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Posted by: | Posted on: April 29, 2017

Prisoners of conscience of human rights defenders got human rights awards

Op-Ed: www.martinalennalsaward.org & www.freethe5khmer.net

BIOGRAPHY

Mr Ny Sokha, Mr Yi Soksan, Mr Nay Vanda, Ms Lim Mony and Mr Ny Chakrya – also known as the “Khmer 5” – are five Cambodian human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily detained since 28 April 2016 as a result of their legitimate human rights work. The five human rights defenders have all been working in the field of human rights their entire lives, and together they have a long history of assisting victims of rights violations. They have taken leading advocacy roles, calling for the promotion and protection of human rights in Cambodia, and worked to empower thousands of Cambodians to actively defend their rights.

FreeThe5KhNy Sokha, Yi Soksan, Vanda and Lim Mony are all senior staff members of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (“ADHOC”), a Cambodian human rights NGO. Ny Chakrya is a former ADHOC staff member, and is now the Deputy Secretary-General of Cambodia’s National Election Committee (“NEC”). He is the only independent and non-partisan member of the body, responsible for election monitoring and internal audits into allegations of election fraud. ADHOC was founded by a group of former political prisoners in 1991 and is one of the leading civil society organisations protecting and promoting human rights, rule of law and democracy in Cambodia. It has played a vital role in protecting destitute victims of egregious human rights abuses, among others by providing them with advice, legal and material support.

  • Ny Chakrya, before becoming the Deputy Secretary-General of the NEC, was the Head of ADHOC’s Human Rights and Monitoring section, where he focused on helping victims of rights abuses.
  • Yi Soksan, a Senior Investigator is a specialist in investigating violations of land and natural resources rights, one of the most challenging and widespread human rights violations in Cambodia. He has devoted his life to promotion and protection of human rights for more than 20 years and started volunteering at ADHOC in 1991, the year it was founded.
  • Lim Mony has been working to protect women’s and children’s rights in Cambodia since she started working at ADHOC in 1994. Before her arbitrary detention, she was a Senior Investigator, assisting women and girls that fell victim to gender-based violence, in particular rape and domestic violence, or that became a victim of human trafficking. She was responsible for investigating violations of women’s and children’s rights throughout Cambodia.
  • Nay Vanda joined ADHOC in 2008 after leaving a career in politics to devote his life to civil society and protecting human rights in his home country. He maintained ADHOC’s local network with other civil society stakeholders, represented Cambodian civil society on a regional level and advocated for Cambodian human rights issues in ASEAN-related forums.
  • Ny Sokha has been with ADHOC since 1992. At the time of Cambodia’s first United Nations-backed democratic election in 1993 he worked with ADHOC in all parts of Cambodia, managed ADHOC’s alternative dispute resolution programme, and was the Head of the Human Rights Section before his detention. Their years of service demonstrate integrity and commitment in the defence of the human rights enshrined in international human rights law and Cambodia’s Constitution and are an impressive example of the valuable work of human rights defenders all over Cambodia.

The detention of the five human rights defenders comes in the context of an increasingly severe crackdown on civil society and the political opposition in Cambodia, with many individuals facing arrest and prosecution as a result of their work. The five had collectively worked on the case of Ms Khom Chandaraty, a woman alleged to have had an extra-marital relationship with Kem Sokha, then the acting leader of Cambodia’s largest opposition party. Since April 2016 Kem Sokha has been under investigation by Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (“ACU“) for involvement in prostitution, after leaked telephone conversations appeared to reveal a relationship with Khom Chandaraty. The ACU’s zealous pursuit of the case against Kem Sokha has met with significant criticism, including, for example, from four UN Special Rapporteurs, who noted that elements of the case “suggest that this entire episode is nothing more than a politically‐motivated persecution of civil society.“ In their roles at ADHOC, the five provided legitimate and routine legal and material assistance to Chandaraty, who had approached ADHOC for support upon being subject to investigation by the Antiterrorism Unit of the Ministry of Interior and later the Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court as a result of the alleged affair and the leaked audio recording on her Facebook profile page. After changing her narrative from denying the alleged affair to admitting she had indeed engaged in an extra-marital relationship with Kem Sokha, on 22 April 2016, Khom Chandaraty alleged in an open letter that the five had convinced her to lie in the course of investigations.

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Posted by: | Posted on: April 28, 2017

Government belongs to the Cambodian people, not to any particular political party

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 104

This part (104), Mr. Sophan analysed on “Government belongs to the Cambodian people, no one can privatize government”.

Members of CabinetWith this prudent aspect, Cambodia is Constitution-based nation. As said, political parties are just part of the nation’s actors paralleling to civil societies and other spatial communities in which hose actors are generally called “stakeholders”.

Cambodian people have placed in a grey zone in comprehending the government leadership especially the government has irresponsibly worked to cloud the Cambodian people not to see the government as it is belonging to the Cambodian people through all provisions by the current Constitution, not belonging to any political party.

One of the examples is government leadership structure or bureaucrats. The government-led part is not the government although those top leaders including Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Council Ministers, and Secretary of States or all of them are called “members of cabinet”, are from a party.

Those members of cabinet swore in to office to serve the people, to abide by the Constitution, to protect national interests, and to protect Constitution etc. Each provided royal degree to those members mean they have passed credentials, qualifications, and undertaken high esteem of responsibility in front of the King, the Cambodian people, and the Constitution.

Posted by: | Posted on: April 9, 2017

Political applicability and financial manageability of 5 points policy of CNRP

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 101

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5 Points of Policy from CNRP to campaign for vote for this Commune Election of June 4, 2017

This part (101), Mr. Sophan analysed on the standard of policy platform for political parties to campaign for vote. By describing the five points of CNRP, Mr. Sophan elaborated the exclusive applicability, financial manageability, and its merits and wills to implement them aiming to success.

