Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Friday, September 29, 2006

Julio Jeldres' open letter to Australian PM John Howard on Hun Sen's visit to Australia

Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres
Official Biographer of His Majesty The King Father
Samdech Preah Upayuvareach Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia
Chairman of The Khmer Institute of Democracy

An Open Letter to the Right Honourable John Howard, MP.
Prime Minister of Australia
26 September 2006

The Rt. Honourable John Howard, MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Parliament House
CANBERRA, ACT 2600

Dear Mr. Howard,

CAMBODIA: VISIT TO AUSTRALIA BY PRIME MINISTER HUN SEN

I was most interested in your interview on ABC Radio/Radio Australia (Pacific Beat) on 14 September 2006 in which you stated that Australia “remains concerned about the level of corruption and poor governance” in the Solomon Islands, adding that “I have no doubt that the people of the Solomon Islands want Australia to remain involved and committed and our goal is to help the people of the Solomon Islands. We are not trying to take sides politically, but we are determined that if Australia is to continue to pour the millions of our taxpayers dollars into that country, in return we have to see some improvement in economic growth, and some reduction in corruption and some improvement in governance”.

I would like to express my sincere congratulations for those noble words. I am sure the people of the Solomon Islands have welcomed your remarks and applauded their conviction.

It is most regrettable, however, that the same policy, so nobly enunciated by you on that ABC Radio interview does not apply to the people of Cambodia, who have suffered so much through no fault of their own.

Indeed, I was greatly disturbed to learn that you will be hosting the Cambodian Prime Minister on an official visit to Australia from 8 to 14 October 2006. I find it insulting, as an Australian citizen, that my government should invite to Australia, at the tax payer’s expense, one of the most undemocratic leaders of Southeast Asia, who presides over one of the most corrupt government in the world, where there is no rule of law, complete lack of transparency and good governance and where any criticism or peaceful opposition is met by threats, imprisonment and often death.

May I, respectfully give you some facts, some food for thought, about Mr. Hun Sen’s Cambodia, that may be your advisers and intelligence services failed to provide you before this outrageous invitation was issued to him to visit our country:

DRUGS: Cambodia, under Mr. Hun Sen’s rule has become a centre for criminal organizations involved in illicit drug production and trafficking, smuggling and exploitation of human beings, kidnappings, arms trafficking and extortion. Hundreds of kilograms of heroin pass through its territory every year destined for countries such as Australia. It is estimated that 10 to 20 kilos of heroin are trafficked through Cambodia every day.

Indeed, the 400 grams of heroin that Nguyen Tuong Van carried when he was arrested and then executed in Singapore, last year, came from Cambodia.

More than 100.000 methamphetamine tablets enter Cambodia each day. 25 % of that number is exported to Thailand and the reminder 75% to countries such as Australia, the US and Europe.

1,000 tons of marijuana are produced annually, mostly for export. Australia is one of the major destinations. According to a report by the Australian National Council on Drugs, to be made public in Sydney tomorrow, Cambodia is now the world's biggest source of cannabis.

Two of Mr. Hun Sen’s closest friends have been identified as involved in drug trafficking, one of them has been banned from ever visiting the United States. Mr. Hun Sen has taken no action against these people and they remain in his inner circle of friends.

Human Trafficking: Australia has made recently a generous contribution to the fight against human trafficking in the Mekong region. Yet in Cambodia, the Director of the National Police, a close associate of Mr. Hun Sen, has been denied a visa to enter the USA because the State Department felt there “were sufficient reports and allegations concerning his role in trafficking in persons to justify the visa denial”. Yet this same person has, I am reliably informed, a multi entry visa for Australia.

Corruption: Article 1 of Cambodia's constitution states that the country will be governed according to the principles of "liberal democracy and pluralism". But when Hun Sen’s government grants long leases or concessions to development companies to work on state-owned land, it pays little heed to the wishes of the people who make a living on that land.

Not very democratic, especially when the companies seem to be closely connected to senior members of the government or armed forces. If you speak to ordinary Cambodians about democracy, they will tell you two things. First, that the land is being stolen from the people, 85% of whom live in rural areas and 75% of whom are subsistence farmers. And second, that corruption is everywhere, from the top to the bottom of society.

U.N. human-rights expert Peter Leuprecht says his last visit to Cambodia in November 2005, left him more pessimistic than ever about the future of the country.

He said the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen seems to be increasingly autocratic and is concentrating power behind what he calls a shaky facade of democracy.

Mr. Leuprecht calls impunity a "gangrene" that undermines the fabric of Cambodian society. He says the necessary mechanisms for accountability are not in place.

"The judiciary is very weak," he said. "There is no separation of powers in Cambodia, and the rule of law, also in this respect, is elusive. Now, among many other things, impunity fosters corruption, which is endemic in Cambodia. It is everywhere, at all levels."

Let me, Mr. Prime Minister, give you, one more example, to illustrate my point even better. Cambodia’s health record is among the worst in Asia. Maternal mortality rates are the highest in the region, with 437 deaths per 100.000 live births. One in ten babies does not live and more than 60,000 babies die every year of malnutrition or diseases that can be prevented or cured.

Yet, between 5 and 10 per cent of the health budget disappears before it is paid out by the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Health. More money, including probably Australian aid, is then siphoned off as funds are channelled down from the national government to the provincial governors and to the directors of operational districts, and then to the directors or managers of local hospitals and clinics.

Mr. Hun Sen has made promises every single time a Donor’s Meeting has been held that he will root out these practices. Time and time again, the international community have believed him and granted him additional funds, which end up never reaching the poor people of Cambodia but rather the pockets of corrupt officials. And legislation promised to curb corruption has never been enacted.

Governance and rule of the law: Alexander Downer seems to enjoy telling me, every time I make representations on the situation in Cambodia, that the country “enjoys stability and has made significant progress since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime and subsequent civil unrest”. If that is the case, why is it that every one is so scare in Cambodia? From members of the Royal Family to public servants, judges, teachers and ordinary citizens, everybody is scare.

Everything depends on one individual, Hun Sen, and that is, I am afraid not really a precondition under which good governance, rule of law and human rights can flourish.

The fact is that today Cambodia is a Potemkin democracy, with the sham façade of elections and a constitutional monarchy but the dreary reality of an uninterrupted dictatorship since Mr. Hun Sen took charge of the country, with the absence of a real opposition, parliamentary debate and an independent judiciary.

The David Wilson case: Last but not least, Hun Sen is directly responsible for the death of our compatriot David Wilson of Melbourne. At the time, in 1994, I was still living in Phnom Penh and was asked to receive General Chea Dara, who was the officer of the Royal Cambodian Army in charge of negotiating with the rogue Khmer Rouge elements who had kidnapped Mr. Wilson and his two European companions. I did receive General Chea Dara and he asked me to convey a message to King Sihanouk and also to the Australian Embassy. The message was: “Please pay the ransom and do not attempt to shell the place where the hostages are being held”. I informed His Majesty and also Mr. Paul Griegson, then Deputy Chief of Mission in Phnom Penh. I also informed another Australian embassy officer, who was the ASIS attaché at the Embassy.

General Chea Dara explained to me that Hun Sen wanted to shell the Khmer Rouge encampment in order to get sympathy from the international community, to obtain arms and military equipment and to maintain the belief that the Khmer Rouge were still a problem in Cambodia, in order to win over his rivals and be seen as the person that solved the Khmer Rouge problem.

What happened next is well known, while first Prime Minister Prince Ranariddh was on a trip to Malaysia, Hun Sen ordered the shelling of the Khmer Rouge encampment where Mr. Wilson and his European companions were held, and the later were executed by their captors.

For all the above reasons, I believe Mr. Hun Sen should not be welcome to our country, to do so would send the wrong message. It would convey the idea that Australia supports Mr. Hun Sen and his undemocratic actions.

