Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

2008 Election: Should the opposition Parties boycott the 08 Election?

CAMDISER - Baphuo..@aol.com

It seemed the opposition leaders had ever asked that crucial question?
Should the political change have to go through the election?

After all, the election, if free and democratic, according to the constitution, is the popular verdict and peaceful way to reaffirm the political change or the status quo. The election, if free and democratic, is the emanation of the popular will.

But it is noteworthy the communist Party in power had never ever lost the election they had organized.

If the election were free and democratic the SRP would win without doubt.

Cambodian opposition leaders were intelligent. They knew so well that Hun Sen and the CPP will cheat, will use repression and assassination and will falsify the election results to get what the communist wants.

Hitherto, since 1993, Hun Sen and the CPP cooked the electoral results. Beforehand, they decided to attribute the number of National Assembly seats to each party as they pleased. The election organized by the communist in power, as usual, was not an election. It was a charade.

So why do the opposition leaders still participate the election? Why did the opposition leaders continue to play that charade?

SRP leaders quoted very often two election results to convince themselves and other people about her popularity: The SRP had defeated the CPP at Kraing Yau, Hun Sen home village, and Phnom Penh, boasted the SRP. This proves that the SRP is very popular and the SRP can defeat the CPP in the next election, said the SRP leaders.

If Hun Sen can falsify any election result, it is evident he could falsify certainly Kraing Yau and Phnom Penh election results too.

The SRP had defeated the CPP at Kraing Yau and Phnom Penh because Hun Sen would like the world to believe that the election were free, fair and democratic. Hun Sen would like to convince the world that Cambodia is democratic that is why the SRP defeated the CPP at Kraing Yau and Phnom Penh.

For the above reason it is obvious that Hun Sen needed the opposition parties to justify to the world that Cambodia is a democracy anchored on basic freedom. Without the opposition parties, especially the SRP, the current Cambodia political regime merely would be totalitarian.

How to denounce to the world the totalitarianism of the CPP?

One of the best approaches was the boycott of the election. The boycott is to deny Hun Sen government any democratic attribute. If the world were convinced of the CPP totalitarianism, then the world would not recognize the legitimacy of Hun Sen government. Then the world will dump Hun Sen government and the CPP and will work for a political change.

This chain reaction would end up in the political change that ought to go through free and democratic elections.

In order to have free, fair and democratic elections for Cambodia, the world community must organize, supervise, and monitor those elections to select Cambodia government.

Don't let Cambodia to become another TALIBAN Afghanistan.

In recapitulation, the aim of the boycott strategy was to get free and democratic elections which must be organized, supervised and monitored by the US or the EU or the United Nations or an international ad hoc committee or all the above in order to build from scratch the Cambodian National Army, National Police and Judiciary System and select the government of Cambodia.

The Weakness of the Boycott Solution
One cannot win with nothing. One cannot win with the Do Nothing strategy. Do nothing means postpone and wait for the next time that could be more favorable.

The SRP would win the 2008 election in the same way as did the opposition in Ukraine and Serbia, said the SRP leaders. Indeed, the communist Slobodan MILOSEVIC had won as usual his election in 2000 but was overthrown immediately by a popular uprising and Vojislav KOSTUNICA was installed as president.

A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO.

The civil society and the NGOs supported in general the SRP. They would help the SRP to win legally the 2008 election in the same way as in Serbia and Ukraine, said the SRP leaders.

Prediction For the 2008 Election
We would predict as following: Likely Hun Sen would proclaim as usual his victory in the 2008 election. But the opposition would not recognize that electoral results because of flagrant CPP cheating. The opposition would say that Hun Sen and the CPP had falsified those results. Then Cambodian people would rise to overthrow Hun Sen government as it were in the 1998 National Assembly election.

The CPP and the opposition are now advancing in locked step toward the 2008 showdown.

Remember The 1998 Election and the Failed Coups against Hun Sen.
During the past decade, secrete organization or people on their own initiative had attempted coups to overthrow Hun Sen government but all failed. In all, there were one failed coup, one failed assassination attempt and one failed popular uprising.

The following were rumors and comments that circulated among very closed Hun Sen advisors:

We remember very well in the last year of Lon Nol regime, the pilots So Potra and Pech Lim Khuon of Lon Nol Air Force picked their T28 and dropped a couple of 250 pounds bombs in order to decapitate Lon Nol Army leadership. Indeed, Lon Nol and his generals were meeting at the army headquarter. The couple of 250 pounds bombs had exploded but did not kill the generals. This served as lesson to other young pilots.

The MIG who followed the T28 example
A young pilot, trained in Moscow, told his friends that he hate the Vietnamese communist and their valets: one day I will bomb Hun Sen residence as the T28 did to Lon Nol headquarter.

Toward the first years of 2000s, the pilot with his MIG19 armed with a couple of 250 pounds bombs accelerated and climbed very fast in the sky, then picked and dropped the couple bombs on Hun Sen residence at Takhmau. But a dozen of Anti Aircraft Artillery batteries manned by Vietnamese specialists of Air defense were there to protect Hun Sen residence. Hun Sen was there too at that time. The Vietnamese AAA has destroyed the MIG. The MIG exploded and the two bombs unexploded plunged in Prek Toch. The pilot was killed. He planned to land his MIG at Malaysia. The pilot acted alone.

Hitherto, the Vietnamese maintained a complete blackout of news relative to this plot. But people at Prek Toch knew and continued to whisper comments about the two bombs dropping in their river. Since then, the Cambodian pilots were banned and only the Vietnamese pilots had access to the combat air force.

Attempt to kill Hoc Lundy
Even the Army and Police CPP officers hated Hoc Lundy. One high-ranking army CPP officer plotted to kill Hoc Lundy in 2000s. Hoc Lundy traveled to Saigon at that time by the commercial Air Vietnam. He scheduled to return to Phnom Penh by Air Vietnam.

On the convened hour of Hok Lundy return day, the plotter planted a bomb in the commercial Air Vietnam. Approaching Pochentong Airport, toward the end of the airstrip, the Air Vietnam plane exploded and killed all passengers and crewmembers.

Hok Lundi at the last minute changed mine and postponed his return. He was not in that plane.

The official principal reason of the explosion was a technical accident. Month later, the Vietnamese secret police arrested and executed secretly the plotter. The plotter's father was a very important personality of Hun Sen regime.

It is not safe to travel by road at night
Even in Phnom Penh. If you travel at night by road, you are safe as long as you are not caught in accident. If you do, people would come not to help you but to kill you with their long knife (Kap Ning Phkeak). Because they believe only Hun Sen people dared to travel at night. Since they hated Hun Sen people, they would kill any people they put hand on at night, said a Hun Sen advisors.

The 1998 Election and the popular riot.
Rappel of the facts: In 1998 election, Hun Sen and the CPP proclaimed the final electoral results giving the CPP the absolute majority in the National Assembly. Sam Raingsy and Ranariddh refused to recognize the validity of that result. They both accused Hun Sen for committing fraud and falsifying the electoral results.

Sam Raingsy and Ranariddh had no armed forces support. These two leaders were unable to set up an armed forces organization when they were Resistance Chief Commander at Thai border and afterward Prime Minister. They were too clanist. They were unable to raise themselves above the family, the clan, and the cronyism. They lacked the team spirit. They were all in the learning curve.

More than one hundred thousand Vietnamese soldiers heavily armed with several hundred tanks T54 and T55 and dozen of thousand artillery and air defense AAA and air force hitherto surrounded Phnom Penh.

In 1998, forty thousand of Cambodian people rose up and demonstrated during a month in Phnom Penh streets to overthrow Hun Sen government. At the same time, thirty thousand of Khmer Rouge and Khmer Nationalist Forces were infiltrated secretly into Phnom Penh area ready to fight from inside to outside Phnom Penh the Vietnamese armed forces.

During the 1998 Cambodian riot, Khmer Nationalist forces were waiting for the green light from the US embassy to Phnom Penh. Cambodian Nationalist Forces needed a firm promise of financial support and arms supplies of any western country such as the US, the United Kingdom, the Germany or the EU, or all the above to fight against Vietnamese forces to defend Cambodia sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

In 1998, one hundred thousand Vietnamese Armed Forces attacked Cambodian forces everywhere at the outer Phnom Penh perimeters.

In 1998, it was the Clinton administration. Cambodian Nationalist Forces waited for so long the support of Clinton administration to free Cambodia from the Vietnamese occupation. There was no answer from the Clinton administration. The US had abandoned us for the second time.

Without the US support and without the EU support Cambodia alone cannot defend her freedom, sovereignty and independence against the Vietnamese armed forces occupation of Cambodia. Finally, Cambodian Nationalist Forces disbanded and fused into Phnom Penh people, then withdrew and returned secretly to their bases waiting for the next time.

