UNC Professor Analyzes Khmer Rouge

Saturday, August 8, 2009

http://www.wchl1360.com/

By Matt Stradley
WCHL Reporter

A human rights tribunal in Cambodia is questioning several leaders from the Khmer Rouge regime almost 25 years after their rule came to an end.

Dr. Jeffrey Sonis, associate professor in the departments of Social Medicine and Family Medicine, at UNC says the trials offer a unique opportunity to gauge the psychological effect of war trials on a society.

Sonis, the lead author in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says the rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, in Cambodians estimated at 11% of the population is five times higher than the United States.

Accounts of the genocide estimate between one and two million people were killed to create an “agrarian collectivism” a communist concept for an ideal society.

Sonis says the study showed a quandary between feelings of justice and fears of rehashing past memories.

Sonis and his colleagues are now conducting a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to measure the effects of the trials on Cambodians over time.
READ MORE - UNC Professor Analyzes Khmer Rouge

ASEAN commemorates 42nd anniversary with environment issue



Surin Pitsuwan, secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), delivers a speech during a commemoration activity in Jarkata, Indonesia, on Aug. 8, 2009. The ASEAN on Saturday marked the 42nd anniversary of its founding with the theme of "Green Asia" to reflect its care about environment. (Xinhua/Li Xiaoyu)

www.chinaview.cn
2009-08-08

JAKARTA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) commemorated its 42nd anniversary with theme of "Green Asia" to reflect its care about environment that has been deteriorated by climate change, the association's chief said here on Saturday.

"Today, we commemorate our 42nd anniversary, to commemorate achievements of we made to our people and the world's, just what our founding fathers wanted," said Surin Pitsuwan, the association's secretary general in his opening speech.

He said that climate change has been the top agenda of many countries, governmental bodies, inter-governmental summits et cetera.

"That's why we choose the topic for our commemorations' theme today," he said.

According to Surin, ASEAN is the home for so many species of flora and fauna that do not exist in other part of the world.

"ASEAN is just 3 percent part of the Earth but we have 20 percent of plants, animals, and marine species of the world's total," Surin said, adding that ASEAN contributed so much oxygen even though it emits much carbon dioxide too.

He said that making more comfortable and more livable Earth is the world's responsibility by preserving green environment.

According to Surin, all across ASEAN and the world that have ASEAN committee is commemorating the anniversary on Saturday.

"In London, Tokyo, Beijing, Brazil, for example, they are commemorating this anniversary. In fact, I just received messages from Moscow and Washington that they are commemorating this event, even though it's still early there," he said.

ASEAN consists of countries located in the Southeast Asia region, namely Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the association's data in 2007, ASEAN has 576 million populations who lived on 4.5 million square meters. The countries have combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 1,282 trillion U.S. dollars with total trade of 1.616 trillion dollars.


Editor: Li Shuncheng
READ MORE - ASEAN commemorates 42nd anniversary with environment issue

Sex slavery victim visits Central New York, speaks out against child sex trafficking


Submitted photograph
Somaly Mam, an advocate against sex trafficking and slavery, talks with supporters at a recent gathering. She was at Carousel Center Thursday at The Body Shop. That company The Body Shop has launched a fund-raiser for Somaly Mam and ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes). Somaly was a victim of child sex trafficking

by Nina Wegner / The Post-Standard
Friday August 07, 2009

Somaly Mam, an international spokeswoman for ending child sex trafficking, paid a visit to the Carousel Center on this week to help promote an anti-trafficking campaign launched by The Body Shop.

More than 1.8 million children and young people are trafficked in the global sex trade each year, even within the United States, according to a 2002 report by the International Labor Organization.

Human trafficking is the globe's second largest organized crime, generating $9.5 billion a year, according to the U.S. State Department. However, sex trafficking remains an underexposed issue in America.


With the sale of several $10 body care products, The Body Shop will donate $6 to the organization End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes and the Somaly Mam Foundation.

"The Body Shop (campaign) has given us hope, because so many people (who are sold into sexual slavery) are so isolated, and alone, they feel nobody understands," said Mam. "It means a lot for us, it means a lot for the lives you save."

Mam, who was sold into sexual slavery as a child in Cambodia, was able to escape captivity and in 1996 started an advocacy group, AFESIP (an acronym in French for "Acting for Women in Distressing Situations").

Mam traveled from Cambodia to support the campaign's launch. In Syracuse, Mam greeted and thanked the staff of The Body Shop.

"Our late founder, Dame Anita Roddick, was dedicated to the issue of human trafficking. When she passed away in September 2007, we felt it was a fitting tribute to Anita to launch something as powerful as this," said Shelley Simmons, director of communications and values for The Body Shop.
READ MORE - Sex slavery victim visits Central New York, speaks out against child sex trafficking

Typhoon Morakot batters Taiwan - 7 Aug 09



AlJazeeraEnglish

Taiwan has closed offices and schools and grounded flights as the strongest typhoon of the year closes in on the island.

Heavy rains and strong winds caused by Typhoon Morakot have already triggered floods and mudslides across the region.

Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Taipei, Taiwan's capital.
READ MORE - Typhoon Morakot batters Taiwan - 7 Aug 09

6 dead, missing in typhoon



A pedestrian falls down during strong winds brought by typhoon Morakot in Taipei. --PHOTO: REUTERS

A woman is helped by rescuers in floodwater in Linbian. --PHOTO: AFP
It was expected to hit southern China late Saturday or early Sunday. --PHOTO: REUTERS

The Straits Times
http://www.straitstimes.com

Aug 8, 2009

TAIPEI - TYPHOON Morakot slammed into Taiwan overnight, flooding villages, cutting power lines and leaving at least six people dead or missing, officials and media reported Saturday.

Separately, rescuers were searching for some 10 sailors lost in rough seas off Hainan Island in southern China as Tropical Storm Goni approached.

Morakot hit Taiwan late Friday but by 2pm Saturday had traversed the island and weakened to a tropical storm in the Taiwan Strait.

It was expected to hit southern China late Saturday or early Sunday. Morakot had smashed into the northern Philippines early Friday, triggering floods and landslides that killed at least 12 people.

Morakot dumped up to 1,651 millimeters of rain on parts of southern and eastern Taiwan on Friday and Saturday, leaving villages in Taitung, Pingtung and Kaohsiung counties partially submerged.

A 67-year-old woman died late Friday when she drove her motorcycle into a ditch during heavy rain in Kaohsiung in the south, the National Fire Agency said in a statement posted on its Web site.

The Apple Daily newspaper said a 47-year-old man slammed his car into a train in torrential rain in eastern Yilan county late Friday and died on the spot. The newspaper did not provide a source and local authorities could not immediately confirm the report.

Another five people were missing and feared dead, the National Fire Agency said. Two were fishermen whose boat capsized off the coast of Pingtung county in the south, the agency said.

One man fell into the sea in eastern Taitung county and a 50-year-old woman fell into a river in Kaohsiung, the agency said.

A villager, also in Taitung, set off on a fishing expedition early Friday as the storm approached the island but no one has been able to contact him since, it said. It did not provide any more details.

The agency said at least 17 people were injured in the storm.
READ MORE - 6 dead, missing in typhoon

Government Officials Rejected a Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations on Mu Sochua’s Case – Saturday, 8.8.2009


Posted on 8 August 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624
http://cambodiamirror.wordpress.com/

“After the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a verdict on 4 August 2009, announcing that the Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general and parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, lost the defamation case where the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, had sued her, there was a strong reaction from civil society organizations against this verdict. However, the government totally rejects this joint statement where they had expressed their reaction.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, told Deum Ampil by phone on Friday, ‘I have no reaction, but I regret that these civil society organizations do not accept for themselves a the state of law, because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided already and the civil society’s statement is clearly political.’

