October, 2022

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 15, 2022

UNESCO and the Cambodian Villagers in Siem Reap

This time, I am reminded of an article I wrote about “The Repute of Angkor Wat” in 2002. Once, the Siamese army tried to relocate the Ta Phrom Temple to rebuild in Thailand under the order of King of Ayuthya, those armies were beheaded and let them back a few to report to the King that all Khmer ruins were not abandoned as perceived. Few survival armies mentioned the swift and brave Angkor warriors whose villagers living in the nearby areas, appeared from the forest with horses and swords killed the Siamese armies in a sudden.

Bad rumours or news on Angkor Wat resulted in many catastrophes such as the burning of Thai embassy in 2004. When a Phnom Penh newspaper falsely reported that a popular Thai actress claimed that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand, Cambodians rioted in the capital, destroying the Thai Embassy and dozens of Thai-owned businesses (Los Angeles Time).

UNESCO’s Authenticity

Prof. Dr. Ang Chulean, who were first President of Apsara Authority, and later were believed left the post because of his critical opinion against the building of toilets surrounding Angkor ruins complex, articulated the important villages and people living surrounding the complex. Those people and villages must not be relocated and demolished. In his interview with Thmey Thmey local online newspaper, he called those people and villages the “life heritage” reflecting the contrast to of those stone-castle heritage of Angkor Wat and nearby ruins.

Actually, the UNESCO’s Articles on Angkor Protection under World Heritage Scheme in the initial legal adoption chaired by King Norodom Sihanouk, descripted the important of having villagers settled around the ruins decades or centuries ago.

According to UNESCO’s online documentation, the Angkor Wat and nearby ruins heritage clearly unspoken of the dismantling and relocating villagers in order to avoid maintaining “status” as “world cultural heritage” listing with the UNESCO like what Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned at all.

Current Scheme

With the repeating escalating speech to relocating villagers surrounding Angkor Wat and nearby ruins by Prime Minister Hun Sen, over 3000 people rallied to Banteay Srey commune headquarter in October 6-7-8-9, to protest against these relocating attempts. Villagers whom feared of reprisal and traumatized by egregious political intimidations, conducted both anonymous protests through social media and come out to the streets with face masked on, demanding the authority not to relocate them by allowing them to live peacefully in their inheriting property such as homes and lands; they reject any cost of compensation to relocate them; they reject negotiation with the authority; they are desiring only to live peacefully in their inheriting lands and homes passed to them many generations; they are proud of their ancestors leaving them current plot of land, etc.

According to Hun Sen, Ron Ta Ek new development is a new plot of land for those villagers to relocate to. Looking closely, the villagers most of them are new settlers to the ruins vicinity, accepted the small amount of compensation and monthly social service money (named poor certificate card), to live in Ron Ta Ek two years ago, hence the area itself is not visibly developed and most of the villagers are not living there, major homes are abandoned. They have come back to live where they can afford income and employment, or migrated to work in Thailand.

In contrast, like Sihanouk Ville or other special economic zone (SMDs) entire Cambodia, Cambodian tycoons and Chinese companies have worked with powerful Cambodian shareholders in the secrete and bribery deals to relocate villagers in the name of development. For Siem Reap, according to this news outlet, NagaCorp which is the notorious beneficiaries of Naga World Casino, is going to invest over 350 millions dollars covering lands of 75 hectare in the 500m distance surrounding Angkor Wat and ruins complex.

Future Recommendations

  • Abdicate the policy of development for the riches, or use development schemes as excuse to lure Cambodian citizens to be prey and dismantle their livelihood existence as well as family harmony.
  • Be confident on the UNESCO’s policy as well as United Nations’; all developments are placing human rights and human dignity first, not profit or partisan first at all.
  • Cambodian citizens must stand firm, from lessons learnt entire Cambodia, no body can help us beside ourselves. All Siem Reapers must stand up against all injustice and relocation policy, not only today, this month, but keep close pre-alert forever.
  • Use community media (social media, cell phones, youtube, twitter, etc.) effectively to protect your own interests.

Article by Sophoan Seng, October 15, 2022, @copyrights

Posted by: | Posted on: October 10, 2022

France: Cambodian opponent Sam Rainsy acquitted of complaint filed by Hun Sen

France: Cambodian opponent Sam Rainsy acquitted of complaint filed by Hun Sen

Original Source: The Point

Source: AFP

France: Cambodian opponent Sam Rainsy releases complaint filed by Hun Sen
France: Cambodian opponent Sam Rainsy acquitted of complaint filed by Hun Sen© AFP/Archives/EMMANUEL DUNAND

Published on10/10/2022 at 5:38 p.m. – Modified10/10/2022 at 5:47 p.m.

L’Cambodian historical opponent Sam Rainsy , in exile in France and who was tried in Paris for defamation after two complaints, including one from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen , was released on Monday, noted an AFP journalist .

Mr. Rainsy appeared in court on September 1 for these two defamation complaints for comments made on his personal Facebook account in June 2019.

Co-founder of the Cambodian National Salvation Party (PSNC), the main opposition party, Sam Rainsy, 73, fought Hun Sen for a long time – in power for 37 years in Cambodia – before going into exile in France where he has lived since 2015.

“Our client welcomed the two release judgments (…) with immense emotion,” said Mathias Chichportich and Jessica Finelle, lawyers for Mr. Rainsy, in a press release.

“For more than twenty years, Sam Rainsy has denounced the crimes perpetrated by the Cambodian regime and fought to promote democracy. Forced into exile, all his political levers have been eliminated by Hun Sen who is trying by all means to reduce him to silence,” the lawyers said.

According to the lawsuit that was filed in Paris, Sam Rainsy on Facebook in 2019 accused Hun Sen of being behind the 2008 death of Commissioner Hok Lundy – the head of Cambodia’s national police – killed in the fall of his helicopter.

Mr. Rainsy was acquitted on Monday for this defamation complaint.

The opponent was also released for another defamation complaint, which had been filed by Dy Vichea, for remarks he also made on Facebook in June 2019. Son of Hok Lundy, Dy Vichea is Deputy Commissioner General of the Cambodian National Police and son-in-law of Hun Sen.

Mr. Rainsy, who also has French nationality, is the subject of numerous trials in Cambodia, where he says he is being prosecuted for political reasons.

During his trial in Paris, Mr. Rainsy had asked the court to “transpose to a country (Cambodia, editor’s note) where there is no freedom of expression, where all those who want to tell the truth find themselves dead, in prison or in exile”.

“Facebook is my only window of expression”, had dropped the opponent, recalling having “escaped death several times” and the “tens of years in prison” to which he was sentenced in Cambodia.

“At least 80 of my supporters have been murdered,” he said.

“By releasing Sam Rainsy, French justice solemnly and forcefully recognizes the legitimacy of his action and consecrates his freedom of expression. For our client, this judgment (…) is a hope for all defenders of freedom and justice in Cambodia and elsewhere”, add the lawyers of Mr. Rainsy.

In their pleadings on September 1, the lawyers of Hun Sen and Dy Vichea had, for their part, criticized the “tribune against Hun Sen” that they had wanted to make of this trial Mr. Rainsy.

Since the 2018 legislative elections in Cambodia, after which Hun Sen’s party won all the seats in Parliament, results hotly contested, the regime has multiplied arrests and procedures against any dissenting voice.

10/10/2022 17:34:01 – Paris (AFP) – © 2022 AFP