Asian history is littered with aspiring democracy movements that rose only to be crushed by authoritarian regimes while the West looked on silence. This attitude of the West, Australia included, has had a lasting impact on the region’s democratic development. It is time, Sir that you and the Foreign Minister cease approaching Cambodia with a guilty historical conscience and address the abysmal rights record of Mr. Hun Sen and his close associates.

I would respectfully urge, Mr. Prime Minister, to treat the people of Cambodia, who have suffered more than the people of the Solomon Islands, with the same respect you have shown for the people of the Solomon Islands and not to insult them by welcoming Mr. Hun Sen to Australia.

Yours sincerely,

(JULIO A. JELDRES)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The symbol of the Vietnamese aggression against Cambodia

CFC/CBC Newsletter Sep 27, 2006
Communiqué

The symbol of the Vietnamese aggression against Cambodia

The Hanoi’s decision to install today the first new Cambodia-Vietnam border marker in Bavet, in Khmer Svay Rieng province, is not certainly the merest chance. As always, even before the arrival of the French in Indochina, and even after the signing of the Vietnamese 1985 Treaty until this year 2006, Cambodian people in Svay Rieng have never stopped fighting fiercely against the encroachment and the occupation of their ancestral land by the Vietnamese forces resulting from their successive political regimes.

In fact, the installation of this border marker is another political act without appropriate juridical basis. This marker just replaces the first one erected by Hanoi in 1986, just after the signing of the treaty dated on December 27, 1985, during the occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam. The invocation of the “Additional Treaty to the 1985 Treaty” signed in October-November 2005 is not sufficient for the installation of border markers. The process of border demarcation and border markers planting must be subordinated to another law voted by the Parliaments of both countries, defining in detail, at level of the bordering communes, the respective land ownership of the both countries. This law, which defends also the interest of population living along the borders, is legitimated by the principle of “respect of the reality of administration and the real occupation by the population for several generations”, principle which is stipulated in the mentioned “Additional Treaty”.

None of the above procedures has been done. In fact, none of documents from various Cambodian Administrations dated before 1979 has been used by Hun Sen government for its negotiations with Hanoi. And, even with the pretext that all these documents have been “destructed during the Khmer Rouge regime”, there are still evident proofs attested by the “actual occupation of the population for several generations” on these Khmer lands that must be taken into consideration.

For the province of Svay Rieng case, there are not, as we all know, a shortage of the Cambodian villagers’ testimonies. In addition, the testimonies from the CPP members are not lacking either, from those who were high ranking “revolutionary” leaders of this province as they know the fact even more than other people. We just mention three of them: Mr Chea Sim, born in Svay Rieng, was Secretary of Kampuchea’s Communist Party for the Section Ampil from 1954-1959, and then a leader in this province from 1959 to 1966, before becoming the Secretary of Sector 20 for the East Zone until 1978; Mr Heng Samrin, who always lived also with his family in Svay Rieng, was the Commander of Kampuchea’s Communist Party in the South East provinces since 1970, and then the Commander of the 4th Division of the East Zone during the Democratic Kampuchea era until May 1978; Mr Chan Vèn, also born in Svay Rieng, previously teacher in Svay Rieng and ex-General Secretary of the Popular Republic of Kampuchea’s State Council, has already, according to a document at that time, contested against the “transfer of lands in Svay Rieng to Vietnam”… Why all these Cambodian “high ranking” leaders chose to keep quiet now?

Consequently, the new Vietnamese border marker is very symbolic for several reasons. Firstly, it is the symbol of Vietnam’s aggression “triumph” against Cambodia and the witness of Cambodian People Party’s total submission to the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Paris, September 27th 2006

Sean Péngsè
President of the Cambodia’s Border Committee
in France and Worldwide,

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Sam Rainsy's Reply to the National Election Committee

Sam Rainsy's Reply to the National Election Committee
Letter published in The Phnom Penh Post - September 22, 2006

REPLY TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE

I am puzzled to learn that, according to NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha, "it was to satisfy the opposition parties that the voter cards of the previous elections were abandoned as a valid document both to register and to vote." This would be indeed the first time that the CPP-dominated NEC would have made a decision with far-reaching consequences just to satisfy the opposition! We did denounce some irregularities in the past but the remedy they now choose proves to be worse than the disease.

Voter cards were the most commonly used documents until the last elections in 2003. I maintain that suppressing these voter cards under the present conditions, with so little preparations, and adopting new procedures for registering and voting creates confusion that tends to exclude many non-CPP members from the election process. Only those who are registered as CPP members receive adequate information, assistance and facilities to ensure that they will be able to cast their ballots on Voting Day. This can be explained by the fact that virtually all the officials who deal with potential voters (village chiefs, commune chiefs, commune clerks, police officers and election officials) are affiliated with the CPP or are not in a position to disobey the CPP.

Tep Nytha refers to the existing election law as a legal constraint that would not allow the NEC to devise and implement a more open process. He should specify that this law and subsequent amendments were adopted by the current CPP-dominated National Assembly in spite of protests from the opposition. Up to mid-2006, when all important decisions for the next elections had already been made, the NEC was exclusively composed of members who came from the CPP and its ally Funcinpec.

As justification of the new registering and voting procedures stemming from the suppression of voter cards, the NEC puts forward its good intentions such as the desire to help voters and to increase their awareness of, and participation in, the election process. But the NEC's initiative actually creates an unnecessary, untimely and unfair hurdle for millions of potential voters, especially those who are not affiliated with the CPP, as evidenced by countless reports from independent sources about the resulting confusion that prevails throughout the country. It is sometimes worth remembering that the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Many observers are not inclined to follow the technicalities of the new registering and voting procedures, which appear to be full of boring details. But in many cases such as election preparations, the Devil is in the details.

Tep Nytha writes: "As imposed by the electoral law, the period for voter registration begins on October 1st and ends on December 31 st; not in the worst of the rainy season from August to October as mentioned in Sam Rainsy's letter." In fact, the crucial period is much shorter: between October 1st and October 20 th , when names and other personal data have to be corrected on voter lists and first-time registrations have to be made. That period will be hectic with both voters and commune officials facing unusual constraints and pressure, especially in the most densely populated communes that are the opposition's strongholds (it makes little sense to reason in terms of average for Cambodia's 1,621 communes as Tep Nytha does in his letter).

This year will be different from the previous years because the requirements for voters for the upcoming 2007 elections will be different from the previous elections. At the previous elections, voters could solely rely on their voter cards to simultaneously prove their voting right and their identity at the polling stations. There was no need for them to make any prior demarche before Voting Day (such as checking the accuracy of their names and other data) at their commune offices and there was no need to worry about having an ID card. The suppression of voter cards this year means that they now have to verify the accuracy of their registration on their commune's voter lists and to get a national ID card from the police, which is problematic for many people, especially the poor in the countryside.

In the ongoing and unusual CPP membership drive throughout the country, villagers who accept to adhere to the ruling party are provided with the adequate support to go through all the administrative procedures so as to effectively preserve their voting right. This is political discrimination.

The Cambodia Daily on September 20 th reported: "Ngeth Virak, commune clerk for Satpoang commune in Kampot province's Chhuk district, said that names, dates of birth or places of birth on nearly 85 percent of the [voter information] notices issued to villagers in his commune did not match the information on their identity cards." I have received similar information from many communes in several provinces showing serious errors pertaining to names, genders, ages and addresses. I am afraid that failure to correct those voter list information errors within the October 1st to October 20 th registration period may result in many voters being turned away at the polls in 2007.

Tep Nytha minimizes problems when he writes: "As in any country with a permanent electoral list, the procedure for correcting a name is swift and easy: simply show up with any legal ID document and the Clerk of the Commune/Sangkat will fill the paperwork for the correction to be done." Only naive observers would believe such a statement that ignores the administrative harassment faced everyday by non-CPP supporters.

