UNESCO and the Cambodian Villagers in Siem Reap

Posted by: | Posted on: October 15, 2022

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

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

Posted by: | Posted on: October 10, 2022

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

Recipes towards democratic unification

Posted by: | Posted on: June 28, 2022

Recipes towards democratic unification

Seeing the election results declared by NEC triggered our assumption since the beginning that from preliminary result to final one shall not produce any differences especially for the opposition parties. There are allocating seats to parties but complaint resolution, its processes and acceptable investigated results are not transparently resolved. The results are likely a filter from NEC’s poor performance on neutrality, professionalism; from systemic threats by national and local authorities, voters list manipulations, and ballot casting-counting disenfranchisement intent etc. 

Moving forward, democratic forces are actually co-existing in every spectrum of Cambodian society, and they are eager to join with a reliable and confident force.

The pragmatists: Cambodia has encountered youth-bulk force as over 65% of the total population are young tech-savvy driving-force accumulating critical thinking, principle-oriented citizens, free of PTSD and past trauma syndrome, and democratic mindset; they are not supportive to political rhetoric of “thank you peace”, “physical infrastructure without having proper soft skills development”, “personality-centric leadership”, and “regarding Cambodian political dissents as treasons, revolutionary or colouring their own race to different society classes”.

The distractors: they are both planned and unplanned distractors among democratic movements. The severe planned distractors are a divide and conquer tactic maneuvered by the ruling party chief who has used all types of resources regardless of private or national wealth to infuse chronic division among people in the society especially among the opposition parties. The unplanned distractors are those gullible people and the corrupt-mindset citizens.

The democratic alliance sympathizers: Cambodia has accumulated democratic mindset and democratic dynamics since the liberation from France protectorate and this force was solidly empowered by the United Nations in 1993. This upcoming national election 2023 is an interesting election after the dissolution of CNRP in 2017 and the continuing cracking down of political dissents. The divide and conquer tactic could be applied only to old head citizens, but with current modern tech-savvy and cross-border young populations, the worst ramifications shall be boomeranged to the tactic user.

Thank you to those unrelentless standing-up individuals towards democratic values and social injustice, those democratic patrons behind the scene, those vigilant and resilient in the front-line, and those who are jailed unjustly while their spirits are high up above jailers’ machine and perpetrators mindset.  

Sophoan Seng      

Letter: Candlelight Arrest Is a ‘Joke’

Posted by: | Posted on: June 24, 2022

Letter: Candlelight Arrest Is a ‘Joke’

Nhim Sarom (Candlelight Party’s Facebook page)

Nhim Sarom (Candlelight Party’s Facebook page)🔊 Listen to this

Regarding “Candlelight Commune Chief-Elect Arrested for 2002 Robbery Case,” it is a joke for the Kampong Thom Provincial Court to have handcuffed Nhim Sarom, Candlelight Party commune chief-elect of Chamna Loeu commune. The use of a court warrant dated 10 years ago is the mark of a Kangaroo Court that ignores due process and pursues a predetermined conclusion, or of double standards where rules and laws are unfairly applied in different ways to different people. Legally speaking, the court in Cambodia has been notoriously accumulating distrust among Cambodian citizens. Politically speaking, the election is just a theater as the voice of the voters has never been respected.

This arrest is another testament to the incapability of the court and law enforcement in Cambodia. With prejudice and political partisanship, opposition dissidents are victimized, and they are found to be the wrongdoers in most legal and political cases. Can you imagine a society where good people are forced to be bad, and bad people are transformed to be good?

Sophoan Seng

President, Committee for Election Right of Overseas Cambodians

អានអត្ថបទ​រឿង «មេឃុំ​ភ្លើង​ទៀន ត្រូវ​បាន​ចាប់​ខ្លួន​ពី​ករណី​ប្លន់​ឆ្នាំ ២០០២» ជា​រឿង​កំប្លែង​សម្រាប់​សាលា​ដំបូង​ខេត្ត​កំពង់ធំ ដែល​បាន​ដាក់​ខ្នោះ​ដៃ​លោក ញឹម សារ៉ុម មេ​ឃុំ​គណបក្សភ្លើងទៀននៃ​ឃុំ​ចំណារលើ។ ការប្រើប្រាស់ដីការបស់តុលាការចុះកាលបរិច្ឆេទកាលពី 10 ឆ្នាំមុន គឺជាសញ្ញាសម្គាល់របស់តុលាការសត្វកាំងហ្គារូ (Kangaroo Court)ដែលមានន័យថាមិនអើពើនឹងដំណើរការត្រឹមត្រូវ និងធ្វើការសំរេចសេចក្តីកាត់ទោសនរណាម្នាក់ទៅតាមអ្វីដែលបានកំណត់ទុកជាមុន ឬតុលាការស្តង់ដារពីរ(double standard)ដែលមានន័យថាច្បាប់ និងនីតិក្រមត្រូវបានអនុវត្តដោយអយុត្តិធម៌ក្នុងវិធីផ្សេងគ្នាចំពោះមនុស្សផ្សេងគ្នា។ និយាយ​តាម​ផ្លូវ​ច្បាប់ តុលាការ​នៅ​កម្ពុជា​បាន​នឹង​កំពុង​ប្រមូល​ផ្ដុំ​ការ​មិន​ទុក​ចិត្ត​ពីប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​កម្ពុជា​យ៉ាង​អសោច។ និយាយ​តាម​បែប​នយោបាយ ការបោះឆ្នោត​គ្រាន់តែ​ជា​ល្ខោននយោបាយ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​ព្រោះ​សំឡេង​អ្នក​បោះឆ្នោត​មិន​ដែល​ត្រូវ​បាន​គេ​គោរពទេ។

ការចាប់ខ្លួននេះ គឺជាសក្ខីកម្មមួយទៀត បង្ហាញពីអសមត្ថភាពរបស់តុលាការ និងការអនុវត្តច្បាប់នៅកម្ពុជា។ ជាមួយនឹងការរើសអើង និងការប្រកាន់បក្សពួកផ្នែកនយោបាយ អ្នកប្រឆាំងត្រូវបានរងគ្រោះ ហើយពួកគេត្រូវបានគេរកឃើញថាជាអ្នកប្រព្រឹត្តខុសនៅក្នុងសំណុំរឿងផ្លូវច្បាប់ និងនយោបាយ ភាគច្រើន។ តើ​អ្នក​អាច​ស្រមើស្រមៃ៉​ឃើញសង្គម​មួយនេះនឹងទៅជាយ៉ាងណានៅពេល​ដែល​មនុស្ស​ល្អ​ត្រូវ​បាន​បង្ខំ​ឱ្យ​ហៅថាជាមនុស្សអាក្រក់ ហើយ​មនុស្ស​អាក្រក់​ត្រូវ​បាន​បំលែងអោយ​ទៅ​ជាមនុស្ស​ល្អ​?

លោកសេង សុភ័ណ

ប្រធាន គណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស