Cambodia, US share concerns over Lao dam

August 28th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Following a meeting with a visiting U.S. diplomat on Wednesday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary of State Ouch Borith said the U.S. shares Cambodia’s concerns about a controversial hydropower dam Laos is planning to build on the Mekong River.

Cambodia and Vietnam both fear that the 256-MW Don Sahong dam in southern Laos will severely reduce vital fish stocks in the Lower Mekong and its tributaries. …

Eang Mengleng

Japanese parliamentary delegation visits Cambodia to strengthen ties

August 22nd, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

A Japanese parliamentary delegation, led by Azuma Koshiishi, vice president of the House of Councilors, is visiting Cambodia to strengthen and expand bilateral ties and cooperation.

Speaking during a meeting with Heng Samrin, president of the Cambodian National Assembly, on Friday, Koshiishi said it was his first visit to Cambodia to further enhance ties and cooperation between the two legislative bodies. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

Refugee house hunting

August 22nd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

High-level bureaucrats from Australia have visited several sites in Cambodia over the past two months to view properties where refugees from its overseas detention centre on Nauru could be relocated, the Post has learned.

Separate sources, who cannot be named because of the sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations, have this week confirmed that land in Preah Sihanouk province has been assessed by the officials.

Properties in Phnom Penh have also been visited by the delegation, one source said.

The proposed deal between the two countries has been shrouded in secrecy since it was first made public by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong after a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in February. Last week, the Postreported that a deal was expected “imminently”. …

Daniel Pye and Cheang Sokha

In China, nowhere to run

August 21st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

In yet another case of Cambodian women facing abuse in China, a 19-year-old told the Post yesterday that she has taken to living on the streets after the consulate in Shanghai refused to pay for her repatriation.

Kim Sophea*, who claims she has been forced into marriage in China three times, said by phone yesterday that she had no intention of entering that country as a bride-to-be. She and her cousin left Kampong Cham together last October with a broker known to them as Neang Vanou, who promised an alluring end to their family’s poverty: $500 a month for factory work in China, five times the pay they could earn in Cambodia. But instead of work, Sophea was stripped of her identity – the broker kept her passport and changed her name and age – and sold her to a stranger in Shanghai. …

Sen David and Laignee Barron

Laos halts construction project of controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam: envoy

August 19th, 2014 , Global Post

Laos has suspended the construction project of controversial 260-megawatt Don Sahong hydropower dam on the lower Mekong River following requests from other countries, newly-designated Laos ambassador to Cambodia Prasith Sayasith said Tuesday. …

Global Post News Staff

Cambodia Orders Halt to Anti-Vietnamese Protests After Flag Burning Incident

August 19th, 2014 , Radio Free Asia

suspend protests against Vietnam over a territorial dispute as Phnom Penh expressed “regret” to Hanoi over the burning of a Vietnamese flag during the demonstrations last week.

Horn Nam Hong met at his office with the head of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, Thach Setha, who agreed to temporarily halt the protest outside the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh following the request from the minister.

“We issued a statement to halt the protests until the end of this month,” Thach Setha told RFA’s Khmer Service following Tuesday’s meeting, though he stressed that the demonstration would continue next month if Hanoi doesn’t apologize over a statement it made on the historical ownership of Khmer Kampuchea Krom provinces. …

Joshua Lipes

Embassy defends handling of maids

August 15th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s embassy in Malaysia yesterday denied pressuring domestic workers from the Kingdom into renewing their visas, after rights groups told the Post last week that the embassy exploited a legal loophole to keep maids in the country.

The statement came as a Malaysian employers association, which has observed the drafting of a new agreement to send more maids to the country following the imposition of a ban in 2011, for the first time revealed details of the proposed agreement.

In a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s Ambassador to Malaysia Arun Rasmey defended the embassy’s policy of renewing maids’ visas. …

Sen David and Daniel Pye

Cambodia’s ethnic Khmer Krom ends 3-day protest against Vietnamese diplomat

August 13th, 2014 , Shanghai Daily

Some 500 ethnic minority Khmer Krom monks and activists concluded Wednesday their three-day protest against a Vietnamese diplomat, who reportedly said that South Vietnam, or former Kampuchea Krom provinces, belonged to Vietnam prior to France’s official transfer of the land in 1949.

