Wednesday, August 29, 2012

China Offers Oil-Exploration Blocks Near Disputed Waters

By Bloomberg News

China National Offshore Oil Corp. offered foreign companies oil and gas blocks that lie near waters also claimed by Vietnam and Japan as tensions flare among the countries over rights to resources in the area.

The state-owned oil and gas explorer put up 26 blocks in this year’s second round of auctions, according to a statement dated yesterday on the Beijing-based company’s website. A site known as 65/12 is within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea near a block put up for bid last year that prompted a protest from Vietnam.

The offer by China’s biggest offshore energy company comes as tensions rise among Asia’s biggest economies following moves to assert sovereignty over disputed islands that are potentially rich in energy resources. Assailants in Beijing yesterday blocked an official car carrying the Japanese ambassador to China and snatched the Japanese flag from the vehicle, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura.

“China must assert its sovereignty over these blocks as preliminary geological assessments suggest huge oil and gas exploration potential,” Gordon Kwan, the Hong Kong-based head of regional energy research at Mirae Asset Securities Ltd., said in an e-mail. “China’s rising global dominance can fend off any political or military challenges that could come” because of the new tenders, he said.

Paracel Islands
The round of auctions will include 22 blocks for joint development in the South China Sea, according to the statement. Three are in the East China Sea and one is in northern China’s Bohai Bay.

Block 65/12 is near Block 65/24, which Vietnam singled out in a March statement as violating its sovereignty. The area sits one nautical mile from the Paracel Islands, which China and Vietnam fought over in 1974.

In June, China invited foreign companies to explore nine blocks to the east of Vietnam in areas that Hanoi’s leaders have already awarded to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Russia’s OAO Gazprom. Vietnam’s state-run oil explorer called on China to cancel the tenders.

Claimants have moved to assert administrative control over islands in the South China Sea, with Vietnam passing a maritime law in June and China planning to set up a military garrison on one of the Paracels. Vietnam, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei also claim rights to some or all of the Spratly Islands further to the south.

Japanese Spat
One of the blocks offered in this round, known as 41/08, is within 200 kilometers of the island group in the East China Sea that China names Diaoyu and Japan calls Senkaku, according to the map in the statement. It appears to fall west of an overlapping claims area between the two countries.

The attack on the Japanese envoy’s car came days after protests erupted in China during tit-for-tat visits to the islands by activists from both sides.

The isles have been a flash point between the world’s second and third-largest economies, underlined by a 2010 collision between a Chinese fishing vessel and Japanese Coast Guard ships that damaged political ties for months.

China National Offshore, the parent company of Hong Kong- listed Cnooc Ltd. (883), said it has conducted some seismic tests in all 26 blocks, and has drilled test wells in all but seven of the areas.

TEXT-S&P Says Vietnam Banks' Risks Highlighted; Contagion Unlikely

(The following was released by the rating agency)
SINGAPORE (Standard & Poor's) Aug. 29, 2012--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that a recent arrest of one of the founders of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB; not rated), one of Vietnam's largest privately owned banks, highlights the risks in the country's banking industry. Standard & Poor's understands that the resultant liquidity pressure was limited to ACB, and believes that it is unlikely that other Vietnamese bank will face a similar situation.

We believe that assurances by State Bank of Vietnam of liquidity assistance to ACB could mitigate the risk of contagion. Nevertheless, if other banks in Vietnam face liquidity pressure that leads to a systemic or a confidence crisis, our ratings on these banks may come under downward pressure.
We have always perceived inadequate governance and transparency as key risks for Vietnam's banking industry (see "BICRA On Vietnam Revised To Group '10' From Group '9'," published Nov. 9, 2011, on RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal). In our view, timely reforms of the country's state-owned enterprises and its banking sector are essential to build depositor and investor confidence in the system, especially when nonperforming loans are rising.

After several years of high credit growth, economic imbalances have reduced somewhat following the government's stabilization policies in 2011. A much-needed moderation in loan growth, a restoration of asset price stability, and a reduction in inflation have taken place as a result of these policies. Policymakers have recently started showing intent to tackle long-standing problems in the banking sector. The indications include initiatives to consolidate and strengthen the industry, greater recognition of asset quality problems, and enhanced supervision. The government eased monetary policy earlier this year in response to receding inflation, the stress faced by borrowers due to heightened interest rates, and a slowdown in growth.

The process of restoring confidence in the banking system and monetary policy is in an early phase and calls for careful management.

PRESS DIGEST - Vietnam newspapers - Aug 29

Aug 29, 2012

These are some of the leading stories in the official Vietnamese press on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

- The central bank should cut the dong deposit cap to 8 percent from 9 percent at the beginning of the fourth quarter to boost lending as this year's inflation is estimated at 8 percent, said economist Vu Dinh Anh.

- Banks where stock investors have opened accounts may have to provide information on client accounts to the State Securities Commission to tighten supervision over unusual transactions, according to the commission's draft regulation.

- Deutsche Bank said it had bought an additional 3.5 million shares of Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Co as of Aug. 15, raising its ownership in the firm to 30.1 million shares, or 5.42 percent.
- Five major banks including Vietcombank, VietinBank, HDBank, MHB and Sacombank would lend 95 billion dong ($4.56 million) to seven small and medium-sized firms based in Ho Chi Minh City, Sacombank said.
- The State Securities Commission will closely coordinate with authorities to timely spot and strictly deal with any stock price manipulations, said chairman Vu Bang.
- Shareholders of Saigon Beverages Joint Stock Co have approved a liquidation plan and it would buy its shares in the market at a price of 2,300 dong (11 U.S. cents) each.

- Saigon Hanoi Bank began operations on Tuesday as a new lender after having taken over Hanoi-based Habubank to become one of Vietnam's largest banks, with a registered capital of nearly 9 trillion dong ($432 million) and total assets of more than 120 trillion dong.

- Vietnam's Song Da Group and a Vietnam-Laos joint venture will build two hydro-power plants in Laotian provinces that are near the borders of the two countries with a combined value of $406 million, officials said.
- Top fuel distributor Petrolimex will expand its operation to liquefied natural gas and petrochemical industries in addition to its current fuel import and distribution activities, the government said in the firm's approved business plan.

- Vietnam's agriculture, forestry product and seafood exports rose 9.7 percent on year in the first eight months of 2012 to $18.1 billion, the Agriculture Ministry said.
- State President Truong Tan Sang is scheduled to attend the APEC summit in Russia from Sept. 7-11, said the head of the Foreign Ministry's Multilateral Economic Cooperation Department.
- Australia has been providing training to 80 Vietnamese military officers to enable them to join United Nations peace keeping activities in future, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said. The minister begins a two-day visit to Vietnam on Wednesday, the Australian Embassy said.

- Vietnam received 4.35 million foreign tourists in the first eight months of this year, up 9.4 percent from a year ago, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
($1=20,850 dong) (Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Sunil Nair)

Asean to resolve trade issues with Japan, India

News Desk
Rasmei Kampuchea Daily
Publication Date : 29-08-2012

Asean needs to resolve trade and investment issues as it embarks on a regional comprehensive economic partnership, secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan says.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of Asean economic ministers, Surin told The Cambodia Herald that such a partnership "will certainly be helpful" to Asean.

He said, however, that Asean had "left over issues" with its dialogue partners, "particularly Japan in services and in investment and India in services and investment.

"We would like to get on with the negotiations so we can go into the regional architecture, which is expected to be launched at the end of this year, with a clean plate.

"We will do our best in order to finish our left over issues, particularly with the two partners Japan and India."
The former Thai foreign minister said Asean was also discussing how to improve the intellectual property environment to promote protection and technology transfers.

"More and more our exports are exported with intellectual property content. We certainly would like to make it competitive, make our region more creative and more innovative," he said.

Asean's discussions with the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation this week are "very important," he said.

Surin also highlighted the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises in Asean, which he said accounted for an estimated 90 to 95 per cent of regional economic activities.

"They are very important in generating employment. They are important in contributing to the GDP. Twenty per cent of our exports are from SMEs," he said.

"Asean integration will also need SMEs crossing borders to invest in each other. The trade between and among among ourselves is only 25 per cent of our total trade. So SMEs certainly can increase that percentage. Their participation and enthusiasm in understanding the process of the economic community development is extremely important."

Regarding the establishment of the Asean Economic Community by 2015, "everything is on course," Surin said. "We will have to accelerate a bit more. So far we have achieved almost 72 or 73 per cent of all major instruments we need in order to form the economic community."

But "we also have to go into the actual implementation of these agreements," he said. "That's when all these member states have to look inside and coordinate among their own agencies, work with their own legislatures in order to come up with enabling legislation and translating what ever we have agreed on at the regional level down to the implementation at the member states level.

