Opposition to form ‘shadow cabinet’ in parliament

July 25th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

A “shadow cabinet” will be created inside the National Assembly once the CNRP’s lawmakers-elect swear into office, senior opposition party officials said Thursday, in a move that nine years ago saw an opposition lawmaker imprisoned on charges of inciting a rebellion.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy forged a deal on Tuesday for the CNRP to enter the National Assembly after the party’s 10-month boycott of its 55 parliamentary seats over accusations that the July 2013 national election was rigged.

Several CPP officials said earlier this week that they believed the swearing-in would take place today but CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Thursday that details remained to be worked out over how a new election commission will be encoded in the Constitution. …

Alex Willemyns and Kuch Naren

Most guards ‘over worst’

July 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A day after the government issued a statement saying that 22 of the Daun Penh district security guards beaten by opposition protesters on Tuesday were in “critical condition”, officials yesterday told the Post that most of them are now well on the way to recovery.

Daun Penh district governor Kouch Chamroeun said that while the “22 are still hospitalised … most of them feel better”. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Alice Cuddy

UN rights expert appeals for calm amid violence in Cambodia

July 16th, 2014 , Shanghai Daily

United Nations rights envoy for Cambodia Surya Subedi on Wednesday urged all sides to immediately exercise utmost calm and restraint in the wake of alarming reports of violence following opposition protests in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

“Democracy depends on respect, not violence,” he said in a statement released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office to Cambodia. “I call in the strongest possible terms for all sides to exercise restraint.”

The envoy’s call came after a Tuesday protest, led by leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) near the capital’s Freedom Park, turned violent, resulting in more than 40 persons injured, mostly security guards. …



Shanghai Daily News Staff

Cities, provinces ordered to report on illegal logging, fishing

July 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

In yet another attempt to stem the looting of Cambodia’s forests, lakes and rivers, the Interior Ministry has given all cities and provinces until July 20 to submit detailed reports on all the illegal logging and fishing taking place in their jurisdictions.

The latest initiative comes by way of a July 4 letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, following up on a Council of Ministers letter from April that called on all levels of government to preserve the country’s fisheries and protected forests.

Mr. Kheng’s letter calls on the cities and provinces “to report to the government about their measures to protect forests, fisheries and protected areas” by July 20. …

Mech Dara

Cambodia’s Defense of Rights Record at UN Review Slammed

July 2nd, 2014 , Radio Free Asia

Foreign donors should push Cambodia’s government to end its human rights abuses as part of its bid to maintain political control of the nation, a rights group said Wednesday, after Phnom Penh allegedly snubbed recommendations by foreign governments to improve the country’s rights record.

Representatives of foreign governments proposed several areas of improvement for Cambodia during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on June 26 at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva—a rights review mechanism through which all U.N. member states are examined every four years.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said that Cambodia “brushed aside calls … to reverse its crackdown on human rights and reform its abusive policies and practices.” …

Human Rights Watch said that Cambodia had merely “noted” that it had received recommendations addressing rights violations at the UPR session, and “deflected” calls to end the suspension of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and actions to ensure media and Internet freedom. …

Joshua Lipes

Citizen-led media gets new blog

June 30th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

In a bid to highlight abuses in the workplace, an NGO today will officially launch a website and hotline, allowing people to post stories as citizen journalists.

The Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) will hold a ceremony this morning promoting their new project, Voice of the People, which can be found at www.vopkh.net, Ngeth Moses, a CLEC information communication technology project coordinator said yesterday. …

Sean Teehan

Nine karaoke parlors closed after clash

June 24th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Nine karaoke parlors in Pur Senchey district were closed indefinitely Monday after an early morning clash between employees of the clubs, district governor Hem Darith said.

Mr. Darith said a large group of men working for the different clubs got into a violent scuffle using rocks, clubs and knives just after 2 a.m. …

In May, the Council of Ministers passed a sub-decree on the management of adult entertainment clubs, banning new establishments from setting up shop within 200 meters of schools, pagodas, embassies or government institutions.

Hay Pisey

Illegal workers arrested, face Thai court

June 21st, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Thai authorities have arrested and are preparing to try 13 Cambodian migrant workers who were allegedly caught with fake stamps on their work papers as they tried to return home, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed on Friday.

The government also announced a plan to subsidize the cost of passports for would-be migrant workers and students, meaning the documents will now cost only $4 instead of the usual $124.

The arrested workers are just some of more than 200,000 Cambodians—many of them undocumented or illegal laborers—who have fled Thailand since a military junta came to power last month, sparking fears of violence and arrests. To date, at least 225,000 workers have crossed back into Cambodia, according to officials. …

Khy Sovuthy and Lauren Crothers

Villagers Claim Soldiers Hired to Prevent Planting

June 14th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Villagers in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district said Friday that Union Development Group (UDG) used military forces to prevent villagers from planting paddy rice on land that is locked in a longstanding dispute, a claim the military denied.