“Mr. Phay Siphan added, ‘If Ms. Mu Sochua does not agree with the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, she has the right to appeal. No country has issued statement against this court verdict.

“The Human Rights Action Committee, which is a league of 21 non-government organizations, and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, released a joint statement on 5 August 2009, saying that they regret the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in the morning of 4 August 2009, ordering Ms. Mu Sochua to pay a fine and to compensate Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

“In the statement, they noted, ‘The Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not talk and ask in detail about facts, but just mentioned the complaint of the prime minister as the basis for its hearing, and in reality, the hearing did not pay attention on Ms. Mu Sochua’s case, especially to the reason why Ms. Mu Sochua held a press conference at [the Sam Rainsy Party] headquarters [which was used as the basis for the defamation suit against her].

“Civil society organizations ask the court to be independent, neutral, and non-biased in holding its hearings, and to reform itself soon, so that it does not become a tool of the powerful, and they requested the Cambodian courts to pay more attention to the rights and freedoms, as stated in the Constitution and other human rights treaties.

“It should be remembered that a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered Ms. Mu Sochua on 4 August 2009 to pay Riel 8.5 million [approx. US$2,100] to the state, and to pay a compensation of Riel 8 million [approx. US$2,000] to the Prime Minister for defamation, a court case which had extended over almost 4 months. After the verdict was issued, Ms. Mu Sochua appealed on 5 August 2009.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #257, 8.8.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 8 August 2009
READ MORE - Government Officials Rejected a Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations on Mu Sochua’s Case – Saturday, 8.8.2009

Police reportedly killed the self-proclaimed Southeast Asian commander


Indonesian police officers regroup following a raid on a house where suspected terrorists were holed up in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009. Indonesian police hunting the terrorists behind last month's attacks on hotels in the capital raided one house and besieged another Saturday, killing two suspected militants, arresting five and seizing explosives and a car bomb, a senior officer said.
(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)


By IRWAN FIRDAUS, Associated Press Writer
Sat Aug 8

BEJI, Indonesia – Police reportedly killed the self-proclaimed Southeast Asian commander of al-Qaida on Saturday in a 16-hour siege of a village hide-out, but authorities said they could not confirm that a recovered body was that of the militant leader without DNA tests.

Local TV stations reported that alleged terror mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top was killed in the lengthy bomb and gunbattle at a house in central Java. Noordin is suspected in last month's suicide bomb attacks on two American hotels in the capital, Jakarta, as well as the deaths of more than 220 people in bomb blasts on the resort island of Bali in 2002 and 2005.

Together the bombings linked to Noordin and the Southeast Asian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network killed 250 people, many of them Western tourists.

The remains of a man believed to be Noordin were flown from central Java to Jakarta for an autopsy, but police "cannot yet confirm that this is Noordin Top," national police Chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said.

Police don't want to say that Noordin is assumed dead and any announcement will have to wait until next week after a DNA examination is complete, Hendarso told a nationally televised news conference. It was unclear if police have any samples on file that can be used for the DNA test.

The July attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta killed seven people, all but one of them foreigners, and ended a four-year pause in terror strikes in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Noordin is also believed to have orchestrated an earlier attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in 2003 and a blast outside the Australian Embassy in 2004, together killing dozens and wounding hundreds in the Indonesian capital.

Those early attacks were blamed on the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and were believed to be funded by al-Qaida, but Noordin later reportedly broke away from the Southeast Asian group to form a more violent offshoot and his foreign ties became uncertain. It is unknown how the recent suicide blasts on the Jakarta hotels were funded.

Noordin emerged as the region's most prominent suspected terrorist leader and is known as a skilled bomb maker who has eluded capture for around seven years, despite a massive crackdown launched by Indonesian authorities following the first Bali bombing.

A Malaysian citizen, Noordin claimed in a video in 2005 to be al-Qaida's representative in Southeast Asia and to be carrying out attacks on Western civilians to avenge Muslim deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Killing or capturing him would be a major victory in Indonesia's fight against militants and could significantly weaken the chances of more attacks, given the key planning, financial and motivational role he is believed to have played in terror networks.

Minutes after Saturday's raid, witnesses said officers outside the house took off their helmets and were shaking hands with each other, suggesting all those inside had either been killed or captured. The firing ceased.

A police officer at the scene said a body was found in the bathroom of the house and authorities brought a coffin there. After about an hour, three ambulances left the home.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters he had been briefed on an ongoing operation "to uphold law and to eradicate terrorism," but made no mention of Noordin. Still, he praised police.

"I extend my highest gratitude and respect to the police for their brilliant achievement in this operation," he said.

Earlier Saturday, officers raided a second house close to Jakarta where they killed two suspected militants and seized bombs and a car rigged to carry them, police Chief Danuri said.

The house was about three miles (five kilometers) from the president's residence. The Detik.com Web site, quoting an unidentified police source, said officers believed they were planning to attack Yudhoyono's house.

Officers circled the house in central Java province late Friday afternoon after making arrests in a nearby town. At one point, they sent remote-controlled robots into the isolated building to search for bombs.

Not long before they stormed the red-tiled building, officers dressed in black hid behind a shield and fired into the house from close range, while others fired repeated volleys from a hill behind it.

Police have arrested more than 200 militants linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network since 2002, including many with suspected ties to Noordin.

Java, home to more than half of Indonesia's 235 million people, has long been the focus in the hunt for Noordin and his associates.

In November 2005, Azahari bin Husin, a top Jemaah Islamiyah bomb maker, was fatally shot by counterterrorism forces in east Java. Sariyah Jabir, another explosives expert, was killed in April 2006 during a raid on a militant hide-out in central Java.

___

AP reporter Niniek Karmini in Jakarta contributed to this article.
READ MORE - Police reportedly killed the self-proclaimed Southeast Asian commander

Tropical storm Goni: Nearly 100 missing in sea off S China

www.chinaview.cn

2009-08-08

HAIKOU, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 100 ships' crew members from Cambodia, Vietnam and China are missing in heavy seas off south China's Hainan Island, a local official said Saturday.

More than 20 ships in the area had been affected by gale conditions resulting from tropical storm Goni, said Xie Fuchun, an official with the Hainan Province's Bureau of Maritime Affairs.

Rescue vessels and helicopters are being used to locate the missing crewmen, said Yang Pansheng, the bureau head. The exact number of rescue craft is not known.

In Guangdong, a female passenger was killed and the driver is missing after flooding blocked a bus route. Twelve houses have been destroyed and nearly 200,000 people affected by storm-related problems.

Goni, the seventh storm to hit China this year, was 19.2 degrees north and 108.3 degrees east at 10 a.m. Saturday, 30 kilometers from Dongfang City in the west of Hainan.

Packing winds of 65 kilometers per hour, it was moving southwestwards at a speed of five kilometers an hour and was likely to land on the island within 12 hours, said the island's meteorological station.


Editor: Li

READ MORE - Tropical storm Goni: Nearly 100 missing in sea off S China

Chinese American Hero: Dr. Haing S. Ngor



August 7, 2009

Name in English: Dr. Haing S. Ngor
Name in Chinese: 吴汉[吳漢]
Name in Pinyin: Wú Hàn
Gender: Male
Birth Year: 1940-1996
Birth Place: Samrong Young, Cambodia
Philanthropy: Yes

Profession (s): Medical Doctor, Actor

Education: Medical Doctor, Royal Khmer University, School of Medicine

Awards: 1984, Academy Award - Best Supporting Actor, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; 1984, British Academy Film Award - Best Actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts; 1984, British Academy Film Award, Best Newcomer to Film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts; 1984, Golden Globe - Best Supporting Actor, Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Contribution (s): Dr. Haing S. Ngor was born in Cambodia, the son of an ethnic Chinese father and Khmer mother. He was trained as a doctor specializing in gynecology and obstetrics and was working in the capital, Phnom Penh, when it fell to the communist Khmer Rouge in 1975. The Khmer Rouge’s extreme anti-Western and anti-intellectual policies placed Ngor in immediate danger. Ngor had to hide his glasses and pretend to be an uneducated common laborer because people who were suspected of being among the intellectual classes were immediately executed. There was widespread starvation, killings, and torture in the following years as the Khmer Rouge immediately forced all city residents into the countryside as part of their policy of destroying everything to create their utopian agrarian society. Dr. Ngor’s wife and child died during a premature birth because of the lack of medical supplies and the fact that Ngor couldn’t risk showing his medical education. He was also tortured at various times, having half a finger chopped off and was hit in the ankle with an axe during interrogations to find out his previous profession. Each time he convinced his interrogators that he was an illiterate taxi driver. Every member of his family was killed except for a young niece, just some of the over 2 million Cambodians that died under the Khmer Rouge.

