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Posted by: | Posted on: November 2, 2017

EU MPs threaten Cambodia aid and trade over crackdown

Op-Ed: Reuters

EU MPs threaten Cambodia aid and trade over crackdown

EU Statement on current crisis of political climate in Cambodia

EU Statement on current crisis of political climate in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – A European Parliament delegation warned on Tuesday that Cambodia could face EU action over aid and vital trade preferences if the human rights situation worsened further.

FILE PHOTO: Cambodia’s opposition leader and President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha talks during an interview with Reuters in Prey Veng province, Cambodia May 28, 2017. REUTERS/Samrang Pring/File Photo

The delegation’s statement was the strongest threat of action from representatives of any Western donors since the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha in September and steps by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government to dissolve his Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Delegation of the European Parliament called for the release of Kem Sokha and an end to the process of dissolving his party.

“The government of Cambodia should be aware that the European Parliament is a co-legislator for budgetary and trade issues,” said the delegation’s chairman, Werner Langen, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats party.

“A serious deterioration of the human rights situation might have implications for development assistance programs and trade preferences,” he said after a two-day visit.

Huy Vannak, undersecretary of state at Cambodia’s Interior Ministry, said the European Parliament should keep trade and politics separate.

“Some members of the European Parliament should distinguish between political agenda and trade for the interests of the people. We need to create many choices rather than make the interests of the people a hostage of a political agenda,” Huy Vannak told Reuters.

“Without economic prosperity, democracy will just be an illusion,” he said.

European Union countries accounted for around 40 percent of Cambodia’s exports in 2016. Its exports, mostly of clothing, get fully duty free access under a scheme to help the world’s poorest countries.

Western diplomats say in private it would be difficult to secure EU agreement for limiting trade preferences because of the harm it could do to some 700,000 low-wage garment workers employed in Cambodian factories.

Police officers stand guard at the Supreme Court of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

CRACKDOWN

The European Union and its member states also gave Cambodia nearly $170 million in development aid last year, according to Cambodian government figures.

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Posted by: | Posted on: November 1, 2017

Migrant workers struggling to sign up to vote

Op-Ed: Phnom Penh Post

Migrant workers struggling to sign up to vote

Thu, 26 October 2017

There are few things more important to 29-year-old Yan Muon than voting.

An official processes an identification card at a voter registration office in Phnom Penh in September. Pha Lina

An official processes an identification card at a voter registration office in Phnom Penh in September. Pha Lina

Even though the maths student traded his studies in Cambodia for an electronics factory in Malaysia three years ago in hopes of earning more money, he always planned to return to vote.

Unfortunately, it has been “difficult for me”, Muon said in an interview two weeks ago. “My company always rejects my request [for time off] from one week to another.”

Muon is one of an estimated 1.5 million migrant workers living and working outside Cambodia who must return to the Kingdom to register to vote in next year’s crucial national election. Yet with two weeks left in the registration period, nearly three-quarters of the eligible voters that the National Election Commission was hoping to register have yet to sign up, according to numbers released by the body yesterday.

In interviews with five migrant workers over the past two weeks, none said they were able to return to Cambodia to register.

Many said the biggest challenge is getting time off work. Others said they could not afford the trip. Some cited political apathy.

Chem Phany, a 24-year-old Cambodian working at a factory in Thailand that produces windows and doors, said he wants to vote, but needs at least one week to travel to his hometown in Takeo province.

“My employers will not allow me to get a week’s leave,” he said. “At the same time, I need to spend $130 round trip and to have food to eat. So I can’t afford that.”

So Phany, a garment worker who has been living in Malaysia for 10 years, said her employer also refused to give her time off.

“I wish the government can offer another option, perhaps for us to organise a voting pool at the embassy, so I don’t need to take much time to vote and I can choose a leader for my country,” she said.

Others, like Sim Sarunn, a 26-year-old migrant working at a fruit-processing factory in Japan, were discouraged by the imminent dissolution of the opposition CNRP.

“I would feel regret for [missing] the next election if the opposition party was still there and different parties were competing with each other, but the ruling party now competes alone,” Sarunn said. “So I’m not interested in coming to vote. Even if I do, there’s nothing I can change.”

For local election monitor Comfrel, this is the outcome they feared.

“This is a real difficulty, a real challenge,” said Yoeurng Sotheara, Comfrel’s legal and monitoring officer.