The Vietnamese persevered and trained new generation of officers to fight these Nationalist Forces and tried and tried hitherto with few successes to decapitate their leadership.


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Former Cambodian sex slave honoured by US magazine

Somaly Mam of Cambodia embraces former EU Comissioner Emma Bonino at an awards ceremony in 1998. Mam, a former Cambodian sex slave turned activist, is to be honoured by US magazine Glamour at a ceremony in New York for her work rescuing girls from brothels in Southeast Asia.(AFP/File/Angel Diaz)


A former Cambodian sex slave turned activist is to be honoured by US magazine Glamour at a ceremony in New York for her work rescuing girls from brothels in Southeast Asia.

Somaly Mam will be presented with one of the magazine's Women of the Year awards by Mariane Pearl, the widow of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by Islamic militants in Pakistan in 2002.

"Somaly Mam is an inspiration to women around the world," Glamour Editor in Chief Cindi Leive said ahead of the ceremony. "She overcame horrific childhood abuse and has devoted her life to rescuing other girls from similar fates."

"She's bringing the issue of sexual slavery to the attention of the world, thus giving the hundreds of thousands of children who are currently enslaved in brothels a real shot at a better life," she said in the statement.

As a child, Mam was sold into sex slavery and has devoted her life to saving other girls caught up in the sex trafficking industry, some as young as five years old and many sold by their own parents, Glamour said.

Mam's organisation, AFESIP, rescues young girls from brothels, then educates and trains them. Since 1996, the group has rehabilitated some 3,000 girls in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The Glamour Women of the Year prizes are awarded to "gutsy female leaders in their field who inspire us all," according to the magazine.

Previous winners include former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, pop star Britney Spears and Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman who was gang-raped in 2002 and later brought her attackers to justice.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lawmakers OK Military Conscription

Thursday, October 26, 2006

By Yun Samean

The National Assembly passed the controversial law on compulsory military service Wednesday, legally obliging all Cambodian men between the ages of 18 and 30 to register and, if required, serve 18 months in RCAF.

Seventy-four of the 82 lawmakers in attendance raised their hands in favor of the draconian legislation. The remaining eight lawmakers voted neither for nor against the law, after the debate was cut short when CPP and SRP lawmakers traded fierce words across the Assembly floor.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy told parliament that the draft was designed to round up a growing mass of unemployed men who are increasingly disillusioned with the political and social status quo.

"The jobless youth always oppose the government," Sam Rainsy told parliament.

"They want to change the government, they support the opposition party. [Government officials] collect up the young who would oppose them so that they can easily control them," he said.

Conscripting young Cambodian men was also a bid to disguise burgeoning unemployment figures, Sam Rainsy said, adding that none of his lawmakers voted for the legislation.

CPP Defense Minister Tea Banh told the Assembly that the law will provide vocational and physical training for Cambodia's men.

"We cannot say when there will be a war," he said. "We have to [train soldiers] when we have the opportunity during the time of peace."

SRP lawmaker Ahmad Yahya said he opposed the law because he did not believe that young people should be jailed if they refuse to join the army.

If people flee Cambodia to avoid the draft in a time of peace they may face up to two years in prison. If they avoid the draft in a time of war, they could face up to five years, according to the legislation.

Ahmad Yahya, a prominent member of Cambodia's Cham Muslims, said that Islamic scholars should be exempted from the draft, just as Buddhist monks will not be forced to serve.

Ahmad Yahya then expressed general frustration with Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party, accusing it of spending too much time proclaiming the glories of January 7—the date in 1979 when Vietnamese troops toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.

"Your excellencies are always proud of January 7, even on television, in election campaigns and inside the National Assembly," Ahmad Yahya said, adding that the government that replaced the Khmer Rouge was installed by Vietnam.

The barbs were too much for CPP lawmaker Seang Nam, who shouted in response to Ahmad Yahya: "Who liberated your head? "

At that point, CPP Honorary President and National Assembry President Heng Samrin waded in to the catcalls.

"Not only Cambodia but the whole world recognizes January 7 as the day the people were liberated from the genocidal regime," Heng Samrin said.

CPP lawmaker and Assembly First Deputy President Nguon Nel said Muslim scholars would have to serve if called upon, and also chided Ahmad Yahya for his remarks regarding January 7.

"You created great confusion. And you wanted to say there is no CPP," Nguon Nel claimed. "If there was no January 7, there would be no National Assembly," he added.

Heng Samrin then called off the debate and put the draft law to a vote.

"We won't continue to discuss the draft law. We have discussed it a lot and to avoid verbal confrontation I wish the National Assembly to pass chapter five [of the law]," which allocates jail sentences for draft dodgers, Heng Samrin said.

Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Sisowath Santa voted for the law, but said there was no reason why the Buddhist clergy should be exempted from military service.

"I respect monks but the law should not avoid them," she told parliament.

CPP lawmaker Kuoy Dok also voted for the law. He added that the UN has asked Cambodian troops to serve as deminers in Sudan, which indicates that the international community now trusts Cambodia's military.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Open Letter To All Signatory Countries of Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia

Kong Korm, former Foreign Minister and SRP Senator (2nd Legislature) (Photo: SRP)

Open Letter
To All Signatory Countries of Paris Peace
Agreement on Cambodia

As former Foreign Minister of the State of Cambodia, and currently Senator of the Kingdom of Cambodia, I, Kong Korm, would like to make a particular remark on ‘23 October 2006’ as the 15th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia, that so far the Cambodia’s ruling party tried to degrade and forget by removing the anniversary date as the national holiday from calendar, as planned. However, the 7 January 1979 and Vietnamese-installed leadership structure have been permanently maintained.

In the name of majority of Cambodians within the framework of 1991 Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia and under the 1993 UNTAC-run election mission, let me re-affirm that we have successfully changed for new power and leaders, but the leaders and leadership structure of the country, which is one of the agreement signatories, have continuously provoked and disturbed the processes of democracy and reconstruction projects of all fields of Cambodia.

During 13 years (1993-2006), national and international communities have recorded, with serious dismay and painfulness, the 1993 secession event, 1997 coup d’état, bloodshed oppression on 1997 lawful demonstration and 1998 non-violent demonstration, 2004 constitution coup with additional constitutional law, and the destiny of the political partner of the 3-term coalition government. The coalition partner has followed the orders and suffered constant destruction. Moreover, the political party of majority in parliament has recently proposed and adopted the law on the Statute of Members of Parliament with a view to restricting the parliamentary immunity in terms of debate and confrontation against corrupt people and policies, degradation of good tradition, act of disturbing public order, instability and national security committed by powerful people and unfair businessmen, who are controlling the country in a way of most dictatorship, violence, and corruption.

In other words, during 15 years (1991-2006), following the Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia, all events mentioned above indicate that Cambodia has set one step forward, but two steps backward in strengthening peace and reconstructing Cambodia on the way of democracy and development.

At the annual meeting held in Singapore on 15 September 2006 , the World Bank stated that national and international communities voiced on the constant deterioration of Cambodian governance in 2005. Although the World Bank’s representative to Cambodia said in favor of Cambodia that Cambodia was precisely committed to making some major reforms in order to quit the list of ‘Fragile States’ in the region and the world, but in reality there has been nothing positive.

As a matter of fact, in September 2006, five outstanding international organizations, whose role is to watch human rights in the world, issued their statement in London, England, to request the Cambodia’s donor countries and international organizations to urge Cambodia to fulfill its commitments on reform of all faults made last decade so that they could be actually improved immediately.

Overall, in his report, Yash Ghai, representative of UN Secretary General, said the Cambodia ’s power belongs totally to the Prime Minister, and that the Cambodian People’s Party, National Election Commission, and the government have manipulated the democratic process lawfully detrimental to political opposition, and used the State power to accumulate private property. This could be seen that Cambodia is the one-ruling party State as before the Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia . Actually, the 1985 Treaty on Cambodian-Vietnamese Border, later called the ‘Additional Treaty’, is not merely contrary to the spirit of the Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia, but also contrary to history, and violating the 1993 Cambodian Constitution, especially article 2 of the Constitution stipulating: “The territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shall absolutely not to be violated within its borders as defined in the 1/100,000 scale map made between the year 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 – 1969”.

As evidence, police general Heng Pov, adviser to Prime Minister, deputy Secretary of State of Interior and Phnom Penh municipality police commissioner, is convicted of involvement in murder, abduction and corruption, and in his report, he said other top leaders of the country would also be held responsible for other similar crimes. By this, the public may see Cambodia as the State of Terror .

Acts of land grabbing, by lethally shooting, imprisoning, and coercively removing people from their residential land areas, where they have lived over five years without any opposition, in many places in Phnom Penh and provinces throughout the country, have adversely affected the people’s right to live peacefully.