"There is a challenge there," the secretary general said "That is the challenge in every integration grouping anywhere in the world, translating the regional goals down to national implementation and legislation."

Warning of Return to Violence

UN special envoy Surya Subedi warns of possible unrest in Cambodia if the authorities refuse to embrace election reforms.

Surya Subedi (L) speaks to the media in Phnom Penh, May 9, 2012.

Cambodia may plunge into violence if it does not reform the current electoral system to allow for fair and free elections, Surya Subedi, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, has warned in a report.

He said there are "major flaws" in the administration of elections in Cambodia and called for "urgent and longer-term reforms" needed to give Cambodians confidence in the electoral process and in the National Election Committee (NEC), which organizes and manages polls.

"It is regrettable," he said, that most of the proposals by bilateral and multilateral agencies to reform the electoral process based on shortcomings identified in previous elections "remain unimplemented" by the Cambodian authorities.

In a report to be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva at its upcoming September meeting, Subedi said that he is "concerned by the capacity gaps that persist in the electoral process."

"If the electoral process is unable to command the trust and confidence of the electorate, the very foundation of the Cambodian political and constitutional architecture embodied in the Paris Peace Agreements will be shaken and the country may run the risk of a return to violence," he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen's government "must therefore do its utmost to avoid such a situation," he said in the report released this week.

Exile return

Subedi also called for a "political solution" to enable exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia "to play a full role" in politics.

Saying that Sam Rainsy has been convicted on charges that are allegedly politically motivated, Subedi added that "a concerted effort by the ruling and opposition parties towards reconciliation is in the interests of stronger and deeper democratization of Cambodia," especially ahead of the 2013 elections.

Sam Rainsy, who is currently involved in efforts to merge Cambodia’s two key opposition parties into a united alliance against Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), went into exile in 2009 after leading a border protest and was convicted in absentia on charges of incitement and damaging property.

He has called his conviction groundless and unacceptable.

Subedi's proposal for electoral reforms was shrugged off by the national electoral body.

Tep Nitha, General Secretary of the NEC, said on Tuesday that Subedi’s report "sounds like he is only listening to the opposition party and certain NGOs rather than reflecting the NEC’s current work."

Tep Nitha claimed that Subedi’s recommendations had effectively been implemented, including the part about making the electoral panel independent and autonomous, and guarantor of voters’ rights.

He said Sam Rainsy's absence "will not affect the process of the elections and democracy in Cambodia.”

Recommendations 'necessary'

But the Executive Director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), Koul Panha, stressed that all of Subedi’s recommendations "are vital and necessary" for electoral reforms.

"And the most urgent and immediate reform to be done prior to the national election in 2013 is the full guarantee of voters’ rights," he said.

In his report, Subedi cited a host of issues that needed to be addressed before parliamentary elections scheduled in July 2013. Among them:

== The NEC should have independent and autonomous status in the constitutional and legal structure of Cambodia, with its own independent budget allocated by the parliament.

== There should be consensus among the major political parties represented in the parliament on the appointment of the president and members of the NEC and the provincial election committees.

== There is a need to amend the law and to create another institution, such as a special election tribunal or election court within the judicial structure of Cambodia or a special election tribunal within the National Constitutional Council to resolve election-related disputes, rather than using the NEC itself to do so.

== All major political parties should have fair and equal access to the mass media to convey their messages to the electorate.

== All opposition parties must be free to organize and campaign without fear and hindrance. The Special Rapporteur "has been informed of cases of harassment and intimidation of people attending party political meetings of opposition parties by government officials and the secret police."

== There should be a more effective, impartial and non-discriminatory procedure for the registration of voters in Cambodia.

Subedi also cited a petition directed to him from a Cambodian citizen who had expressed "frustration with the existing electoral process.

The Cambodian wrote that "if the current state of affairs continued, the ruling party would win the elections forever and that there was no hope for other political parties."

Reported by Neang Ieng for RFA's Khmer service. Translated by Yanny Hin. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

ASEAN ministers vow to narrow gap among nations

Margareth S. Aritonang,
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Wed, August 29 2012

ASEAN’s economic meeting pledged on Tuesday to support the association’s new members in order to narrow development gaps between the member countries.

“ASEAN gives us the privilege of assistance in order to accelerate our economies and to narrow the gap among the countries,” Laos Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Viyaketh told reporters on the sidelines of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting as quoted by

ASEAN’s original members are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Membership was later expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The economic ministers meeting began in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Monday and will run until Aug. 31, focusing on efforts to narrow the economic gap between ASEAN’s members and boost equitable economic development in the region.

Addressing the opening session on Monday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the development gap among ASEAN members remained huge and the bloc needed to double its efforts to promote further growth and improve equitable distribution of the fruits of that growth at both national and regional levels.

Ahead of the meeting, the economic ministers also held on Sunday the 10th dialogue between the ASEAN economic ministers and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), discussing efforts to boost public-private sector partnerships in order to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

The ABAC was established in November 2001 in Brunei, and was inaugurated at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta in April 2003, as the primary vehicle for raising feedback and guidance from the private sectors in order to enhance efforts to create an integrated and competitive economy.

There will also be meetings on the 26th ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Council and on the 15th ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) Council, also in Cambodia.

According to the official schedule, a consultation meeting between ASEAN Economic Ministers, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization Francis Gurry, and the ASEAN-US Business Summit as well as Cambodia’s Garment and Textile Expo, would also take place.

Separately in Jakarta, the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s general director for ASEAN, I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, said that more developed economic relations among ASEAN countries would also boost development in other aspects in the region, such as security and culture.

“We will continue to build on our previous meeting in Bali. We will further partner with country members in order to develop economic development within the region,” Puja told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Chinese volunteer workers in Cambodia

By Zhang Yue (China Daily)

 Xu Jiatian was a high achiever in college. Instead of climbing the corporate ladder, he is now a volunteer worker in Cambodia. He shares his motivation with Zhang Yue.

Xu Jiatian is better known as Kurt to kids in many orphanages and primary schools in Cambodia.

Chinese volunteer workers in Cambodia
Xu Jiatian and other volunteers help build wooden classrooms and dormitories for
children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

"Kids would happily scream and run out of the classroom once they see Xu's smiling face outside the classroom window," says Boran, head of the PACDOC orphanage in Siem Reap.

Xu, 24, has been a volunteer in Cambodia since he graduated from college two years ago.

"I have always wanted to explore something new and different since I was still in college," Xu says. "That was how I got to know about voluntary work."

A year after graduating from college, with some savings and a loan from family and friends, Xu founded Green Leaders Adventure, a social enterprise that offers young Chinese people a chance to do voluntary work.

The group has been focusing on Cambodia, under the project named Cambodia International Service. So far, the organization has sent 160 Chinese teenagers to do voluntary work in Cambodia, such as building wooden classrooms and dormitories, and renovating primary schools and orphanages.

"Those who want to participate in the project have to contribute 18,880 yuan ($3,000) each," says Xu.

"Half of their contribution will be spent on traveling and living expenses, while the balance will be spent on construction work in the village.

"Like most of my teammates, I am moved by the way people treat us there. I also find volunteering an amazing experience. I want more young people in China to share the same experience," he adds.

Chinese volunteer workers in Cambodia
Xu Jiatian and other volunteers help build wooden classrooms and dormitories for children
 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

Xu's hometown is in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Before visiting Cambodia, he traveled to many countries in the Middle East and South Pacific Ocean.

"But working in Cambodia helped me discover more about myself and changed my perspective of the world," he says.

Xu first visited Cambodia in 2010 with a group of volunteers from Taiwan who went to Cambodia to teach the locals to grow better crops to increase their income. Although it was not Xu's first voluntary work attempt, he had an amazing time.

"Simple, but sincere," he says. "Most people do not speak English but when I walk on the streets, people smile and wave at me. Their eyes shine and their smiles are sincere."

Working in the rural areas of Cambodia is hard, but full of touching memories. Xu recalls one afternoon, exhausted from hours of farm work, he fell asleep under a tree in front of the house they helped.

"The family consists of a widow with her teenage son," he says. "Her husband died three months earlier after he was bitten by a snake in the river."

When Xu woke up at dawn, he found himself lying on the bed, with a bowl of food and some fried fish beside it.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, where did she get the fish?" Xu says. The translator told him that while he was asleep, the woman asked her son to catch some fish in the river for Xu, ignoring the danger that her only son might be bitten by a river snake like her husband.

"I later learned that this is the way the locals thank the people they care for. Once they get to know you, they will treat you like a real friend."

At that time, Xu was still thinking about his career choice after graduation. He was a high achiever at college, with good grades and an excellent track records in social activities. Like many of his schoolmates, he was also preparing to further his education in the US.

"But those days spent in Cambodia gave meaning to my life," he says. "I felt trusted and needed, despite the limited communication and language barrier. This is the kind of feeling that our generation longs for."

