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Posted by: | Posted on: October 21, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: The Peace and Freedom in Context (Part IV)

As three parts were sent out, I was called in for interview by CMN radio and an honorable invitation to participate with Paris Peace Agreement Commemoration organized by CICP in Phnom Penh.

Regarding the interview that shall be broadcasted tomorrow or after tomorrow,  I was asked to elaborate on the history of the Agreement, the validation and invalidity of the Agreement, mechanism to enforce parties to respect the Agreement in case of having violation, and the CNRP who joined the Assembly at the present.


The clip conversation between Sovanna and Phal allows us to figure out: the failed disarming policy, the bad effect of free market, and the pains that all Cambodian people can forgive but they cannot forget. This daily life politics illustration is invaluable!

Brief History

Brief History of Paris Peace Agreement. Slide courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong hay

Brief History of Paris Peace Agreement. Slide Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

Briefing to what said during the interview, the Paris Peace Agreement was crafted by two factors: four fighting fractions of Cambodia were exhausted in killing each other, and powerful countries pressured on all parties including Asean and Vietnam to sign the Agreement. Indonesia and France were co-chair of the Agreement.

 

Agreement Analysis

The original agreement are filed in both Indonesia and France. There are 32 articles divided by 9 distinctive parts. Many pro-Government commentators said that the Agreement is invalid since the creation of a legal government after the election with the complete amendment of the Cambodia constitution. Of course, their claim is right referring to the Part 1, Article 1 which say:

For the purposes of this Agreement, the transitional
period shall commence with the entry into force of this
Agreement and terminate when the constituent assembly elected
through free and fair elections, organized and certified by the
United Nations, has approved the constitution and transformed
itself into a legislative assembly, and thereafter a new
government has been created.

 

Hence, the commentators might be missing to comprehend the term “Transitional Period” in which 5 measures were taken into action: 1. This transitional period, 2. United Nations Transitional Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC), 3. Supreme National Council (SNC), 4. Withdrawal of foreign military from Cambodia, and 5. Complete ceasefire.

In reality, the Agreement is still valid and it shall have no deadline to be implemented by the signatory parties as stated clearly in Article 18 on the “International Guarantee”.

Cambodia undertakes to maintain, preserve and defend,
and the other Signatories undertake to recognize and respect,
the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and
inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia, as
set forth in a separate Agreement.

A separate Agreement has 8 articles and the most important statement in Article 5 that I mentioned within previous articles.

Beside this valid continuity, the Part III on “Human Rights” has maintained the continuing task by sending Special Rapporteur to Cambodia by the United Nations to report on progressive commitment of the Government on respecting Human Rights of their own citizens. Latest UNs Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Cambodia is Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi, and this Rapporteur has no mandate until the Human Rights situation in Cambodia is being well off.

In Part VIII, Article 24, is ongoing to the fact that the foreign aids are still flowing into Cambodia including many other development programs aided in according to the Agreement as stated:

The Signatories urge the international community to
provide economic and financial support for the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of Cambodia, as provided in a separate
declaration.

Impregnable Violations

During these 23 years, Vietnam violated the Agreement through their retaining power to force their former installed government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen to sign the Supplemental Border Treaty (SBT) ratified by the King of Cambodia on 30 November 2005. The SBT was in reverse to the Agreement to discarding all past illegal treaties during the Vietnamese occupation over Cambodia. The forced treaty was not only be able to grab the remaining land border, Vietnam can establish more enmity environment among Khmer political parties, activists and general citizens. Thailand also claimed the ownership over Preah Vihear Temple in 2008 in revenge to oppose Cambodia government to successfully listing it with the Unesco. Cambodia government used the legal provision of the Paris Peace Agreement through its instrumental organ of the ICJ to claim back from Thailand.

For Cambodia government let by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who were also party of the Agreement, at least, four violations are counted: The grenade attack on peaceful demonstrators in 1997 led by Sam Rainsy, the bloody coup in 2007 to monopolize power from Funcipec, the acceptance of bilateral supplemental border treaty with Vietnam is in gross violation to the Paris Peace Agreement that is a multilateral instrument, and continual human rights violations such as: emotion violence (impunity, extra judiciary killing, and biased court system), financial violence (corruption and forced eviction), physical violence (shooting to dead, battering and jailing), and sexual violence (allowing the existence of sex workers and brothels, and neglecting to punish those sex buyers as well as polygamy men).