The economic outrage, which privatizes national property and adversely increases the gap between powerful, rich people and clean, low-ranking public servants as well as ordinary people to date, has shown Cambodia is a fragile state that needs an urgent help.

I and Cambodian people, who have strongly and voluntarily agreed on the Paris Peace Accord on Cambodia, and firmly supported peace, liberal democracy, good governance, fight against corruption to alleviate poverty, would like the signatory countries to strongly and effectively continue to promote all principles and goals so that Cambodia may have stability and more advance with justice and equity, and may be free from the unfortunate incidents and mass destruction committed by its consecutive leaders and their dictatorship behaviors.

May the spirit of Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia “23 October” permanently exist in volition of all signatory countries and all Cambodian people.

Phnom Penh, 21 October, 2006

(Signed) Kong Korm

Former Foreign Minister
Senator, 2nd Legislature

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

A royal tussle in Cambodia

A royal tussle in Cambodia
By Verghese Mathews

All is not well with Cambodia 's Funcinpec (FCP), the royalist political party founded by ex-king Norodom Sihanouk and until now led by his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

An extraordinary congress on Wednesday controversially voted to remove Ranariddh as party leader on the grounds that he was no longer performing his duties, that he was too often traveling outside of the country and that he was unable to work with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The two long-time political rivals, according to political insiders, after a 2004 rapprochement that allowed for the formation of a
coalition government, are once again on bad terms.

Even by Cambodia 's rough and tumble political standards these represent serious allegations which Ranariddh will have difficulty dismissing in his usual off-hand manner. The bold and unprecedented move by a strong faction inside FCP was immediately declared illegal by Ranariddh loyalists, who pointed out that under the party's constitution, Ranariddh was "president for life". That's perhaps the biggest reason the often embattled politician has maintained the party's top post for so long.

The greater surprise arose from the congress's decision to choose Keo Puth Rasmey, Cambodia's ambassador to Germany, as Ranariddh's replacement. Rasmey is Ranariddh's brother-in-law through his marriage to Princess Arun, Ranariddh's royal half-sister. Rasmey is known as a mild, amiable and hard-working diplomat, well respected by his peers but viewed as a highly unlikely candidate to serve as leader of such a fractious party.

Cleverly, the congress did not overtly give Ranariddh the boot - rather they kicked him upstairs to the position of "historic leader", a high-sounding rank though no doubt construed as a ceremonial position with little power. They also unveiled a new party logo which was strikingly similar to the previous one, except that Ranariddh's portrait was tellingly removed.

Ranariddh has rejected his new title and vowed to sue party members behind the move. In the meantime, he told various news outlets on Friday that he planned to start up a new political party in the upcoming months named after himself.

Speculation is that Ranariddh's "ouster" and the selection of Rasmey were the brainchild of FCP secretary general Nhiek Bun Chhay, a former defense minister whose party faction is known to be on good terms with Hun Sen's Cambodia's People party (CPP). Two others closely associated with Bun Chhay are the wily politician and psychological warfare strategist, Lu Lay Sreng, and the urbane Prince Sisowath Sirirath, himself a former defense minister and ambassador to the UN. Both Lu Lay Sreng and Sisowath Sirirath were chosen as Rasmey's deputies.

If Ranariddh's removal as president comes to pass, as some anticipate, power inside FCP will shift from the president and chairman to the secretary general, effectively making Bun Chhay party leader. Political insiders say an important figure behind the scenes in all this is Princess Arun, Rasmey's wife and Sirirath's former wife, who is currently serving as Cambodia 's ambassador to Malaysia.

One keen Cambodian observer characterized the move as a shrewd "coup" by the Bun Chhay faction, whereby an angry Ranariddh will hypothetically resign from the party. That, he notes, is the one legal way to guarantee his removal and open the way for new party leaders to prepare for upcoming provincial and national elections. The observer also noted that it was not in CPP's interest to see the total demise of FCP, as that would strengthen the hand of the more confrontational opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

The latest power play and intra-party rivalries threaten to permanently dismember FCP. In the 1993 UN-sponsored elections, FCP won more seats than CPP, but progressively fared worse against Hun Sen's party in the following two polls. The irony is that the royals are being increasingly sidelined in what had hitherto been a royalist party.

Royal reactions
A royal reaction to its diminishing political role was the recent public call made by Prince Sisowath Thomico, a close relative of Sihanouk, for Ranariddh to disband the FCP and for its loyal royal members to join his newly formed Sangkum Jatiniyum Front (Alliance of the National Community). Thomico, however, went much further when he called on the government to be dissolved and for power to be handed back to former king Sihanouk, a controversial position Ranariddh has backed.

Hun Sen's angry retort to those planning what he referred to as a "constitutional coup" was that they had better "prepare their coffins" first. Former king Norodom Sihanouk, who like Hun Sen understands all too well Cambodian political power plays, not only promptly distanced himself from his relative's interventionist call, but also cut off the latter prince's monthly stipend from the royal purse. This has not, however, prevented isolated calls for the royals to either move out of politics or move out of royalty.

Hun Sen's "coffin" outburst was the latest indicator that the cordial relations he had forged with his long-time political rival Ranariddh, which after much controversy allowed for the formation of a coalition government in July 2004, have recently badly deteriorated. And it's highly significant that those strained ties are breaking out in the open at a time when FCP infighting has reached new divisive proportions.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) would logically stand the most to gain from FCP's weakening or possible disappearance from the political scene. Yet the smaller opposition party is only now shaking off the doldrums of party leader Sam Rainsy's long period of self-imposed exile. SRP is just now beginning to prepare for the April 2007 commune council elections, and it can be expected to renew its strident support of populist causes during the 2008 general elections. Although the party is weaker now than when it ran candidates in the 2003 elections, it is at the moment the only credible political opposition to Hun Sen and CPP.

CPP, on the other hand, has been going from strength to strength, consolidating its hold on political power. Most importantly, the CPP will no longer need to rely on FCP or SRP to form a government, as it did after the previous three general elections, when a two-thirds majority was required. A recent constitutional amendment allows the party with the most votes to form a government with a simple majority, a requirement the CPP will no doubt be able to fulfill after the 2009 polls.

As for FCP, the prognosis will depend largely on whether Ranariddh truly breaks away and forms his own party, as he has threatened to do. His initial reaction to the surprise realignment enforced on Wednesday by Bun Chhay's ascendant faction, which, significantly unlike Ranariddh, is willing to work hand-in-hand with the CPP, doesn't auger well for future party unity. And if the FCP's two power centers are unable to reach a compromise and debilitating factionalism intensifies, it's possible that disillusioned voters will help to put the party out of its misery at the ballot box.

Verghese Mathews, Singapore 's former ambassador to Cambodia, is presently a visiting research fellow with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. He can be reached at mathews@iseas.edu.sg

(Copyright 2006 Verghese Mathews)

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Cambodia in a new Cold war

CFC/CBC 23 10 06-1A
Distributed on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Cambodia

"Cambodia in a new Cold war"

A telltale sign: through an Anukret (“sub-decree”) dated February 2005, Mr. Hun Sen decided to cancel “October 23” as a celebration date for the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia, whereas, on the other hand, “January 7” which constitutes nothing more than an official dedication of the 1979 occupation of Cambodia by Vietnamese troops, is maintained as a “national holiday” for the Kingdom.

Recalling that the Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia which was adopted on October 23, 1991, had stipulated to all signatory countries two principal sets of obligations which are essentially linked to each other, as follows:

  1. To maintain, preserve and defend the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia, against all external aggressions and interferences – from Vietnam, in particular, even though this country was not explicitly named;

  2. To restore and maintain human rights, pluralism democracy, the rule of law, … “in order to prevent the return of past practices.”

    However, what did actually happen to Cambodia 15 years later? How about tomorrow, and for the years to come, what will be the fate in store for the Cambodian people?

Prior to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, communist Vietnam which was condemned by the entire international community for its occupation of Cambodia, had a very tough time maintaining its grip on this country. Following the Paris Agreement, with the undeniable complicity of the CPP – the former People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea (PRPK) – and with the compliant and disastrous power sharing of the royalist Funcinpec party, Vietnam paradoxically found itself in a more comfortable position to pursue and to consolidate its domination of Cambodia in every fields, and in particular, in politics, military, social and economic issues, and even on cultural and religious issues as well. The wild colonization by almost 5 million – i.e., 35% of the total population – of Vietnamese in Cambodia (1) was “ratified” by the leading Cambodian political community. At the height of its triumph, in November 2005, Hanoi, with the help of Mr. Hun Sen and the CPP’s “handy works,” was able to obtain the “humble” acceptance of its 1980s territorial treaties by all of the highest national institutions of the kingdom, even though some of these institutions were fierce opponents to these same treaties prior to 1991.