In 1979, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia gave Ngor and many other Cambodians the chance to flee the country. Ngor ended up in a refugee camp in Thailand with his niece and flew with her to America in August 1980. He became a social worker at the Chinatown Service Center in Los Angeles helping Southeast Asian refugees resettle in the United States because his medical license wasn’t recognized here. In 1983, he was asked to play the part of a fellow Cambodian survivor, Dith Pran, in the movie, “The Killing Fields.” His performance in recreating the Khmer Rouge horror was so powerful and moving that he became only the second Asian and the second non-acting professional to win an Academy Award for acting. Other critically acclaimed acting roles followed including “Heaven & Earth” in 1993. Ngor served as Grand Marshall of the 1992 Chinese New Year Golden Dragon Parade in Los Angeles. He was shot and killed during a suspected robbery in 1996.

Despite his sudden fame, Ngor was devoted to improving conditions in Cambodia and improving the lot of Cambodian refugees in the United States. He used his wealth to bring medical supplies and establish clinics in Cambodia. He helped found two aid organizations for refugees in camps near the Thai-Cambodian border: Aides aux Personnes Deplacees, based in Brussels, and Enfants d’Angkor, based in Paris. He also continued to work as a social worker dealing with refugees in Los Angeles. In 1990, he established the Dr. Haing S. Ngor Foundation which raised funds to support aid projects in Cambodia. The foundation built an elementary school and operated a small sawmill that provided jobs and an income for local families.
READ MORE - Chinese American Hero: Dr. Haing S. Ngor

Weather forecast for the Asia-Pacific region

Associated Press
2009-08-08

Two tropical storms will hit East Asia on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Goni is forecast to bring considerable rain and thunderstorms to China's southeastern Hainan Island and Hong Kong later in the day.

Morakot is expected to weaken from typhoon to tropical storm strength before making landfall in southern China near Fuzhou early Sunday. It will nevertheless bring intense wind and heavy rain to coastal areas and inland.

Elsewhere, a low pressure system will move northeastward up Japan, bringing moderate to heavy rain to the country. Temperatures in Tokyo and Seoul will hit the upper 20s Celsius, while Shanghai will see temperatures in the lower 30s.

For Australia, a low pressure system will sweep through the Great Australian Bight before moving into Victoria and New South Wales. There will not be a tremendous amount of moisture involved with this system, but areas of light to moderate precipitation will fall in Victoria in the afternoon and evening.

Another low pressure system will move inland north of Cape Leeuwin late in the day and into Monday. The rest of the country will remain dry and under the influence of a high pressure system.

Sydney will rise into the upper 10s C, while Melbourne will see temperatures a few degrees lower and Brisbane will rise into the lower 20s C.
READ MORE - Weather forecast for the Asia-Pacific region

Troops withdraw over hostage fears

Joint patrols to calm Preah Vihear tensions

Writer: WASSANA NANUAM
Published: 8/08/2009

The army has cancelled overnight stays by troops with their Cambodian counterparts at Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara for fear of them being held hostage.

Ten troops were stationed at the temple day and night in the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area.

They were recently ordered to leave the temple after finishing their daytime tasks and to return again the next morning, said a source with the Suranaree Task Force.

Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara is at the foot of the mountain where the disputed Preah Vihear temple is located.

Since July 15 last year, 10 soldiers have been deployed at Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara. Another 20 Thai troops are stationed around the temple.

"In the event of rising border tensions, those Thai troops [living at the temple] could have been in danger," the source said.

The Cambodian troops have occupied the temple for several years and tended to think the temple was theirs, the source said.

Despite a previous agreement between Thai and Cambodian troops that the temple is an unarmed zone, the Cambodian troops had yet to drop their weapons, but demanded the Thai troops strictly follow the agreement.

"Since it's a policy, we have to follow," said the source, conceding the withdrawal of the Thai troops from the temple could be perceived by the Cambodian side as a victory.

Another agreement adopted by both sides is joint border patrolling in the Phu Makhuea area where Thai and Cambodian troops have clashed repeatedly due to misunderstandings, said the source.

The joint patrol unit consists of 18 soldiers from each side. Thailand and Cambodia keep about 3,000 troops each in the disputed area.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda said yesterday the army stood firm in wanting to resolve border disputes with Cambodia through peaceful negotiations.

"We live next to each other and can never move away. Should Thailand get the Preah Vihear temple back if we fight? The answer is no.

"So we have to work with Cambodia to develop the temple and make use of it," he said.

House Speaker Chai Chidchob yesterday met visiting Cambodian National Assembly President Heng Samrin and discussed the Thai-Cambodian border dispute.

Mr Chai asked his Cambodian counterpart to speed up negotiations regarding settlement of the disputed area.
READ MORE - Troops withdraw over hostage fears

New challenges to ASEAN

Andy Rachmianto , Jakarta Sat, 08/08/2009

On Aug. 8, 2009, ASEAN will celebrate its 42nd anniversary. It is quite natural that when celebrating its anniversary, ASEAN should ask itself what has been achieved and what should be done in the future. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) made a historic move when its leaders adopted the ASEAN Charter in Singapore in 2007.

At the Singapore Summit, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the ASEAN Charter could be the catalyst for speeding up and strengthening regional integration, and could enhance the process by which ASEAN transforms from a loose association to an ASEAN community. It also provides for an elevation of ASEAN into a rule-based and people-centered organization with a legal personality that rests on the pillars of political-security cooperation, economic cooperation and sociocultural cooperation.

The charter is based on the principles of respecting fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, the promotion of social justice and the upholding of the United Nations Charter and international law.

However, following its adoption, some people representing civil society have criticized the charter. Some even argue the charter is irrelevant as it does not reflect "the ideals of ASEAN".

To some extent, this assessment may be correct, taking into account that there is no provision in the charter that clearly mentions the involvement of "the people" and the establishment of any institutionalized mechanism allowing civil society to contribute to ASEAN's decision making process.

More importantly, is whether ASEAN really can act together in facing future challenges at the regional level, including its own internal problems such as the tension between Thailand and Cambodia over the Preah Vihear Temple, overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea or the problematic regime in Myanmar? How ASEAN will react to ongoing global crises such as climate change, energy security, food security and financial crises? Or how will ASEAN respond to the newly emerging regional architecture in the Asia Pacific, especially with the rise of China and India as regional powers?

The current regional architecture in the Asia Pacific is really a major challenge for ASEAN. Following the establishment of ASEAN, there are now other pillars of regional mechanisms that exist in the region, namely: the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the ASEAN Regional forum (ARF), the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) with China, Japan and Korea and the East Asian Summit (EAS). Since ASEAN as a group has been actively involved in all these regional mechanisms, ASEAN can only play its role if its members can cooperate more cohesively to solve the aforementioned internal problems in the region.

But how will ASEAN be able to play a convergent role among all these regional mechanisms? The answer is clear; it is necessary to consolidate all the existing regional mechanisms in order to avoid duplication in terms of focus of cooperation and activities. For instance, which forum or mechanism should deal with social and economic cooperation and which one should be responsible for strategic political and security dialogue.