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 25, 2017

Political turmoil may threaten Cambodia’s hard-won economic achievements

Thank you very much Mr. Weijia for your well-balanced argument between modern political economy and pure win-win one man show strategy of Prime Minister Hun Sen. As said, China has claimed her achievements are through China’s model of political economy, corruption-free state-of-the-arts, and global-oriented approach leadership of President Xi. All these are non-existence in Cambodia PM leadership, which shall pose great risk for China in its global role achievement as articulated by President Xi if China has privately or publicly backed the current moves of Cambodia government.

Op-Ed: Global Times

Political turmoil may threaten Cambodia’s hard-won economic achievements

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/22 22:18:39

Arts Exchange Program between VN, Cambodia and Lao on theme of Military Cooperation. (Photo Courtesy monoroom.com dated October 25, 2017 or http://hrkhnews.com/?p=7419)

Arts Exchange Program between VN, Cambodia and Lao on theme of Military Cooperation. (Photo Courtesy monoroom.com dated October 25, 2017 or http://hrkhnews.com/?p=7419)

A close watch needs to be kept on the tense political situation in Cambodia, which is a popular destination for Chinese investors. The Southeast Asian country has experienced strong economic growth in recent years, but its success may be threatened by possible political turmoil.On Friday, the IMF gave a positive appraisal of Cambodia’s economy, saying it is expected to grow by 6.9 percent this year. Having graduated from a low-income to a lower middle-income country, Cambodia seems confident in transforming itself into an upper middle-income economy by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050. Domestic and foreign observers alike have optimistic views of the nation’s economy.

However, rapid economic growth tells only part of the story; the other part is domestic political uncertainty.

According to the Financial Times, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen warned earlier this year that his country could descend into civil war. Over the past few weeks, tension escalated after Sam Rainsy, the former president of Cambodia’s opposition, was arrested and charged with treason for allegedly conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the Hun Sen administration.

Political stability is a necessity for a nation to prosper and develop, especially a country like Cambodia, whose economy has traditionally been supported by tourism and garment exports.

Letting the situation in Cambodian deteriorate would scare off foreign tourists and investors and deal a heavy blow to the local economy.

Last week, the US renewed a call for the Hun Sen administration to release the country’s opposition leaders.

Cambodia-US relations are strained, and the possibility of US sanctions against garment imports from Cambodia cannot be ruled out. Criticism from Western countries may cast shadows over Cambodia’s economic future.

Appropriate solutions are needed to avoid a further escalation of tension and even conflict. Economic growth in recent years was a hard-won achievement for Cambodia and the growth trend should not be interrupted by the country’s rising political tension. People should become more aware of the importance of political stability to protect the results of economic development.

As an important economic partner of Cambodia, China will pay close attention to the situation in the Southeast Asian country and willingly provide the necessary help.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted by: | Posted on: October 25, 2017

Petition Collection Sent Out To Recipients On The 23rd Of October 2017

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Petition Collection Sent Out To Recipients On The 23rd Of October 2017

petition update signaturesOne million signatures to restore the Paris Peace Agreement for Cambodia during this 26th Anniversary

Attention to:

1. Mr. António Guterres,
Secretary General, United Nations
– Mr. Joko Widodo,
President, Republic of Indonesia (Co-Chair of the 1991 Paris Conference on Cambodia)
– Mr. Emmanuel Macron,
President, The French Republic (Co-Chair of the 1991 Paris Conference on Cambodia)
2. His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia
– Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia
– Kem Sokha, President, Cambodia National Rescue Party
– Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
3. Retno Marsudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Indonesia
4. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France
5. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia
6. His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
7. Chrystia Freeland, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Canada
8. Wang Yi, Foreign Minister, People’s Republic of China
9. Sushma Swaraj, Ministerof External Affairs, India
10. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
11. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laos
12. Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
13. Alan Peter Cayetano, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Philippines
14. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore
15. Don Pramudwinai, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Thailand
16. Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Russia
17. Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom
18. Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State, United States of America
19. Phạm Bình Minh, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Viet Nam

BACKGROUND OF THIS PETITION:

The October 23, 1991 Comprehensive Cambodian Peace Agreement referred to as the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement consists of:
· The Final Act of the Paris Conference on Cambodia;

· Agreement on the Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict;

· Agreement Concerning the Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia

· Declaration on the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia.