The protest ended without any violence even though protesters had defied the Phnom Penh Municipality’s ban on marching. On the first day, protesters marched through streets in the city to deliver petitions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies of ASEAN countries. …

Shanghai Daily News Staff

Thai condo collapse kills 3 Cambodian migrants

August 13th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

At least six people, including three Cambodian migrant workers, were killed late on Monday when a condominium construction project north of Bangkok collapsed, according to news reports, officials and witnesses at the scene.

Twenty-four people, at least one of whom is Cambodian, were also injured in the collapse, which was said to have happened while workers were pouring concrete on the top floor. Public health officials reported 33 people were buried in the rubble of the six-storey building – 24 Thais and nine foreigners. …

The three Cambodians killed were working on the second storey when the structure collapsed; their bodies have not yet been located, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those killed were among 30 Cambodian migrants at the site, all of whom were undocumented. …

Vong Sokheng and Laignee Barron

Scores of ethnic Khmer Krom hold fresh rally against Vietnamese diplomat

August 11th, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

About 500 ethnic minority Khmer Krom monks and activists on Monday staged a fresh protest here to demand a Vietnamese diplomat to recognize the “true history” of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces.

It was the third rally in the last two months after Trung Van Thong, a spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia, reportedly said in June that the former Kampuchea Krom provinces belonged to Vietnam long before France’s official transfer of the land in 1949. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

Khmer Krom to resume Vietnam Embassy campaign

August 11th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

About 1,000 ethnic Khmer Krom monks and Khmer nationalists will hold the first formal protest this morning at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park since authorities re-opened it last week after seven months of a high-security lockdown.

The municipality over the weekend approved plans from the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community (KKKC) to use the space for its campaign for an apology from a Vietnamese Embassy official who said that the territory of South Vietnam has long been held by the Vietnamese. …

Mech Dara

Bodies pulled from rubble

August 10th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

After four days of waiting amid a mounting death count, Yat Meng got a call that his younger brother, Pheng, was found dead yesterday, buried under the concrete slabs of a collapsed condominium just north of Bangkok.

Pheng, 20, was one of two dead Cambodian migrant workers pulled from the debris yesterday. The other was Im Pheur, a 27-year-old from Prey Veng’s Mesang district. Thai police believe that several others remain buried in the rubble, including a third Cambodian man, as up to 16 people have been killed by the fallen six-storey building. …

Vong Sokheng and Laignee Barron

Visa ‘loophole’ no friend to maids: NGOs

August 5th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur has played a key role in pressuring domestic workers to stay in the country despite fears for their welfare, rights groups have said.

While a moratorium was placed on sending domestic workers to Malaysia in 2011 amid mounting concerns over abuses, rights groups have told the Post that the Cambodian Embassy has hampered its citizens’ attempts to return home.

Huy Pichsovann, program officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said the embassy has put “a substantial amount of pressure” on domestic workers to stay in Malaysia. …

Alice Cuddy

Cambodia Urges China Visa Restrictions

August 4th, 2014 , VOA Khmer

Cambodia says it has asked China to restrict the number of visas it issues to single Cambodian women, to prevent the brokering of marriages to Chinese men.

The appeal comes as an increasing number of Cambodian women are finding their way into Chinese marriages and becoming victims of human trafficking.

Chu Bun Eng, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior and head of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said restrictive visas will help lower the number of trafficked women. …

Thida Win

Deposit for brides in China called into question

August 4th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Human rights groups on Sunday criticized as inadequate a government proposal, announced on Friday, to require single women to deposit $10,000 into a Chinese bank before they are allowed to visit China as tourists, a move meant to curb the trafficking of Cambodian woman to marry Chinese men.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement that the measure would “prevent the trafficking of Khmer woman” who believe they are moving to China for good jobs or marriage to wealthy men, but end up being caught in abusive relationships or sometimes sold into brothels. …

Hul Reaksmey

Ministry says it is making efforts to stop abuse

August 2nd, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday defended the Cambodian Embassy and consulates in China, which have been accused of ignoring female citizens in peril there, and said it has made efforts to cut off the flow off women being sold into brothels or forced marriages.

In a statement, the Ministry responded to claims by rights groups and victims that the Embassy in Beijing and consulates around the country had neglected to assist women who had escaped from abusive situations after being sold into marriage by brokers who promised wealthy husbands or high-paying jobs. …

Kuch Naren

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