There is another serious challenge that ASEAN needs to deal with in the future - the institutional-building of a new regional architecture in the Asia Pacific. For the last few years, at least, among Track-Two communities, the idea of shaping a new East Asian institution as an overarching body for strategic dialogues and security cooperation has been thoroughly discussed. In their views, if it is based on size, population, GDP and strategic importance, the new institution or mechanism should not be a large group. Countries that would be eligible to join this new grouping are Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US. They will be called the G-8 for East Asia.

But in order to make this grouping reliable as a future concert of power in East Asia, ASEAN as a group should be included, at least be represented by the chair and the secretary-general of ASEAN. Although it is not likely this new regional architecture will come into being in the near future, ASEAN should still be able to respond once the discussion of this new idea becomes more official in the region.

In this context, the proposal made by the Australian prime minister on the establishment of an Asia-Pacific community is an indication that a process leading to a totally new overarching regional architecture in the Asia Pacific has already started.

Behind Kevin Rudd's idea is a regional institution that spans the entire Asia Pacific region and is capable of engaging in a full spectrum of dialogue, cooperation and action on economic and political matters and future security challenges. The proposal was also aimed at overcoming the compartmentalization of existing regional institutions by creating an effective leadership forum where major political, economic and security issues can be dealt with holistically rather than piecemeal.

Therefore, sooner or later, ASEAN should be ready to respond to it. Happy anniversary!
READ MORE - New challenges to ASEAN

Electricity Use in Cambodia Does Not Yet Meet Proper Standards – Friday, 7.8.2009

Posted on 8 August 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 624
http://cambodiamirror.wordpress.com/

“Phnom Penh: Nowadays, electricity use and management in Cambodia, by both the state and the private sector, is not yet up to international standards.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the closing of a workshop at the Phnom Penh Hotel on 6 August 2009, ‘The ministry and the Royal Government of Cambodia intend to manage electricity use both in the state and in the private sector to meet standards like in modern countries such as America, Canada, China, Japan, and Russia. Therefore, from now on, we have to strengthen and study also hydro-electricity standards at the present time, so that they comply with international standards.’

“Mr. Ith Prang added that now, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is drafting detailed electrical technical standard recommendations for the field of civil construction, and also for electrical technology and for hydro-electric establishments in Cambodia.’

“According to the Deputy Director of the Department of Energy of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Bun Narith, at present, the management and the usage of electricity in Cambodia do not follow proper standards, including the general use of energy, the connection of electricity from place to place, the building of different construction elements along the roads where electric posts are planted etc… ‘These are problems that we need to improve in the future.’

“The head of the Department of Hydro-Electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Much Chhun Hon, said that care has to be taken so that the production, dispatch, distribution, and use of electricity are effective and safe, and the means for these activities, including all tools and materials, must be handled under real, proper standards, both in state and in private services.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #256, 7.8.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 7 August 2009
READ MORE - Electricity Use in Cambodia Does Not Yet Meet Proper Standards – Friday, 7.8.2009

Day Inn Angkor Resort Reintroduces Itself to the Public

Day Inn Angkor resort, a four-star hotel located in Cambodia, has been renamed as Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort.

[ClickPress, Fri Aug 07 2009] Day Inn Angkor Resort, one of the finest hotels in Cambodia, has been renamed as Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort. The new resort name reflects the hotel’s four-star quality, and guests will find it as the perfect place to stay if they want to explore the wonders of Siem Reap.

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort can only be described as one word: luxurious. Guests will find themselves immersed in a lush, tropical environment during their stay. Designed by French architects, the well-crafted establishment complements the natural beauty of Cambodia.

The hotel offers deluxe rooms with a private balcony or terrace so that guests will be able to appreciate the picturesque view of its well-maintained garden. When not out visiting the local attractions, guests can take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s swimming pool.

With an accommodating hotel staff, guests will feel pampered and well-cared for. Aside from having a stress-free vacation, their taste buds will surely be in for a treat with the hotel’s delicious dishes. Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort’s Tropicana Restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, giving hotel patrons a chance to sample the finest of Khmer, Asian, and Western cuisine.

After a long day of visiting the Angkor temples, guests can unwind with a traditional Khmer massage. The Cambodia resort also has outdoor lounging facilities where they can recount their exciting day over a delectable dinner with their loved ones as they are serenaded by Khmer melodies.

Visitors in town for a business function will find the hotel’s facilities suitable for important meetings, having conference and meeting rooms that have state-of-the-art business equipment.

Other hotel features include wireless Internet, a poolside bar, a fitness club/gym, and souvenir gift shops for those who want to buy a souvenir of their fun-filled vacation. Indeed, whether on a vacation or a business trip, guests will find that this resort in Cambodia will meet their every need.

For more information about Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort and its online reservation service, visit http://www.royalbayinnangkor.com.


About Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort is located near Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia’s most famous landmarks. The hotel was designed by French architects and is set amidst a beautifully kept tropical landscape. It offers deluxe rooms and modern amenities at a reasonable price and is a favorite place to stay in because of its courteous staff, wonderful facilities, and convenient location since it is also minutes away from the airport and various shopping areas.

Contact Information

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort
Oum Khun Str, Module 1,
Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap District,
Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Tel: (855-63) 760 500, (855-63) 760 502
Fax: (855-63) 760 503
E-mail: reservation@royalbayinnangkor.com
Website: http://www.royalbayinnangkor.com
READ MORE - Day Inn Angkor Resort Reintroduces Itself to the Public

Day Inn Angkor Resort Reintroduces Itself to the Public

Day Inn Angkor resort, a four-star hotel located in Cambodia, has been renamed as Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort.

[ClickPress, Fri Aug 07 2009] Day Inn Angkor Resort, one of the finest hotels in Cambodia, has been renamed as Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort. The new resort name reflects the hotel’s four-star quality, and guests will find it as the perfect place to stay if they want to explore the wonders of Siem Reap.

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort can only be described as one word: luxurious. Guests will find themselves immersed in a lush, tropical environment during their stay. Designed by French architects, the well-crafted establishment complements the natural beauty of Cambodia.

The hotel offers deluxe rooms with a private balcony or terrace so that guests will be able to appreciate the picturesque view of its well-maintained garden. When not out visiting the local attractions, guests can take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s swimming pool.

With an accommodating hotel staff, guests will feel pampered and well-cared for. Aside from having a stress-free vacation, their taste buds will surely be in for a treat with the hotel’s delicious dishes. Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort’s Tropicana Restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, giving hotel patrons a chance to sample the finest of Khmer, Asian, and Western cuisine.

After a long day of visiting the Angkor temples, guests can unwind with a traditional Khmer massage. The Cambodia resort also has outdoor lounging facilities where they can recount their exciting day over a delectable dinner with their loved ones as they are serenaded by Khmer melodies.

Visitors in town for a business function will find the hotel’s facilities suitable for important meetings, having conference and meeting rooms that have state-of-the-art business equipment.

Other hotel features include wireless Internet, a poolside bar, a fitness club/gym, and souvenir gift shops for those who want to buy a souvenir of their fun-filled vacation. Indeed, whether on a vacation or a business trip, guests will find that this resort in Cambodia will meet their every need.

For more information about Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort and its online reservation service, visit http://www.royalbayinnangkor.com.


About Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort is located near Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia’s most famous landmarks. The hotel was designed by French architects and is set amidst a beautifully kept tropical landscape. It offers deluxe rooms and modern amenities at a reasonable price and is a favorite place to stay in because of its courteous staff, wonderful facilities, and convenient location since it is also minutes away from the airport and various shopping areas.