The five points that are covering on all political aspects of good governance, respects of human rights, sustainable development and increasing family income, especially the strengthening of local government through allocating $500,000 US to each commune for its operational budget, all are seen critical.

Posted by: | Posted on: January 17, 2017

Happy New Year 2017 and bad luck from year of 2016 for Cambodian citizens

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 93

This part (93), Mr. Sophan takes his precious time to bless all Cambodian compatriots to having good health and continual success for this New Year 2017.

Courtesy: Facebook

Courtesy: Facebook

In the meantime, he concluded three distinctive social components i.e. politics, economic, and social as following:

  1. Politics: during the passed year of 2016, he has seen the year of 2016 as the worst one. Many constitutional violations happened within the palm-hand of Prime Minister Hun Sen such as arresting and jailing a Senator and Law-maker without respecting parliamentary impunity well inscribed within the Constitution. Two law-makers were beaten to nearly death by members of PM’s bodyguard unit, civil society members of Adhoc were arrested and jailed because of using their own petty cash of their NGO to aide a woman victim, and over 19 activist of opposition party were arrested and jailed, up to the present.

  2. Economic: Cambodian people are the poorest citizen in Southeast Asia. According to annual income indexed by a well-known organization, each Cambodian people earn only over 1200 US dollars a year which is the lowest revenue among those 10 states of Asean. The social gap has been wider while the attempt to raise middle income figure is vocal by the government.

  3. Social: the distrust between Cambodian people and the authority of the government especially with the judiciary system has been wider and riskier leading to intractable social conflict and division.

Posted by: | Posted on: December 23, 2016

The rule by law of Hun Sen administration is facing severe counterproductive

Political Analysis:

CPP’s party convention on December 18, 2016 came with the statement on pushing for further “reforms” and “culture of dialogue” in which the stance is like previous party convention statements. Hence, the statement and the action have already displayed contradictory landscape. The subsequent statements are viewed of propaganda rather than political will to ascertain them. The perception of the public especially those facebookers and online youth savvy users have highly conveyed on “double standard” being used by the Prime Minister to influence all sectors of the government cells to incline in such “rule by law” in a tapestry of legal enforcement. “Rule by law” that is described as “double standard” implementation was called by international expertise to subsume current practices of Hun Sen leadership in which “rule of law” has been visibly disregarded.

“Rule of law” which is known for “institution building” is not in sight of Cambodia incumbent leader. He has tantamountly operated like a state of nature shadowed by his supreme and sacred leadership to team up “clan” by using law to favour his side but not the other side, and this is called “rule by law” by foreign expertise.

Left: Chean Pisith Right: Sum Putthi Photo courtesy: facebook

Left: Chean Pisith
Right: Mong Putthi
Photo courtesy: facebook

Look at the bottom line of population, the social disintegration and popular discontent towards such top down “rule by law” has gradually widened. The example case happening in Poipet while a policeman named Chean Pisith fell down in front of a car, and policemen handcuffed the driver named Mong Putthi immediately without waiting a thorough investigation, is critical. Watching video clip filmed by bystanders, the policeman tricked to fall down himself in front of the parking car aiming to accuse the driver who is the activist of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Now, the legal needs are met as Doctor issued confirmation letter of injury and unconsciousness of the policeman while the public has cried out loud on such trick committed by Chean Pisith and colleagues.

This case is one of the hundred cases illustrating maltreatment and extrajudicial conducts of incumbent government. Many broad daylight murderings have been in impunity. Many trials on both civil society members and opposition political activists are not comparable to the illegal and crime committed by the powerful side viewed by the public. The trend has become more serious and it is believed to be more fragile and polarized within this society under Hun Sen leadership.

Posted by: | Posted on: November 29, 2016

Comparative Study of Election System of Cambodia and the United States

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 86

This part (86), Mr. Sophan described some pros and cons of electoral system of USA while this system is better off comparing to the existing system of Cambodia. With its complex election system employing “winner take all”, “electoral college”, and “autonomy of election body in each state” etc. have led to deepening attempt to understand this system.

us-electoral-collegeResearchers and academics agreed on this system as a not-genuine-democratic election. Those have believed in hybrid democracy than pure democracy. The United States is well-known for its leading example of democracy, but their election system doesn’t translate pure democracy. The system has truly accommodated a politics of pragmatism and necessity. Each state has its own electors (representatives) limited in numbers by the federal government (constitution?) although it is not logical as some states have more population but minimal in numbers of electors while other states less population but maximal in numbers of electors. For instance, California comprises of population over 38 million or 38,332,521 residents with 55 electors or we could approximate 696,954 for per elector, while Wyoming has about 582,658 residents with 3 electors or we could approximate only 194,219 for per elector. The “electoral college” and “winner-take-all” don’t help to symbolize a representative of direct voters (citizens) at all. Or academics call it a proportional election system of indirect democracy (sic).

Hence, if we try to compare election system of the United States with Cambodia, we can see many flaws Cambodia election system is not comparable with.

  • Independence of Election Committee of the United States is truly independent as their court is independent and just. This independence indicator is puzzling to see how Cambodia National Election Committee is facing pressure while the court is under government’s upper-hand.
  • Financial Control Laws on Political Parties of the United States are very rigid. Each presidential candidate can raise funds to boost their campaign as such fundraising activities must comply with the laws. This financial control is imperative to ensure “level playing field” in the United States. This scenario is in contrast in Cambodia in which the government-led party has enjoyed free ride of using money to run their political activities while the opposition party is financed by donation in kind from members and using major personal expenses to cover up the ride.