May, 2018

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 25, 2018

News On The Upcoming Fake Election Of Cambodia And The Election Boycott

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Lee Morgenbesser, an expert on authoritarian regimes, said the elections would “absolutely not” be free and fair, even with the CNRP’s participation.

Janet and LP 6“The minimum standard requires that all parties and candidates be subject to the same procedures for registering and appearing on the ballot; all campaign and compete on a level playing field; all have equal access to the media; voters be free to vote for their preferred candidates; and official results accurately reflect the votes that were cast,” he explained.

Cambodia has failed to satisfy each of these requirements – and few would be resolved even if the CNRP were revived.


The government has even abandoned symbolic gestures such as Phnom Penh’s “Freedom Park,” established in 2010 to satisfy the country’s Law on Peaceful Demonstrations. The park, which hosted mass protests following the disputed 2013 elections, is supposed to be a designated area for citizens to gather in protest. It was closed down after Hun Sen ordered it to be relocated to the outskirts of the city, around 4 kilometers away from the original park. The relocation seems to violate a clause in the law that requires the park be easily accessible to the public. Today, 10-foot high metal walls have cropped up around the park, blocking access entirely.

The closure of Freedom Park may make little difference, given that Hun Sen has expressed his willingness to kill 100-200 people to maintain stability, and Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak bragged that nobody “dares” to protest.

The forced exclusion of the CNRP has understandably grabbed headlines. But the restrictions on free speech, media, civil society, freedoms of association and assembly, and the possible absence of election observers indicate that even if the CNRP were miraculously resurrected, the Cambodian elections would still be a far cry from free and fair.

Read more the Diplomat…


If passed, the bill must be enacted into law within 180 days, although it is not yet clear when the House will vote on the legislation.

The Cambodia Democracy Act 2018 states that democracy has failed in Cambodia despite “decades of international attention and assistance,” and condemns the deteriorating situation for political rights, civil society and the free press.

The legislation’s co-sponsor, Alan Lowenthal, called the bill a “major step” towards holding Hun Sen and his associates accountable.

“I believe these sanctions will get the attention of the Cambodian government,” Lowenthal said in a statement, stressing that the US and world must act urgently. “I also believe that our action today will encourage other members of the international community to take similar actions and bring additional pressure to bear on Hun Sen.”

Cambodian officials identified as being involved in undermining democracy are already banned from traveling to the US following a December decree from the State Department.

There are now bills in both the US Senate and House that would impose asset freezes, although the Senate bill goes even further by requiring that the US oppose loans to Cambodia from international financial institutions. It also bans any negotiations on the more than US$500 million debt Cambodia owes America dating back to the 1970s.

Cambodian officials’ assets are difficult to track given that asset “declarations” sit in a closed envelope in the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit. Some high-ranking officials like Siphan are dual US-Cambodian citizens.


Rainsy also said Hun Sen “is holding his people hostage and blackmailing donor nations” by flaunting the negative effects sanctions would have on average Cambodians.

“I am calling on the Cambodian people to be prepared for some additional hardship in our current fight for a democratic and peaceful change,” he said. “As in any battle for a just cause, a short-term sacrifice may be required to secure a better future.”

While the US hasn’t threatened the garment industry specifically, officials have warned that further action is on the cards.

Sophal foresees more sanctions coming after the July elections, which he doesn’t expect the US to recognize as free, fair or legitimate. “It’s clear as day the US will reject the results of the election and I expect more sanctions as Cambodian democracy is not only undermined but completely gutted.”

Read more on Asia Times…


Voters and abstainers

Rather than a competition between the CPP and another party, the election is shaping up to be a competition between voters and abstainers. With the CPP all-but-guaranteed a win, it is voter turnout that counts. As Cambodian political analyst Meas Nee points out, the CPP’s concern is no longer winning the election, but maintaining legitimacy and “minimum recognition” from the international community.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: May 17, 2018