Contact Information

Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort
Oum Khun Str, Module 1,
Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap District,
Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Tel: (855-63) 760 500, (855-63) 760 502
Fax: (855-63) 760 503
E-mail: reservation@royalbayinnangkor.com
Website: http://www.royalbayinnangkor.com
READ MORE - Day Inn Angkor Resort Reintroduces Itself to the Public

Thai-Cambodia border situation normal

Writer: BangkokPost.com
Published: 8/08/2009

The situation along Thai-Cambodia border including areas nearby the ancient Preah Vihear temple is still normal, Army Region 2 commander Lt Gen Wibulsak Neepal said on Saturday.

The discussions on disputed border area between Thailand and the neighboring country continued smoothly and it is believed that the border problem will be gradually resolved, Lt Gen Wibulsak said.

Asked about the called for a reopening of Preah Vihear national park for Thai and foreign tourists to visit the Khmer ancient temple, the commander of army region 2 said it would take sometimes before the national park can be reopened. It will need a joint agreement between Thailand and Cambodia on where the tourists can visit for their safety.
READ MORE - Thai-Cambodia border situation normal

At least two dead as Typhoon Morakot slams into Taiwan (2nd Roundup)


Asia-Pacific News
Aug 7, 2009

Taipei - Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan Friday, leaving at least two persons dead, four missing and four foreign ships grounded off Taiwan's coast.

A woman walking in Keelung, northern Taiwan, was swept into the sea and drowned, and a woman cyclist drowned after winds swept her and her bicycle into a flooded ditch.

Four fishermen are listed as missing after their fishing boats overturned in choppy seas and they fell overboard, local television reports said.

Dozens of Taiwanese were injured after being hit by falling objects or when their motorbikes were blown over, according to the Broadcasting Corporation of China said.

The typhoon also grounded four foreign ships, two from Cambodia, one from Indonesia and one from the Marshall Islands, the Transport Ministry said.

President Ma Ying-jeou warned the public to remain on guard as the rainfall may continue and increase. He urged islanders to stay home to prevent accidents outdoors.

Morakot, the strongest typhoon to hit Taiwan this year, formed over the Pacific Ocean earlier this week. It brought strong winds and torrential rains to Taiwan Thursday and Friday as it charged towards Taiwan.

By 10 pm (1400 GMT) Friday, the eye of the typhoon was 40 kilometres south-east of Hualien on the east coast.

Moving at 11 kilometres per hour (kph) in a north-easterly direction, it was packing centre winds of 144 kph and gusts of 180 kph.

If it maintains its course and speed, Morakot is expected to make landfall early Saturday, and then cross the Taiwan Strait and slam into China's south-east coast Saturday night or Sunday morning, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Morakot however is expected to weaken after crossing Taiwan.

The typhoon cut off power to about half a million homes and paralyzed Taiwan's road and air traffic.

On Friday, 144 domestic flights and 255 international flights were canceled while several takeoffs were delayed.

Taiwan has declared Friday a 'typhoon holiday' to prevent typhoon- related accidents. Several counties and cities said they will continue to have a typhoon holiday Saturday despite Morakot's expected departure.
READ MORE - At least two dead as Typhoon Morakot slams into Taiwan (2nd Roundup)

Malaria disaster risk


Malaria is transmitted when a female Anopheles mosquito takes a blood meal
© CDC


07 August 2009

Two studies could spell disaster for malaria management, with the first evidence of a malarial strain resistant to a first-line drug, and signs that a widely used insect repellent could be neurotoxic.

Researchers in Cambodia have found the first indications that a strain of malaria has become resistant to artemisinin, the primary drug treatment in many countries.1 Experts have suggested that this resistant strain is likely to spread - and could pose a serious threat to millions of vulnerable people in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The study was carried out in the city of Pailin, western Cambodia, where the malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum parasite was found to be far less susceptible to artemisinin treatment than usual. Artemisinin is currently the 'gold standard' of malaria medication, and great efforts have been made to establish use of the drug in developing countries.

The researchers, based in Thailand and led by Nicholas White, say that containment measures are urgently needed, but it is probably too late to prevent the strain from spreading outside Cambodia.

'This is the first warning of disaster,' says Peter Winstanley, a clinical pharmacologist at the University of Liverpool. 'We know that previous malarial drug resistances, such as to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, have come out of this same area in the past and caused havoc.'

But Winstanley notes that Asia is not where the strain is likely to cause the most harm. 'The place that we need to worry about is Africa. Artemisinin is an uncomplicated drug - it can be given orally and is relatively cheap. There aren't many alternatives in poor regions like Tanzania and not much in the pipeline.'

Brian Greenwood, a malaria expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine agrees that the news is troubling. 'Threats like this are extremely difficult to contain, so it is only a matter of time before it reaches Africa,' he told Chemistry World. 'Unlike swine flu, however, this will spread more slowly, so it could be ten years before we start seeing real problems.'

Adding to the trouble, another warning was raised this week after European biochemists found that DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), the most widely-used insect repellent, can act as a neurotoxin in insects and mammals.2 The researchers say that questions need to be asked about the safety of the popular spray-on chemical, developed around fifty years ago and now used by more than 200 million people a year.

The findings indicate that DEET acts in the same way as nerve gas - inhibiting the action of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme needed to break down and recycle an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. But Greenwood downplayed the findings, noting that many clinical studies have been performed on DEET over the years.

'One can never be completely sure about safety - but DEET has been used very widely and for a long time,' he says. 'Also, most users are only exposed to small amounts, so we can be confident that the majority of people will suffer no side-effects.'

Lewis Brindley

Interesting? Spread the word using the 'tools' menu on the left.
READ MORE - Malaria disaster risk

UTSA collaborates with Cambodian universities on research, teaching, study abroad



Top photo: Associate Professor Wayne Wright (left) and Betty Merchant (right), dean of the College of Education and Human Development, watch as President Ricardo Romo signs an agreement with Cambodian universities. (Photo by Mark McClendon) Bottom photo: Wayne Wright greets Chantham Chea, president of Pannasastra University in Cambodia.

UTSA Today
http://www.utsa.edu

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(Aug. 7, 2009)--In an effort to extend global outreach, UTSA President Ricardo Romo signed agreements with two Cambodian universities, which will allow faculty and students from the three universities to collaborate in research, teaching and participation in study abroad programs.

"I think it's really important for our students to get to know the rest of the world," said Romo. "We would be left behind if we didn't try to be a bit more proactive in setting up programs that would allow the students to see other parts of the world. We need to take advantage of these kinds of connections with other universities and let our students reap the benefits of those kinds of networks."

One memorandum of understanding is with Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia's first and largest university. After opening in 1960, it was shut down from 1975 to 1979, along with all other schools and universities, by the Khmer Rouge. The university reopened in 1980. The second agreement is with Pannasastra University, a prestigious private university opened in 2000 by Cambodian Americans who fled the country because of the genocide. They returned to their home country with advanced degrees and started the university.

The collaborative efforts began earlier this year when Wayne Wright, UTSA associate professor of bicultural-bilingual studies, traveled on a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at RUPP in the master of education program. Wright, who is fluent in Cambodian, chose the country in order to contribute to the rebuilding of the education system devastated by genocide and decades of civil war. Additionally, he was able to introduce his children to the Cambodian language, history and culture and reconnect with his wife's family who live near the capital.

"I'll be supervising five master's students on their theses at RUPP and finishing up a research project I started with one of the faculty members there," said Wright. "My hope is to find funding to support a big collaborative research project related to teacher training in Cambodia that can involve all three universities."
READ MORE - UTSA collaborates with Cambodian universities on research, teaching, study abroad

Downturn pushes exporters to eye Cambodia


Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper
Friday, August 07, 2009

As the wheels of Vietnam’s export machine to the U.S. and Europe begin to slow, local shippers are turning their attention to the often overlooked neighboring market of Cambodia.

Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee, told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Sai Gon Liberated) newspaper, the city’s total export turnover last month fell by 13.9 percent from the same period last year.