This Paris Peace Agreement provided provisions to promote national reconciliation and to ensure the exercise of the right of self-determination of the Cambodian people through free, fair, and transparent elections. In addition, they provide for a ceasefire and cessation of outside military assistance and for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Cambodia. They also deal with Human Rights protection including the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons and delineate the Mandate of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

On its 26th Anniversary, we, the Cambodian people of both domestic and abroad wish to collect one million signatures and send them to the party signatures countries of Paris Peace Agreement-Cambodia. The eighteen (18) countries included the French and the Indonesian Foreign Minister acted as co-Presidents. Also participating in his official capacity was the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Especially, the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We, the Cambodian people need to remind them that, Mr. Hun Sen is breaching and violating this Paris Peace Agreement; it is unacceptable! Therefore, we, the Cambodian people needed the party signatures countries more than ever to enforce the Paris Peace Agreement. The Dictatorial politics led by Mr. Hun Sen in Cambodia violated all the provisions in the Paris Peace Agreement. Cambodian people need your immediate intervention. Otherwise, Cambodia and her people will never live in with dignity, grace, and integrity.

VIOLATIONS OF PARIS PEACE AGREEMENT:

We condemn, in the strongest terms, the calculated and systemic crackdowns on Democracy– 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Opposition Parties, Non-governmental organizations, Unions, and Independent Media, ahead of the upcoming Senate election on January 14, 2018 and general parliamentary election on July 29, 2018. These recent political developments are strangling Cambodia’s fledgling democracy.
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Posted by: | Posted on: October 20, 2017

សេចក្តីដកស្រង់សំណួរដែលប្រធានសភានៃសហភាពអន្តរសភាចោទសួរប្រតិភូកម្ពុជា

សេចក្តីដកស្រង់សំណួរដែលប្រធានសភានៃសហភាពអន្តរសភាចោទសួរប្រតិភូកម្ពុជា។ (បកប្រែក្រៅផ្លូវការដោយលោកម៉ែន គឹមសេង)

ប្រធានសភា៖ សំណួរទីមួយតើមានការធ្វើវិសោធនកម្មច្បាប់ស្តីពីនយោបាយក្នុងប្រទេសរបស់លោកឬទេ? ហើយជាលទ្ធផលពីការធ្វើវិសោធនកម្មនេះគឺគណបក្សនយោបាយប្រឆាំងតែមួយគត់នៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជានឹងត្រូវរំលាយ? សូមឆ្លើយថាមានឬមិនមាន?

ប្រតិភូកម្ពុជា៖ រហូតមកទល់នឹងពេលនេះក្រុមយើងខ្ញុំដែលកំពុងស្ថិតនៅទីនេះមិនទាន់ទទួលបាន លទ្ធផលណាមួយពីការធ្វើវិសោធនកម្មនៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជាទេ។ នេះគ្រាន់តែជាការឃោសនាតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។

ប្រធានសភា៖ ចុះបើមានការធ្វើវិសោធនកម្មដូចហ្នឹងមែនតើលោកគាំទ្រទេ?

ប្រតិភូកម្ពុជា៖ ខ្ញុំសូមមិនប៉ាន់ស្មានទេពីព្រោះខ្ញុំមិនទាន់បានឃើញវិសោធនកម្មនោះនៅឡើយទេ។

ប្រធានសភា៖ បាទយល់ព្រមប៉ុន្តែសូមចាំឱ្យច្បាស់ណាប្រទេសកម្ពុជាគឺយើងចង់គាំទ្រអស់លោក។ យើងចង់គាំទ្រសភាដែលមានមូលដ្ឋានគ្រឹះប៉ុន្តែប្រសិនបើកម្ពុជានឹងបង្កើតច្បាប់ដែលនឹងរំលាយគណបក្សប្រឆាំងតែមួយគត់ហើយមិនត្រឹមតែប៉ុណ្ណេះទេគឺឥឡូវនេះមានអាសនៈចំនួន៥៥ដែលជារបស់គណបក្សប្រឆាំងនៅកម្ពុជាហើយកម្ពុជាស្នើឱ្យមានច្បាប់នេះដើម្បីបែងចែកអាសនៈទាំង៥៥ទៅឱ្យគណបក្សដែលមិនមានវត្តមាន(នៅក្នុងសភាផង)។ ហើយមុននឹងបន្តិចអស់លោកដែលមកពីប្រទេសកម្ពុជាបាននិយាយថារដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជានិយាយពីប្រជាធិបតេយ្យសេរីនិយមនិងពហុបក្ស។ តើអស់លោកគិតថាទង្វើដូចនេះបើកើតមានឡើងមែនតើវាជាប្រជាធិបតេយ្យសេរីនិយមនិងពហុបក្សទេ?