Furthermore, Hanoi continues to maintain, without exchanging a single firearm shot, its annexation of the Cambodian islands of Koh Tral and Koh Krachak Ses, as well as 30,000 square kilometers of Cambodia’s maritime domain, and the absolute control, through an “agreement” concluded with Hun Sen in 1982, of 10,000 square kilometers of the so-called “Historical Waters.” Better yet, under this “agreement,” Vietnam concluded on August 11, 1997 (6 years after the Paris Agreement), a maritime agreement with Thailand while bypassing over Mr. Hun Sen altogether. The agreement between Vietnam and Thailand allowed the latter to expand, to the detriment of Cambodia, its maritime domain by 30,000 square kilometres into Cambodia’s water territories.

On internal level, Mr. Hun Sen was busy maintaining Cambodian citizens in a weak state, in poverty, as they are tormented by all kind of insecurities, thus making them unable to defend themselves against his power abuses and aggressions from his foreign friends. Thus, Mr. Hun Sen’s regime became the “paradise” for corruption, deforestation, human rights violations, land grabbing, mining (bauxite, tin, iron, coal) and oil prosperities (even though they do not follow the basic rules of bidding process), human trafficking, drug trafficking, “dirty jobs” perpetrated by an arrogant, violent and clannish-style government. In the complete absence of the rule of law, personal, wealth and job securities are at the mercy of the high ranking leaders of the regime, all discontent or protest demonstrations are systematically repressed by gun-toting or, at least, electric baton-wielding police force, and by preventive jail sentence. Pluralism democracy is only but a ridiculous claim prescribed in the Constitution as the entire country becomes more and more submitted to the whim of the CPP. The latter is found everywhere, it dominates all its competitors and it crushes all political and social opposition at the National Assembly, in the Senate, at the Constitutional Council, at the Supreme Council of Magistracy, in the government, in the provincial, district, commune administration offices, as well as in all villages in the country.

The corrupt and tyrannical system established by Mr. Hun Sen is the complete opposite to what was envisioned by the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement “in order to prevent the return of past practices” – a euphemism created to alleviate the genocidal crimes committed by Mr. Hun Sen’s communist henchmen. Hun Sen is regularly denounced by the entire national and international opinion and even by the successive UN Special Representatives on Human Rights in Cambodia. Nevertheless, to the denunciations made against him, Mr. Hun Sen distinguishes himself by voicing with impunity, intimidations and death threats, and even scandalous insults on diplomats from the world highest body.

Indeed, Mr. Hun Sen found his “legitimacy,” his “strength,” and even found the guarantors of his impunity in some of the Superpowers who were signatory to the very same Paris Agreement, and who, through their “indulging” silence, band together to pay “subsidies and bonuses” in the form of periodic aid – amounting to several hundreds of million of dollars – and who are expecting to guarantee in this fashion, a “semblance of stability” in the kingdom, a stability which the Cambodian nation and people must carry on their own the heavy burden and the price to pay, while they subsist in a state of permanent poverty, uncertainty, and insecurity. Cambodia and her people, still in their hardships, at the end, find themselves becoming the hostages and the victims of a new cold war among the Superpowers.

The 1991 Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia had foreseen to set up sanctions against all violation to its stipulations, in particular:

  • “In the event of a violation or threat of violation of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability, neutrality or national unity of Cambodia, or of any of the other commitments herein, the parties to this agreement undertake to consult immediately with a view to adopting all appropriate steps to ensure respect for these commitments and resolving any such violations through peaceful means.”

  • “In the event of serious violations of human rights in Cambodia, they will call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such other steps as are appropriate for the prevention and suppression of such violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.”

The Paris Agreement was not prepared or adopted solely for the governments, but also in view of the citizens’ Right and Action who can find in it their inseparable references and guarantees. Cambodian citizens must continue to protest, and to support the legitimate protests by the victims, they must demonstrate against the government and their accomplices. They must protest against the Superpower governments which maintain the corruption and the dictatorial regime of Mr. Hun Sen and his CPP party, they should at least write to these governments, on their personal behalf if need be, to alert them and to demand from them to honor their engagements for a just application of the Paris Agreement which they have also signed, and most of all, to tell these Superpower governments that their support to the tyrant must come to an end, if they sincerely want to see to peace and happiness for the Cambodian people and for Cambodia.

Paris, October 23, 2006

Sean Péngsè

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Thursday, October 19, 2006



Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
October 16th, 2006

We thank Naranh Kiri Tith for his very interesting message which we reproduce in its entirety below. We made a meticulous inquiry with our fellow countrymen in Cambodia and abroad as well. In all, unanimous, the problem to be faced is : How to release Cambodia from the vietnamese domination ?

Message from Naranh Kiri Tith:

September 28, 2006
Dear Prasit:
Thank you for sending the letter by Julio Jeldres to the PM of Australia on Hun Sen coming visit to that country. I sincerely believe that Julio Jeldres is defending Cambodia's interests. But, I think he does tell the whole truth, especially on who brought Hun Sen to power. Sihanouk is the one. Without Sihanouk Hun Sen would not have an easy time. Now it is clear that Sihanouk (and Monique) is with Hun Sen 100 percent (please, look at all the supporting documents in my web site:

Please, read also the documents pasted below to better get what I am trying to day. The major power have already decide to go stability than real reform in Cambodia, especially when they know that Sihanouk is behind Hun Sen 100 percent. One of the major problems with most Cambodians is the lack of knowledge of what other important countries leaders are doing regarding Cambodia's destiny. Best regards. N. Tith »

The exchanges in the democratic way of all subjects concerning the past, the current situation and the future of our dear homeland are indispensable to enlighten and to encourage the multiform struggles in order to release our country of the vietnamese domination. In your above message we raise a very interesting passage:

«One of the major problems with most Cambodians is the lack of knowledge of what other important countries leaders are doing regarding Cambodia's destiny. » We would like to clarify that « other important countries », are mainly our two neighbours Vietnam, Thailand and also major powers, in particular Japan, the United States, China and France. It is important to take into account also the conflicts of their geostrategic interests. It is necessary to always remind that our two neighbors and all the major powers think only of their selfish interests. They do make only our fundamental national interests as show numerous of our recent experiences : Sihanouk relied in France and in China, Lon Nol in the United States. Always let us have in the spirit the will letter of Sirik Matak refusing to flee in a cowardly manner his homeland with the ambassador of the United States in April 1975. [1]

About France, we reproduce below a passage of Mak Phoeun’s article, title: « The border of Cambodia and Vietnam of the XVIIth century during the establishing of the French protectorate through the Khmer Royal Columns (chronicles) » (La frontière du Cambodge et le Vietnam du XVIIè siècle à l’instauration du protectorat français présentée à travers les chroniques royales khmères), in the book « The Borders of Vietnam » (Les Frontières du Vietnam), directed by P. B. Lafont, Edited by L’Harmattan, Paris 1989, page 148 :

« In 1858, while the Frenchmen were operating in Vietnamese country, the Khmer governor of Peam, Ukana Rajasetthi named Kaep, went to take back Treang Troey Thbaung's province (viêt. Tinh-bien), on order of king Hariraks Rama (Ang Tuon), and also attack the provinces of Bassac, Preah Trâpeang, Kramuon Sâr and Moat Chrouk. After the power accession in 1860 of king Narottam - Norodom of the European papers - the Khmer royal columns note that this monarch made the same governor as his Minister of war and confided him again as commander operating the troops in the South of Prêk Chik's canal. In a note drafted by Doudart de Lagrée, this one mentions that following hostilities between Khmers and Vietnamese about Cam (Chams) and Malays, the governor Kaep pursued the Vietnamese, Cam and the Malay until Treang Troey Thbaung, remained there, and sent the taxes regularly to Oudong « without any objection from Annamites », until the arrival of the Frenchmen, which amount to saying that since 1858 events Cambodians had become again master of a part of their former territories located in the South of Prêk Chik's canal, in particular this Treang Troey Thbaung's province which, starting from the central part of Prêk Chik's canal over the region of Svay Tong (Tritôn), extended at least until Phnom Thom (Nui-sâp) where is the Krâmuon Sâr's canal. »

Let us mention that the linear border is an European idea. In Mak Phoeun's article mentioned above, on page 142, there is a map showing the setting-up of the Vietnamese settler in Cochinchina between the XVIIth century and the first half of the XIXth century. This map shows that the Vietnamese is far from pertaining to the majority before the Frenchmen's arrival.

Another map of Indochina in the book called : « A winter in Cambodia Souvenirs of an official completed mission in 1880-1881 » by Mr. Edgar Boulanger, engineer of the Departments of civil engineering, the second edition, revised and increased, Alfred Mame and Son Editors, Paris 1888, page 361, show that the borders of Cochinchina are very far in the Southeast of the current borders.