But it was a very different story in impoverished Cambodia. During the same stretch, exports from Vietnam soared 44 percent over July last year, she said.

Cambodia, home to 14 million people and one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries recorded average economic growth of ten percent from 2004 to 2008. Much of that progress can be tracked back to the UN-backed Paris Peace Accord between the government and Khmer Rouge in 1994.

The country has opened up a great deal since then and today the free market is king.

Between Vietnam and Cambodia - which have often had a turbulent relationship - two-way trade has risen on average by 40 percent annually over the past few years, from US$935 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2007 and nearly $1.7 billion in 2008.

Made-in-Vietnam goods have also gained a foothold in Cambodia through fairs and trade events held in the country.

About three years ago, Vietnam was the third largest exporter to Cambodia after China and Thailand. At present, Vietnamese exporters are offering a wide range of products in Cambodia, from construction materials to consumer goods and household appliances.

Tran Huu Duc, public relations director of Vietnamese food producer Dong Tam Nutrition Food Joint-stock Co. (Nutifood), said his company’s dairy products for the elderly are hugely popular in the country.

But in a possible case of the chickens coming home to roost, most Vietnamese exporters are still unable to gain a better foothold in the market as distribution networks in the country are firmly in the hands of Cambodian firms.

Red tape and fierce competition from Chinese and Thai imports are also among the obstacles for Vietnamese businesses to further explore the neighboring market.

Ho Chi Minh City-based multi-service Saigon Trading Group (SATRA) is working on a plan to build a duty free supermarket chain at the Moc Bai and Tinh Bien border gates between the two countries, Hong said.

A number of warehouses designed for Vietnamese goods will also be set up at Vietnam-Cambodia border gates to help Vietnamese exporters save transportation costs.

Satra is also teaming up with Cambodian business conglomerate Sokimex Group to build a supermarket for Vietnamese products in the country and provide Cambodian language courses for Vietnamese businessmen.
READ MORE - Downturn pushes exporters to eye Cambodia

Tribunal, Organizations To Coordinate Outreach


By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
07 August 2009

Khmer Rouge tribunal officials met with local rights organizations Friday in a bid to strengthen cooperation between the court and civil society and to improve outreach to victims of the regime.

Outreach activities for the tribunal are currently conducted separately among non-governmental organizations and the court’s Victims Unit.

“The aim is to avoid repetitive outreach activities, which cause a waste of resources and a waste of time and make trouble,” said Kassie Nou, coordinator for outreach activities of the Victims Unit.

The groups met Friday to discuss ways they might work together to inform the public about the proceedings and encourage them to file testimony or complaints as civil parties in upcoming trials.

The tribunal is currently undertaking its first trial, for Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch, who faces atrocity crimes charges.
READ MORE - Tribunal, Organizations To Coordinate Outreach

Police Continue Interrogation Torture: Expert




Chhiev Huor Lay, a senior prison researcher for the rights group Licadho.

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington
07 August 2009

Cambodia’s legacy of violence is continuing to manifest itself in the penal system, leading to a high number of abuse cases of suspects and detainees, a rights expert said Thursday.

Police officials are following the example of those who have gone before them, using violent interrogation tactics, and they lack training on the proper questioning of suspects, said Chhiev Huor Lay, a senior prison researcher for the rights group Licadho. And the abuse occurs with impunity, he said.

“Torturing for answers results in poor justice, because when a person is hurt, he will say anything to avoid a beating,” Chhiev Huor Lay said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

In 2008, there were 85 cases of reported torture in police interrogation, including one female, he said. In the first 8 months of 2009, there have been 42 reported cases, including three women.

Cambodian and international law are both designed to protect prisoners from torture in interrogation, but Chhiev Huor Lay said he had found that suspects often feel they deserve to be tortured because they’ve committed a crime.

As a result, many instances of torture go unreported.

“They are afraid of revenge [from police], and that no one can find justice for them,” he said. “That’s why they don’t file a complaint.
READ MORE - Police Continue Interrogation Torture: Expert

4 August 2009 – Another Dark Day For Justice And Democracy In Cambodia

Friday, August 7, 2009



Cambodian Center for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE
Phnom Penh - 7 August 2009

4 AUGUST 2009 – ANOTHER DARK DAY FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY IN CAMBODIA

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) regrets the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 4 August 2009 in the case of Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) lawmaker Mu Sochua, and condemns the police’s treatment of SRP members and supporters that followed this verdict. This verdict provides further proof that the Cambodian judiciary is a political tool of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) used to silence opposition voices. Moreover, the violent scenes that followed the verdict are testament to the RGC’s hostility towards democracy and the freedoms of expression and assembly.

The verdict against Mu Sochua was the culmination of four months of political strong arming by Prime Minister Hun Sen, during which time Cambodians and the international community were given the opportunity to witness the extent to which the Cambodian judiciary and legal system is under the control of the RGC. During this period a campaign against the pillars of democracy; lawyers, politicians, journalists and NGOs, has been conducted through the medium of the Cambodian Court system with charges of criminal defamation, disinformation and incitement being initiated against, to name just a few; Hang Chakra, Soung Sophorn, Moueng Sonn, Dam Sith and Ho Vann.

On 24 July 2009 Mu Sochua stood before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with no legal representation, her original lawyer having withdrawn from the case as a result of threatened disciplinary action against him by the Bar Association of Cambodia. In her opening statement and closing remarks, Mu Sochua called on the Municipal Court to prove its independence and to avoid making a political decision. The SRP parliamentarian exercised her right to silence when questioned by the Presiding Judge, the Prosecution and the Civil Party Lawyer, seemingly protesting against her lack of legal representation. Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is part of Cambodian law by virtue of the Constitution, guarantees the right to a lawyer of one’s own choosing, a right that had already been denied in this case.

On 4 August 2009, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court delivered its verdict finding Mu Sochua guilty of having defamed Prime Minister Hun Sen and sentencing her to pay a fine of 8 ½ million riel and a further 8 million riel in compensation. This verdict represents a nadir for the Cambodian political and judicial systems and any supposed separation thereof.

Upon hearing the verdict, Mu Sochua and her followers attempted to walk to the SRP headquarters on Sothearos Boulevard. The scenes of violence that followed, whereby members of the various police forces that were present attempted to intervene and prevent a peaceful march, evince an absolute disregard for democracy and the freedoms of assembly and expression. During these scenes the following incidences are reported to have occurred:
  • Mr. Chan Cheng, 52, SRP lawmaker in Kandal province was first hit with a baton by a policeman at the corner of Olympic Market, and later kicked in the chest in front of Langka pagoda;
  • Mr. Yon Tharo, another SRP lawmaker, was hit three times with a police baton;
  • Ms. Mu Sochua’s hair was pulled, and she received bruises and cuts to her body;
  • Ms. Seng Theary, former Executive Director of the Center for Social Development, was forcibly removed from the crowd;
  • Mr. Seng Cher, 45, from Kandal province and Mr. Ly Ne, 33, were arrested and released one hour later.
  • Mr. Yon Tharo’s bodyguard was also arrested. Before his arrest, he was hit on the head, kicked and kneed by up to 10 police officers. He has since been released.
  • Ho Sirin, 42, SRP activist was grabbed by the throat, kicked and kneed. He said a policeman in black uniform flashed a gun at him so he decided to stay still.
  • An old woman, aged 70, was beaten from behind on her back and around her waist.
The violent scenes of 4 August 2009 that followed a politically motivated verdict by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court capped what will be long remembered as another dark day for justice and democracy in Cambodia. The CCHR regrets the verdict and condemns the manner in which the police handled a peaceful procession.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ou Virak, President, CCHR
Tel: +855 12 404051
Email: ouvirak@cchrcambodia.or
READ MORE - 4 August 2009 – Another Dark Day For Justice And Democracy In Cambodia

The Phnom Penh Court fined Mu Sochua 16,5 million riels



kiletters


On 04 August 2009, the CPP-contolled Phnom Penh Municipal Court fined SRP MP Mu Sochua 16.5 million riels ($4,100) for allegedly defaming Hun Sen, Cambodia's Strongman.