CNRP

CPP has been so nervous about accepting and recognizing Paris Peace Agreement once they were the party of it.  Their uncertainty and naive perspective towards Paris Peace Agreement is a setback to claim their past communist regime rather than to move forward for in-dept reform. Hence, CNRP has been vital to accept and recognize this day, and they have celebrated it annually.  The entering into the Assembly of those 55 law-makers of the CNRP is a good sign to experiment their professionalism, the work ethics, and democratic commitment. CNRP has laid down the policy of nonviolence, cooperation, dialogue, and active leadership. The partnership and engagement within the Assembly shall help Prime Minister Hun Sen to speed up his in-dept reform in all fields he has frequently promised with the Cambodian people. Although with the aids of CNRP to push for reform is not successful, or Hun Sen administration is preparing to backfire their promise, the Cambodian people will judge them in the next 2018 nationwide election.

Posted by: | Posted on: October 20, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: The Peace and Freedom in the Context (Part III)

Inclusive Development

Among those frameworks of the Paris Peace Agreement, inclusive development and social equality are the front-page agenda. Like I mentioned previously, the peace, the freedom, and the policy of disarming and demobilizing have produced huge social odds. The economic development through free market and capitalism have transcended into crony capitalism and neo-patrimonialism.

Dominant Group or Oligarchy. Ruling and Business Elites. Ruling Party's Normenklatura and Apparatchik - Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

Dominant Group or Oligarchy. Ruling and Business Elites. Ruling Party’s Normenklatura and Apparatchik – Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

Further discussion to this slide of his, it is essential to hold “Public Debates” on in-dept reform of all fields that Cambodia government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen has ever promised with the Cambodian people. Answering to the question posting that “The elites are controlling the economy and the red security force (red box) is protecting them. So the obstacle is the non-neutral arm force, or guns that has still carried out the job to protect the dictator”; Dr. Lao Mong Hay inspired us to push for “Public Debates”  on this issue. He said “Indeed, our security forces including the the military and the police should be politically neutral and impartial. This political neutrality and impartiality should be extended to public servants, judges and prosecutors. It is hoped that one day, the affiliation to political parties and involvement in political activities of all these military and civilian officials will be constitutionally banned. It would be good if there were public debates on this issue, which could eventually come up with a proposal for this ban and a draft constitutional amendment to that effect. 

Diversion at Stake

While Prime Minister Hun Sen has promised to carry out in-dept reform in all fields such as Assembly, National Election Committee (NEC), Judiciary, Arm Force and Public Servants etc., one group called themselves “Pandits” are loudly speaking to appeal for the party’s reform by pushing both CPP and CNRP to reform its party structure in hope to develop more sound democracy. This latest movement has posed suspicion from all Cambodian people and democrats. The intent to help demolish the social mountain of Cambodia (Neo-Patrimonialism) with Prime Minister Hun Sen under the support of CNRP, at least, has been diverted by this new movement.

Watching this clip, the 98% of Cambodian population are farmer. The displacement to city like Poeuv is very unfortunate. Peouv was cheated and sold by a lady to another brothel. Her value is $1400 that she has no day to receive freedom from this amount of money. But her trap in Phnom Penh, at least, can afford to send monthly remittance to feed many lives in her family back home in Prey Veng. The movie has reflected the current displaced workers of Cambodia. The poor parents and siblings at home who cannot afford to earn $2 dollars a day, have placed high expectation on their displaced children regardless of what job and what position they have been working/holding. Peouv was shocked to hear his older sister flattered her of light skin and city-like figure. And she must bite teeth to avoid such painful city life revealing to her family.

Job

In Cambodia, job means thing to keep one busy although she/he is playing cards, Ramvong dancing, singing, farming, ploughing, fetching water from the well, or lullabying a baby etc. After disarming, Sovanna worked with various jobs such as boxer, beer and ice server at the wedding party, pork meat-cutter, and farming etc. Those described jobs have no pension plan, no injury insurance, sick leave, benefits and security at all. Sovanna was mocked by his friend that he cannot earn $2 dollar a day how could he afford a girl to be his wife; and the beside sitting girl can earn up to $100 a day.