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រូបភាពខាងលើនេះបង្ហាញព្រឹត្តិការណ៍ពីរបែប ៖ ព្រឹត្តិកាណ៍មួយបែបសំដែងអំពី «ភាពធម្មជាតិ» (ភាពមុនមានអារ្យធម៌ ) ពោលគឺវាជាធម្មជាតិសត្វលោកដែលតម្រូវឱ្យ ធ្វើអ្វីដែលអាចធ្វើបានដើម្បីរក្សាអាយុជីវិតនិងបំរើផលប្រយោជន៍របស់ខ្លួន ។ បើអាធំវាអាចស៊ីអាតូចបានគឺវាស៊ីហើយដើម្បីបំពេញក្រពះវា បើអាខ្លាំងវាអាចជាន់ អាខ្សោយបានគឺវាជាន់ហើយដើម្បីបំពេញសេចក្តីត្រូវការរបស់វា ។ ព្រឹត្តិការណ៍មួយបែបទៀតបង្ហាញអំពីលទ្ធផលនៃភាពដឹកនាំដ៏មានប្រសិទ្ធភាពរបស់ត្រី តូចៗ ពីរឬបី ដែលបំផុសបំផុលការស្រមើស្រមៃច្នៃប្រឌិត បញ្ចុះបញ្ចូលសត្វត្រីតូចៗទាំងឡាយដែលមានធម្មជាតិធ្វើតាម ឱ្យប្រមូលពូនផ្តុំពង្រាយតួបង្កើតជារូបភាពមួយ បញ្ចេញរូប រាងជាសត្វត្រីមានតួធំគួរ ល្មមអាចធ្វើឱ្យរំភើបស្ញប់ស្ញែងបាន ។ សត្វត្រីតូចៗទាំងនោះវាធ្វើ តាមការបំផុលនៃត្រីដឹកនាំពីរឬបីដែលចេះច្នៃប្រឌិត វាតម្រៀបតួ ហែលព្រមៗគ្នាបញ្ចេញកលល្បិចតាមអំពើបំផុល ដោយហាមាត់យ៉ាងធំហែលដេញត្របាក់ត្រីធំដែលហែលរត់ពី មុខស្លោភ្នែកគេចពីមាត់សត្វត្រីតូចៗហែលដេញតាមពីក្រោយ ។

កាលពីសតវត្សទី ១៧ មានទស្សនវិទូជាតិអង់គ្លេសឈ្មោះលោក ថូម៉ាស់ ហប់ស៍្យ Thomas Hobbes (១៥៨៨-១៦៧៩) ដែលត្រូវបានគេចាត់ទុកថាជាស្ថាបនិកទស្សនវិជ្ជាសម័យទំនើប ម្នាក់នៃលោកខាងលិច បានសរសេរសៀវភៅមួយក្នុងឆ្នាំ ១៦៥១ ឈ្មោះ «លីវ៉ៃយ៉ាថាន់» Leviathan ដែលមានគេបានយកទៅបង្រៀននៅក្នុងសកលវិទ្យាល័យអាមេរិកាំងរហូតដល់ សព្វថ្ងៃ ចែងអំពីជីវិតនៅក្នុងភាពធម្មជាតិថា ជាជីវិត «អាក្រក់អាក្រី, ព្រៃផ្សៃ និង ខ្លី» ឬ        «nasty, brutish and short» ។ រូបភាពទីមួយនេះបង្ហាញនូវទស្សនៈលោក ហប់ស្ស៍ ច្បាស់ល្អ ។ ខ្ញុំយករូបភាពទីពីរជាឧទាហរណ៍នៃការចាំបាច់ក្នុងការប្រើគំនិតនិងអនុវត្តិរបៀបគិត how we think ជាជាងយកព័ត៌មាននិងស្ថិតិដែលយើងប្រមូលបាន what we know ដែល កំណត់អនាគតរបស់យើង — រុងរឿង ល្អ មិនសូវល្អ ឬអាក្រក់ ។ ព្រះពុទ្ធបានប្រៀនប្រដៅជាង ២៥០០ ឆ្នាំមកហើយថា បុគ្គលមនុស្សជាអ្នកទទួលខុសត្រូវលើអ្វីៗដែលបានឬមិនបានធ្វើ។ បន្ទាប់ទៅនេះ ខ្ញុំសូមជូននូវក្របខ័ណ្ឌសាមញ្ញមួយស្តីអំពីគំនិតនិងរបៀបយើងគិត ។ ក្របខ័ណ្ឌនេះអាចជួយបំភ្លឺអំពីបុព្វហេតុនានាដែលបណ្តុះបណ្តាលយើងឱ្យក្លាយទៅជា បុគ្គលមនុស្សដូចសព្វថ្ងៃនេះ និងជួយពន្យល់អំពីហេតុនៃភាពសកម្ម ឬអកម្ម របស់យើង ។