READ MORE - The Phnom Penh Court fined Mu Sochua 16,5 million riels

Mu Sochua fined 16.5 million riels ($4,125)



local1x

The defamation lawsuit involving Hun Xen and Mrs. Mu Sochua was heard by the Phnom Penh Municipal court last 24 July, and the sentence was handed down in the morning of Tuesday 04 August. The court ordered Mrs. Mu Sochua to pay 8.5 million riels ($2,125) in fine and she must pay 8 million riels ($2,000) in compensation to Hun Sen.

READ MORE - Mu Sochua fined 16.5 million riels ($4,125)

Trafficking on trial


Photo by: Shaju John/UNDP
A victim of human trafficking breaks down during testimony on Thursday at the Court of Women in Bali, Indonesia.


The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
Nathan Green

Bali, Indonesia

WITH tears flowing down her face, a trafficking survivor told a court of international jurists how she was condemned to a life with HIV by handlers who repeatedly raped her for refusing to have sex with strangers in a Malaysian brothel.

"I haven't talked to anyone about having the disease at all, except for my doctor," she told the Southeast Asia Court of Women on HIV, Human Trafficking and Migration on Thursday. "Whenever we talk about it, all I can do is cry, but I want to share my story so that if others are facing similar situations, they will have an idea of what to do."

The Cambodian, who uses the pseudonym Wanta and spoke only on condition of anonymity, was barely a teenager when she was forced into prostitution, but officials say she is far from alone in her plight.

Though the exact number is not known, it is estimated that more than 250,000 women and children are trafficked in Asia each year - one-third of the global total.

Caitlin Wiesen, Regional HIV/Aids practice leader and programme coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme, said: "These numbers are staggering and involve forms of violence that are numbing."

Trafficking is not only a "hideous crime" and "gross violation of human rights", but also a major contributor to the spread of HIV, Wiesen warned. "Sexual exploitation is an integral part of human trafficking, and unprotected sex is the major vector for the transmission and spread of HIV."

Wanta appeared with 21 other survivors of trafficking and exploitation, including the woman pictured above, at an emotionally charged 37th sitting of the Court For Women in Bali, Indonesia, set up to explore the links between HIV and human trafficking.
READ MORE - Trafficking on trial

Munipal police begin broad crackdown on unregistered tenants

The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
May Titthara

DANGKOR district authorities have begun taking measures against landlords who rent their houses to unregistered tenants in a bid to cut down on robberies and other petty crime, officials said Thursday.

Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said the scheme had begun in Dangkor but would soon be extended to the entire city.

"The law has been clear for a long time: The landlord must give the clear identity of their tenants, but some districts just don't do it, and now Dangkor district is the first to comply," he said.

"The unidentified renters make it very hard when crimes are perpetrated and we don't know how to find [suspects]. We want to prevent crimes and activities perpetrated by spoiled teenagers, and it is easy for us when we know their background."

He added that any landlords found flouting the law by harbouring unregistered tenants would be educated by police, but that "administrative measures" would be taken in the case of repeat offenders.

Soth Sath, the chief of Choam Chao commune, said the crackdown began Wednesday, and that it would proceed at the rate of one or two villages per day.

"Before, my district was safe, but after we had a lot of newcomers come to rent houses it made my village unsafe because of spoiled teenagers," he said.

"So we are doing things like this to ensure security."
READ MORE - Munipal police begin broad crackdown on unregistered tenants

S-21 an 'anteroom to death', expert testifies at Duch trial


Photo by: Photo Supplied
Scholar David Chandler is shown testifying on television Thursday at the trial of former Khmer Rouge leader Duch.


The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
JAMES O'TOOLE

AN EXPERT foreign witness at Cambodia's war crimes tribunal Thursday reiterated his characterisation of Tuol Sleng prison as "an anteroom to death", and called the accused Kaing Guek Eav "an enthusiastic and proud administrator of S-21 who worked out techniques and organisational methodology from scratch".

David Chandler, a 76-year-old history professor from Australia's Monash University who has written extensively on the history of the Khmer Rouge, including Voices From S-21, drew on his years of research to offer a nuanced portrait of S-21 and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the prison's commandant.

"I think that your book is a reason that many of us are here," civil party lawyer Alain Werner told the witness at the conclusion of his cross-examination.

In his research, Chandler has drawn heavily on the S-21 archives, which he said were "voluminous, hundreds of thousands of pages".

Asked why record keeping would be so comprehensive at a facility where all prisoners were presumed guilty and condemned, Chandler speculated that Duch "wanted S-21 to be seen by his superiors ... as a highly professional and efficient organisation of which he as its administrator could be justly proud".

Chandler also discussed at length the Khmer Rouge's extreme secrecy and obsession with conspiracy theories.

"Paranoia began at the centre and spread down through the ranks," he said.

Extracting confessions from prisoners to support the conspiracy theories of top cadres was fundamental to the work of S-21, Chandler said.

"[Low-level interrogators] didn't even know what the CIA was; CIA was just what you had to accuse the prisoners of belonging to."

Chandler at times drew parallels to China's Cultural Revolution and the Soviet Union's Bolshevik Revolution in assessing the Democratic Kampuchea regime, but he said that S-21 was a unique phenomenon.

Public confessions and re-education programmes were crucial aspects of other Communist movements, Chandler said, whereas S-21 was "completely secret", and prisoners there were only "re-educating themselves in order to be killed".

During cross-examination by defense lawyer Francois Roux, the discussion took a turn to the philosophical, as he pressed the witness on "the crime of obedience", which Roux told Chandler was "the fundamental contribution of your book to these proceedings".

Duch has told the court that he was "an actor and a hostage of this criminal regime", and Chandler agreed that it was difficult to distinguish between Duch's personal agency and his obligations to his ruthless superiors.

"Who knows what you'd do if you were in that situation?" Chandler asked rhetorically. "But that doesn't mean that the people in that situation behaved in, in any sense, a commendable fashion.... To understand does not mean to accept."

In his response at the end of the day's proceedings, Duch told Chandler he was a "good researcher", and later asked to clarify for the record that a picture painted by previous witness Bou Meng of Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh's head on the body of a dog was only displayed at S-21 "because we could not find a picture of Richard Nixon".

Duch also requested that his written confession be made accessible to all Cambodians
.
READ MORE - S-21 an 'anteroom to death', expert testifies at Duch trial

Confronting the darkness: Cambodian victims speak

The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
Laura Snook

Two young victims, one lured by the promise of work and a second sold for her virginity, tell the Court of Women of the horrors of the flesh trade.

ORIGINALLY from Kampong Cham, the witness known only as Wanta moved to Phnom Penh when she was 12. One day, while she was selling sugarcane on the street, a regular customer offered Wanta a job in a garment factory outside Cambodia. The job would pay more than US$100 a month, she said.

Wanta accepted and, later that month, arrived at the border. "Officials examined my documents and asked me where I was going and for what kind of work," she said in a statement given to the court. "When I told them garment factory work, they warned me ... to be careful about the risks of being trafficked."

Wanta was transported to Malaysia, where she was showed her new place of employment - not a garment factory, but a brothel. "Here [my handlers] had me clean up and dress in not much more than underwear," her statement reads. "I asked them what was the point of wearing this, and they told me that I was now working as a prostitute. As soon as I heard this I began to cry.... The woman who ran the brothel told me that if I wouldn't work, then I wouldn't eat."

Wanta was taken from brothel to brothel, where she was forced to have sex with numerous men. Her handlers, believed to be Cambodian, told the girl that, because of the cost of transporting her, she owed them a great deal of money. "They told me that if there was any work to be done, I had to do it...."