Khun Thala, a 40-year-old villager, said Friday that the Chinese firm employed soldiers to guard the land and block villagers. …

Brigadier General Yon Min, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander in Koh Kong province, said he hadn’t heard of the villagers’ allegations but admitted that soldiers had been sent to protect the company’s projects. …

Khuon Narim

Gov’t says female officers wanted at protests

June 9th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Council of Ministers secretary of state Keo Remy wants to see female police officers controlling female protesters at future demonstrations, he said at a press conference on Friday.

Mr. Remy said female protesters have adopted a new “style” of demonstration under the direction of NGOs who he said are in the business of supporting protests. …

Mech Dara

A bridge too far for Sokha?

June 6th, 2014

Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha has drawn the ire of the government and civil society groups after on Wednesday accusing Vietnam of orchestrating the Koh Pich bridge stampede that killed more than 350 people in 2010 as part of a plot to “eliminate the Khmer race, tradition and culture”.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday called the allegations “groundless and ridiculous”, while Cambodian Center for Human Rights chairman Ou Virak said it was irresponsible of a political leader to propagate inflammatory “conspiracy theories”, especially given that no government officials have yet been held personally accountable for the tragedy.

Speaking at a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the 65th anniversary of France’s transfer of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces to Vietnam, Sokha, deputy head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, lambasted the Kingdom’s eastern neighbour for trying to destroy Khmer culture, using the stampede as an apparent example. …

Meas Sokchea and Kevin Ponniah

Politics at fore on anniversary

June 5th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Opposition leaders brought politics to the forefront of a ceremony to mark yesterday’s anniversary of France’s official transfer of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces to Vietnam in 1949.

Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of monks, Khmer Krom and Khmer attendees at Samaki Rainsey pagoda in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy leader Kem Sokha lambasted the ruling Cambodian People’s Party for operating under the thumb of Vietnam. …

Chhay Channyda and Alice Cuddy

After jail, Pov gains following

June 4th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Before he was arrested in January, Vorn Pov and the union he created were not widely known outside of activist circles.

But when he emerged from Phnom Penh’s CC1 prison on Friday, he walked away as one of the highest-profile unionists in the country, and a minor celebrity.

According to Pov, his Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) has recruited more than 1,000 new members since he was beaten and dragged away by soldiers outside the Yakjin garment factory amid worker protests on January 3.

That his group has since burgeoned in popularity is not surprising. The 23 protesters and activists who were imprisoned during January’s demonstrations, and finally released on Friday with suspended sentences, became a cause célèbre, drawing widespread attention from local and global unions, rights groups, brands, embassies and media. …

Kevin Ponniah, May Titthara and Sen David

Insurance law reform under way

June 3rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Council of Ministers last week approved a raft of changes to the country’s insurance laws, a move that industry insiders hope will better reflect the sector’s current state.

The draft law, which was prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, has an additional 14 chapters and 114 articles aimed at regulating general, life and micro-insurance products. …

Hor Kimsay

Private schools to face tougher regulations

June 3rd, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Ministry of Education is drafting two sub-decrees on private educational institutions aimed at improving regulation of the nation’s vast body of private schools.

The sub-decree on Organization and Management of Private Schools and sub-decree on Categorization of Private Schools have been sent to a range of institutions for input before the ministry finalizes the drafts and sends them to the Council of Ministers, said Sorn Senghok, director of the legislation department of the Ministry of Education. …

Phorn Bopha

Cambodia needs 26.5 bln USD for next five-year development plan

May 30th, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

The Cambodian Council of Ministers on Friday approved a five-year development strategic plan (2014-2018), which needs financial resources of 26.5 billion U.S. dollars to achieve the target, according to a news statement released after a weekly cabinet meeting. …

The plan is designed to develop infrastructure, agriculture and irrigation system, energy, economy, education and health in the country. “It is estimated that the country needs about 26.5 billion U.S. dollars for five years, or 5.3 billion U.S. dollars a year, in order to achieve this development plan,” the statement said. “The goal is to ensure the sustainable development of economy and poverty reduction.” …

Cambodia attained a 7.6-percent economic growth last year, according to government figures. Poverty rate has fallen from 53 percent in 2004 to 20 percent last year. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

Northeast primed for colonisation: Rainsy

May 28th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy yesterday called on residents in the northeast provinces to defend their land lest the area be turned into a Vietnamese “colony”.

Rainsy’s comments were quickly condemned by both the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments.

Speaking to hundreds of people in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces yesterday as part of a wide-ranging tour to meet supporters, Rainsy said the government has granted thousands of hectares of land to private companies that are Khmer in name only and really belong to Vietnam. …

Meas Sokchea

Cambodia does not allow anybody to use its territory against other countries

May 26th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Cambodia will not allow anybody to use its territory to oppose other countries, an official said Monday.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Office of Ministers of Council, made comments after media reported that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who is brother of recently ousted Prime Minister Yingluck, planned to form a government in Cambodia to protest against Thai military coup. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Rights worker summonsed over land fight

May 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A rights group worker has earned a court summons for monitoring villagers who were embroiled in a Preah Vihear land dispute with a Chinese company.

Lut Sang, the Khmer Ponlok employee scheduled to appear in provincial court today, said that he was only a passive observer of a demonstration last month in which villagers destroyed some of the company’s sugar cane. …

Phak Seangly and Amelia Woodside