គំនិតនិងរបៀបយើងគិតបានកើតចេញពី «សង្គមូបនីយកម្ម» ឬ socialization បកប្រែមកថា ដំណើរការជីវិតរបស់បុគ្គលមនុស្ស ដែលមានភ្នាក់ងារ «សង្គមូបនីយកម្ម» ឬ ភ្នាក់ងារសាប ព្រោះឥទ្ធិពលចំនួន ៧ ក្រុមបណ្តុះនូវគុណសម្បត្តិ ជំនឿ ការយល់ដឹង ព្រមទាំងឥរិយាបទ ឬអាកប្បកិរិយារបស់បុគ្គលមនុស្ស ។ គឺ «សង្គមូបនីយកម្ម » ឬដំណើរការជីវិតនេះហើយ ដែលផ្តល់ «វិញ្ញាណយល់ឃើញ» ឬ perception ហើយគឺវិញ្ញាណយល់ឃើញនេះឯងដែល ជម្រុញបុគ្គលមនុស្សឱ្យធ្វើ ឬមិនធ្វើសកម្មភាពអ្វីមួយ ។ យោងតាមក្របខ័ណ្ឌនេះ អ្នកអាច យល់បានអំពីមូលហេតុដែលនាំអ្នកឱ្យធ្វើឬមិនធ្វើ សកម្មភាពនយោបាយនៅពេលសព្វថ្ងៃ នេះ ។

ខ្ញុំសូមរាយជូននូវភ្នាក់ងារសាបព្រោះឥទ្ធិពលទាំង ៧ ក្រុម មាន ៖

១. គ្រួសារ (family) ដែល មានឥទ្ធិពលខ្លាំងបំផុតក្នុងការបត់បែនចិត្តគំនិតអ្នក

២. សាលារៀន (school) ដែលមានភារៈ បង្ហាត់បង្រៀនអ្នកឱ្យមានចំណេះចេះដឹង និងអប់រំអ្នកឱ្យចេះគិត ចេះពិចារណាស៊ីជំរៅ

៣. ភឿនក្លើតាំងពីក្មង (childhood peers) ដែលរត់លេងតាំងពីតូចជាមួយអ្នកនិងមិត្តភ័ក្តិ អ្នកនៅពេលបច្ចុប្បន្ន (ចាស់ទុំខ្មែរប្រដៅថា «នៅនឹងគោ គោនាំដេក នៅនឹង សេក សេកនាំ ហើរ» )

៤. ជំនឿសាសនា (religious beliefs) ជឿបុណ្យ ជឿបាប

៥. មុខរបរចិញ្ចឹមជីវិត(occupation) មុខរបរជាទាហានមានឥទ្ធិពលលើអ្នកមិនដូចជាមុខរបរជាមេដឹកនាំសាសនាទេ

៦. ប្រព័ន្ធផ្សព្វផ្សាយនានា (mass media) កាសែត វិទ្យុទូរទស្សន៍របស់រដ្ឋនិងកាសែតវិទ្យុទូរទស្សន៍ឯកជនឯករាជបណ្តុះវិញ្ញាណ យល់ឃើញខុសពីគ្នា

៧. ព្រឹត្តិការណ៍ជាប្រភេទ (specific events) ដូចជាការពិសោធន៍ថ្ងៃ ១៧ មេសា និងរបបខ្មែរក្រហម ឬ ការពិសោធន៍ថ្ងៃទី ៧ មករា និងការឈ្លានពានប្រទេសកម្ពុជាដោយកងទ័ពយួនហាណូយ ។