Foreign Aids

Paris Peace Agreement has brought in international currency to develop economy of this country. Trillions of dollar has been promised by the signatory parties and each year, at least, 600 millions handed over to the Cambodian government and the civil society. But life has changed with opposing direction: the rich and powerful people have become more rich and more powerful; the poor and farmers have become victim of free market economic and so-called development. Forced eviction by the elites to paving way for land speculation and concession has become unbearable. National dept has been increased while the pay-back interest is at low ratio.

The social gap and disparity have been so worried during this 23 years after the Paris Peace Agreement!

Posted by: | Posted on: October 19, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: The Peace and Freedom in the Context (Part II)

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison

Freedom

Clip above critically talked many things happening in Khmer society after disarming and resettling in Phnom Penh of those soldier. Sovanna is truly recalling pains and traumatic memories during his warfare in the jungle. His revelation shows PTSD syndromes like many other military around the world after returning back home, with complete survival or disability. Sovanna is not different from many Vietnamese soldier who battled in Cambodia during 1979 to 1990. One of them who left their painful memos is Nguyen Thanh Nhan. His book titled “Away From Home Season” described many things that Cambodian people and the world should grasp their sorrow and regrets in waging war within Cambodia soil. In the news reported by BBC, Nhan said:

“American soldiers thought they helped Vietnam. Then their illusion was broken” , “We were the same in Cambodia.”

Sovanna is ashamed as he is still alive while many friends of his were dead; and he is absolutely ashamed by the new situation he has been experiencing in Phnom Penh.

Sovanna is from a farmer family and his friend Maly and Phal are also from farmer family. Nhan is also from a farmer family. He crooned a children song reflecting his life “My dad goes to plough in early morning. My mom goes to plough in early morning. My dad is a peasant. My mom is a peasant…” [chapter 10, page 89]

Three disarmed soldier, Sovanna is considered luckier while Maly has been overwhelmingly traumatized after his wife sold out all land to feed children and married a new husband, Phal has become disable person with one limp lost by mine. Maly has taken advantaged from the current social corruption by allowing himself to flow along the stream. He can do everything to get money, fearful social status and power. Sovanna, by good companion of his Uncle, he has worked hard to strive against the social stream. He tried to seek family happiness with his beloved girl friend, Srey Peouv, and to remain in moral conduct and ethical behavior. But social compelling and its surrounding pressure destroyed all his efforts. Finally, Sovanna was shot to dead by his friend, Maly. His beloved girl friend, Peouv, remained the job as Srey Bar or Sex Worker woman. Maly bought his Police Commander in Chief position in which it is powerful, admirable and fearful status in the society after Sovanna died.

Freedom that is rightly articulated by Sovanna’s Uncle, it requires sacrificing…it is like a man is running through the minefield…the persons who are fighting for freedom is like a child who is already severely battered. Or freedom like a birth in a cage, or frog in the well. Cambodian feet are soaking in the mud…every step is a mud step!

Paris Peace Agreement (PPA) is a new hope to get away from that mud step. The effort of the international communities is the huge external help for FREEDOM. Each state and country has their own problems. Our problems and freedom are our own feet. PPA is an instrumental tool for us to raise up ourselves high, higher than the dream we all have dreamed for, for not such existing “Peace and Freedom”. Jim Morrison already reminded us (with above saying) that Peace and Freedom demands our collective effort, individual participation, and subconsciousness.

After the first article was sent, I got many emails back. Among those, I would like to select wisdom sharing from Dr. Long Mong Hay and questions from So Munin of Campro.

This slide pictograph is clear enough for the failure to comply by as well as to implement the Paris Peace Agreement. Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

This slide pictograph is clear enough for the failure to comply by as well as to implement the Paris Peace Agreement. Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

I am going to try to answer So Munin questions one by one, but be assured that this is my personal view from my own researches into the matter.

1. Who are the parties to the Accord? What are their respective obligation?

Those 19 countries are the parties namely “the Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, People’s  Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, the Japan, the Republic Lao, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”

The obligations to the treaty as assigned within the agreement in article 4 as stated “The Parties to this agreement ask all other States to recognize and respect in all respects the sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia and to refrain from any action incompatible with these principles or with other provisions of this agreement.”