Most of the teenage volunteers joined the project with the initial aim of gaining some social experiences and to enhance their portfolio for their university applications, but many ended up visiting Cambodia every vacation.

Ten people have joined Xu as full-time staff. All of them are in their 20s.

Since 2011, Xu has been staying in Cambodia during every winter and summer vacation, leading his team to do voluntary work and learning about local demands as well as doing social research.

One of the first full time staff of the organization, Dong Shiqing, quit her job at a radio station in Beijing to join Xu.

"The people here need me. And I am very proud of what I do," she says. "This (voluntary work) is what helps many of those in my generation become stronger, I think. Most of us try to live a successful life defined by society. But what makes me happy is to be useful to other people."

"I enjoy the way I am growing as a person," says Xu. "I see myself making a difference in the world every day. That's real growth and the experience forms the best memory. We have started voluntary work in Cambodia and we aim to go further and last a long time."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ASEAN struggles to cope with rival claims in the South China Sea

Tyrone Siu/Reuters - Protesters carrying China’s flag take part in a demonstration against Japan’s claims in the East China Sea.

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — Thrown off balance by a cacophony of claims in the South China Sea, Southeast Asia is struggling to cope with the “big and heavy” presence of China and the United States in the region and needs to face up to growing security and political challenges, the secretary general of a regional group said in an interview.

Surin Pitsuwan was speaking Monday after the start of a meeting of economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap. It was the first major gathering of regional officials since an acrimonious conclave last month that highlighted deep divisions created by China’s increasingly assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea and rhetorical blasts about the waterway from Beijing and Washington.

At the earlier meeting, in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, foreign ministers could not agree on the wording of a final communique for the first time since the regional association’s founding in 1967.
Pitsuwan, Thailand’s former foreign minister and head of ASEAN’s secretariat since 2008, said in an interview that he was surprised by the breakdown in Phnom Penh, where the group’s customary low-key pursuit of compromise gave way to testy deadlock amid complaints of microphones being abruptly disconnected and allegations of backstage meddling by China.

The failure, Pitsuwan said , was “a wake-up call that these [security] issues will occur and we should be prepared to handle them.”

Cambodia, a close friend of China and the current holder of ASEAN’s rotating chairmanship, refused during the July gathering to accept pleas that the final communique include a mention of recent flare-ups in the South China Sea between China and two ASEAN members, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Manila and Hanoi accused Cambodia of putting its allegiance to Beijing ahead of its obligations to its regional partners and of pushing the 10-nation group to its most severe crisis in years. Cambodia, although heavily dependent on Chinese aid and investment, angrily denied acting on instructions from Beijing.

Tensions in the South China Sea, where five ASEAN members have claims that brush up against those of Beijing, are “becoming more and more of a stress on the system,” Pitsuwan said. That, he added,

underscores the urgent need to make progress toward a stalled code of conduct for the disputed waters. The key, he said, is to “get around” questions of sovereignty and focus instead on practical measures to curb the risk of maritime clashes. But, he said, “this will take some time, because it is emotionally charged and extremely volatile. Positions are far apart, but eventually, we will get to a practical solution.”

Role as ‘insulation’

ASEAN, which is meeting near the ancient temples of Angkor Wat under the slogan “one community, one destiny,” has traditionally worked to paper over its differences. The risk of conflict in the South China Sea, however, has exposed the shortcomings of that approach at a time when China and the United States are stepping up their military and diplomatic activities in the region. 

Mekong dams could rob millions of their primary protein source

By :  

Hydropower dams planned for the lower mainstem of the Mekong River could decimate fish populations and with them the primary source of protein for 60 million people. The impact of the dams would extend far beyond the river, as people turn to agriculture to replace lost calories, protein and micronutrients, according to a new study by WWF and the Australian National University.

There are 11 planned dam projects on the Mekong mainstem, and another 77 dams planned in the basin by 2030. The study, “Dams on the Mekong River: Lost fish protein and the implications for land and water resources”, looked at two scenarios: replacement of lost fish protein directly attributable to the proposed 11 mainstem dams, and replacement of the net loss in fish protein due to the impact of all 88 proposed dam developments.

If all 11 planned mainstem dams were built, the fish supply would be cut by 16 per cent, with an estimated financial loss of US$476 million a year, according to the study. If all 88 projects were completed, the fish supply could fall 37.8 per cent.

Study co-author Stuart Orr, freshwater manager at WWF International, says policymakers often fail to recognize the crucial role of inland fisheries in meeting food security. “The Mekong countries are striving for economic growth, and they see hydropower as a driver of that growth. But they must first fully understand and take into account the true economic and social value of a free-flowing Mekong,” says Orr.

The lower Mekong, flowing through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, is renowned for its biological diversity, with more than 850 freshwater fish species. These fish are fundamental to diets and economies in the region, with 80 per cent of the 60 million inhabitants relying directly on the river for their food and livelihoods.

The report also looks at the effects on land and water as people are forced to shift to cows, pigs, poultry and other sources to meet their protein requirements. On top of 1,350km2 of land lost to dam reservoirs, the countries would need a minimum of 4,863km2 of new pasture land to replace fish protein with livestock. The high end of the estimate if all dams were built is 24,188km2 – a 63 per cent increase in land dedicated to livestock.

Water requirements would jump on average between 6 and 17 per cent. But these averages mask the considerably higher figures for Cambodia and Laos. Under scenario one, with 11 dams on the mainstem, Cambodia would need to dedicate an additional 29-64 per cent more water to agriculture and livestock; Laos’ water footprint would increase by 12-24 per cent. Under the second scenario, with all 88 dams, these numbers shift dramatically, with an increase of 42-150 per cent for Cambodia and 18-56 per cent for Laos.
“Policymakers in the region need to ask themselves where they are going to find this additional land and water,” says Orr. “The Mekong demonstrates the links between water, food and energy. If governments put the emphasis on energy, there are very real consequences for food and water – and therefore people.”

The report, published in the journal Global Environmental Change and presented during World Water Week in Stockholm, comes at a critical time in the debate over hydropower development in the region.

 Construction work appears to be moving ahead on the controversial Xayaburi dam in Laos, despite a decision by the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission to halt the project pending further studies. It would be the first of the planned dams to span the lower Mekong mainstem.

“We hope this study can help fill some of the knowledge gaps about the effects of the proposed dams,” says co-author Dr Jamie Pittock from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the Australia National University.
WWF urges the lower Mekong countries to defer a decision on the mainstem Mekong dams for 10 years to ensure critical data can be gathered and a decision can be reached using sound science and analysis. WWF further advises lower Mekong countries considering hydropower projects to prioritize dams on some Mekong tributaries that are easier to assess and are considered to have a much lower impact and risk.

United Nations Recommend Drastic Reform of Cambodia’s Election System Prior to July 2013 Polls

28 August 2012


Overseas Cambodians should be allowed to vote in their countries of residence

In the most recent report published this week of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Professor Surya Subedi makes the following recommendations regarding preparations for the national elections scheduled for July 2013:

1- The National Election Committee (NEC) should be reformed so as to have independent and autonomous status.

2- There should be consensus among the major political parties represented in the parliament on the appointment of the president and members of the NEC and the provincial election committees (PECs).

3- Within the composition of election bodies of all levels, there should be balanced representation of all political parties with representation in the National Assembly.

4- The president and members of the NEC and the PECs should be appointed for a fixed term and have security of tenure.

5- New judicial bodies and mechanisms must be established outside the NEC in order to properly resolve election-related disputes.

6- All major political parties should have fair and equal access to the mass media to convey their messages to the electorate. The way forward could be to establish an independent committee on the management and use of State-run television and radio stations.

7- The Government must ensure that all civil servants, police and military personnel do not participate in political activities or use Government resources while working in their official capacities.

8- The Government must ensure that opposition parties are free to carry out their political activities without harassment and intimidation not only around the dates of elections but also in the lead-up to the elections and throughout the parliamentary cycle.

9- Regarding the registration of voters the Government should expeditiously provide necessary documents, Khmer nationality identity cards, passports and other necessary civil registration documents to all citizens for nominal fees and should reregister voters using the data from those cards as a basis to establish a new electoral roll.

10- Any Cambodian citizen eligible to vote should be entitled to request registration with the electoral and/or local authorities at any point during the year. Once he or she is issued with an identification card, that card should be valid for life.

11- Regarding the continuing problems with voter identity documents, especially the issuance and use of fraudulent documents (such as the old form 1018 and its new current version) the NEC should review the process of issuing such documents to ensure that the system is not abused by political parties in their favour and that there are no electoral malpractices.

12- The NEC should devise special measures to ensure that those who are homeless or have been recently evicted from their land are not disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections.

13- The NEC should make public the names of polling officers and make the voter list available to candidates from all political parties upon request, affording them an opportunity to challenge the fraudulent inclusion of names on the list.