ដើម្បីងាយចាំ ខ្ញុំសូមជូនអក្សរកាត់ថា FSPROMS (អានថា «អែហ្វ អែស ប៉្រុមស្ស៍ ») ដែលជា ភ្នាក់ងារបណ្តុះឥទ្ធិពល ។ ដើម្បីកសាងអនាគតដែលយើងចង់បាន យើងត្រូវបញ្ឈប់ «គំនិត និងទង្វើបន្តពូជ» ពោលគឺឈប់គិតនិងឈប់ធ្វើអ្វីដដែលៗដូចធ្លាប់បានគិតនិងបានធ្វើពីមុនមក ព្រោះការគិតនិងទង្វើបន្តពូជវាផ្តល់លទ្ធផលមិនខុសពីមុនទេ ។ យើងត្រូវបណ្តុះ «គំនិតនិងទង្វើបង្កផលិត» វិញ ពោលគឺធ្វើការស្រមើស្រមៃ imagination និងធ្វើការច្នៃប្រឌិត creativity/innovation បង្កើតអ្វីដែលគេមិនដែលធ្លាប់បានគិតដល់និងមិនដែលធ្លាប់បានឃើញ ដូចជារូបភាពត្រីតូចៗរួមគ្នាដេញត្របាក់ត្រីធំអញ្ចឹង ។ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែនៅជុំវិញបញ្ហានយោបាយខ្មែរ  របាំរាំវង់នយោបាយនៅតែបន្តវិលវល់នៅតែក្នុងរង្វង់ដដែល ហាក់ដូចជាទំព័រ «ភាពធម្ម ជាតិ» មិនព្រមបើកសោះ ។ ខ្ញុំបានជូនយោបល់អស់មួយរយៈយូរដែរហើយថា នៅក្នុងការ តតាំងប្រឆាំងនឹងរបបអំណាចផ្តាច់ការហ៊ុនសែន យើងត្រូវប្រើសង្គ្រាមគំនិតដោយរបៀបឆ្លាតនិងយ៉ាងមានៈ ៖ ត្រូវចុចឱ្យចំគន្លឹះ (របបអំណាចផ្តាច់ការវាអាចនៅរស់បានដរាបណា វានៅតែអាចសង្កត់សង្កិនពលរដ្ឋឱ្យគោរពប្រតិបត្តិកោតខ្លាចវា obey ឱ្យលន់តួផ្តួលទាំងកាយ ទាំងប្រាជ្ញាចុះចូលចាញ់វា submit – ឱ្យទទួលធ្វើសហប្រតិបត្តិការជាមួយវា cooperate គឺថា វារស់បានដោយដង្ហើមខ្យល់ OSC ចុះមេ្តចមិនបណ្តាច់ដង្ហើមខ្យល់ OSC នោះទៅ ?) ត្រូវចុចឱ្យចំពេលវេលា (ពេលវេលាណាក៏ល្អដែរជាពិសេសពេលវេលាឥឡូវនេះ ដែលផ្តល់ ឱកាសសន្ធឹកសន្ធាប់ ) ត្រូវឆក់ប្រើព្រឹត្តិការណ៍គឺហេតុឬដំណើរដែលប្រព្រឹត្តឡើងនៅចំពី មុខយើងជាស្រេចហើយ ឬរុញច្រានបង្កើតឱ្យមានព្រឹត្តិការណ៍ថ្មីៗនិងបង្កើតសកម្មភាព នានាឱ្យស្របតាមគំនិតច្នៃប្រឌិតផង ។ នៅពេលព្រឹត្តិការណ៍ សកម្មភាព កាលៈទសៈរត់ ត្របាញ់ចូលគ្នាសម្រុកទៅដល់ចំណុចកំពូលមួយ វានឹងធ្លាយចុះដូចថ្មរលាយខ្ពុរចេញពី ភ្នំភ្លើងដែលមិនអាចទប់បាន ។