2. What is the validity period of the Accord?

It shall be lasted forever until some unpredictable circumstance(s) occurred. I am saying this, previous accords such as Independence Day of Cambodia (9 November 1954) or Geneva Agreement on Cambodia at the same year resulted different outcomes. While French didn’t violate the Independence Day, but Vietnam violated the Geneva Agreement not to interfere internal Cambodia or invade Cambodia etc.

It might be because of the world changing or powerful bloc had taken sides etc.

But up to today, the PPA is very essential and it is a task in the action.

3. When one or some of the parties breach its/their obligation under the Accord, what can other parties do? What roles would/could UN do when the Accord is violated?

I think it is already clearly stated in article 5 with three bullets:

1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty,
independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity
of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.

2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .

3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.

4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.

Thank you very much,

Posted by: | Posted on: October 18, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: the peace and freedom in the context (part I)

Introduction

Today is 18  October 2014 and it is on Sunday. I would like to dedicate this weekend holiday to reflect and perplex the 23rd Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement that was signed in Paris on 23 October 1991.

For the world, the Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia is one of their products to avoid further sever consequences from the World War I & World War II. Political scientists called its “Post Cold-War” movement in which major powerful countries such as USA, Russia, China and others were making their way from bloody confrontation towards diplomatic negotiations. But as this severity is too overwhelming, its effects are still fragile in many countries especially in Cambodia. Many Cambodian fractions were still waging war under the supports of China, Russia and USA etc. The outcomes from fighting caused deaths, famines, conflict, and human rights violation towards Cambodian citizens that is in contrast to the new world order effort of peace crafting. The calling for peace and democracy of Cambodian people were in coincidence with the pressure from all major powerful players towards all Khmer conflict fractions, the crafting of Paris Peace Agreement were made in order to conflict resolution, peace settlement,  and vibrant political framework allowing the United Nations to exercise full authority to supervise ceasefire, to repatriate the displaced Khmers along the Thailand border, to disarm and demilitarize all factional armies, to prepare the country for free and fair elections, to comply by the international laws and UNs’ mission to protect human rights, to develop democracy and inclusive economy.

Cambodian government in post-conflict management by the United Nations must comply by the agreement they have signed within those 8 chapters as stated within chapter 5 that:

  1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.
  2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .
  3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.
  4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.

Peace

It marked the first time that Cambodian people have discussed about “Peace”. Many disarmed solider returned back home with limbs lost, moral lost, and PTSD syndromes etc. Many of them are happy to see the new sign of UNs’ peace keeping effort but they were hijacked by new arriving social corruption.

I could not abstain myself from introducing you to Rithy Panh whose works on films about Cambodia has been very realistic and persuasive. He could be considered modern social engineering of Cambodia. He brings real life into the screen for many Cambodian generations to view it, to reflect it, and to comprehend its truth.

This first clip is the description of a social victim Srey Peaov on her role as the key Actress of the film about the returning back of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and the processes to reconstruct this country. Like the picture speaks itself, his movie filmed in 1998 titled ” One Night after the War” will entertain you with tears, sadness, truth absorption, and light for the future.

Posted by: | Posted on: October 12, 2014

Parents and government are an imagination but children and citizens are real

Dear Respectful Readers;
Courtesy: Mind Mapping

Courtesy: Mind Mapping

I am deeply intrigued by the leadership statement of “leadership is about to produce more leaders, not more followers”. Cambodia is in contrast by its embedded culture of vertical leadership and we are used to with ordinary political communication such as ខ្លប klob (bending down), ខ្លាច klarch (fearful), កោត kot (admiring), ក្រែង kraeng (avoiding) etc. These cultural attitudes have always converted humility into humiliatality or hostility and self-hostaged phenomena. The hunt for position and the hunger for power is an embedded belief to show off personal materialism and social praise rather than to intend for goodness and positive changes of the society. Foreign experts called our culture as “face supremacy” as power, money and fame to maintain “face” that have always overcome reasons, rationales and collective interests of the nation.