14- The NEC should appoint professional election administrators to replace village chiefs during voter registration and on election day and bring all commune election officers and processes under its own stricter supervision mechanism.

15- The current law, which requires a person to be nominated to stand for election by a political party, should be amended to make it possible for independent candidates to stand in the national elections.

16- The NEC should make it possible for Cambodians living abroad to exercise their voting rights, at least in the countries where it has diplomatic and/or consular representation.

17- Regarding the situation of Sam Rainsy, the leader of the Sam Rainsy Party, who has been convicted on charges that are allegedly politically motivated, a political solution should be found to enable him, as the leader of the opposition, to play a full role in Cambodian politics. 


The U.S. shouldn’t sell out human rights in Vietnam

Allen S. Weiner is a senior lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, where he serves as director of the Program in International and Comparative Law. He has filed a petition with the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention challenging the legality of the arrest and detention of 17 Vietnamese activists last year.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Hanoi last month that the United States would sign a new regional trade agreement, the ­Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Vietnam by year’s end. Vietnam’s desire to promote economic development through expanded trade is understandable, and U.S. interest in supporting Vietnam’s economic advancement is commendable. But even as Vietnam seeks to move forward economically, its political system remains mired in a repressive and authoritarian past. Indeed, Clinton’s announcement came shortly before the one-year anniversary of the first stage of the Vietnamese government’s detention of activists whose “crime” has been to advocate governmental action on a broad range of human rights and social justice issues, including environmental, health, legal, political, land and corruption-based concerns. More than a year later, almost all remain in detention; one is under house arrest. Real progress in Vietnam will come only when political reform and respect for the rule of law accompany economic progress.

Over the past year, the Vietnamese government has arrested members of an informal network of social and political activists. The detainees are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Redemptorist Church in Vietnam — a reflection of the pattern of discrimination against religious minorities in that country. Eleven of the petitioners are accused of being members of Viet Tan, a Vietnamese pro-democracy party. The detainees have endured a range of human rights abuses, including violations of their fundamental rights of expression, assembly and association. In addition, the arrests and detentions of these activists violate their rights to due process and fair trials guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international legal agreements; violations of international standards include warrantless arrests and lengthy pretrial detentions without the filing of charges. After their arrest, the detainees were held incommunicado for months. Some were even convicted through “trials” at which they were not allowed a lawyer. Today, most of these petitioners are languishing in jail without outside contact or basic knowledge as to why they were arrested and are being held. They have had limited access to family members, or in some cases, no contact with relatives at all.

In keeping with a growing pattern of such human rights abuses by the Vietnamese government, these activists were arrested for violating criminal laws that ban “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration,” the “undermining of national unity” and participating in “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

The detainees are all online journalists, bloggers or others who have participated in training activities related to citizen journalism. They have written blog posts, signed petitions and joined nonviolent protests related to a range of issues, including calls for multiparty democracy and opposition to large-scale bauxite mining projects that would cause irreparable environmental damage and displace local residents. In short, they are engaged in legitimate forms of political expression.

Such political expression is protected under international human rights law and under Vietnam’s Constitution, which provides in Article 53 that citizens “have the right to take part in managing the State and society, in debating on general issues of the whole country or of the locality.” Article 69 of the Vietnamese Constitution holds that citizens “are entitled to freedom of speech and freedom of the press” and have “the right of assembly, association and demonstration in accordance with the law.” Instead of protecting these rights, however, the Vietnamese government has been using the law to prohibit basic freedom of speech, assembly and association.

To her credit, Clinton raised concerns about Vietnam’s human rights record during her recent trip, including the detention of activists, lawyers and bloggers whose only crime is the peaceful expression of ideas. “I know there are some who argue that developing economies need to put economic growth first and worry about political reform and democracy later, but that is a short-sided bargain,” she said.

The United States must go beyond a rhetorical defense of human rights in Vietnam. Our country should not contribute to the “short-sided bargain” Clinton warned of by promoting deeper commercial ties without simultaneously insisting that Vietnam honor its international human rights obligations. U.S. officials should demand that Vietnam can start by releasing the activists arrested last year and others who have been detained solely for seeking a voice in their country’s future. The United States should not reward Vietnam by including it in the Trans-Pacific Partnership while the government in Hanoi uses its legal systems to stifle dissent and perpetrate human rights abuses.

Vietnam Industrial Production at Slowest Pace Since January

HANOI—Weaker demand at home and abroad pushed Vietnam's industrial production to its slowest pace since January, prompting one bank to scale back its growth forecasts for this year.

Vietnam's industrial production index rose 4.4% in August from a year earlier, slowing from July's 6.1% rise, government data showed Monday. Through the first eight months of this year, the index was up 4.7% from the year-earlier period.

"Domestic demand is still very weak, while firms' inventory levels are too high now, making it difficult for the country to boost industrial production," independent economist Le Dang Doanh said.

The data come as Vietnam has struggled to right its economy after runaway inflation, poor planning and reckless lending threw the former high-flyer off track.

A series of rate increases brought inflation way down, but—together with the euro-zone crisis and the sluggish U.S. recovery—put a brake on Vietnam's export-led growth. Gross domestic product rose 4.38% on-year in the first half of the year, its slowest pace in three years.

Vietnam's imports rose much more slowly than exports in the first eight months of this year, as the slowdown means fewer materials are needed for production. However, so far the country has managed to maintain its exports of raw materials and farm products.

Data from the General Statistics Office showed that exports rose 17.8% on-year in the January-August period to $73.35 billion, while imports rose 6.7% to $73.41 billion. Retail sales rose 17.9% on-year since January, but that's down from levels above 20% recorded a few months ago.

In a statement posted on its website Monday, the government said contracting domestic investment and consumption have resulted in slower imports, which will eventually hurt domestic production and then exports.

"I don't see any chance for Vietnam to boost industrial production at this point," Mr. Doanh said, adding that the government must first help firms reduce their inventory levels.

In a note Monday, ANZ Research said it was scaling back its forecast for Vietnam GDP growth this year, to 5.2% from 5.5%.

"Though we continue to expect real GDP growth to pick up in 2H on loosened monetary policies, the pace of recovery will likely be slower than initially anticipated," ANZ Research said. It also lowered its 2013 GDP growth forecast to 6.1% from 6.3%.

The house said it expects the State Bank of Vietnam to cut its policy rates by another 1% in the coming months as the outlook for growth deteriorates.

On the bright side, slowing imports have resulted in a much narrower trade deficit, helping to keep the local currency stable this year.

The trade deficit in the first eight months of the year narrowed to $62 million, from a deficit of some $5.7 billion a year earlier.

Last Friday, the government said the consumer price index rose 5.04% on-year in August, its slowest pace in nearly three years and well below the peak of 23% inflation a year ago.

State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Binh said last week that Vietnam's GDP growth this year is expected to be 5% or slightly higher, adding that inflation should be limited to 6%-7%.

Vietnam Stocks Enter Bear Market on Financial System Concerns

By Bloomberg News

Vietnam’s stocks plunged, dragging the benchmark index into in a bear market, on concerns the arrest of two banking officials last week may signal further instability in the nation’s financial system.

The VN Index fell 3.4 percent to 386.19 at the close on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, extending the drop since the recent peak on May 8 to more than 20 percent, which some investors regard as a bear market. Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, the nation’s largest lender by value, slid 5 percent. Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), whose credit rating was cut by Moody’s Investors Service after the arrests, plunged about 7 percent.

Moody’s lowered Asia Commercial Bank’s credit rating to B2 from B1 on Aug. 24 and put the company on review for future downgrades following the “negative developments at the bank,” it said. Nguyen Duc Kien, one of the bank’s founders, was detained Aug. 20 for what the central bank called conducting “business illegally.” That was followed by the arrest of former Chief Executive Officer Ly Xuan Hai by the police for alleged economic mismanagement, according to a police statement.

“The question is if last week’s arrests are just the beginning of something bigger, and investors are worried about that,” said Marc Djandji, a Ho Chi Minh City-based senior vice president at Indochina Capital. “There’s little clarity as to what’s going on, or if there’s something going on behind the scenes.”

Djandji is buying stocks because the valuations are “very compelling,” he said. The VN Index trades at 9.4 times of estimated earnings this year, the lowest in Asia after Pakistan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Injecting Funds

State Bank of Vietnam injected 13 trillion dong ($623 million) into the financial system through open-market operations on Aug. 22, the most over a seven-day period this year. Governor Nguyen Van Binh said Aug. 21 the monetary authority stands ready to ensure banks have adequate cash after Kien’s detention.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s government is seeking to shore up a banking system saddled with the highest bad debt in Southeast Asia that credit-rating companies cite as a threat to the economy.