Sam Rainsy
Member of Parliament

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

I accept that they praise the S.R.N. but I do not accept that they pretend ...

I accept that they praise the S.R.N.
but I do not accept that they pretend to imitate it
in the current pro-Cambodia politics,
By Norodom Sihanouk

in French


September 19, 2006
CAMDSIC



1- In a written Speech given a few months ago, at the Royal Palace , H.E. Samdech Chea Sim rendered justice and praised the S.R.N. (Sangkum Reastr Niyum). And, a few days later, H.E. Samdech Heng Samrin, also at the Phnom Penh Royal Palace , did the same thing.

These 2 official speeches can be found on my Internet Website and in my BMD.

Of course, the great CPP had the nobility of heart and spirit to perform this historical act in favor of the S.R.N., but [the CPP] equally had the wisdom to not claim that the CPP “imitates” the S.R.N.

2- The newborn “Sangkum Cheat Niyum” of H.R.H. Prince S.Thomico, proclaims to the world that it – Sangkum Cheat Niyum – will imitate the Sangkum Cheat Niyum in its politics and its pro-Homeland, pro-People, pro-Nation action.

In this regard, I cannot accept that one pretends one can do again for Cambodia what the S.R.N. had done for the Homeland, the Nation, the People between the years 1955 and 1969.

Here are some reasons why I do not accept this proclamation and this claim by H.R.H. Thomico and his S.C.N.:

a- The geographical, political, diplomatic characteristics of our Country, the “way of life”, the “philosophy”, etc… of our People itself are not at all the same as they were under the SRN. And it would take a super-Tevoda or Indra himself to change right now the 2nd Kingdom to the 1st Kingdom.

b- H.R.H. Thomico himself, during the S.R.N. era, was anti-SRN.

On the day following the Lon Nol and Sirik Matak (own uncle of Thomico) Putsch, while his own Father (Samdech Sisowath Methavi) and his own Mother (Princess Nanette Izzi Methavi), nobly and heroically, chose to follow me until their death, Prince Thomico decided to fight “without ever backing down” (in his own words) for the “Khmer Republic” of Lon Nol, his idol and his model. Therefore, the “vintage 2006” choice of the SRN model and of the Royalism, made by Thomico and his SCN cannot be explained.

3- In regards to the current Funcinpec, it would not be right to qualify the last of these “Mohicans” as [being] pro-Ranariddh, or pro-Marie Eng, or pro-Phalla, and not at all Royalists or Sihanoukists. In 1993, H.R.H. Samdech K.P., on the morrow of the victory of the Funcinpec to the (UNTAC) legislative elections, confessed to me that his Wife (Princess Marie), H.E. Sam Rainsy and himself were absolutely against the granting (Samdech N. Ranariddh and his propagandists told the People about “transter”) of State or Governmental Power to N. Sihanouk by the triumphant Funcinpec.

Signed: N. Sihanouk

Translation notes:

1- The Mohicans are a Native American tribe who lived in and around the Hudson Valley . The Last of the Mohicans (1826) is a novel by James Fenimore Cooper. The story involves a dying tribe called the Mohicans in which only two are left as well as one adopted white man, thus the title of the book.

2- Marie Eng is also known as Princess Marie Ranariddh, wife of Prince Ranariddh. She is also the sister of Roland Eng, one former Cambodian ambassador to the US.

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Analysis of the Thai’s Coup d'Etat


Cartoon by sacrava.blogspot.com


By Monireak Keo
CAMDISC
September 20, 2006

The military coup in Thailand that took place on September 19, 2006 is not totally disconnected from the events in Cambodia .

As reported by some political analysts, the coup had the tacit support of King Bhumibol. We all know that Thai people, especially those living in Bangkok , are very unhappy with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra over the sale of his family’s $1.9 billion telecommunication company to Singaporean investors without paying a single baht in taxes. This transaction enraged many Thais. Additionally, Thai people accused the Prime Minister of abusing his power by enriching himself further through corruption, by weakening democratic institutions, and manipulating the country’s court system.

The reform of 1997 Thai constitution had allowed Prime Minister Thaksin to accumulate a great amount of power that is near absolute. However, what finally brought the Prime Minister down was his veiled attack on the revered Thai King. Prime Minister Thaksin was very unpopular in Bangkok but he is still very popular in the countryside because of his policy by subsidizing healthcare and giving cash payouts to poor people. Sensing his strong popularity in the countryside that is almost equal to the King, the Prime Minister got bolder by saying in his June 2006 speech that a “charismatic person” was out to remove him from his Prime Minister position. Furthermore, he went on to say that a mysterious figure that he refused to name was “wielding extraconstitutional force” to push him from office. That speech did not go out unnoticed by King Bhumibol. It angered the king and his chief advisor, General Prem Tinsulanonda. Prime Minister Thaksin had made a major error. One shall not attack, even in an indirect fashion, the king of Thailand .

Seizing on this opportunity, small local businessmen everywhere have petitioned the king to block big foreign investments that are sprouting up all over the country which hurt small Thai businesses. In the meantime, King Bhumibol is also paying close attention to the event that is happening in Cambodia . The king noticed a similarity in style of governance and personality between Prime Minister Thaksin and Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia . He notices that Prime Minister Hun Sen has been denigrating Father-King Sihanouk and abusing the Khmer monarchy any which way he wants. King Bhumibol does not want to see the same thing happens to Thailand . He wants to clamp down on Prime Minister Thaksin while he still can and while he is still alive to preserve the institution of the Thai monarchy. If the king allowed Prime Minister Thaksin’s words go unchallenged, it will escalate into something bigger and harder to stop like the fate of the Khmer monarchy that is becoming the joke of the world.

To remind the Thai Prime Minister who is really in charge of the country, the king’s chief advisor, General Prem, put on his military uniform and toured the army camps across the country and reminded the soldiers that their loyalties rest with the king and not with the Prime Minister. From that day on it is all downhill for the Prime Minister.

Poor Sihanouk! Why can’t he be like King Bhumibol? Now that Thaksin is gone, Hun Sen has all the theaters to himself. However, I do not see Hun Sen being toppled like Thaksin. The only way Hun Sen can be removed is through his own people coming from his own party. All people surrounding Hun Sen are either loyal or scared of Hun Sen or both. Cambodia will be under Hun Sen’s grip for a very long time, unless…

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Thai prime minister's style split nation


(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)


Thai prime minister's style split nation
By MICHAEL CASEY,
Associated Press Writer
Wed Sep 20, 6:24 AM ET

It took 18 months for Thaksin Shinawatra to go from the biggest election victor in his country's history to the target of a successful military coup.

It was a dramatic fall for the 57-year-old billionaire who described himself a new breed of politician able to revitalize Thailand by running it like a company.

Critics claimed he was authoritarian, arrogant and survived by pitting the rural majority against the country's urban elite.

"We warned Thaksin a long time ago about this," said Suriyasai Katasila, a spokesman for the anti-Thaksin protest group People's Alliance for Democracy. "Thaksin and the government just claimed that they won the election by a landslide, so they could use their power as they pleased."

Thaksin, who hails from a family of silk merchants and was educated in the United States, rose to power on a populist platform in 2001 as Thailand was recovering from Asia's devastating financial crisis.

He courted controversy even before he took office.

A week before the 2001 election, Thaksin was charged with concealing assets in his telecommunications empire by transferring shares to relatives, his chauffeur, maid and others. At one point, two of his domestic servants were among the top 10 shareholders on Thailand's stock exchange.

However, Thaksin won over voters by accusing the incumbent Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai of neglecting the poor and failing to properly manage the country's economy.

Thaksin nurtured his core constituency in the countryside, lavishing the poor rural majority with virtually free health care, a three-year debt suspension program for farmers and low-interest loans for poor villages.