Confirmation by a french historian :

« With the occupation and the installation of the Frenchmen in Cochinchina - installation which sometimes leaned on the active complicity of the authorities and the local Cambodian population. » In note: « What has been took place in the province of Soc Trang, partially connected to the vietnamese empire since 1840 only, while to repress the vietnamese's hostility, the Frenchmen replace everywhere of the vietnamese cantons, the leaders and the vice-leaders by Cambodian civil servants. Once the peace returned, the province will be reorganized in the vietnamese and the local power returned to the Vietnamese.". » [2]

So, it is necessary to consider, as a constant datum of our problem, that Major powers defend first and above all, their geostrategic interests. In these conditions how trying to find solid bases to unify our fellow countrymen in their multiform struggles to release our country of the vietnamese domination? That is the main problem that all of us have to face.

On the other hand, we do not agree with your assertion : «The major power have already decide to go stability than real reform in Cambodia, especially when they know that Sihanouk is behind Hun Sen 100 percent.”

Sihanouk had started his descent to the hells from the moment when he agreed to meet Hun Sen, on December 2nd, 1987, at Fère-en-Tardenois (France), such Hun Sen, who is an unknown on the international level and he is completely subordinated to the Hanoi's orders. It was the French President François Mitterrand who was the go-between. Is it a hazard ?

Four months ahead, a Cambodian bimonthly in french language published in Brussels (Belgium) "Perspectives", in its first number dated : September-October 1987, published an article entitled : « The Negotiations and the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) » signed by « Sethik, in August 25th 1987 » [3].

This article warned Sihanouk against the trap tightened by the VCP by accepting to meet Hun Sen, in principle without any condition as declared, but in reality in the Hanoi's conditions.

Now, politically Sihanouk is death. But say that the position of major powers depends on its attitude towards Hun Sen, is it not a way of giving him too much honor and value ?

Now Ranariddh, in his turn, is also death, politically. But we have many things to learn from his activities which leaded to this end. During the elections of 1993, Ranariddh had gone out victorious. But he did not known how to place properly qualify and valuable people, as staffs capable of countering the schemes of Hun Sen's clan. The only man capable of making a good work was Rainsy, placing in one of the keys position of the true power: the Ministry of Economy and Finances. Unfortunately Rainsy was removed by Ranariddh later on, not only of his ministerial post, but also of his MP immunity and Representative's seat, against all the most elementary democratic principles. The ministry is immediately occupied by a loyal supporter of the VCP. By acting so Ranariddh sowed the division within his own party in the only benefit of Hun Sen's clan. Then the VCP is going to use this division to weaken and reduce gradually the cohesion within Funcinpec and finally destroy his credibility.

But after the elections of July 2003, by creating with Rainsy, the Alliance of Democrats, Ranariddh restored hope to all Cambodian patriots. This Alliance stood on Cambodian’s dignity for one year. Finally Hun Sen was obliged to use a new stratagem always with promises ever held. In July, 2004, Ranariddh agreed to give full powers to Hok Lundy - Hun Sen's clan, against promises which will quickly be betrayed. To overcome the hesitations within his party, Ranariddh made once again new infringements for the most elementary democratic principles, by imposing the package votes with freehand to the parliament, on subjects so fundamental as the amendments of the constitution and joint with the CPP in forming the new parliament then finally the new government. It is a new betrayal and treachery towards Rainsy. By doing it, did Ranariddh realize that he signed his political death? Now thing is done and Ranariddh is obliged to emigrate. Will Funcinpec survive ?

Now, the VCP is sowing the seed of division within the SRP. Will Rainsy know how to learn from activities of Sihanouk and from Ranariddh ? Does Rainsy has a political program, other than to fight for democracy and against the corruption ? Does Rainsy has a team, a strong headquarter composing by warrant officer solidly united around the well defined objectives ? Does Rainsy team has established relations and connections with high-level intellectuals Cambodian and international, in particular with historians ? Does Rainsy has close relations with managers of national and international businessmen, in particular with big oil companies ? Or is Rainsy the next one allowing to be fool by the fallacious promises of Hun Sen ?

What lessons, does Rainsy learn from recent vote of his members of parliament (MP) ?

A) MPs of the SRP have just voted for a law obliging the MP to self censure. This law is unique in this kind in a democratic parliament.

B) MPs of the SRP have just voted for a law on the adultery, regulating then Cambodian's private life.

C) During these votes, the MPs of the SRP were not united.

Hok Lundy-Hun Sen's clan is not going to exploit these mistakes stressing contradictions within the SRP, finally destroying it as it was the case of Funcinpec ?

(To be followed…)

Note : Cet article est aussi disponible en français sur demande.

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New Processing Requirement for U.S. Visas

Press Release Embassy of U.S. - Phnom Penh
New Processing Requirement for U.S. Visas

As of November 1st, all applicants worldwide who wish to apply for tourist, student, or other non-immigrant visas (NIV) to the United States must complete the visa application form on the internet using the Electronic Visa Application Form, or EVAF. The EVAF format and questions are identical to the paper version of the NIV application form, but it prints out with a barcode, which consular sections can read in order to enter the applicant’s information into the State Department’s visa database.

Beginning November 1st, applications submitted with a handwritten or typewriter typed DS-156 visa application form can no longer be accepted. Applicants who submit a handwritten or typewriter typed DS-156 application forms will be asked to complete and print out the new EVAF application form, which is available now online at http://evisaforms.state.gov. Visa application forms printed from the internet and then filled out will not be accepted. The forms must be completed online and then printed.

The EVAF makes the NIV application process more efficient. It saves data entry time in the consular section, and reduces data entry errors.

EVAF has been designed to keep application data safe and secure. Its security and privacy have been proven through millions of applications.

Since the introduction of the EVAF in September 2003, more and more embassies have been making use of this time-saving tool. In fact, just three years after the EVAF was introduced, over 50 percent of all NIV applicants use the EVAF worldwide. At 44 embassies, over 80 percent of NIV applications are done through EVAF, in places from Tashkent to Hanoi to Beijing, with posts as varied as Bern, Kingston, and Tokyo regularly topping the 90 percent mark.

Applicants are responsible for providing true and correct information on the EVAF. If an applicant gives false information or commits fraud, he or she will be denied a visa, perhaps permanently. Applicants are warned not to use facilitators who charge high fees, make unrealistic promises about their services, or encourage applicants to use fake documents or information in the visa interview. Any applicant who has been a victim of an unscrupulous facilitator should contact the U.S. Embassy.

MEDIA NOTE: Embassy Consular Officials are available on a limited basis for media interviews on this new processing requirement. To inquire about availability, please contact the Embassy's Public Affairs Section at 023-728-258.

Released October 17, 2006.

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Cambodia: Ranariddh Ousted as FUNCINPEC President

New Logo of Funcinpec Party The party's Logo and Flag is preserved, except the portrait of Samdech Krom Preah NORODOM RANARIDDH which was approved by the Extraordinary Congress for its removal

Comrade Kev Put-reaksmei, chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party

[Left]Loe Laysreng, first vice chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party, [center] Comrade Kev Put-reaksmei, chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party, [right]Comrade Prince Sisowath Sirirat, second vice chairman of the FUNCINPEC

Samdech Krom Preath Norodom Ranariddh the historic leader

Announcement of Funcinpect Party [in Khmer]

The Office of the FUNCINPEC Party spokesman is honored to inform national and international correspondents that the [FUNCINPEC] Party's Extraordinary Congress held at its headquarters on 18 October 2006 unanimously approved the amendment of the Party's statute and internal regulations as well as the rectification of its structure and logo as follows:

The FUNCINPEC Party Extraordinary Congress

1. Agrees that Samdech Krom Preath Norodom Ranariddh remains the Party's historic leader

2. Elects the following persons as leaders of the FUNCINPEC Party for a five-year term:
2.1. Comrade Kev Put-reaksmei, chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party.
2.2. Comrade Loe Laysreng, first vice chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party.
2.3. Comrade Prince Sisowath Sirirat, second vice chairman of the FUNCINPEC Party.
2.4. Comrade Nhoek Bun-chhai, secretary general [of FUNCINPEC Party]

3. Increases the number of the FUNCINPEC Party's National Council members to at least 600 by including members at the commune and precinct levels.

4. Increases the number of the FUNCINPEC Party Steering Committee members to at least 53.

5. Modifies the Party's logo and banner by retaining all features except for the picture of Samdech Krom Preath Norodom Ranariddh.

6. Decides to keep the FUNCINPEC Party Headquarters at the same site; that is, No. 11, Preah Monivong Boulevard, Srah Chark suburb, Don Penh ward, Phnom Penh.

The public, party members and national and international journalists: Please be informed of the aforementioned news.

