as being too focused on the interests of capitalist enterprises. NGOs have developed to emphasise humanitarian issues, developmental aid and sustainable development.

A prominent example of this is the World Social Forum, which is a rival convention to the World Economic Forum held annually in January in Davos, Switzerland. The fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005 was attended by representatives from more than 1,000 NGOs.

There’s a debate that, NGOs take the place of what should belong to popular movements of the poor. Others argue that NGOs are often imperialist in nature, that they sometimes operate in a racist manner in Third World countries and that they fulfill a similar function to that of the clergy during the colonial era. Philosopher Peter Hallward argues that they are an aristocratic form of politics.

Yet, NGOs remain a fact of life in Cambodia and while some of them may have gradually shifted emphasis towards bureaucratic largesse and away from relentless service of the needy – that’s not always the case – the truth is complex and each NGO is individual and shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest.


An NGOs is a legally constituted organisation that operates independently from any government


Understanding the role of NGOs in Cambodia requires individual study of each one. The good news is, in the fullness of time, tactics have been developed and shared through organisations like the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia and NGOs are able to borrow proven techniques from each other about how to make programs for sanitation, health and economic development work within the framework of the local governments.

Apart from “NGO”, often alternative terms are used as for example: independent sector, volunteer sector, civil society, grassroots organisations, transnational social movement organisations, private voluntary organisations, self-help organisations and non-state actors.

Non-governmental organisations are a heterogeneous group. A long list of acronyms has developed around the term “NGO”. There are also numerous classifications of NGOs.The typology the World Bank uses divides them into operational and advocacy.

The primary purpose of an operational NGO is the design and implementation of development-related projects. One frequently used categorisation is the division into relief-oriented versus development-oriented organisations; they can also be classified according to whether they stress service delivery or participation; or whether they are religious or secular; and whether they are more public or private-oriented. Operational NGOs can be community-based, national or international.

The primary purpose of an Advocacy NGO is to defend or promote a specific cause. As opposed to operational project management, these organisations typically try to raise awareness, acceptance and knowledge by lobbying, press work and activist events.

USAID refers to NGOs as private voluntary organisations. Others argue, however, that this definition is problematic because many NGOs are state and corporate funded and manage projects with professional staff.

NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, usually to further the political or social goals of their members or funding providers. Examples include improving the state of the natural environment, encouraging the observance of human rights, improving the welfare of the disadvantaged, or representing a corporate agenda.

However, there are a huge number of such organisations and their goals cover a broad range of political and philosophical positions. This can also easily be applied to private schools and athletic organisations.

The number of internationally operating NGOs is estimated at 40,000. National numbers are even higher: Russia has 277,000 NGOs. India is estimated to have between 1 million and 2 million.

NGOs vary in their methods. Some act primarily as lobbyists, while others primarily conduct programs and activities. For instance, an NGO such as Oxfam, concerned with poverty alleviation, might provide needy people with the equipment and skills to find food and clean drinking water, whereas an NGO like the FFDA helps through investigation and documentation of human rights violations and provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses. Others, such as the Afghanistan Information Management Services, provide specialised technical products and services to support development activities implemented on the ground by other organisations.

NGOs need healthy relationships with the public to meet their goals. Foundations and charities use sophisticated public relations campaigns to raise funds and employ standard lobbying techniques with governments. Interest groups may be of political importance because of their ability to influence social and political outcomes. A code of ethics was established in 2002 by The World Association of Non Governmental NGOs.

The Cambodian Committee for Cooperation has established a voluntary code of ethics for NGOs operating in Cambodia and requests NGOs adopt self-regulation according to those established guidelines.
There is an increasing awareness that management techniques are crucial to project success in NGOs.

Generally, NGOs that are private have either a community or environmental focus. They address issues such as religion, emergency aid, or humanitarian affairs. They mobilise public support and voluntary contributions for aid, they often have strong links with community groups in developing countries, and they often work in areas where government-to-government aid is not possible. NGOs are accepted as a part of the international relations landscape, and while they influence national and multilateral policy-making, increasingly they are more directly involved in local action.