But his popularity in the countryside was matched by growing criticism in the cities, where activists and intellectuals portrayed him as an autocrat masquerading as a democrat. They accused him of disregarding human rights, muffling the press and blurring the lines between his private businesses and politics.

Thaksin came under fire for a war on drugs that left 2,300 Thais dead over a three-month period. Human rights groups complained police were turned loose to kill drug dealers and users at will. Thaksin defended the police, saying drug lords turned against each other, and he noted that drug use dropped.

He also was accused of mishandling the worsening Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand, after he imposed a state of emergency that led to rights abuses and failed to stem the violence, which has left more than 1,700 dead.

But it wasn't until late last year that his authority was truly tested.

What started in October as a minor protest led by publisher Sondhi Limthongkul caught fire in January, after Thaksin sold the family's controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state investment company, Temasek Holdings, for $1.9 billion. No tax was paid on the sale.

Critics say the Shin deal involved insider trading and tax dodges, and complained that national assets — including communications satellites — were sold to a foreign government.

Anger over the sale helped the movement attract middle-class voters, students and business leaders, prompting street rallies that became nightly protests and at times drew more than 100,000 people demanding his resignation.

Thaksin responded by dissolving the parliament in February, and called snap elections to defuse the protests. But opposition parties boycotted the polls and millions of voters marked an abstention box on their ballots as a protest against the prime minister.

The Parliament could not be convened and the vote was ruled invalid by the courts, forcing the new polls to be held later this year.

Thaksin initially said he would step down to ease the crisis but in recent weeks had been acting and talking like a politician on the comeback trail.

Just days ago in New York, Thaksin made light of the ongoing political crisis, comparing Thailand to a "child learning to walk" and refusing to say what his future held.

"I, for one, haven't seen a child learning to walk without bumping his bottom constantly," he told a crowd in New York. "As adults, we must learn to live with the pain and the pangs of democracy, lest we throw out the baby with the bath water."

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

STATEMENT of September 18, 2006 by Julio A. Jeldres

Download MS Office Word at http://www.cambodia.org/temp/Satetement_180906.doc

STATEMENT
by
Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres
Official Biographer of His Majesty the King Father
Samdech Preah Upayuvareach NORODOM SIHANOUK of Cambodia
Chairman of the Khmer Institute of Democracy

Melbourne, 18 September 2006


My attention has been drawn to an article by the respected Deutsche Press-Agentur (German Press Agency) in today’s Bangkok Post in which it is reported that Cambodian Prime Minister has, once again threatened members of the Cambodian Royal Family, because they have dared to express their opinions, as Cambodian citizens and as entitled by the Cambodian Constitution of 1993, on issues affecting the development, reconstruction, sovereignty and national reconciliation of Cambodia.

Once again, Prime Minister Hun Sen, has threatened those who do not agree with him or his policies which have led Cambodia to become a failed state, with the loss of their lives by suggesting that “please find a coffin if your intention is to disturb the constitution”. This is yet another example of the violent nature of Cambodia’s authoritarian leader.

With this new evidence at hand, I call on Judge Iv Kim Sree of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, to acknowledge that he made a serious mistake on Friday 15 September 2006 by condemning me to pay US$ 4,500 to Prime Minister Hun Sen for allegedly having “defamed” him when I stated that he is a violent man and I ask him to reverse his verdict.

I realize that in Cambodia’s Potemkin democracy this will not happen and that, unfortunately, the Western countries that bankroll the regime approach Cambodia with a guilty historical conscience and seem increasingly loath to criticize the Cambodian People’s Party abysmal rights record, corruption and abuse of power, but my question is how many more Cambodians must die before countries such as Australia, France, Japan, Germany, Britain and the United States recognize that they are dealing with a new psychopath and violent ruler and that their association with Hun Sen’s regime is not helping the people of Cambodia but creating a wider gap between the ruling class and the little people of Cambodia, who continue to suffer at the hands of the regime.

I, once again, call on the Rt. Hon. John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, not to dishonour the values held dear by the people of Australia by inviting Hun Sen to come to this country for an official visit at the tax payers’ expense.


*********************

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

STATEMENT ON MY [Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres] "TRIAL" IN PHNOM PENH

STATEMENT
by
Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres
Official Biographer of His Majesty the King Father
Samdech Preah Upayuvareach NORODOM SIHANOUK of Cambodia
Chairman of the Khmer Institute of Democracy

Melbourne, 16 September 2006

____________________

I was found guilty by a Cambodian “Court” yesterday of defaming the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, for suggesting that the Cambodian leader used violence to silence his critics. I reject the verdict as it comes from a “Court” that is non-independent and totally controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party, the ruling party of Cambodian politics.

I do not intend to pay the fine of 18 million riel (US$ 4,338) to the Cambodian Prime Minister, because I do not believe that the “Court” case was a fair one. Even if I had the money, I would not pay the fine, as to do so would be to recognize the mockery of justice, the corruption and lack of impartiality of the legal system that exists in that Southeast Asian country.

I maintain my assertion that the Prime Minister is a violent ruler. I base my argument in the following cases:

1) The grenade attack against a peaceful demonstration of the Sam Rainsy Party on 30 March 1997, in which 16 people lost their lives and over 150 were wounded, including a US citizen. According to a report by the FBI, shown to Mr. Sid Balman , Diplomatic writer of UPI, who wired on 21 August 1997, that the “Clinton administration has concluded that Cambodian strongman Hun Sen was complicit in a bloody grenade attack on a rally of political opponents during March, and that the government he installed following a coup in July obtains much of its financing from narcotics traffickers”;

2) Mr. Ho Sok, the late Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, whom was executed in July 1997 within the premises of the Ministry of Interior, after he had been warned by the Prime Minister “to wear a helmet” if Ho Sok proceeded with his investigation of marijuana trafficking by a close associate of the PM. Until today there has never been any report of the investigation ordered by Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of the Interior and announced to the US Ambassador to Cambodia on 23 July 1997;

3) The extra judicial execution of several senior Cambodian Army officers of the FUNCINPEC Party during the coup of July 1997 by forces under the command of Hun Sen. These executions have been amply documented by the UN and other International organizations but the Cambodian government has never provided a proper explanation for them.

4) The killing of my friend Om Rassady, the killing of Chea Vichea and the killings of many other Cambodian journalists for denouncing the corruption of the Phnom Penh regime. Their murders have never been explained.

Until such time as when the Cambodian government and Prime Minister Hun Sen have provided proper explanations for the above-mentioned executions and killings I shall maintain my assertion that the Prime Minister is a violent ruler.

I call on the Australian Government to cancel the invitation extended to Prime Minister Hun Sen to visit this country. If the Australian Government wishes to be taken seriously about its concern for terrorism, democracy and rule of the law in this region, it should not dishonour itself by receiving officially, at tax payer’s expense, a man that is responsible for so much of the suffering and bloodshed in Cambodia in recent years.

» Read more!

Prince Ranariddh, Funcinpec president, has filed a divorce from Princess Marie Norodom Ranariddh. On 13 Sept

By S. Rith
Rasmei Kampuchea
Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy


Prince Ranariddh, Funcinpec president, has filed a divorce from Princess Marie Norodom Ranariddh. On 13 Sept, the court had summoned the couple for a reconciliation attempt.

The news of the court summon for a reconciliation attempt has created a stir among reporters, several of whom came to the court to try to get details on this information. A source at the Phnom Penh municipal court told Rasmei Kampuchea in the afternoon of 13 Sept, that neither the prince nor his wife will show up in court as summoned. Prince Ranariddh was in Kompong Chhnang on 13 Sept.

One senior Funcinpec official said that the prince filed a divorce from Princess Marie several months ago, either in February or March. Liv Sovann, the prince’s lawyer, declined to provide any comment, he told Rasmei Kampuchea to seek information at the court, when he was contacted by phone.

The cause of the divorce procedure has not been revealed, but it could be due to the triangle affair led by Prince Ranariddh that caused frictions inside his family circle, or it could be that the couple no longer has feelings for each other.