18 October 2006
The Office of the FUNCINPEC Party spokesman

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CFC/CBC Newsletter October 10th, 2006

CFC/CBC Newsletter October 10th, 2006 (For the “First Anniversary” of the Supplemental Treaty dated October 10, 2005)

In Khmer | In French

The “secret” 1985 Treaty of Khmer-Vietnam land border delimitation

The “secret”

One year ago, on October 10, 2005, Mr. Hun Sen concluded with the Hanoi government the “Supplemental Treaty” to a 1985 Vietnamese treaty for a new delimitation of the land border between Cambodia and Vietnam. The installation of the first border marker for the new border delineation took place on September 7, 2006, in front of the Cambodian village of Bavet, Svay Rieng province.

In describing the event, the Cambodge-Soir (1) daily newspaper wrote: “… the authorities had installed one marker at the exact same position as that of the old marker which was installed in 1986, and which had never been recognized by the international community because on that date, the Vietnamese army was present on Cambodian territory.” This newspaper report seems to naturally serve as a reminder to the consciousness of “senior” Cambodian leaders who concluded, adopted, ratified, and promulgated this “Supplemental Treaty.” The newspaper also included a terse but remarkable note: the Cambodian population was not invited to the ceremony which was qualified as “historical,” undoubtedly from fear that this population would remind the “authorities” that the location of the new marker, the Vietnamese border post and even further from there, all belonged to Cambodia “prior to the arrival of the Khmer Rouge” in 1975.

This “Supplemental Treaty” to the 1985 treaty had a tortuous history behind it, that of the southward march of the Vitenamese.

Before the formation of the Vietminh movement, the Vietnamese threat on the territorial integrity of Cambodia had indeed been rekindled on its traditional course since the beginning of World War II, during a time when the French influence in Indochina collapsed, and after Cambodia recovered her independence in 1953. The Vietnamese, strong from their military superiority, had absolutely no intention of respecting any legal border delineation between the two countries, even after France arbitrarily gave them the territories of Kampuchea Krom in 1949 to the tragic detriment of Cambodia and her population. Thus, in spite of the formal recognition of the territorial integrity of Cambodia by the Geneva Conference on French Indochina in 1954, the foreign policy of H.M. Norodom Sihanouk, during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era, continuously required this recognition from foreign States, and in particular from (North and South) Vietnam and from Thailand. General Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic publicly denounced on April 1970, the invasion and the occupation of major northeastern Cambodian provinces by the communist Vietnamese troops who rapidly turn them into bases for launching murderous attacks into the heart of Cambodia. Under the Democratic Kampuchea, conflicts without cause led to an unmerciful war between the two former Vietnamese and Khmer fighting allies. This war started in May 1975 and they were also caused by the same fundamental question of borders between the two countries.

Finally, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) troops succeeded in conquering and occupying Cambodia in 1979 and in establishing the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) which was represented by the “People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea” (PRPK) – a party assembled from scratch by the Vietnamese, and now morphed into the Cambodian People Party (CPP) – whose goal was to sign treaties and agreements ceding Cambodian maritime (1982) and land (1985) territories to the profit of Vietnam.. Following the rapid signing of the Koh Tral ( Phu Quoc Island in Vietnamese) agreement, and the so-called “Historical Waters” in 1982, the 1985 treaty on the new delimitation of land border extending over a total length of 1,270 kilometers, was another treaty which followed a string of agreements concluded in 1983 and 1984. Furthermore, the 1985 treaty contained a clause in which Cambodia must, a priori, recognize the installations of border markers made by Vietnam between 1986 and 1988.

However, on all these conclusions, unanimity within the PRPK was far from being achieved: following the arrest of Mr. Pen Sovann by the Vietnamese who were accompanied by Messrs. Hun Sen and Say Pouthang (December 1981), according to documents obtained Evan Gottesman (2), a US researcher, Heng Samrin, President of the State Council, who opposed since 1980 the out-of-control colonization of Cambodia by the “new” Vietnamese settlers, had also expressed his opposition to the installation of the new border markers by Vietnam, he argued to Hun Sen that “there is no need to change those [markers] who have already been installed in common by Cambodians and Vietnamese during the French period.” Furthermore, Chan Ven, the Secretary-General of the State Council, protested against ceding Cambodian territories in Svay Rieng to Vietnam and he prepared a report informing member of the PRK National Assembly.

A Joint Khmer-Vietnam Committee for the Determination of border was then put in place. On the Cambodian side, Dith Munty and Hor Nam Hong – and Kong Korm who later replaced Dith Munty – all of whom placed under the “watchful guidance” of Mr. Hun Sen and Vietnamese “experts” working at his ministry. Several years later, in regards to the agreement on “Historical Waters,” Hor Nam Hong who by then became the minister of Foreign Affairs, complained to Gottesman that “in fact, the Brevie Line is not a border. In reality, this area (Koh Tral and the “Historical Waters”) belongs to us since the French period until now.” Nevertheless, in spite of the reluctance and opposition of other PRPK leaders, according to Gottesman, “Hun Sen pushed forward this affair and showed the Vietnamese that he was determined to take his own responsibilities (against all others).” On the other hand, against the observations of Cambodians belonging to the Joint Committee stating that there is a lack of time and means to verify on the spot the coordinates shown on maps, Pham(?) Tun, a Vietnamese “expert” (working at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) invoked the “major tardiness” of the Cambodian party, and thus the impatient wait by the Vietnamese party, he ten pressed the Cambodian side to quickly complete the text of these treaties for their conclusion. Furthermore, exasperated by complaints made by the PRPK leaders, Pham Tun ordered the Cambodians working for the Joint Committee to “keep secret, from now on” all the negotiations work with Hanoi. Thus, the ceremony for the first “historical” installation of the first Vietnamese border marker in 1986 in Bavet was conducted in secret, and it was “reported and filmed (by the Ministry of Information) for documentation but not for public broadcast,” according to recommendation from the PRPK Cabinet of the Council of Ministers (4).

The “secrecy” surrounding the border issue got a new formal explanation on September 26, 2005, when Khieu Kanharith, the minister of Information and government spokesman, admitted during an interview with the US radio station VOA, that the 1985 treaty “is not fair for Cambodia because of the occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam during this period.”

One must admit that the territory treaties and agreements concluded between the SRV and the PRK from the 80s were prepared, in fact concocted, by Vietnamese agents sent to Phnom Penh in response to the Vietnamese demands from Hanoi. As for the “senior” leaders of the PRPK, they knew perfectly well that they will cede, along with Mr. Hun Sen, their country’s lands and seas to Vietnam, in exchange for power crumbs given to them by the Vietnamese in order for them to crush their own compatriots living inside Cambodia.

As far as we are concerned, the position of the Cambodia’s Border Committee in France and Worldwide remains unchanged. We consider that the main Treaties and the Supplemental Treaties concluded between an “occupying” country and the country it “occupies”, under all kind of constraints, will always remain illegal and unacceptable.

The aftermath of the “secret”

In this “secret” – a seal of treason – lies, threats, and repressions naturally ensued. Of course, on paper, it was claimed that these treaties and agreements “are conforming to the international principles and practices”, and that they were concluded in the name of the people and done for the people’s “happiness.” The “Supplemental Treaty” stated that the Vietnamese and the Cambodian governments based it, among others, on the respect of “the reality of the administration and the effective occupation by the population for several generations” before fixing the border delineation. In reality, no document from the Cambodian administration before 1979 was ever used by Mr. Hun Sen in his negotiations with the Vietnamese. And, under no circumstance, the Cambodian people, including the concerned border population in Ratanakiri, Mondolkiri, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Kampot, etc… were ever consulted, nor were they warned about the changes of territorial borders in their areas, communes, or villages by Mr. Hun Sen’s government, as would have been done normally in all other countries in the world. On the other hand, when faced with protests from our villagers against the sometimes violent encroachments by the Vietnamese troops which chased them from land they had occupied since long lost time, the Phnom Penh authorities ignore them, and even they went on to accuse members of civil societies, reporters, or opposition party members of manipulating the populations for political aims.


The follow up was predictable: on November 11, 2005, (CPP and Funcinpec) MPs of the National Assembly, under the “exceptional” demand made by Mr. Hun Sen, voted by hand for the adoption of Mr. Hun Sen’s “Supplemental Treaty” in “the name of the Cambodian people.” Undoubtedly, in answer to Hanoi’s “impatient wait,” neither the Kingdom’s MPs, nor the King took the time to examine in detail the text proposed or announced in these treaties. Also, they did not verify the territory delineations on the geographic maps presented to them. The country then truly lived under a kind of state emergency instigated by a Prime Minister who threatened a “regime change” if these Vietnamese treaties were not ratified immediately after his signing.

One now understands why the Cambodian population of Svay Rieng was not invited to the “historical” ceremony for the installation of the very first new border marker. Nevertheless, for modern Cambodia’s history, the nowadays “so-powerful” CPP, ex-PRPK, with Mr. Hun Sen at its helm, is the party which, consciously, ceded Cambodia’s lands and waters to Vietnam.