Vietnam Joint-Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, the second-largest lender, lost 4.9 percent, while Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint-Stock Bank, known as Sacombank, fell 0.5 percent. The central bank started inspecting Sacombank in July and will complete the probe this month, Binh told lawmakers at the National Assembly last week.

The VN Index (VNINDEX) slumped 12 percent since Aug. 20 with the arrests of the two bank officials.
Fitch Ratings also placed Asia Commercial Bank on review for a possible downgrade, it said on Aug. 24. The lender’s long- and short-term issuer default ratings may be cut if there’s sustained weakening in the bank’s liquidity and reputation.

“Moody’s is concerned that these developments have resulted in pressure on the bank’s liquidity and that there could be longer-term negative consequences for the bank’s franchise value,” the rating company said.

Asean Defence Ministers Meeting Today

Source: The Borneo Post

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Initial Planning Conference (IPC) for the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (ADMM-Plus HADR and MM Ex) begins today (August 28) at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong, Borneo Bulletin reported.

The IPC commences with the five-nations meeting which consists of Brunei Darussalam and the Co-Chairs of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Groups (ADMM-Plus EWG) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Military Medicine (MM), namely, Vietnam, China, Singapore and Japan. The aim of this meeting is to reach an understanding on the general overview and preliminary planning details of the exercise.

This is to be followed by a meeting involving Asean countries on the 2nd Asean Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise (2nd AHX), which Brunei Darussalam will also be hosting next year.

The highlight of the IPC, however, is the meeting of the ADMM-Plus countries to be chaired by First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz Haji Mohd Tamit, Joint Force Commander, Royal Brunei Armed Forces. Both the Co-Chairs of the ADMM-Plus EWGs on HADR and MM are also to lead the discussion in this meeting. Discussions are expected to include contribution by the ADMM-Plus countries on military personnel as well as assets and capabilities, and any other exercise logistics and administration matters.

The ADMM-Plus HADR and MM Ex will be the first exercise under the ADMM-Plus mechanism that will represent a concrete demonstration of practical cooperation. It was supported at the Asean Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM) and the Asean Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting-Plus (ADSOM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in April 2012, and endorsed by Asean Defence Ministers at their meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May 2012. The exercise is scheduled to be held from June 16-20 next year, back-to-back with the 2nd AHX. Both exercises are the major deliverables during Brunei Darussalam’s ADMM and ADMM-Plus Chairmanship next year.

The ADMM-Plus countries consist of the 10 Asean countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and USA.

Canada's trade minister to make first trip to Myanmar as part of Asia tour

August 28, 2012

OTTAWA--Trade Minister Ed Fast will make the first visit by any Canadian official in his post to Myanmar on Sept. 2, the last stop of a regional tour, his office said Sunday. 

Following official working visits to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, Fast will co-chair the first meeting of economic ministers from Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia on Friday.

“We continue to pursue deeper ties with the world's largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing economies, as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history,” Fast said in a statement.

ASEAN nations rank as Canada's seventh-largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching US$15.5 billion last year.

Fast's trade mission to Southeast Asia kicked off on Sunday and ends on Sept. 3.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Silversea announces winter destinations

Source: sinoshipnews

Hong Kong: Silversea’s winter/spring line up of itineraries sees the Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper coming to the region from September to May.

From late October to December this year, the Silver Shadow will offer a series of nine- and 11-day sailings from Hong Kong, Bangkok or Singapore to destinations in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the 115-day world cruise aboard Silver Whisper starts from Los Angeles on January 5 calling 52 ports in 28 countries including Hong Kong and Singapore. Because the ship is smaller than many cruise liners, holding just 382 guests, it can call at smaller harbours inaccessible to larger ships.

Italian Silversea entered the Chinese market in 2007 setting up its own general agent, Mytour Company. Silversea is now actively developing a cruise tailored to the Chinese market.

Cambodia to enhance laws on intellectual property

 Xinhua | 2012-8-27
By Agencies

Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO), on Monday pledged to continue helping Cambodia in formalizing and strengthening laws on intellectual property.

Speaking in a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, he also hailed Cambodia for its efforts and commitment to comply with international treaties and conventions on intellectual property.

Francis Gurry also congratulated Cambodia on its rapidly economic development in the last decade.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen highly appreciated the WIPO for its assisting Cambodia in the sector, saying that since Cambodia became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2004, the country has been actively making laws and regulations to adapt to international treaties and conventions on intellectual property.

Francis Gurry is in Cambodia to participate in the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings, which kicked off on Monday and will last until Friday.

Cambodia Offers Rice To Indonesia

SIEM RIEP (Cambodia), Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Cambodia has requested that Indonesia buy rice from that country and invest in post-harvest business, reports Antara news agency.

Indonesian ambassador to Cambodia Soehardjono Sastromihardjo said Monday that Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen made the request to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the Asean Summit in Bali last year.

"I myself heard (prime minister) Hun Sen made (the request) directly to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when they met at the Asean Summit in Bali last year," he said on the sidelines of Asean senior officials' meeting ahead of the 44th Asean Economic Ministers' Meeting here.

Hun Sen is scheduled to open the Asean Economic Ministers' Meeting that would discuss trade and investment cooperation as well as food security.

Indonesian trade minister Gita Wirjawan arrived here on Sunday for the meeting.

Cambodia has been known as an agrarian country with 80 per cent of its population being farmers. It produces 8.25 million tonnes of rice in 2011 and has set a target of exporting 180,000 tonnes of its rice this year.

"Until 2015 Cambodia expects to export minimally one million tonnes of rice. The quality of its rice is good and it is also cheaper," said Soehardjono, who was also present at the meeting between Hun Sen and Susilo in Bali.

Mohamad Helmi, the director of business development of PT Galuh Prabutrijaya that supplies fertilisers to Cambodia, confirmed that the quality of Cambodia`s rice is not inferior compared to that of Vietnam and Thailand.

"The price of Cambodia's best quality rice is around US$450 per tonne while that of Thailand is up to US$600 per tonne" he said.

Besides requesting Indonesia to import rice from Cambodia Hun Sen has also asked Indonesian investors to invest in the post-harvest business,.

"They do not have sufficient rice hulling facilities and therefore they have so far sent their unhulled rice to Vietnam and Thailand," he said.

Cambodia has been targeting Europe and the US for its rice export markets and South Korea, China, Japan and Indonesia in the Asian markets.

According to Antara Cambodian daily The Phnom Penh had at end March this year reported Cambodia's plan to sign an agreement with Indonesia for the export of 20,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia at a price f US$400 per tonne.

The president director of logistics company PT Bulog, Sutarto Alimoeso, has said that discussions were held since a year ago for the rice export plan but no agreement yet been signed.

"We have been exploring rice imports from other countries with regard to preventing monopoly that could raise the price of rice," Antara quoted him as saying.


Mekong dams put millions at risk of hunger

27 August 2012

The economic, social and environmental consequences of the construction of dams on the Mekong River could be devastating.

Eleven major dams are propsed on the main stem of the river, affecting Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The dams would block the migration of freshwater fish and reduce the amount of fish available.

ANU research suggests that millions of people are in danger of going hungry if the dams proceed. Replacing fish as a protein source with alternative food would use more land and water in sensitive environments.

Khmer Rouge Mass Grave Raises Past Ghosts


Cheung Ek Killing Fields site, near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Photo: Adam Jones / WikiMedia)

 DO DONTREI, Cambodia—It was four grey skulls resting on a bed of jumbled bones that again triggered Chea Nouen’s memories: breast-feeding her baby with her hands and feet shackled; her husband thrown into a pit to be turned into human fertilizer, her own marches to the killing fields—where she was saved three times by an executioner.

The past came hurtling back earlier this month when a new mass grave was discovered in this village in northwestern Cambodia, one of the bloodiest killing grounds in the country. Like most of Cambodia’s some 300 known mass grave clusters, it is not being investigated or exhumed to find out what happened.

More than three decades after the Khmer Rouge ultra-revolutionaries orchestrated the deaths of nearly two million people, or one out of every four Cambodians, this country has not laid its ghosts to rest. Cambodia’s regime prefers to literally bury the past, especially since some of its current leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, were once Khmer Rouge.

But 63-year-old Chea Nouen and other survivors in this small, farming community cannot forget, hold their tears in check or banish the nightmares when they daily tread over the unexamined bones of 35,000 victims and live among restless souls that still hover, they believe, over homes and rice fields.

Also unfinished is the pursuit of justice: Neither the three top Khmer Rouge leaders nor local executioners have been punished, with the exception of a controversial jail sentence of 19 years for the former prison chief known as Comrade Duch.

In April, Chea Nouen was invited to the capital, Phnom Penh, to hear a top Khmer Rouge official, Nuon Chea, offer his defense to an UN-backed tribunal: “I didn’t know. I was just carrying out orders. It’s an exaggeration.”