ខ្ញុំបានសង្កេតឃើញដូចជាអស្ចារ្យដែរដែលមានទាំងបរទេសនិងទាំងសកម្មជនខ្មែរដែល រវល់ច្រើនក្នុងការផ្តល់តម្លៃសឹងតែទាំងអស់ទៅលើ procedural democracy ឬ «លិទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនីតិវិធី» ដែលមានការបោះឆ្នោតជាអាទិ៍។ អតីតខ្មែរក្រហមរត់ចូលយួន ហ៊ុនសែន បានបង្កើតច្បាប់រំលាយចោលគណៈបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិនិងរឹបអូសយកអាសនៈតំណាងរាស្ត្រទាំង ៥៥ ដែលពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរកន្លះនគរបានផ្តល់សន្លឹកឆ្នោតឱ្យគេ ។ ទាំងបរទេសទាំងខ្មែរចង់ឱ្យមានគណៈបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតនៅកម្ពុជានៅពេលជាង ១០ អាទិត្យខាងមុខនេះ ។ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែនរណាក៏ដឹងដែរ ជាពិសេសគឺហ៊ុនសែននិងគណៈបក្សប្រជាជន ថាបើ អនុញ្ញាតឱ្យសង្គ្រោះជាតិនិងលោក សមរង្ស៊ី ចូលរួមក្នុងការបោះឆ្នោតគឺដូចជាហុចឱកាសឱ្យរាស្ត្រខ្មែរអាចដកបនឃោរឃៅចេញពីបល្ល័ង្គអំណាច no can do! មេបនជនកាន់អំណាចផ្តាច់ការហ៊ុនសែន បានថ្លែងនៅក្នុងសុន្ទរកថាបញ្ជាក់ថា គណៈបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិដែលបាន«ស្លាប់ ដុត និងកប់ចោល» ទៅហើយ មិនដឹងជាចោល «ឆ្អឹង» នៅឯណាផងមិនអាចពង្រស់ឡើងវិញមកចូលប្រជែងនៅក្នុងការបោះឆ្នោតឡើយ ។ ដូចជាអាយ៉ៃឆ្លងឆ្លើយ អ្នករាយ ការណ៍ពិសេសអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិបានថ្លែងរំឮករបបហ៊ុនសែនថា នេះជា «ឱកាសចុង ក្រោយបង្អស់» ដែលរបបហ៊ុនសែនត្រូវបង្វិលគន្លងផ្លូវ (នយោបាយ) ដូចមានសព្វថ្ងៃនេះឱ្យ ទៅកាន់ផ្លូវ «លិទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យពហុភាគី និងការបោះឆ្នោតពិតប្រាកដវិញ!» ។ រីឯខ្មែរប្រជាធិបតេយ្យវិញ គេនៅតែសង្ឃឹមលើរដ្ឋាភិបាលបរទេសដាក់ទណ្ឌកម្មទៅលើរបបកាន់អំណាចផ្តាច់ការ ហ៊ុនសែន ។ Ça alors!

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 16, 2018

Press Release for a Public Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Press Release                                                 9:15 am

“The Crackdown of Democracy in Cambodia”         May 15, 2018

Press Release to Welcoming Sam RainsyCoup detat in July 1997 by second Premier Hun Sen to depose first Premier Prince Norodom Rannaridh left Cambodia’s seat at the UNs vacant under the supervision of Credential Committee of the UNs. In that time, US was the core leader to lobby other nation-states to aid this seat postponement. With current setback of democracy, Cambodia shall be inevitably facing tensions with the international community especially the Cambodia’s legal seat at the UNs. The same political manoeuvring as the coup in 1997, before the arrival of election day in July is the dissolution of the largest opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) by the Supreme Court which is a politically motivated. Many scholars and political observers including the director of human rights watch Brad Adam have viewed this dissolution as a cold-blood coup detat.

This May 14, the National Election Committee (NEC) of Cambodia closed its political party registration date and declared 4 parties to be correctly registered by allowing another 5 days to fulfilling other parties. Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted before the work of NEC that there will be at least 10 parties to join the election while the Ministry of Interior issued a listed political parties of over 41 parties by stating as “listing at the Ministry” without specifying on those parties have properly worked with due processes according to the laws such as the requirement of 4000 membership registration and the deposit of money over $4000 dollars with the Treasury Department etc. The political parties released by the NEC has no Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the leadership of this party has issued a statement to “boycott” this upcoming July 29, 2018 election.

The contentious election face-up to between opposition CNRP and government-led party CPP has come amid a belief that, at least, over 5 million of Cambodian eligible voters will refrain themselves from going to the ballot-booth to peaceful protest the wrong doing and the denial of voters’ rights by Prime Minister Hun Sen leadership. This latest authoritarian decision-making of Prime Minister Hun Sen has significantly violated the existing national Constitution and the spirit of the Paris Peace Agreement signed in October 23, 1991 to guarantee multi-parties (plural) democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and the rule of law of Cambodia. Hun Sen and his entourages will be more ease than the gun-firing coup in 1997, but the pressures and the caution of losing political legitimacy is remained the same. Once again, the leadership of CNRP has come out in stronger unity after the party dissolution till today, while the condemnation of the international community including the United Nations have come out stronger and stronger. Many measures have been laid out and more pressures from the democratic countries are needed.

Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should join in hand with the United Nations and the International Communities to pressure on authoritarian leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen and to help bring back democracy to Cambodia. During this occasion of welcoming Mr. Sam Rainsy, former leader of CNRP and its co-founder, and current leader of Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRM) to visiting Vancouver in May 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm, we would like to invite media, federal and local politicians, and all democratic friends, to join us this rare public forum at Guildford Park Secondary School: 10707 146 Street, Surrey, BC

Further info: Sophoan Seng, 403-975-5415,

Press Release on Public Forum in Vancouver, BC in pdf


Op-Ed: Phnom Penh Post

Hun Sen left seatless at UN

THE decision to leave Cambodia’s seat at the United Nations indefinitely vacant marks the biggest blow to Hun Sen’s bid for international legitimacy since he seized power in July, according to diplomats and other political observers. While Prince Norodom Ranariddh also failed to secure the seat, the UN impasse effectively puts the screws on Hun Sen to compromise his tough stance against his exiled co-Prime Minister, analysts said.

It also fuels the growing international belief that national elections are the best way to resolve Cambodia’s political predicament- with the UN seat potentially remaining up-for-grabs if those elections are not seen to be at least somewhat free and fair. While the full diplomatic, aid and investment consequences of the UN decision are yet to become clear, several Phnom Penh diplomats and observers agreed that Hun Sen had suffered a “slap in the face” which could further destabilize Cambodian politics and economics. Following on the heels of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) postponement of Cambodia’s admission to the regional grouping, the Second Prime Minister is now further isolated.

In a surprise move, the UN Credentials Committee – charged with assigning UN seats to delegations from member countries – decided Sept 19 to award Cambodia’s seat to neither of two rival delegations representing Ranariddh and the new Ung Huot-Hun Sen government.

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 7, 2018

Dedicating 27 articles today before Phnom Penh Post is absorbed away from its professionalism

 Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Post Articles

Freedom and the challenges of teen pregnancy in Canada

Email from Canada,

FREEDOM is the lifeblood of human enterprise.  Free-market countries have higher standards of living, social development and productivity levels.  Some, though, contend that freedom is a double-edged sword.

Greater independence from parents and guardians can lead to the creation of a more open, more progressive society in which young people are free to engage their talents and amass practical knowledge.

But some say too much freedom can lead to undisciplined and incompetent adolescents.

In Canada, adolescents enjoy a wide array of freedoms, sexual, romantic and otherwise.  But high teen pregnancy and divorce rates have some policymakers worried.

Still, statistics show that national teen pregnancy rates have been declining.  A study from 1996 to 2006 showed a drop of 37 per cent, compared with a 25 per cent decline in the neighbouring US.

This doesn’t necessarily mean  teenagers are less sexually active.  In fact, a study found about 50      per cent of teens aged 16 and 17 engage in sexual activity.

These findings confirm what has become only too visible in daily life: teens holding hands, hugging, kissing and generally revelling in young love, all in public.

The teen-pregnancy study includes statistics on births, abortions and miscarriages.  The Canadian government views all three outcomes as having a negative impact on society.

If newborns survive the delivery process, teens are often unprepared to act as parents.  And miscarriages and abortions can result in various diseases and complications that can stall the mother’s education and development.

Teen pregnancy affects individuals, families and entire communities, placing a social and economic burden on the whole of society.

According to the study, the welcome decline in teen pregnancy can be attributed to an increase in awareness about sexual health and protection among teenage girls, as well as increasingly easy access to clinics and family planning counsellors.  Young women are using their freedom to make safer decis-ions, entering the adult world of sex and romance armed with more information and more confidence.

The story may be different in Cambodia.  Canada is fairly open to adolescent sexual activity and independent decision-making, but the issue is rarely talked about in Cambodia, where cultural conservatism and embedded tradition keep teenage sexuality under wraps.

For this reason, teen pregnancy rates are higher and show little sign of declining.  Until the Kingdom begins some sort of dialogue on teenage sexuality, young women in Cambodia will continue to have their education interrupted and their freedom curtailed.

About Sophoan Seng
I am the single son of a farming family from Siem Reap. I spent more than 10 years as a Buddhist monk. I graduated with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and am a PhD candidate at the same university.

My interests are social-capital research, the empowerment of young people for social change, and grassroots participation to developing democracy. I am a freelance and president of the Khmer Youth Association of Alberta. I can be reached at


Rich Oil-Sands of Alberta, Canada

Emails from Canada: Sophoan Seng

Alberta is well known as a leading exporter of natural resources like timber and oil in Canada. Large foreign companies from the US have invested billions of dollars extracting oil and gas in this territory to make up for the shortage of oil for energy in their country. Oil deposits which are called “oil sands” are very distinctive from what is found in those oil rich countries such as Iran or Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and the monitoring and regulations of this lucrative industry has never been neglected.

The official website of the Alberta government describes Alberta’s oil sands as the backbone of the Canadian and the global economy, adding it is a great buried energy treasure which has continuously supplied stable and reliable energy to the world. Oil sands are a naturally composed mixture of sand, clay or other minerals, including water and bitumen, which is a heavy and extremely thick, sticky oil that must be treated before it can be processed by refineries to produce usable fuels such as regular gasoline and diesel. Oil sands can be found in many locations around the globe, but the Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest and most developed and it has utilised the most advanced technology to produce oil.

Canada’s Facts and Statistics Department has ranked Alberta’s oil sands second after Saudi Arabia in terms of proven global crude oil reserves. In 2009, the total proven oil reserves were 171.3 billion barrels, or about 13 percent of the total global oil reserves, which is about 1,354 billion barrels. The net income in the fiscal year of 2009 for the Alberta government was more than US$3 billion in royalties from oil sands projects, which was lower than 2008 at $20.7 billion. But they project it to skyrocket and revenue to hit $15 billion in the next few years. Ultimately, about 99 percent of Alberta’s oil comes from oil sands.

Responsible corporations and the government’s clear goal and commitment have transformed Alberta oil sands into a blessing, not a curse. All approvals, licences, dispositions, permits and registrations relating to oil sands are required by Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development bodies. This enables the comprehensive task of handling oil sands investments.

However, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, University of Alberta scientist David Schindler told the public that the high levels of toxic pollutants in the Athabasca River were caused by oil sand mining. Schindler and his team of researchers found that oil sands development projects were contaminating the Athabasca River watershed area. The scientists found that seven “significant pollutants” were at levels that exceeded government guidelines for the protection of aquatic life. This new finding contradicted the government’s previous argument, which had always claimed that the naturally occurring bitumen had low levels of pollution.

After publishing in 2009 the first peer-reviewed paper from Schindler and his team, an ongoing political debate started, the story grabbed the public’s attention and a group of experts was given the job of finding the best solution for this rich oil sands industry. From public and private debates to ones in parliament and political institutions, a solution must be found to ensure the sustainable development of this non-renewable natural resource.


Jobs and Employment in Canada

Letters from abroad

There is a popular saying that “to live is to work”, and while life is not all about work, the saying seems to hold true in Canada, Cambodia and around the world. Most people cannot live without a job, but the approach from the governments in various countries to the problem of unemployment differs greatly. It might be interesting for you to hear about the ways in which Canada’s government and private sector have intervened in order to help more citizens get jobs and keep the ones they have.

First, there is a growing number of job search agencies who help both new and experienced workers find jobs suitable to their educational background and experiences. Enrolled students learn about networking strategies, curriculum vitae, cover letters and interviewing skills. These agencies also partner with private groups and the government to launch job fairs, which exist in Cambodia on a smaller scale, in order to bring together employers and employees. In fact, I was employed as a result of my participation in a job fair.

Second, the government helps unemployed citizens by providing them with short-term support through both skills training and living expenses. Many unemployed workers are directly subsidized to allow them to maintain a level of strength and professionalism while they search for a new job. The money that funds this program, called the Employment Insurance (EI) program, was deducted from workers’ salary if they worked before.

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