Eventually, Wanta was taken to a karaoke bar, where, out of sheer desperation, she confided in a kindly client. "He assured me that if I could wait another few days, he would be able to get me out of there," the court heard. "Surely enough, a few days later, the police raided the karaoke bar, and I was taken to prison for six months."

After her release, Wanta was moved to another facility where she met representatives of the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre (CWCC). She spent the next few months in their care before returning to Cambodia. "I didn't have anything, and I was apprehensive of seeking out family after this whole ordeal," her statement reads. "At the time, I didn't give much thought to reporting anything at all. Looking back, I know it was a mistake."

Back in Phnom Penh, Wanta spent her first month at a CWCC centre. "I had the chance to meet and get to know other women who all had been dealing with the same type of problems themselves," she remembered. With the organisation's help, she trained as a hairdresser and, for the past three years, has been running her own salon. But there is another, darker legacy.

"I've been troubled lately because I've been dealing with having the Aids virus," her statement reads. The only person Wanta feels she can talk to is her doctor. "I still haven't let my family know because I'm worried about bringing new issues into the family to trouble them. At the same time, I want to share my story so that if others are facing similar situations, they will have an idea of what to do."

___________________________________________

WHEN her grandmother died, Chhoun Minea, who uses a false name to protect her identity, moved from Prey Veng province to Phnom Penh to live with her mother.

"We ran a small shop to survive," she said in her statement to the court. "My mother used to gamble and would leave me at home alone.
Eventually, my mother fell into debt. One day, a neighbour persuaded my mother to sell my virginity for US$700 to a businessman. I was 16 years old then. I was with the man for two days. My body was painful when I returned home."

Chhoun Minea's plight worsened when her mother fell ill. "I decided to leave school and find work to pay back the debt and to pay for medical care for my mother. I found a job at a snooker club with a low salary of $60 a month. My work started at 8am and went on to 9pm, seven days a week. With my low income, I was not able to pay for my daily needs apart from repaying the debt."

One day, a young man approached Chhoun Minea and promised her a better life. "I was so happy and believed that my dreams would come true. My dream was to have a good husband and good family. But my dream ended early on when I found I was pregnant. The man rejected his own baby. The man that I loved left. He left an additional weight on my shoulders. What was I going to do, and what would people think about me, a woman who has a baby but no husband?" The only thing that prevented her from taking her own life, she says, was the thought of her unborn child.

Chhoun Minea started washing clothes every day and, after giving birth, found a new job at a karaoke bar, where she worked as a waitress and massage parlour assistant for US$40 month. Then her mother died, and she was forced to borrow $300 from a lender to pay for the funeral.
With interest racking up at a dollar a day, she quickly fell deep into debt.

"I decided to work as a sex worker. This was the only way to pay back the debt and to survive," Chhoun Minea said. Club owners would find clients for her, or she would force herself to solicit in public. "This is against the law in Cambodia ... but it was the only way I could support my child."

In late 2007, she met a Cambodian Women Development Agency (CWDA) member working to promote health care who educated her on HIV/Aids. Since then, she's been getting health checkups every three months. She was also given counseling, which she says encouraged her to keep going. "I became a focal point for CWDA to empower women who worked as entertainment girls to go to access health care," her statement reads.

Today, Chhoun Minea still works in the sex industry, but she aspires to better things. Courtesy of the CWDA, she is training as a beautician and hopes one day to open her own salon and provide a better life for her son. "What the court is addressing, which is HIV and trafficking, I consider very important issues where the empowerment of women ... can make a difference in our lives."
READ MORE - Confronting the darkness: Cambodian victims speak

Mu Sochua requests court postponement

The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
Meas Sokchea

THE Appeal Court has summoned opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua to appear on August 18 for questioning in relation to her defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen, but the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, who left for the United States on Wednesday, has requested a postponement until late September.

"I would like to inform His Excellency the Prosecutor General that I have to leave for the United States to have medical treatment on August 5, and will return on September 20," she said in a letter to Prosecutor General Ouk Savouth dated Wednesday.

Mu Sochua's lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen, filed following comments made by Hun Sen during a speech in Kampot province in April, was dismissed by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 10, a decision she is now attempting to overturn.

On Wednesday, Mu Sochua also appealed against the Municipal Court's verdict convicting her of defaming the prime minister and ordering her to pay 16.5 million riels (US$3,937) in fines and compensation.

Ouk Savouth said Thursday that her request to the Appeal Court might not be successful, since her letter lacked sufficient details about her trip to North America.

"We don't know whether she is going to the US or not. If she has appealed and she does not take care of her appeal, that is her business," he said.
READ MORE - Mu Sochua requests court postponement

Court of Women calls for action


Photo by: Shaju John/UNDP
Vichuta Ly of Cambodia’s Legal Service for Children and Women gives expert testimony on Thursday at the Southeast Asia Court of Women on HIV, Human Trafficking and Migration in Bali, Indonesia. A jury of experts urged greater global awareness of the ‘vicous cycle of poverty, violence, trafficking and HIV’.

The Phnom Penh Post
Friday, 07 August 2009
Nathan Green

Experts urge greater global awareness of 'vicious cycle' of poverty, trafficking and HIV.

Bali, Indonesia

A jury of experts on Thursday called for urgent action to break the cycle of poverty, violence, trafficking and HIV that is ruining the lives of countless women, girls and communities in Southeast Asia.

The declaration was made at the culmination of the Southeast Asia Court of Women on HIV, Human Trafficking and Migration in Bali, Indonesia.

"Women's lives in Southeast Asia are dominated by acute inequality and injustice that make them highly vulnerable to various forms of violence, exploitation, trafficking and, subsequently, HIV," the declaration read.

"We, therefore, call upon all the governments, UN Agencies, civil society organisations, the media and the general public to take all possible steps to expeditiously address the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, trafficking and HIV that trap countless women in the region."

Wanta, a young Cambodian woman who refused to be photographed or allow her real name to be published, told the court of how she was now living with HIV as a result of her experience with traffickers. She acknowledged willingly having gone to Malaysia, where she had expected to work in a garment factory, but instead ended up in a brothel, highlighting the dangers all young women face when travelling abroad to work.

Refusing to work, she was raped repeatedly and starved, she said, before being rescued by police following a tip-off from a sympathetic customer.

Wanta was joined by 21 other survivors of trafficking from the region. Most were from poor backgrounds, exposed to exploitation as they tried to find a way out for their families.

Like Wanta, many were left HIV-positive by their experience of being trafficked into sexually exploitative situations, highlighting what experts at the court said was a tangible link between trafficking and the spread of the disease.

"[Women and girls] are trafficked for many different reasons, but overwhelmingly sexual exploitation remains the single major purpose," said Caitlin Wiesen, regional HIV/Aids practice leader and programme coordinator for the UN Development Programme, a co-organiser of the court.

More than 250,000 women and girls are trafficked every year in Southeast Asia - one-third of total global trafficking - according to UN estimates.

The jurors also called for rights-based policies to counter trafficking and prevent further injustices from being heaped on women after experts singled out Cambodia as a country where officials had gotten policy seriously wrong.

Wiesen said anti-trafficking laws passed last year had led to more women selling sex on the street "for fear of police raids in entertainment establishments, which can drive them further underground and further increase their vulnerability to trafficking and HIV infection."

She said the legislation had led to a "significant setback" for the country's 100-percent condom use programme, with a 31-percent reduction in the sale and availability of condoms in entertainment places and a 20-percent decline in women seeking testing and treatment at public clinics.

Vichuta Ly of Cambodia's Legal Service for Children and Women said the country's trafficking legislation needed to be refocused to protect the victims. Appearing as an expert witness, she also called for a better understanding of trafficking to protect those working voluntarily in the sex industry from harassment and prosecution.
READ MORE - Court of Women calls for action

 
 
 

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