The UN and the tribunal say they are following the law. But Chea Nouen calls the trial “an absurdity,” incredulous that it has taken six years, US $160 million and mountains of documents to prove a case against three now feeble octogenarians when all seems so starkly clear to the villagers at Do Dontrei.

“At my age and health, I cannot confront the Khmer Rouge, “says the 63-year-old woman. “But I would be pleased to tell my story.”

Her body is almost skeletal and wracked by persistent illnesses from the Khmer Rouge years, but Chea Nouen’s animated face, striking poses and still supple hands conjure up the past in powerful pantomime.
She contorts her body, demonstrating how her legs and arms were bound to an iron bar. Her face grimaces in remembered pain. A soldier points a pistol to her temple, another searches her body for hidden valuables. In shock, she drops her two-month-old son to the prison floor.

For seven days, almost sleepless and surviving on just water, she cradles her child, twisting her body to allow him to suckle at her breasts. Chea Nouen, back in the present, brushes tears away with a yellow towel.
Their family, with two children, had been arrested one morning while riding in an ox-cart. A day after her release, her husband was taken away to the foot of a hill, close by the recently discovered grave, where the Khmer Rouge vented their hatred of former government soldiers like him with singular fury.

Blindfolded, hands tied behind their backs, they were savagely beaten, slashed with machetes and pushed into pits stocked with rice husks that were set ablaze. The ashes and decomposed bodies fused into fertilizer to be scattered over the rice fields.

Although still under official arrest, Chea Nouen was released to a Khmer Rouge complex that included dormitories, a warehouse and communal dining. She grew vegetables, worked grueling hours in the rice paddies and kitchen. One of her sons succumbed to illness, the other died of starvation.

Of the hundreds of workers who passed through the center, all of them women, only seven survived the deprivation and a methodical killing machine not unlike those at Nazi concentration camps. Executions took place once or twice a week, with batches of 60 to 80 prisoners, and often timed to the fertilizer production.
“We are all just like fish in the water. One day they will hook us all,” she told a co-worker who sensed her own time had come and asked Chea Nouen to take gold she had secreted to pass on one day to her children. Chea Nouen declined, believing she herself wouldn’t survive. The following day, after the evening meal, her friend disappeared.

Chea Nouen rises, head bent to the ground, her arms clasped behind her as if pinioned by ropes. She is trudging off with a line of others toward the pits. The killers await them, naked torsos sweating. She hears shouts, wailing and cursing from those about to die. Then, the chief of the execution squad, a man she had provided with bath water, halts the file of prisoners.

“I don’t know why he was so kind and saved my life. He did it three times. Maybe he felt sympathy for me. Maybe he loved me,” she says. Nhorn was the only name she knew him by, and after the Khmer Rouge downfall she never saw him again.

“Whenever I think of the Khmer Rouge time I don’t feel hunger or thirst,” she says, sinking into her chair in a ramshackle hut open to the rains and mosquitoes. “I feel nothing except the feeling that I am already dead.”
She has a proper house in the village, home to some 600 people, but prefers the forest retreat where she can better raise chickens, ducks and four cows, and where there is a peace and quiet for which she longs.
Her face still flushed, Chea Nouen ends her story on a lighter note, relating how a ghost appeared in the dream of the businessman who bought the land with the skulls from a farmer, one day after the remains were found. The spectral visitor recommended he go for the number 50 in a lottery. He won $1,500 and paid for a ceremony at the newly-found grave.

“My husband never comes to see me or give me a winning lottery number, so I’m still poor,” she laughs. “I didn’t even pray for a lottery number at the ceremony. I just thanked the spirits for saving my life.”

The remains from the grave were placed in a makeshift shrine under the shade of three palm trees, and the villagers of Do Dontrei brought soup, rice, desserts and a little money to the crude altar as offerings.
They worry that the spirits are troubled. There is a widespread belief in Cambodia that the bones of the deceased—especially those who met violent deaths—should be collected, cremated and prayed over lest they remain in the place they died to haunt the living.

But rural folk—the “little people,” as they have been called—still have little voice or legal recourse in face of rich power-brokers, and the businessman who purchased the land for US $4,700 for construction has close connections in the nearby provincial capital of Siem Reap. So the digging continues.

Khung Leang, a handsome 53-year-old woman with a ready smile, says she may never know where her entire family lies. She conducted rites for their souls, but they still return to her in disturbing dreams.

“They stood here. But they refused to come up,” she says, sitting on steps leading to the first story of her stilt-propped house. “My father said, ‘I can’t enter because there is a stick in the house and I will be beaten.’ I didn’t know, but there was actually one there. I threw it away, and a few days later they came again. And again they refused to come into the house. My father just stood on these steps, crying.”

Khung Leang thinks of the “crimes” that led to the slaughter of her mother, her father and all six of her siblings. They had been damned as “rich capitalists” because they sold sweets in the market. Later, they were discovered eating chicken soup one night as a family, violating bans on private property and eating outside communal quarters. The last of her father’s three “crimes” was “destroying Khmer Rouge property” by failing to stop cows he was ordered to herd from grazing in a rice field.

Her father was taken away first. She doesn’t know how he died. Later she was told that before his execution, he pleaded with friends: “Please take care of my daughter. She will soon be alone.”

And she was. They all followed him, even the youngest, her four-year-old sister, because the Khmer Rouge liked to say: “If you don’t want grass to grow you have to pull out all the roots underneath.”

Like Chea Nouen, she regards her cheating of death—twice—as miraculous.
Like many women and despite protest, she was forced into marriage with a man the Khmer Rouge had chosen for her. And like many young couples, they were assigned to a mobile brigade, tasked with back-breaking work in remote areas after separation from their families. She was away when her family was exterminated.

Sometime later, she and others were being herded to an execution site when a Khmer Rouge cadre suddenly barked, “That is enough. We have reached our quota today. Take the others back.”

A cooling evening breeze sweeps through the garden around Khung Leang’s home as she finishes her tale, one with a happy ending. A sprightly little girl, one of six grandchildren, rushes into her arms. A handsome 23-year-old son returns from teaching school.

Their family makes ends meet, growing rice and vegetables and still selling the traditional sweets from rice and palm sugar that once precipitated the tragedy. Her husband—the same she once adamantly rejected—drives a motorcycle taxi.

“He is a very kind-hearted man,” she says.
Pools of stagnant, milky green water lay at the bottom of the burial pits. The backhoe gouged out more earth.

“If the investigators don’t come and conduct a proper search, all the remains will soon disappear,” said farmer Chhorn Kry, standing at the grave’s edge, near where nine members of his wife’s family were executed.

The survivors of Do Dontrei believe the spirits are still trapped. They say the graves must be opened, with proper rites, so that the spirits can fly, look for their relatives and ascend to heaven. Chea Nouen compares it to water flowing out after a bottle is opened.

Khung Leang adds a contemporary, political twist to the ancient belief: “There are many souls still with us here. They are wandering around our village, hovering above us, because they are still waiting for justice.”

ASEAN to decide on Hong Kong's request for accession to ASEAN-China FTA in November

Xinhua | 2012-8-27
By Agencies

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the chair of ASEAN in 2012, on Monday advised the ASEAN economic ministers to submit the studies on the impacts of Hong Kong's accession to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement ( ACFTA) to ASEAN leaders in November for their decision.

"For the benefits of increasing market access to Hong Kong which is one of the 10 largest trading partners of ASEAN, and based on positive studies made on the impacts of Hong Kong's accession to the ACFTA, I'd like to request the ASEAN economic ministers to make recommendations on legal implication, impacts, and challenges pertaining to the Hong Kong's accession to ASEAN leaders at the 21st ASEAN Summit to be held in November for decision making," he said in his opening address at the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings.

Hong Kong expressed its interest to join the ACFTA to the Secretary-General of ASEAN in October 2011.

Hong Kong's accession to the ACFTA could result in a number of benefits for both Hong Kong and ASEAN member states. Given its strategic position as a business and financial center in the region, Hong Kong could enhance its role as trade facilitator between Chinese mainland and ASEAN countries by joining the ACFTA. In particular, Hong Kong's accession would allow for the further development of the trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cambodian PM to attend Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran next week

Xinhua | 2012-8-24
By Agencies

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a high-level delegation to attend the 16th Summit of the Non-aligned Movement to be held on August 30-31 in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to a press release from Cambodia's Foreign Ministry on Friday.

The participation is made at the invitation of Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the press release said.

The delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and other senior members of the government.

On the sidelines of the summit, Hun Sen will hold a bilateral talk with Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and have a meeting with Kim Yong Nam, president of Presidium of Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, it said.

After the summit, Hun Sen will attend the 2nd China-Eurasia Expo to be held on September 1-5 in Urumqi Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China.