This has linked to both CPP and CNRP that both parties have been built by different political agenda but are affected by embedded culture of vertical leadership. Your observation on spending money for personal luxury cars/SUVs is nothing else but to maintain the “face” or at least to mimic the CPP of klob, klarch, kot, and kraeng. However, the level of annihilation and destruction to the nation, CPP is advanced beyond our imagination over current CNRP’s type of mimicking.
Your observation shall help CNRP put more effort to distinguish itself clearly from the other party that they have competed with. If they can achieve this they can afford more financial support and moral support from Cambodian people, if not all walks of life but at least from those professionals. In the meantime, CPP has already maintained their strong base, it is not by reasons and rationales, but by their real strength of status quo power, money, arm force, and judicial eases etc.
Hence, for the sake of the collective interest of the nation, the whole disadvantaged culture is on the alert of assertive attention for reform and change. How should we achieve that? To build up the meritocracy, pragmatism and more up-to-date cultural pattern for this nation, we should consider following indicators:
  1. As family is known for the primary social fabric of Cambodian society, government must create and safeguard the courses on parenting, child)ren protection, and domestic violence etc.
  2. As school is known for the secondary social fabric of this society, the teachers’ pedagogy must be trained in student-centered methodology, and the achievement of student mean they received their real soft skills and hard skills talent in real market and working places by adopting competency-based education system.
  3. Government that is considered very important third social factor for this society, must conduct in-dept reform of all fields to develop genuine democracy.

I think the show off you have observed on the CNRP’s leaders with those luxury cars/SUVs has impacted so much on the penny supporting from the members. Hence, it is incomparable to imagine on the 14 millions USA of national budget for 2014 year assigned as “unexpected expenditure” by the PM and other top leaders in the government. This amount is not included other unexpected revenues earned by historical rampant corruption within this top-down domino effect administration. 

Now, the parents want to see their children successful in their future cultivation with their independent talent and skills, or parents are still maintaining strong attachment to their absolute authority as parents. Parents are an analogy like the government. Parents and government are an imagination. Children and citizens are real. Let all of us discontinue, alter, and demolish this embedded imagination behavior!
Sincerely,
Sophoan
Posted by: | Posted on: October 7, 2014

Cambodia land grab victims seek ICC ‘crimes against humanity’ probe

Blogger’s Comment: The Age of Enlightenment (យុគនៃការត្រាស់ដឹង) emerged with the creation of the United Nations (UNs) to safeguard the world from annihilation and destruction. While the UNs have been twisted by each powerful country for their own gain, the effort to bring about just, impunity and peace is also unstoppable. When I was young, I heard a lot about the legend and fairy story of angel and devil, good and bad, Eisey and Eiso etc. This political myth has forever existed in our earth. UNs have been created to symbolize the good actor in which global citizens have embraced. The ICC has experienced huge challenges to convict the accused although its jurisdiction is prevalent. Since the creation of the ICC, not many events that this world’s court of justice has been successful. But as said, the Khmer proverb keeps reminding us: “ជង់មិនដែលភ្លេចកុក តែកុកទេដែលរមែងភ្លេចជង់ or snare has never forgotten the heron bird, but the heron bird itself has always forgotten the snare”.

Aid groups estimate that 770,000 people, or 6 per cent of Cambodia’s population, have been evicted since 2000, including 20,000 people in the first three months of 2014.

Courtesy: AFP

Courtesy: AFP

PHOTOS
Cambodian military police stand guard as a bulldozer clears the Borei Keila community after the forced eviction of residents from a slum village in the centre of Phnom Penh on Jan 4, 2012. (AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

ENLARGECAPTION
THE HAGUE: Victims of land grabs by Cambodia’s “ruling elite” called on Tuesday (Oct 7) for the International Criminal Court to probe their mass evictions as a crime against humanity.

Courtesy: Bangkok Post

Courtesy: Bangkok Post

Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have been affected as part of a “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, pursuant to state policy,” said a complaint to be filed at The Hague-based ICC. “The ruling elite have illegally seized and re-allocated millions of hectares of valuable land from poor Cambodians for exploitation or speculation by its members and foreign investors,” said the complaint to be filed on behalf of victims by lawyer Richard Rogers on Tuesday.

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