Not all people working for NGOs are volunteers. There is some dispute as to whether expatriates should be sent to developing countries. Often this type of personnel is employed to satisfy a donor who wants to see the project managed by someone from an industrialised country. However, the expertise these employees or volunteers may be counterbalanced by a number of factors: the cost of foreigners is typically higher, they have no grassroot connections in the country they are sent to, and local expertise is often undervalued.

The NGO sector is an important employer in terms of numbers. For example, by the end of 1995, CONCERN worldwide, an international Northern NGO working against poverty, employed 174 expatriates and just over 5,000 national staff working in 10 developing countries in Africa and Asia and Haiti.

Large NGOs may have annual budgets in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. For instance, the budget of the American Association of Retired Persons’ was more than US$540 million in 1999. Funding such large budgets demands significant fundraising efforts on the part of most NGOs. Major sources of NGO funding are membership dues, the sale of goods and services, grants from international institutions or national governments, and private donations. Several European Union grants provide funds accessible to NGOs.

Even though the term “non-governmental organisation” implies independence from governments, most NGOs depend heavily on governments for their funding. A quarter of the $162 million income in 1998 of the famine-relief organisation Oxfam was donated by the British government and the EU.

The Christian relief and development organisation World Vision collected $55 million worth of goods in 1998 from the American government. Nobel Prize winner Médecins Sans Frontières (known in the US as Doctors Without Borders) gets 46 percent of its income from government sources.


Some NGOs, such as Greenpeace, do not accept funding from governments


Government funding of NGOs is controversial, since, according to David Rieff, writing in The New Republic, “the whole point of humanitarian intervention was precisely that NGOs and civil society had both a right and an obligation to respond with acts of aid and solidarity to people in need or being subjected to repression or want by the forces that controlled them, whatever the governments concerned might think about the matter”. Some NGOs, such as Greenpeace do not accept funding from governments or intergovernmental organisations.

In a March 2000 report on UN reform priorities, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote in favour of international humanitarian intervention, arguing that the international community has a “right to protect” citizens of the world against ethnic cleansing, genocide, and crimes against humanity”.

On the heels of the report, the Canadian government launched the Responsibility to Protect R2PPDF (434 KiB) project, outlining the issue of humanitarian intervention. While the R2P doctrine has wide applications, among the more controversial has been the Canadian government’s use of R2P to justify its intervention and support of the coup in Haiti.

Years after R2P, the World Federalist Movement, an organisation which supports “the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and calls for the division of international authority among separate agencies”, launched Responsibility to Protect - Engaging Civil Society (R2PCS). A collaboration between the WFM and the Canadian government, this aims to bring NGOs into lockstep with the principles outlined under the original R2P project.

The governments of the countries where an NGO is registered may require reporting or other monitoring and oversight. Funding providers generally require reporting and assessment and such information is not necessarily publicly available. There may also be associations and watchdog organisations that research and publish details on the actions of NGOs working in particular geographic or program areas.

In recent years, many large corporations have increased their corporate social responsibility departments in an attempt to preempt NGO campaigns against certain corporate practices. As the logic goes, if corporations work with NGOs, NGOs will not work against corporations.

The legal form of NGOs is diverse and depends upon homegrown variations in each country’s laws and practices. NGOs are not subjects of international law, as states are. An exception is the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is subject to certain matters, mainly relating to the Geneva Convention.

The Council of Europe in Strasbourg drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations in 1986, which sets a common legal basis for the existence and work of NGOs in Europe. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of association, which is a norm for NGOs. Some reasearch courtesy of

Arrested Thai MP claims video editing misleading

via CAAI

The Thai MP arrested for illegally entering Cambodia last month says video footage appearing to show he was aware he'd illegally crossed the border was edited to be misleading.