During his stay in Urumqi, Hun Sen will hold a bilateral talk with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Cambodian patients appreciate free medical service from Chinese doctors

Xinhua | 2012-8-24
By Agencies

Cambodian local patients highly valued the free clinic services from the Chinese doctors specialized in traditional Chinese medical treatment here on Friday, saying that helps relief their physical pains and financial burdens.

Assigned by Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, a group of seven traditional Chinese medical doctors arrived in Cambodia on Thursday, planning to offer five free clinic services in both the capital of Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap, the kingdom's famous tourist city, in the coming six days.

Besides, for promoting Chinese traditional medication overseas, the doctors will also deliver one seminar in both cities respectively about the Chinese traditional medicine and treatment, as well as their effects on human health.

A 24 year-old local patient told Xinhua on the condition of anonymity that she highly appreciated the medical service from the Chinese doctors, hoping the prescription from Chinese doctors will eventually cure her gynecological disease.

Another local Cambodian of 76 year-old said that he had been suffering the pain on his back for years. Knowing the arrival of Chinese doctors weeks ago, he does hope he can get help from Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion.

Zhou Xiaobao, the delegation head, told Xinhua that their free clinic services in Cambodia aim at both helping the local patients by Chinese traditional treatment and elevating the exposure of Chinese medication to the local people, promoting the culture of traditional Chinese medication as well.

Starting from 2000, about 20 of such Chinese medical delegation had stepped abroad, offering charge-free services to over 35,000 patients in 20 different countries.

City hosts Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Conference

The Vietnam-Cambodia Legislative Friendship Conference to mark the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties and Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Year 2012 was held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 23.

The one-day event, co-chaired by Nguyen Sinh Hung, Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly and Samdech Heng Samrin, President of Cambodia’s National Assembly, was one of a series of activities to enhance ties between the two neighboring countries. 

National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung (R) welcomes the Cambodian National Assembly President Samdech Heng Samrin
While opening the conference, Chairman Hung said that there is clear evidence showing the two countries determination to foster and develop solidarity, friendship and cooperation ties for development in all fields. 

This event was demonstrated vividly by determination to continue to nurture and develop solidarity, friendship, cooperation and development in all areas in the two countries, he added.

For his part, President Samdech Heng Samrin said the conference is a political event of profound significance and constitutes a vivid manifestation of the solidarity, close friendship and firm and long-term cooperation between the two people. 

He took the occasion to thank the Vietnamese Party, State and people for their great assistance to Cambodia. 

He said he is happy with the growing traditional friendship and cooperative ties with Vietnam. “Cambodia always sees Vietnam as a good neighbor, a good friend, a good brother and a good partner,” he said. 

Delegates to the event talked about the relationship and cooperation between the two countries, legislative bodies, as well as the relationship between the People’s Councils and the NA delegations of localities sharing the common border line. 

The conference also heard a report on the trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. Both sides will strive to develop bilateral trade over the next five years. Currently, more than 100 projects in Vietnam are licensed in Cambodia in various fields with a total investment capital of more than US$2.2 billion.

A joint statement affirmed the two legislative bodies’ commitment that Vietnamese and Cambodian National Assemblies support the view of the Government of the two countries to further strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as to discuss regional and international issues.
The meeting also confirmed the commitment of the two legislative bodies of Vietnam and Cambodia with the governments and people of ASEAN member countries to build a strong ASEAN solidarity, respect and mutual support, mutual interests and harmony between national interests and the interests of the community, and contribute to the common objective of peace, security, cooperation and development.

Le Thanh Hai, HCMC Party Secretary ( second from R ) and Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of HCMC People's Committee (R) met with Cambodian youth attending the Conference of the National Assemblies of Vietnam and Cambodia
Delegates at the conference agreed to better implement cooperation agreements signed between the two NAs on July 22, 2012 in Hanoi; maintain exchange of high-ranking delegations; further accelerate activities of the two countries’ friendship parliamentarians groups; and closely cooperate in international and regional inter-parliamentary forums and jointly monitor the implementation of economic, social, cultural and educational cooperation agreements.

Later on the same day, NA Chairman Hung and his Cambodian counterpart visited the Vietnam Rubber Research Institute and the Khai Hoan Company under the Vietnam Rubber Group, in the southern province of Binh Duong.

At the conference, HCMC Party Secretary Le Thanh Hai reported the good results in cooperation and investment in various fields between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh.
HCMC and Phnom Penh would do their best to support the two countries stance on further beefing up bilateral cooperation and exchange of views on economic and regional issues of mutual concern, he said.

Source SGGP, Translated by Dan

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Armin Kluge is riding for the children of Cambodia

August 23, 2012
by Blake Wolfe/The Scugog Standard

Trading auto parts for a bicycle, Armin Kluge is a man on a mission. The 71-year-old Aurora, Ontario, resident stopped in Port Perry on Aug. 16, the first day of a cycling trip from Aurora to Halifax, Nova Scotia, part of a quest to raise funds for students of Angkor Thom Junior High School, in the village of Peak Sneng, Cambodia.

This latest trip is the third part of a three-leg cycling journey across Canada in support of the school, a project spearheaded by a childhood friend in which Mr. Kluge helped with building between 2007 and 2008. In 2010, Mr. Kluge pedalled from Kenora, Ontario (on the Manitoba border) to his hometown of Aurora, followed in 2011 by a trip from Vancouver, British Columbia to Kenora. The latest installment of Mr. Kluge’s journey is estimated to last about one month. Over the last two years, Mr. Kluge has raised approximately $25,000 of his $50,000 goal, for supplies and education for 260 Grade 7,8 and 9 students of the Cambodian school, adding that he is continually surprised by the generosity of complete strangers. Among those strangers are Gerry and Carolyn West of Port Perry’s Lakeshore Bed and Breakfast, who signed on to assist Mr. Kluge with complimentary lodging on his journey, capping off the first 56 km of the trip.

Growing up in East Germany in the years following World War II, Mr. Kluge began cycling long distances cross-country at the age of 15. Joining the East German Merchant Marine and jumped ship - “with $20 in my pocket,” he said - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1960. Mr. Kluge then became a “life-long automotive employee,” first working for a Brazilian Volkswagen plant and eventually making his way to Canada and a 20-year career at Aurora-based automotive empire Magna International.

The inspiration for a cross-Canada cycling trip came from a 70-year-old B.C. man who Mr. Kluge met while kayaking in 1997, who had previously traversed the country by bicycle.

“It planted the seed in my mind,” said Mr. Kluge. “I realized that in 2010, I was going to be 70 and if I didn’t do it then, I was never going to.”

The school itself has started to make a difference in the village, said Mr. Kluge. Despite challenges like a lack of public utilities (car batteries are used by many villagers to generate electricity, explained Mr. Kluge) students are now tutoring younger children in subjects like language - both English and Khmer - and dance. Seventeen of those students now have Canadian sponsor families, including five sponsored by Mr. Kluge and his wife.

“It’s so inspiring to see this happen - what can be accomplished with just a little bit of help,” said Mr. Kluge.

Training for such an endeavour at his age is time consuming, explained Mr. Kluge. Taking cues from another avid cyclist in his community, his weekly regimen involves practicing yoga daily, along with five hours of fitness and cycling every other day.

“Training is very important,” said Mr. Kluge, “because you can’t just jump on a bike and cycle long distances at any age. At 71, it’s more critical because as we age, it’s only natural that we are not as flexible. It’s critical to eat the right food and get enough rest and if I didn’t have a schedule, I couldn’t do it.”

From Port Perry, Mr. Kluge continued onward to Peterborough, which will be followed by stops in Ottawa and Montreal, and eventually New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. For more information or to donate to Mr. Kluge’s campaign, visit

CAMBODIA: Independent radio director and Democrats Association president, Mam Sonando, is illegally arrested on charges of secession

23 August 2012
CAMBODIA: Independent radio director and Democrats Association president, Mam Sonando, is illegally arrested on charges of secession
ISSUES: Illegal arrest and detention; human rights defenders; rule of law; justice system; freedom of expression
Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that Mr. Mam Sonando (70) was arrested from his home on 15 July 2012 by the police and was formally charged on the following day by Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The main charges against Mr. Mam Sonando include plotting secessionist movements in Kratie province, inciting people to hold arms against security forces, and interfering in public duty works. These charges could bring about long-term imprisonment if he is found guilty. However, there has been no clear evidence for these accusations. Mr. Mam Sonando has been in custody for more than a month and the request for bail was rejected despite the fact that he is old and sick. He is still waiting for his trial, the date of which has not been set yet.
Mr. Mam Sonando is the owner and director of the Beehive 105 FM radio station, one of the independent media outlets in Phnom Penh, which broadcast sensitive issues about the government. He is also the founder and president of the Democrat Association, a non-governmental organization established to promote democratic freedoms and to raise awareness of civil and political rights. Mr. Mam Sonando has been known for his harsh criticisms against the government.