According to a legal expert, in a divorce procedure, the court must summon the couple to reconciliation attempt once or twice first, if no reconciliation can take place, the court will then open a full court session to decide the case where the couple must be present without any representation by lawyers or third party.

According to the law, the legal expert said that sooner or later, Prince Ranariddh and Princess Marie will need to show up in court, otherwise, the court cannot decide the case.

Difficulties in the relationship between Prince Ranariddh and Prince Marie started to show up when the prince initiated his love affair with Mrs. Ouk Phalla, a former royal ballet dancer and wife of former minister Veng Sereyvuth. The relationship brought the birth of son.

Discussing recently about the law between husband and wife, Prince Ranariddh said: “I dare do it, I dare take the responsibility.” On 12 Sept, the National Assembly ratified the monogamy law which could punish up to one year of jail for all those who have extramarital affairs, or have 2 wives or husbands. Prince Ranariddh, Funcinpec MPs, and SRP MPs did not support this law saying that it will overstep on private individual rights, and that it could also affect political freedom.

» Read more!

CAMBODIA: Death threat letter sent to television broadcaster

13 September 2006
-----------------------------------
UA-304-2006: CAMBODIA: Death threat letter sent to television broadcaster

CAMBODIA: suppression of freedom of expression; violation of the right to life; un-rule of law
------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that 34 year-old Soy Sopheap, a news analyst for CTN TV in Cambodia, received an anonymous letter that threatened to kill him on 7 September 2006. Apparently, the letter came from an army general who had been affected by negative press reports which were analyzed and discussed by Soy Sopheap on television.

The letter urged him to stop criticising the military otherwise his life would be in danger. The letter said, “Soy Sopheap! Don’t show off too much! Don't interfere with military affairs. Military affairs should be left to the military to solve. You know, myself like other generals, if we have many stars, this is because we simply are not ordinary people, we are powerful people. You should not criticize the stars [generals] too much. Be careful about what you say and about your security, young man! I have hated you for so long. You criticise the stars and you'll be dead!” The letter also contained a mobile phone number, 012 92 91 43, but calls made to this number after receiving the letter could not get through.

The letter was found at the bottom of one of the tamarind trees in a section of the pavement across from the National Assembly compound in Phnom Penh. The area has several food stalls which are patronised by journalists and National Assembly staff. The place is nicknamed "the tamarind tree assembly" as journalists gather there every day to share news amongst each other. According to food sellers and National Assembly staff, a taxi driver riding a green Super Cub motorcycle pulled up at the tamarind tree and hung the letter onto it. When asked why he hung the letter there, the man said that someone had hired him to do it and paid him 5000 Riels (US$ 1.25) for the job. He added that he did not know what was inside the letter.

Soy Sopheap has been doing press reviews on the CTN TV channel every morning for several years until the programme was recently dropped. He selected newspaper articles on various issues and analysed main stories that are covered in the press. Over a period of time before the end of that TV programme, he paid more attention to articles covering land disputes between military commanders and poor people, as well as the illegal logging that has gone on in many places across Cambodia. He was also conducting field investigations into some land-grabbing cases and reported his findings and solutions to the prime minister, to whom he had direct access. On this particular issue of land-grabbing, he echoed on his TV programme the prime minister's public statements which warned that any army general, commander or high ranking government official who hurt the people by grabbing their land or engaged himself in illegal logging would be dismissed from their job.

It should be reminded that over the years, land disputes, land grabbing and illegal logging have affected many people in town as well as in the rural areas. It is known that in some places senior army officers and other powerful people are behind all these widely condemned activities. There has been continued protest against these activities. The prime minister has also from time to time issued measures against land grabbers for fears that the protests might degenerate into riots. But these measures are not effective and have been used more to calm down the protests rather than to address the real issue since the land grabbers are often his own supporters.

This death threat to Soy Sopheap is yet another instance of the abuse of power by members the ruling elite, the absence of the rule of law and the continued threat to freedom of expression and press freedom. This has followed a death threat via fax sent to You Saravuth, editor of the Khmer language newspaper Khmer Srolanh Khmer, on June 21 after it had reported on a land-grabbing case in Mondolkiri and Rattanakiri provinces in which Hun To, the prime minister's nephew, and a senior army officer were alleged to be involved. You Sasavuth made a complaint to the police and the court. Hun To summoned him to a meeting and was reported to have intimidated him in that encounter. Hun To then sued You Saravuth for defamation afterwards. You Saravuth felt so threatened that he had to flee the country.

The AHRC strongly condemns this abuse of power by those people in positions of authority, and their threat to life and to freedom of expression and press freedom. We urge the highest level of Cambodian authorities to immediately investigate the death threat to Soy Sopheap and to You Saravuth, and bring their authors to justice. Witnesses to the scene where the letter was placed, the letter itself in the Soy Sopheap case, as well as the fax and reported intimidation in the You Saravuth case should all provide a good lead in those investigations. The progress and results of these investigations should also be made public.

The AHRC also urges donor governments, UN agencies, international aid agencies and the international human rights community to work with the Cambodian government and courts to end this abuse of power by people in position of authority, especially the threat to their lives and to the freedom of expression and press.


SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the relevant authorities listed below calling for an investigation and the arrest of the authors of the letter to Soy Sopheap and of the fax to You Saravuth, as well as for the end to the abuse of power by people in position of authority and their threat to life and to freedom of expression and press.

To support this appeal, please click:

Sample letter:

Dear_________,

CAMBODIA: Death threat letter sent to television broadcaster

Name of the victims: Mr. Soy Sopheap, 34 year-old television reported for CTN TV;
Mr. You Saravuth, editor of the Khmer Language newspaper Khmer Srolanh Khmer.
Name of alleged perpetrators: Unknown army general, Cambodian Military; Unknown senior army officer, Cambodian Military; Mr. Hun To, nephew to the prime minister
Date of incident: 7 September 2006; 21 June 2006
Place of incident: Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

It has come to my knowledge that on 7 September 2006, 34 year-old Soy Sopheap who is a news analyst for the CTN TV in Cambodia received an anonymous letter that threatened to kill him. Apparently, the letter came from an army general who had been affected by negative press reports which were analyzed and discussed by Soy Sopheap on television.

The letter urged him to stop criticising the military otherwise his life would be in danger. The letter said, “Soy Sopheap! Don’t show off too much! Don't interfere with military affairs. Military affairs should be left to the military to solve. You know, myself like other generals, if we have many stars, this is because we simply are not ordinary people, we are powerful people. You should not criticize the stars [generals] too much. Be careful about what you say and about your security, young man! I have hated you for so long. You criticise the stars and you'll be dead!” The letter also contained a mobile phone number, 012 92 91 43, but calls made to this number after receiving the letter could not get through.

The letter was found at the bottom of one of the tamarind trees in a section of the pavement across from the National Assembly compound in Phnom Penh. The area is the place where journalists gather there every day to share news amongst each other. According to food sellers and National Assembly staff, a taxi driver riding a green Super Cub motorcycle pulled up at the tamarind tree and hung the letter onto it. When asked why he hung the letter there the man said that someone had hired him to do it and paid him 5000 Riels (US$ 1.25) for the job.

As I understand it, Soy Sopheap has been doing press reviews on the CTN TV channel every morning for several years until the programme was recently dropped. Over a period of time before the end of that TV programme, he paid more attention to articles covering land disputes between military commanders and poor people, as well as the illegal logging that has gone on in many places across Cambodia. He was also conducting field investigations into some land-grabbing cases and reported his findings and solutions to the prime minister, to whom he had direct access. On this particular issue of land-grabbing, he echoed on his TV programme the prime minister's public statements which warned that any army general, commander or high ranking government official who hurt the people by grabbing their land or engaged himself in illegal logging would be dismissed from their job.