ប្រតិភូកម្ពុជា៖ ដូចដែលយើងបាននិយាយហើយលោកប្រធានគឺថាពួកយើងខ្ញុំនៅមិនទាន់ឃើញវិសោធនកម្មនោះនៅឡើយទេ។ ហើយដោយសារតែយើងខ្ញុំនៅក្នុងគណៈកម្មាធិការទទួលបន្ទុកសិទ្ធិសម្រាប់សមាជិកសភាយើងនឹងសម្របសម្រួលដំណើរទស្សនកិច្ចរបស់លោកពីព្រោះលោកស្នើសុំទៅទស្សនកិច្ចប្រទេសកម្ពុជា។ ហើយយើងខ្ញុំនឹងសម្របសម្រួលដំណើរទស្សនកិច្ចរបស់លោក។ ដូចសហការីរបស់ខ្ញុំបាននិយាយហើយថាយើងមិនបានដេញអ្នកទាំងនោះចេញពីប្រទេសទេ។ ពួកគេចាកចេញដោយខ្លួនឯងហើយពួកគេអាចត្រឡប់មកវិញនៅពេលណាក៏បានដែរតាមតែពួកគេចង់។ នេះគឺជាការធានាជូន។

ប្រធានសភា៖ ខ្ញុំនឹងកត់ត្រាទុកសំណួរទាំងពីរដែលខ្ញុំបានសួរអស់លោកពីព្រោះខ្ញុំគិតថាវានឹងមានសារៈសំខាន់ដើម្បីសម្រេចអនាគតប្រទេសកម្ពុជាពីព្រោះបើសិនជាប្រទេសកម្ពុជាមានប្រព័ន្ធគ្រប់គ្រងដោយបក្សតែមួយហើយអស់លោកបំបាត់គណបក្សប្រឆាំងមែននោះសម្រាប់ខ្ញុំគឺមិនស្របគ្នានឹងស្មារតីនៃរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញដែលអស់លោកទើបបាននិយាយទេ។ ដូច្នេះយើងនឹងកត់ត្រាទុកបញ្ហាទាំងនេះហើយក្នុងអំឡុងពេលប្រជុំនៃគណៈកម្មាធិការស្តីពីសិទ្ធិរបស់សមាជិកសភាយើងនឹងផ្តោតលើបញ្ហានេះក៏ដូចជាបញ្ហាដទៃទៀតដែលរង់ចាំការសម្រេច។ យើងក៏កត់ត្រាទុកនូវសម្តីដែលអស់លោកបាននិយាយ ៕

Courtesy: http://hrkhnews.com/?p=6855

Courtesy: http://hrkhnews.com/?p=6855

Posted by: | Posted on: October 19, 2017

Sweden threatens to review engagement with Cambodia

Sweden threatens to review engagement with Cambodia

Op-Ed: Reuters

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Sweden said on Thursday it would rethink its engagement with Cambodia if the main opposition party is dissolved, in the strongest warning yet from a Western aid donor.

ppa_3_1The government has filed a suit to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) after charging its leader, Kem Sokha, with treason. He rejected the charge as politically motivated.

Excluding the opposition party would allow veteran Prime Minister Hun Sen a clear field to extend his 32-year rule at the next election in 2018.

Swedish Human Rights Ambassador Annika Ben David told a news conference at the end of a five-day visit the banning of the opposition party could have consequences.

“Should the Cambodia National Rescue Party be dissolved, this will force my government to rethink our engagement Cambodia,” she said.

Other Western countries have condemned the arrest of Kem Sokha and warned against dissolving the CNRP, but have not raised the possibility of action.

David did not elaborate on what Sweden might do.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan rejected David’s comments as interference in Cambodia’s sovereignty and an insult.

“This is language that the royal government can’t accept,” Phay Siphan told Reuters. “This is an invasion and insult to the Cambodian national institution.”

Sweden had given Cambodia an estimated $100 million in aid over five years, David said. According to Cambodia’s database of donors, Sweden ranked third for aid among individual EU member states last year after France and Germany.

David also pointed out that Swedish fashion group H&M was an important buyer of clothes from Cambodia’s garment factories – the country’s main export earner.

Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) has launched a crackdown on its critics, including politicians, independent media and non-government groups.

This week, parliament changed the law so that the CNRP’s seats can be shared amongst other parties if it is dissolved.

While Western governments have for years tried to put pressure on Cambodia over the stifling of democracy and the trampling of human rights, China has become an increasingly important ally and business partner.