Paris , October 10, 2006

Sean Pengse

President of the Cambodia’s Border Committee

in France and Worldwide


(1) Cambodge Soir dated September 8, 2006, “Khmer-Vietnam Border – Installation of the first marker for the new border delineation,” by Chheang Bopha

(2) Evan R. Gottesman, “Cambodia After the Khmer Rouge: Inside the politics of nation building,” Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, USA 2003, pp. 209-211.

(3) Cicular No. 331-80 KB, issued by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea Council, dated October 19, 1980, signed by Heng Samrin, ordering the push back to their country, “illegal” Vietnamese “immigrants.”

(4) Service order from the Cabinet of the (PRK) Council of Ministers No. 263 L.S., dated April 21, 1986, signed by Vice-Minister Msas Loas.


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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sam Rainsy Firmly Opposed to Cambodia-Vietnam Border Marker Planting

03 Oct 06

By Sar Botum Moneakseka Khmer
Translated from Khmer

After returning to Cambodia yesterday morning, opposition leader Sam Rainsy called the installation of the border markers conducted according to the bilateral Cambodian-Vietnamese border agreement at the end of last month an act that ran counter to the national interests.

Sam Rainsy said, "I still do not think it is a good act conforming to our national interests, because there is no guarantee that the territorial integrity of our country has been properly protected."

Also yesterday, in describing his trip abroad to reporters, Sam Rainsy said he went to a number of European countries to visit his party members and also to open a few offices there. At the same time, Sam Rainsy disclosed that he met with his publisher and talked about publishing a book on his biography and his views on the situation in Cambodia.

Nevertheless, regarding the installation of the border markers, Sam Rainsy said, "I want to know and to hear about it because, anyway, it concerns our country."

It should be noted that based on the supplementary convention to the controversial 1985 state border treaty, Cambodia and Vietnam started planting their first border markers in Cambodia at the Bavet international gate of Svay Rieng province and in Vietnam at the Mok Bai pass of Tay Ninh province on Wednesday 27 September.

The inauguration ceremony attended by Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung proceeded in an extremely unpleasant and doleful atmosphere. Besides a handful of laughing and cheering Cambodian People's Party [CPP] and Vietnamese leaders, there was no participation as witnesses from the representatives of any other Cambodian political parties, civil society officials, or diplomatic envoys.

Nguyen Tan Dung, in his jovial speech, said that he has long waited for this opportunity in order to put an end to disputes and suspicions along the border of the two countries.

According to Va Kim Hong's hand-written report, the border markers will be planted all along the 1,270-km Cambodian-Vietnamese land border. Of a total of 353 border markers to be planted, some are made entirely of granite and others a mixture of granite debris and special cement.

The process of border marker installation will be checked against the maps the two countries have re-copied, which are the 1/1,000,000 SZI map attached to the 1985 state border treaty and the 1/50,000 UTM map also attached to the same 1985 treaty.

The border marker installation started after the National Assembly members from the CPP and the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party raised their hands to approve the convention supplemental to the 1985 state border treaty in October 2005.

A number of Cambodian political personalities as well as civil society representatives said that the start of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border marker installation would seriously harm Cambodia's national interests. They noted that the Cambodian maps of the 1960s and 70s were fully recognized as having all the right characteristics by many countries as well as the United Nations, including the leaders of North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

The current process of installing the border makers between Cambodia and Vietnam, however, is conducted on the basis of the newly modified maps attached to the 1985 treaty that is full of irregularities.

Concerning this border marker installation, Kong Korm, vice president of the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], pointed out that it would make Cambodia lose its sovereignty, integrity, and independence, because in 1985 Cambodia was controlled by Vietnam.

As for Yim Sovann, SRP parliamentarian for the Phnom Penh constituency and chairman of the National Assembly's 4th Commission, he described the start of the border marker installation as a demise of Cambodia's right to reclaim the territory it recently lost to Vietnamese encroachments.

Nevertheless, this SRP parliamentarian saved the Cambodian people from losing all hope by assuring them that if the SRP wins the elections, the SRP will review all treaties deemed detrimental to Cambodia's interests.

At the same time, Cambodians throughout the country, especially those living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, called the day Hun Sen and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung joyfully celebrated the start of the border marker installation a day of mourning for the Cambodian people, a day the Cambodian people knew that many additional square kilometers of their territory were snipped away from the map of Cambodia.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cambodian Rights Groups Petition For Anti-corruption Law

Representatives from more than 20 Cambodian human rights groups and non-government organizations delivered a petition containing 100,000 signatures to the nation's parliament Wednesday demanding action against corruption.

The group met with representatives of both the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and royalist Funcinpec Party. A representative from the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) cancelled at short notice.

Respected rights activist and founder of the local organization Licadho, Kek Galabru, said ordinary Cambodians were committed to stamping out endemic corruption and she hoped the nation's politicians agreed.

"Today we bring more than 100,000 thumbprints of Cambodian people committed to the fight against corruption," she told the meeting in the National Assembly.

"We want to see an anti-corruption law to international standards. We want to see the National Assembly pass the law and then we want to see this country implement that law - not just on paper."

The Cambodian government has been under international pressure to pass an anti-corruption law, but it has so far not been tabled in parliament.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Hun Sen promised the annual Consultative Group meeting of the government and donors that the law would be in place by the end of year, but other laws including a law against adultery appear to have taken priority.

International donors have warned repeatedly that unless Cambodia takes steps to curb corruption, the aid Cambodia relies on may be cut.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said the fight against corruption was "a priority for every Cambodian."

"The country's leaders always talk about reducing or fighting against corruption but these have only been words. It has never become real," he said.

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Ranariddh Leaves Cambodia After 2 Oct Appointing Members of FUNCINPEC Committees

Ranariddh Leaves Cambodia After 2 Oct Appointing Members of FUNCINPEC Committees

[Report on article by Javari from the 3 October edition of Sralanh Khmer posted in Khmernews portal: "Prince Leaves To See Ms. Uk Phalla After Hun Sen Refuses To Receive Him"]

The pro-opposition Sam Rainsy Party [SRP] newspaper Phnom Penh Sralanh Khmer in Cambodian on 3 October carried an article by Javari posted in the Khmernews portal, saying Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the leader of the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party, left for "Malaysia" at 1030 on 2 October "after he had failed several times to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen."

The article said a party official who saw Prince Ranariddh off at Phnom Penh International Airport told a Sralanh Khmer reporter that those who "accompanied the prince on this trip were FUNCINPEC Secretary General Nhoek Bun-chhai, Sau Rani, Pao Bun-sroe," and some other FUNCINPEC officials.

The FUNCINPEC official added that before leaving, Prince Ranariddh had appointed members of the party steering committee [koneakkammaka neayok] and the permanent managing committee [koneakkammaka krup-krong akchentrai], with him as chairman and Chhim Siekleng vice chairman. And whenever the prince was absent from the country, the article said, "only Chhim Siekleng was entitled to invite the two committees' members to meetings."

The article said that the "18 members of the permanent committee" appointed unilaterally the Prince Ranariddh on 29 September were as followed:
1. "Prince Norodom Ranariddh, chairman.
2. Chhim Siekleng, vice chairman.
3. Prince Sisowath Chivoan Monireak, member.
4. Prince Norodom Chakkrapong, member.
5. Prince Norodom Sirivudh, member.
6. Ing Kiet, member
7. Yu Hokkri, member.
8. Nhoek Bun-chhai, member.
9. Hong Sun-huot, member.
10. Khi Tanglim, member.
11. Pao Bun-sroe, member.
12. Veng Sereivut, member.
13. Serei Kosal, member.
14. Kol Pheng, member.
15. Ung Huot, member.
16. Tea Chamrat, member.
17. Sun Chan-thol, member.
18. Mam Bun-neang, member."

The article added that Kim San and Chea Chanbarido were appointed secretary general and spokesperson of the FUNCINPEC permanent managing committee respectively.

The article also said that only the chairman and the vice chairman of the committee had the right to convene meetings. Therefore, FUNCINPEC Secretary General Nhoek Bun-chhai was tied up, unable to do anything, the article pointed out.