Panich Vikitsreth is a member of a joint Thai-Cambodian border committee.

He says he was investigating claims Cambodians had encroached onto Thai territory when he was detained.

Six of the seven arrested Thais have been released on bail, but one's still in a Cambodian jail facing espionage charges.

Video footage posted online appeared to show Mr Panich telling the Thai Prime Minister's office he was crossing into Cambodia, but he says the video is misleading.

"But what surprised me most is that the whole footage of 23 minutes, they mix the sequence too. The sequence were wrong. They start off half way, then it came back to the beginning and then it went to the later part of our trip."

Cambodia: Chokehold on Basic Freedoms Tightens

via CAAI

28 January 2011

(New York) – The Cambodian government tightened restrictions on fundamental freedoms in 2010, making it increasingly difficult and risky for human rights defenders, land rights activists, and trade unionists to operate, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2011.

The 649-page report, Human Rights Watch’s 21st annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. During 2010, Human Rights Watch said, the Cambodian government increasingly ignored or dismissed human rights concerns of United Nations agencies and international donors that have made significant contributions to the country’s budget for years. Instead, Prime Minister Hun Sen rebuked UN officials, threatening to expel the UN resident coordinator and the UN human rights office director in Phnom Penh.

Download the complete report > [PDF, 4 MB]

“The Cambodian government has used bluster and intimidation to push the UN and donors into silence about abuses,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The international community needs to advocate more forcefully for the human rights of the Cambodian people.”

The year started with the forced return of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers to China, where they were at risk of torture. This flagrant violation of Cambodia’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention was made over strenuous protests by key donors and UN agencies. In March, Hun Sen threatened to expel Cambodia’s UN resident coordinator for calling for greater transparency in passage of an anti-corruption law. In October in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Hun Sen demanded the closure of the UN human rights office in Phnom Penh unless the UN dismissed its country representative, whom the government accused without evidence of supporting the opposition.

A new penal code contains draconian and vaguely defined provisions that permit criminal prosecution for peaceful expression. Shortly after the law went into effect in December, a World Food Program staff member was sentenced to prison on politically motivated incitement charges. Laws being drafted to regulate nongovernmental organizations and trade unions are expected to restrict their ability to exist, operate, and organize activities, in violation of the rights to freedom of association and assembly. Even without these restrictive laws, authorities regularly use force to disperse peaceful protests.

People's Alliance ups its war rhetoric

via CAAI

Published on January 28, 2011

The nationalist People's Alliance for Democracy yesterday ratcheted up its rhetoric against Cambodia and the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration even though it told its supporters that it has no intention of leading Thailand to war with Cambodia.

A man got on stage and insisted to the moderate turnout of some 3,000 in the early evening that "the PAD is not inciting [the government] to declare war with its neighbour".

Nevertheless, a poster attached to the gate on Makkhawan Bridge showed a picture of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen being likened to a "criminal" as well as a monitor lizard, a symbol that Thais regard as an insult.

T-shirts carrying patriotic messages like "Retake Preah Vihear Temple" in Thai, referring to the contested Khmer site that is claimed by Cambodia, can be picked up from vendors at the protest venue.

Yellow bandannas with the message "protect our land" accompanied by a picture of Preah Vihear Temple are also available.

And for those who can't read Thai, there's a yellow plastic placard that reads in English, "Stop MoU 43! Cambodians Get Out", alluding to the controversial MoU dealing with the disputed border signed by both governments in 2000.

Shortly before 6pm and not long after the male speaker onstage promised that the PAD is not calling for war, his female colleague read a PAD leadership statement of the day, urging the Thai government to repeal the MoU unilaterally and "use military might to pressure [Cambodia] into

drafting a new MoU".

"Yeah! That's the way to go!" shouted one yellow-shirt supporter in the front row as many others waved their hand-clappers and cheered in approval.

"That's the way!" he shouted again.