To my knowledge, this death threat to Soy Sopheap is yet another instance of the abuse of power by members the ruling elite, the absence of the rule of law and the continued threat to freedom of expression and press freedom. This has followed a death threat via fax sent to You Saravuth, editor of the Khmer language newspaper Khmer Srolanh Khmer, on June 21 after it had reported on a land-grabbing case in Mondolkiri and Rattanakiri provinces in which Hun To, the prime minister's nephew, and a senior army officer were alleged to be involved. You Sasavuth made a complaint to the police and the court. Hun To summoned him to a meeting and was reported to have intimidated him in that encounter. Hun To then sued You Saravuth for defamation afterwards. You Saravuth felt so threatened that he had to flee the country.

I join others in strongly condemning this abuse of power by those people in position of authority, and their threat to life and to freedom of expression and press freedom. I therefore request you to immediately investigate the death threat to Soy Sopheap and to You Saravuth, and bring their authors to justice. I believe that the witnesses to the scene where the letter was placed and this letter itself in the Soy Sopheap case, as well as the fax and reported intimidation in the You Saravuth case should all provide a good lead in these investigations. I would appreciate being kept informed of the progress of in the investigations and the results.

I also urge donor governments, UN agencies, international aid agencies and the international human rights community to work with the Cambodian government and courts to end this abuse of power by people in position of authority, especially the threat to their lives and to the freedom of expression and press.

I look forward to your immediate intervention.

_____________


PLEASE SEND LETTER TO:

1. Mr. Samdech Hun Sen
Prime Minister
Cabinet of the Prime Minister
No. 38, Russian Federation Street
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA
Tel: +855-23-21 98 98
Fax: +855-23-36 06 66
E-mail: cabinet1b@camnet.com.kh

2. Mr. Sar Kheng
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Interior
275 Norodom Blvd.
Phnom Penh
Cambodia
Fax/phone : +855-23 72 19 05/72 60 52/72 11 90
E-Mail: info@interior.gov.kh, moi@interior.gov.kh

3. Mr. Ang Vong Vathna
Minster of Justice
No 240, Sothearos Blvd.
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA
Fax: + 855-23-36 41 19/21 66 22
E-mail: moj@cambodia.gov.kh

4. Gen. Ke Kim Yan
Commander-in-Chief
High Command Headquarters
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
Kambol
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA

5. Mr. Henro Raken
Prosecutor General
Court of Appeal
No. 14, Boulevard Sothearos
Phnom Penh
Cambodia
Tel: +855-23-21 84 60

6. Justice Chiv Keng
President
Phnom Penh Municipal Court
N° 31, Monireth (St. 217), corner Street 213
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA

7. Mr. Uk Savuth
Prosecutor
Phnom Penh Municipal Court
N° 31, Monireth (St. 217), corner Street 213
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA

8. General Hok Lundy
National Police Commissioner
General-Commisariat of National Police
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA
Tel/Fax: +855-23-21 65 85/22 09 52

9. Ms Margo Picken
Director
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Cambodia
N¢X 10, Street 302
Sangkat Boeng Keng Kang I
Khan Chamcar Mon
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA
Tel: +855-23-987 671 / 987 672, 993 590 / 993 591 or +855 23 216 342
Fax: +855-23-212 579, 213 587

10. Prof. Yash Ghai
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia
Attn: Ms. Afarin Shahidzadeh
Room 3-080
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 91 79214
Fax: +41 22 91 79018 (ATTENTION: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE CAMBODIA)

11. Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
c/o J Deriviero
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9177
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION)


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

» Read more!

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières
Press release
12 September 2006

CAMBODIA
JOURNALIST GETS DEATH THREATS OVER CORRUPTION REPORTS

Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about death threats made against TV journalist Soy Sopheap after he made revelations on air about accusations of corruption against officials and members of the military.

An anonymous letter was left on 8 September 2006 in front of a Phnom Penh bar habitually frequented by the city's journalists. "I've had it in for you for a long time, dirty Soy Sopheap," the letter read. "Watch out for yourself when you criticise the stars; it means death". The word 'stars' refers to generals.

"It is always very dangerous for Cambodian journalists to handle reports of corruption among the power elites," the press freedom organisation said. "We urge the authorities to carry out an exhaustive and impartial investigation to track down those behind these death threats and to provide Sopheap with protection if needed."

Information minister, Khieu Kanharith, has promised a full investigation.

Since 2005, Sopheap has produced reports favourable to the Hun Sen government on the pro-government CTN channel. On 2 August he was taken off the review of the morning newspapers after mentioning a report on corruption within the state. Sopheap also presented a Sunday evening programme on the TV channel, which is owned by businessman Kit Meng.

"I have often reported on remarks by the head of government, including when he threatened to sack, those, including the generals, who are implicated in expropriation of land," Sopheap told the newspaper Cambodge Soir.

Last July, the editor of Sralanh Khmer, You Saravuth, was forced to flee to Thailand after being charged with putting out "false information" and receiving death threats. He had published an article, implicating Hun Tho, a nephew of prime minister Hun Sen.


-------------------------


CAMBODGE
UN JOURNALISTE MENACE DE MORT APRES DES REVELATIONS SUR DES FAITS DE CORRUPTION

Reporters sans frontières est préoccupée par les menaces de mort dont est l'objet le journaliste Soy Sopheap qui avait relayé à l'antenne des accusations de corruption à l'encontre de militaires et de fonctionnaires.

"Il est toujours très risqué pour les journalistes cambodgiens de traiter sereinement de la corruption des élites au pouvoir. Nous demandons aux autorités de mener une enquête exhaustive et impartiale pour identifier les auteurs de ces menaces de mort, et de fournir, si nécessaire, une protection à Soy Sopheap", a affirmé Reporters sans frontières.

Le ministre de l'Information, Khieu Kanharith, a promis une enquête sur cette affaire.

Le 8 septembre 2006, un inconnu a déposé une lettre anonyme devant un bar où des journalistes de Phnom Penh se rendent habituellement : « Je t'en veux depuis longtemps, sale Soy Sopheap. Attention à toi, quand tu critiques les étoiles, c'est la mort. » Les étoiles désignent les généraux.

Depuis 2005, Soy Sopheap est connu pour ses commentaires favorables au gouvernement de Hun Sen sur la chaîne de télévision CTN. Le 2 août, il avait perdu la responsabilité de la revue de presse matinale suite à une mention d'un rapport sur la corruption au sein de l'Etat. Soy Sopheap animait également le dimanche soir une émission politique sur cette chaîne progouvernementale détenue par l'homme d'affaires Kit Meng.

« J'ai rapporté souvent les propos du chef du gouvernement, notamment quand il menaçait de destitution ceux, y compris les généraux, qui sont impliqués dans des expropriations de terres », a affirmé Soy Sopheap au journal Cambodge Soir.

En juillet dernier, le rédacteur en chef de Sralanh Khmer, You Saravuth, avait été contraint de se réfugier en Thaïlande après avoir été poursuivi en justice pour diffusion de "fausses informations" et menacé de mort. Il avait publié un article impliquant Hun Tho, un neveu du Premier ministre Hun Sen.
-- Vincent BrosselAsia - Pacific DeskReporters Sans Frontières5 rue Geoffroy Marie75009 Paris33 1 44 83 84 7033 1 45 23 11 51 (fax)
asia@rsf.org
www.rsf.org
www.leblogmedias.com (en français)

» Read more!

Phnom Penh Regime Said Worried More by Success than Failure of Heng Peou Arrest


Phnom Penh Sralanh Khmer in Cambodian
05 Sep 06

Heng Peou, former Phnom Penh municipal police commissioner and former adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen whom the Phnom Penh regime has accused of crimes, now has returned from Malaysia back to Singapore as an ordinary tourist. Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh authorities could only say that they continue to wait for cooperation from all Interpol member countries (184 countries) as before in order to get Heng Peou for prosecution in Cambodia.