Mr. Mam Sonando was arrested by a group of police on 15 July 2012 after he returned from his trips to the US, France and Switzerland on 12 July 2012. The arrest was made only one day after the end of the ASEAN Regional Forum held in Phnom Penh and the return of all foreign delegates to their home countries.
AHRC-UAC-148-2012-01.jpgThe arrest of Mr. Mam Sonando stems from the bitter land dispute in Kratie province. An area of 15,000 hectare farmland in Kratie province has been granted to the Russian company Casotim under an economic land concession. Since then, the area has become a hot-spot of land dispute between the villagers and the company. On 16 May 2012, hundreds of armed security forces stormed Pro Ma village in an attempt to evict the villagers from their homes and lands. When the villagers refused to leave, the security forces opened fire, killing a teenage girl Heng Chantha during the crackdown. Later, the government officials justified the operation as part of the crackdown on secessionist movements which were allegedly plotted by members of the Democrat Association, led by Mr. Mam Sonando. This alleged accusation also led to the arrest of a number of people who the security forces claimed were secessionists seeking autonomy and attempting to establish a state within a state. However, the government authorities failed to present concrete evidence for such claims and failed to properly investigate the military crackdown which led to the killing of the 14-year-old Heng Chantha.

Another event which is believed to be connected with the arrest of the prominent human rights defender is the presentation of a communication at the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 22 June 2012, Mr. Mam Sonando appeared in The Hague to present the communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC. The communication accusing the Cambodian government’s involvement in crimes against humanity was summited by the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), led by Mr. Suorn Serey Ratha. On 25 June, the report on KPPM’s communication was broadcast on the Beehive 105 FM radio station. On 26 June, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in the public speech for the arrest of Mr. Mam Sonando for involving in an insurrectionary movement. However, it has been observed that there is no evidence to substantiate the accusation by the government.

Mr. Mam Sonando was on a trip to the US, France and Switzerland when the arrest warrant was issued. He returned to Cambodia on 12 July 2012, and three days later on 15 July, he was arrested by a group of police at his home. On 16 July, he was formally charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court under articles 456, 457, 464, 504, and 609 of the Cambodian Penal Code. The charges include:

1. Participating in an insurrectionary movement, which is punishable by imprisonment from 7 to 15 years (Articles 456 and 457)
2. Inciting people to take up arms against state authority, which is punishable by imprisonment from 15 to 30 years if effective (Article 464)
3. Obstruction of public officials, which is punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year and a fine (Article 504)
4. Unlawful interference in the discharge of public functions, punishable by imprisonment from 1 to 3 years and a fine (Article 609).

Up until now, Mr. Mam Sonando has been in custody for over one month, and the request for bail was also turned down despite the fact that he voluntarily returned to Cambodia after learning that he would be arrested and charged. He is currently awaiting trial, the date of which has not yet been set. He has been weak and fallen ill due to his age.

The arrest has been criticized by both local and international non-governmental organizations as a means to silence critical views against the government and to crackdown opposition voices. The charges leveled against Mr. Mam Sonando are ill-grounded and used as a pretext to silence critical voices and as an example for other human rights defenders. The year 2012 has seen more violent and brutal crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations where people stand up to demand their rights, freedom and justice. A number of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. The extra-judicial killing of environmentalist Chut Wutty, who was documenting illegal deforestation, is another example of how the government is trying to suppress critical voices, and the failure to investigate that case is a blow to the rule of law and justice system in Cambodia.
Land grabbing has been a pressing concern and a by-product of various human rights abuses in Cambodia. Land grabbing happens in the form of economic land concessions which are granted to private companies as part of development policies. Economic land concessions have been granted on forest areas and farmlands where community people have been living for years without the involvement of the communities. Thus, such concessions have become a boiling dispute across the country. Poor compliance with the law in force and corruption even escalate the problem. The private companies fail to give fair compensation for the land to the people while the government officials turn a blind eye to the problem. In most cases, people are chased from their homes and lands in violent and ruthless evictions. As a result, people stand up to resist the eviction with whatever they have at hands such as sticks and stones and have clashes with the security forces. People are injured, arrested, detained and even killed during the eviction. People take to the streets to find justice and to protect their homes and lands; however, they have been ignored by the government. Economic land concessions are believed to promise development of the living standards and well-beings of the people; in contrast, such concessions have brought about negative impacts on rural communities, illegal land grabbing, deforestations and serious human rights violations.

SUGGESTED ACTION:Please write a letter to the following authorities to voice your concern about this case. Please urge the authorities in power to immediately release Mr. Mam Sonando and drop all the charges against him unless evidence is well-presented and well-grounded.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:
Dear ___________,
CAMBODIA: Independent radio director and Democrats Association president, Mam Sonando, is illegally arrested on charges of secession
Name of victim: Mr. Mam Sonando, 70, the Beehive radio director and Democrat Association president
Alleged perpetrators: Members of security forces of Cambodia
Date of incident: 15 July 2012
Place of incident: Phnom Penh

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the case of arbitrary arrest and detention of the Beehive radio director and Democrat Association president, Mr. Mam Sonando, who is falsely charged with an insurrectionary movement.

Mr. Mam Sonando is the owner and director of the Beehive 105 FM radio station, one of the independent media outlets in Phnom Penh, which broadcast sensitive issues about the government. He is also the founder and president of the Democrats Association, a non-governmental organization established to promote democratic freedoms and to raise awareness of civil and political rights. Mr. Mam Sonando has been known for his harsh criticisms against the government.

Mr. Mam Sonando was arrested by a group of police on 15 July 2012 after he returned from his trips to the US, France and Switzerland on 12 July 2012. The arrest was made only one day after the end of the ASEAN Regional Forum held in Phnom Penh and the returning of all foreign delegates to their home countries.

The arrest of Mr. Mam Sonando stems from the bitter land dispute in Kratie province. An area of 15,000 hectare farmland in Kratie province has been granted to the Russian company Casotim under economic land concession. Since then, the area has become the hot-spot of land dispute between the villagers and the company. On 16 May 2012, hundreds of armed security forces stormed Pro Ma village in an attempt to evict the villagers from their homes and lands. When the villagers refused to leave, the security forces opened fire, killing a teenage girl Heng Chantha during the crackdown. Later, the government officials justified the operation as part of the crackdown on secessionist movements which were allegedly plotted by members of the Democrat Association, led by Mr. Mam Sonando. This alleged accusation also led to the arrest of a number of people who the security forces claimed were the secessionists seeking autonomy and attempting to establish a state within state. However, the government authorities failed to present concrete evidence for such claims and failed to properly investigate the military crackdown which led to the killing of a 14-year-old Heng Chantha.

Another event which is believed to be connected with the arrest of the prominent human rights defender is the presentation of a communication at the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 22 June 2012, Mr. Mam Sonando appeared in the Hague to present the communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC. The communication accusing the Cambodian government’s involvement in crimes against humanity was summited by the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), led by Mr. Suorn Serey Ratha. On 25 June, the report on KPPM’s communication was broadcast on the Beehive 105 FM radio station. On 26 June, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in the public speech for the arrest of Mr. Mam Sonando for involving in an insurrectionary movement. However, it has been observed that there is no evidence to substantiate the accusation by the government.

Mr. Mam Sonando was on a trip to the US, France and Switzerland when the arrest warrant was issued. He returned to Cambodia on 12 July 2012, and three days later on 15 July, he was arrested by a group of police at his home. On 16 July, he was formally charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court under articles 456, 457, 464, 504, and 609 of the Cambodian Penal Code. The charges include leading secessionist movements, inciting people to hold arms against security forces, and interfering in public works of the authorities. Evidence for these accusations have not been supported and presented.

Up till now, Mr. Mam Sonando has been in custody for over one month, and the request for bail was also turned down despite the fact that he voluntarily returned to Cambodia after learning that he would be arrested and charged. He is currently waiting for trial, whose date has not yet been set. He has been weak and fallen ill due to old age.

I therefore request your intervention in this case to immediately release Mr. Mam Sonando and withdraw all the charges. I also urge the concerned state authorities to instigate an investigation into the case of succession in Kratie province so that innocent people would not be held accountable for what they have not commtted.
Yours sincerely,
1. Mr. Hun Sen
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Phnom Penh
Fax: +855 23 36 06 66 / +855 23 88 06 24 (c/o Council of Ministers)
2. Mr. Ang Vong Vathna
Minister of Justice
No 240, Sothearos Blvd
Phnom Penh
Fax: 023 364119
3. Prof. Surya Subedi
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia
No. 10, St. 302, Sangkat Boeng Keng Kang
1, Chan Chamcarmon
Phnom Penh,
Tel: +855 23 993 590
Fax: +855 23 212 579

Thank you
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

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