As for the 59 members of the FUNCINPEC Steering Committee, the article said, they were as followed:
1. "Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
2. Princess Norodom Bophadevi.
3. Prince Norodom Sirivudh.
4. Prince Sisowath Chivoan Monireak.
5. Prince Norodom Chakkrapong.
6. Princess Norodom Vichara.
7. Princess Norodom Ratanadevi.
8. Prince Sisowath Panara Sirivut.
9. Chhim Siekleng.
10. Ing Kiet.
11. Yu Hokkri.
12. Nhoek Bun-chhai.
13. Khi Tanglim.
14. Hong Sun-huot.
15. Veng Sereivut.
16. Kol Pheng.
17. Nadi Tan.
18. Serei Kosal.
19. Tea Chamrat.
20. Khan Savoeun.
21. Sun Chan-thol.
22. Mam Bun-neang.
23. Ung Huot.
24. Pao Bun-sroe.
25. Nhep Bun-chin.
26. Nut Sokhom.
27. Mrs. Ung Kantha-phavi.
28. Mrs. Chea Saophoan.
29. Chap Nhalivut.
30. Peou Sith.
31. Sabou Bacha.
32. Khlot Tong-phka.
33. Mrs. Ki Lum-ang.
34. Mrs. Men Mali.
35. Sau Rani.
36. Hun Phoeung.
37. Pok Than.
38. Sun Pin-sen.
39. Phan Sina.
40. Kim San.
41. Yim Savi.
42. Neav Sithong.
43. Mao Havannal.
44. Mau Yuran.
45. Heng Chantha.
46. Nut Nin-doeun.
47. Maonh Saphan.
48. Mak Van.
49. Chea Chanbaribo.
50. Ruos Chheng.
51. Khim Chamroen.
52. Po Lida.
53. Lay Vireak.
54. Vin-yoem Vin-than.
55. Thav Kim-long.
56. Chhoem Sakhan.
57. Khoem Seila.
58. Uch Thaong-seng.
59. Noranarit Anon-dayat."

The article further said, "Only a senior party member assigned by the chairman could call meetings of the party steering committee."

According to a senior citizen of the FUNCINPEC Party, the article said, the appointments by Prince Ranariddh of the two committees' members were "against article 39 of the party statute." Therefore, Nhoek Bun-chhai or any senior party members, supported by members of the party permanent managing committee and of the party steering committee, "might as well convene meetings to change the chairman or to amend some articles to do away with an irresponsible historic chairman like Prince Ranariddh."

The senior citizen also said that, the article added, since Hun Sen refused to see him, it was not known when Prince Ranariddh would return.

It should be recalled that, the senior citizen further said, in Kampong Chhnang Province on 17 September, Hun Sen stated that he would not work with Prince Ranariddh, and he called him a "stupid." As such, one was waiting to see whether the prime minister would "eat his words," the article

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

MP Sok Pheng requests Sar Kheng to clarify the registration and issuance of Cambodian ID for Cambodian people living overseas

Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy

To: H.E. Vice-Prime Minister, Miniter of Interior

C/O: Samdech President of the National Assembly (Heng Samrin)

Subject: Request for directive in the registration and obtaining Cambodian identification card for Cambodian people living overseas who would like to return back to live in Cambodia

According to: Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Based on the subject requested above, I would like to inform H.E. Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Interior that in the past, Cambodian people who are currently living overseas would like to register and obtain their Cambodian identification card so they can return back to live in Cambodia. However, they face difficulties in the registration process as the local authorities require them to provide a certification indicating an address change from their previous location inside Cambodia, however, these people never registered in Cambodia before. In order to obtain this address change certification, these people had to contact local authorities from another region to issue it to them. This action is a hidden fact that does not look legal at all and it could also cause anarchy for the registration process. Furthermore, this action seems to indicate that Cambodian people living overseas has lost their right guaranteed by the Constitution stating in Article 33 that: “…Khmer citizens residing abroad enjoy the protection of the State.”

As indicated above, I am requesting Your Excellency Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to issue a directive regarding the registration process and how to obtain Cambodian identification card for Cambodian people who are living overseas and who would like to return back to live in Cambodia like any other Cambodian citizens, so that they have the full right as prescribed by Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Phnom Penh, 27 September 2006

Sok Pheng
Kompong Thom Region Member of Parliament

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Formation of the Government of Kampuchea-Krom in Exile

Independence Freedom Justice
Office of the Prime Minister

Date: October 2, 2006

Contact Sharon Young: kkgovernment@yahoo.com

Formation of the Government of Kampuchea-Krom in Exile

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2006 – The continuing quest for independence, freedom and justice of the indigenous Khmer-Krom people has entered a new phase: The official formation of the Government of Kampuchea-Krom in Exile (GKE). Mr. Thach Chanh has been unanimously nominated Prime Minister of this government.

The French National Assembly and French government ceded her colonial authority in Cochin China (Kampuchea-Krom) to Vietnamese colonial authority on the 4th of June 1949 without any consent of the Khmer-Krom people – whose land was overrun by France’s colonial armies in 1859. This irresponsible and shameless act of France and Vietnam has entailed endless suffering for millions of the Khmer-Krom people both in the past and up to today. During 57 years under Vietnamese colonization, social inequality, injustice, racism and double-standard treatment are undeniably apparent. Khmer cultural assimilation and Khmer language alteration have been policies of all Vietnamese regimes.

Many Khmer-Krom fought and died in Vietnam War because of their inspiration for freedom and democracy. Those who fought alongside the Vietcong were slaughtered in numerous Vietnamese purges in 1976 and later years. Those who fought alongside the U.S. during Vietnam War were systematically eliminated by the Communist with only a few hundred remaining. Those Khmer-Krom serving the present Vietnamese government are just puppets who protect no Khmer-Krom’s interests but only the Vietnamese Communist Party’s. Hanoi has so far done nothing but creates injustice, hatred, and misery for the Khmer-Krom people, who, in general, become poorer and poorer while the Vietnamese colonizers are richer and richer every day. No Khmer-Krom students have ever been allowed to further their education abroad. No general, lawyer, and/or Khmer-Krom professional has ever existed in Kampuchea-Krom since French times to the present day!

The GKE sincerely appeals to all Khmer-Krom people and organizations to stay united, focused, and to work together against the Vietnamese colonizer. To all international peace-and-justice-loving people, organizations, and world governments, give Khmer-Krom a chance to gain human dignity, and a chance to join the world mainstream. The mission of the Government of Kampuchea-Krom in Exile is to bring an end to the Khmer-Krom’s suffering, and to help bring political stability and peace to the region. This can be done through de-colonization of Kampuchea-Krom from Vietnam and by granting Khmer-Krom the rights to self-determination. To the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: Khmer-Krom also believes that “Nothing is worth more than Independence and Freedom”, so their struggle will eventually prevail just like Vietnamese did in the last two wars.

By forming this government we mean no harm to anyone but reclaim the inherent rights that we have been deprived of, and execute the United Nations Decolonizatiom Program. The GKE will act on behalf of the Khmer-Krom people, and for the Khmer-Krom’s interests in all matters including engagements in any dialogue, negotiation, and/or agreement with other nations in the future.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Statement of Cambodia Watchdog Council-International based in Norway

Message from channa....@yahoo.com

Dear Sir/ Madam,

On behalf of Cambodia Watchdog Council-International based in Norway , I would like to send you the statement dated on Sunday 01rst, October, 2006.

It is issued in order to oppose the demarcation based on the so-called illegal suplemental convention signed by Mr. Hun Sen and his counterpart, Vietnamese Primier, on October 10, 2005.

Would you please view it as attached below.

Highest Regards,

Ir Channa
Secreatry General of CWC-International.
Mobile +47 99 489 347

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Phnom Penh, 2 October 2006


The National Election Committee felt directly attacked in the statement to the Human Rights Council on September 26, delivered by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Yash Ghai.

Mr. Ghai talked of "manipulated democratic processes," and said that a political party had "firm control over the electoral commission."

By using such assertions presented as undeniable facts, Mr. Ghai is passing judgment over the NEC without giving it the opportunity to make its case.

Mr. Ghai's comments made on the independence and the neutrality of the NEC are unsubstantiated. In Cambodia, members of the National Election Committee are bound by law not to represent any political party.

Mr. Ghai's statement conveys the presumption that the NEC members, in spite of their legal obligation of neutrality and impartiality, are betraying their solemn oath and behave as nothing less than agents of one political party. In that respect among others, Mr. Ghai's conclusions are at odds with was said of the NEC in his predecessor's reports.

To our knowledge and unlike his predecessor, neither Mr. Ghai nor anyone from his office ever visited the NEC in the last three years. And unlike his predecessor, again to our knowledge, Mr. Ghai never had the chance to observe himself elections in Cambodia.

The NEC welcomes suggestions and criticism from all election stakeholders, but regrets the absence, in this statement, of any example of "constructive engagement" that Mr. Ghai refers to as his "primary responsibility" in the first paragraph of his report.

Since, in his report, Mr. Ghai is looking "forward to continuing dialogue on these issues," we would suggest that this dialogue actually starts with the NEC before coming to foregone conclusions.

The NEC would like to extend an invitation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia to meet with the NEC, particularly before he needs to deliver statements to the United Nations on electoral matters in Cambodia.

The National Election Committee

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