This former adviser to PM Hun Sen was held for a few hours by the Singaporean police on Thursday night, 31 August, because his visa expired, but was later released and allowed to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday evening. However, a reliable source said that Heng Peou has left Malaysia and returned to Singapore, and is now preparing to go to a third country for political asylum.

An Interior Ministry official familiar with the Interpol told Sralanh Khmer yesterday morning that Heng Peou left Malaysia for Singapore after he renewed his visa, and now plans to go to a European country, possibly Norway.

However, a report by a government official claimed that Heng Peou continues to be in hiding in Malaysia and the two countries (Malaysia and Singapore) do not pay any attention to the request of the Cambodian authorities to deport Heng Peou back to Cambodia. The source further said that the Cambodian authorities had learned about Heng Peou's arrest by the Singaporean police from the press and did not receive any official notification from either the Singaporean or Malaysian authorities. It appears that the latter do not heed the request of the Cambodian authorities or the Interpol red notice to the 184 countries.

Kev Vanthan, deputy chief of the Cambodian Interpol bureau, claimed that the Cambodian authorities continue to wait for cooperation from Interpol member countries, and Cambodia hopes to get Heng Peou back. This deputy chief of the Interpol bureau also disclosed that the Singaporean authorities had sent Heng Peou to Malaysia because he went to Singapore through Malaysia; consequently, Heng Peou has the right to stay in Malaysia for another month.

The Interior Ministry official said that according to Kev Vanthan, it appears that the Singaporean and Malaysian authorities do not consider Heng Peou a fugitive criminal as accused by the Cambodian authorities and tribunal, because these two countries do not arrest Heng Peou as requested by the Cambodian authorities.

Nevertheless, Kev Vanthan affirmed, "We are waiting for cooperation from Interpol member countries. Now, we are making contacts. We hope that thanks to this good cooperation among the Interpol members, wherever Heng Peou goes he will be observed because we have the red notice for his arrest. We hope that fellow Interpol member states will arrest him for us."

Asked why the Interpol branches in Singapore and Malaysia do not arrest Heng Peou and extradite him to Cambodia (now), Kev Vanthan claimed that the two countries do not have an extradition treaty with Cambodia. Asked whether Heng Peou would disclose more documents, Kev Vanthan said he did no know.

Told that NGOs were concerned about Heng Peou's safety if he was sent back to Cambodia, as in the case of Ho Sok [slain Interior Ministry state secretary of the royalist party], Kev Vanthan said that this question should be raised with the spokesman, for he was only an Interpol police officer.

Heng Peou's defense lawyer David Chen claimed that Heng Peou is staying at a safe place under UNHCR protection.

An Interior Ministry official said that a few days before the Singaporean authorities detained him Heng Peou met with UNHCR representatives twice. During these meetings, Heng Peou showed them documents in the forms of tapes and other proof, which he has kept abroad for a long time. The same official further said that because of these voice recordings and other documents, the UNHCR officials are going to grant him an asylum in a third country, for should he be sent back to Cambodia he would be silenced like General Ho Sok of the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party in the Interior Ministry during the bloody coup of 5-6 July 1997.

David Chen stated that Heng Peou is staying in a safe haven and is seeking political asylum from the UNHCR. The lawyer went on to say that Heng Peou is safe and is no longer worried about being hunted down by the Cambodian authorities who want to get him back to Cambodia.

A source close to National Police Director-General Hok Langdi said that the Phnom Penh regime is worried that foreign authorities might arrest Heng Peou and send him to their court. They are afraid that Heng Peou would further reveal to the foreign court the crimes of the Cambodian leaders because of the tape recordings and other documents in his possession. However, if Heng Peou is arrested by the authorities of any country and sent back to Cambodia, then it would be all right. That is why the Cambodian authorities are concerned more by the success of the foreign authorities in arresting Heng Peou than by their failure

» Read more!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hun Sen to visit Australia

KHMER INTELLIGENCE

15 September 2006

Breakdown of Cambodia's population by ethnic origin (2) According to a recent Interior Ministry's report titled "Population statistics covering all ethnic groups as of 2nd quarter 2006", Cambodia's population can be broken down as follows:
- Khmers: 12,279,057
- Chams (Muslims): 290,199
- Vietnamese: 112,225
- Laotians: 21,587
- Chinese: 11,454
- Thais: 1,860
- Others: 3,005
TOTAL: 12,719,387

Book on corruption at the Cambodia Center for Human Rights (2) Following accusations of corruption and embezzlement leveled against him by 16 persons who have closely worked with him (see KI, 10 September 2006: "Corruption scandal at US-financed CCHR"), CCHR President Kem Sokha earlier this week attributed the allegations to "disgruntled former employees who lost their jobs." However, among those former employees, there are high-caliber lawyers and journalists who now hold important positions at prominent NGOs and claim that their motivation is to only expose "Kem Sokha's dishonesty" in order to "prevent Cambodian democrats and donor countries from being cheated by a crook." They are preparing a book titled "Corruption at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights" in which methods of fund embezzlement will be detailed: stealing staff members' salaries, daily allowances and fringe benefits, inflating expenses, paying accomplices under the table, inventing activities that have never been conducted, issuing falsified documents, etc. They claim that CCHR regional office heads officially earn $500 a month but in fact get only $300 to $350. In the same manner, education assistants at the same regional offices must assert in writing that they perceive a monthly salary of $200 while in fact they get only $150. They also claim that Kem Sokha himself officially earns a salary of $3,000 a month from American tax-payers' money. However, since the creation of the CCHR in 2002 its initially poor President has apparently amassed a fortune as evidenced by his standard of living: luxurious villa, lavish expenses, children studying in costly schools in the USA. More information at http://tinyurl.com/lljtd


Hun Sen to visit Australia (2)
Prime Minister Hun Sen who is currently on vacation in Paris after attending the 6th ASEM summit in Helsinki earlier this week, will pay a five-day official visit to Australia around the middle of next month at the invitation of Prime Minister John Howard.

Ranariddh to take another long leave of absence (2)
Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who has recently been in and out the country, sharing his time between Phnom Penh and Kuala Lumpur where he has a second home with his second wife Ouk Phalla, will leave Cambodia next week for France/Europe where he will be vacationing with Ouk Phalla for at least six weeks.

Sam Rainsy to inaugurate SRP chapters in Italy and Sweden (2)
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy will be in Verona (Italy) on September 16 to inaugurate a SRP chapter with several hundreds Cambodian Italians. He will travel to Stockholm on September 23 to inaugurate another SRP chapter in Sweden. In Europe, the SRP already has chapters in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

» Read more!

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE PHNOM PENH POST From the Secretary General of the NEC


LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE PHNOM PENH POST

From the Secretary General of the NEC
Phnom Penh, 14 September 2006

Dear Sir,

The letter from HE Sam Rainsy published in the latest issue of Phnom Penh Post may create confusion among voters as it contains a number of flagrant inexactitudes.

The so-called “sudden elimination of previous voters’ cards (1993, 1998 and 2002)”.

Back in 2002, it was to satisfy the opposition parties that the voter’s cards of the previous elections were abandoned as a valid document both to register and to vote. The rationale is that it was alleged that these voters’ cards (initially originating from UNTAC) had been handed out to everyone on the Cambodian territory with little control over the actual citizenship of their recipient, therefore allowing a number of non-Cambodian individuals to register and to vote. The political decision to change the election law and to abandon those voter cards was taken by the National Assembly in an amendment promulgated in November 2002. Exceptionally, these cards were used validly for the last time for the 2003 National Election. On that last occasion, these voters’ cards were only one among a range of documents that were accepted for voting (such as National Id card, passport, ID document certified by the Commune Chief (form 1018), family book with photo and ID cards from civil servant, police, military and monks). Therefore, this is not the first time that Cambodians will have to prove their identity through other means than voters, cards from long-gone elections.

These old voters’ cards could not be used for the 2004 and 2005 annual registrations and they won’t be for the 2006 registration and all future registrations and elections. There is nothing new here. It is therefore quite surprising to read criticism about a so-called “sudden elimination of this document” that had been repeatedly despised by the opposition as giving a free pass to foreigners to vote.

It should also be made clear that were no voters’ cards issued specifically for the 2003 election as hinted in the letter. Similarly, the assertion that the suppression of the voters’ cards is “the NEC’s initiative” is disingenuous since this decision belonged exclusively to the National Assembly who has adopted the amendment to that effect in the legal framework that NEC is simply bound to implement.

The so-called “imposition of new registration and voting procedures” by the NEC

The assertion that the NEC has changed the voter registration period and its procedures is both untrue and deceptive. As imposed by the electoral law, the period for voter registration begins on October 1st and ends on December 31st; not in the worst of the rainy season from August to October as mentioned in HE Sam Rainsy’s letter.

More importantly, these is no “new registration and voting procedures” imposed by anyone. The 2006 voter registration due to begin in October is, in all respects, similar to the one of 2004 and 2005 for which no substantive complaints were received from the opposition.

Let me emphasize that whatever the NEC undertakes as advertisement campaign to voter and leaflet distribution, such as the voter information notice, before October, belongs strictly to the domain of voter information. By no means can it be branded as “new procedure” generating new obligations or, even worse, be assimilated with the voter registration process itself. Nothing whatsoever in the NEC’s voter information activities undertaken until now would have for effect to deprive voters from their right to register during the registration period or to get their name corrected on the voters’ list if so needed. To the contrary.

It is similarly wrong to assert that “For the first time, potential voters (…) are asked to check the accuracy of their personal election-related data…”. The truth is that for the past three years, at each annual voter registration, the NEC made a huge effort to do just that: convince potential voters in the weeks preceding registration to come over to the office of the Commune/Sangkat to check the accuracy of their registration. However, NEC’s efforts were met only with mitigated success; only small numbers came over to ensure that their name was properly registered and require corrections. Nevertheless, over 290,000 voters registered in 2004 and 234,000 in 2005. To remedy the apathy of the already registered electorate to check their name, the NEC decided basically to bring an extract of the list to the voters so that they can see for themselves if their personal data is correct or not: hence the personalized Voter Information Notice.

At this date, over 76% of these leaflets have been distributed to the registered voters. We already know that at least 5% of the leaflets could not be distributed because their recipients have either move to another commune or are deceased. The actual figure of notices having reached voters is therefore over 81% at this date. It is only at the end of the voter registration process that we will measure the success of this new NEC’s voter awareness campaign through the additional number of voters who will actually come over to register or correct their name during the coming registration period.

The so-called obligation to “wait to receive your personal Voter Information Notice”

HE Sam Rainsy alleges that voters “must wait to receive the Notice” and failing to do so may imperil their right. He goes on describing all kinds of “special demarche required at the commune office… to ensure that you will be able to vote at the next elections”. According to him, another “demarche” is required if there is an error on the list “to put things right” so to preserve your voting right. Failure to get the notice and go through all these “demarches” puts you on Election Day at the mercy of “election officials with discretionary power to turn you down”.

The above strives to portray the registration and voting process as a convoluted system elaborated to discourage voters to register through a maze of “demarches” and eventually deprive them from their right to vote through arbitrary decisions.

The reality is much simpler. In fact, it is relevant to remind the following:

• Over 94% of Cambodians are already registered on the permanent and annually updated voters list (figures from the 2005 voter registration)

• The remaining 6% of potential voters who are not on the list and who want to register should do so between October 1st and October 20th. The procedure is simple and exactly the same as in 2004 and 2005.

• Those whose name or data on the voters’ list appears substantially inaccurate can ask for modification/correction during the registration period.
Contrary to what is alleged in HE Sam Rainsy’s letter, no one “must wait” to receive any notice. The notice is just a tool to help the voter check his/her registration. It saves him/her the trouble of going to the office of the Commune/Sangkat to check the accuracy of his/her data. The notice is strictly informative: it is as if the NEC had posted the voter’s list on all dwellings of Cambodia. It is not needed to register, correct one’s name or to vote. No “special demarches” are needed to register on the voters’ list or to get your name corrected.

By definition, unregistered voters could not, did not and will not get any notice of information for the simple reason that, not being registered, the NEC has no means of knowing who they are! Therefore, it cannot address to them a personalized invitation to register. The unregistered voters will be targeted by a separate campaign of information through media, posters, mobile speakers, etc. to begin soon.

The NEC vigorously denies “creating unnecessary and untimely work and procedures for people most of whom are unable to do it”. In fact, it is quite the opposite because the information notice saves a trip to the Commune/Sangkat to check the list. To pretend that most Cambodians are unable to check the accuracy of their name on a slip of paper is demeaning to the Cambodian population. With a literacy rate of over 60% and with the traditional support provided by the family/community, checking one’s name on the voters’ list is not the insurmountable obstacle to voter registration that he tries to describe.

The letter, published in a foreign language newspaper, also reads that “NEC’s initiative could practically end up depriving millions of citizens of their voting rights”. The NEC considers this contention not only as a wrong understanding of the process, but also as a flawed presumption discrediting the elections in the eyes of the international community.

This could create the impression that millions of voters need to register in addition to millions that must correct their registration data in order to preserve their right to vote.

Common sense and reality shows otherwise: 6.7 million voters are already duly registered; there are approximately 300,000 new voters that are entitled to register each year. This amounts to an average of only 9 new voter registrations per day per commune during the 21 days of the registration process, hardly an overwhelming task. In addition, as in any country with a permanent electoral list, the procedure for correcting a name is swift and easy: simply show up with any legal ID document and the Clerk of the Commune/Sangkat will fill the paperwork for the correction to be done.

And what if names are not corrected? Here is it most important to emphasize the strict regulations published by the NEC to that effect. In short: if a voter shows up with an Id showing a recognizably a photo of him/herself AND that the spoken sound of the name scripted on his/her Id document is roughly the same than what appears on the voters’ list (regardless of the actual spelling), then, this voter must be allowed to vote. Officials at the polling station have no discretion whatsoever to decide who can vote or not on the basis of spelling mistakes on Id documents. Only in cases where the name sounds entirely different than what is on the voters’ list may the official decide to reject the voter. This procedure worked well in 2003 as testified by the absence of complaints from political parties and observers specifically in implementing this no-nonsense approach in view of the multiple ways to write one’s name in Khmer.

Finally, HE Sam Rainsy also alleges that voter information was distributed selectively, excluding systematically his supporters. In that respect, the NEC acknowledges its disappointment towards the performance of a number of village chiefs who have not understood the importance of their work and their duty of neutrality as they are bound by law to represent all villagers, regardless of political allegiance. In spite of our repeated calls, the political parties have not brought a single complaint to our attention on which we could have take action. General unsubstantiated allegations in the newspapers are not conducive for the NEC to taken corrective action against specific individual offenders. Nevertheless, the NEC has issued a stringent directive that is about to be distributed to all village chiefs to clarify their duties and obligations of neutrality, subject to sanction in case of non-compliance.

Personally, I welcome the critics from all our partners. However, the NEC cannot tolerate the propagation of factually erroneous information and ill-conceived presumptions with not other purpose than to damage the standing of the NEC and to disparage pointlessly the Cambodian democratic process. Should it be recalled that the International Community is currently considering its financial support for the coming Commune Council elections.

It is the duty of the NEC to correct flawed and misleading information and to answer any and all such damaging assertions. At anytime, the NEC is open to provide accurate information to political parties and their leaders in meetings and working groups.

Of course, the NEC is learning from its mistakes. Now, how can we do it better? Since political parties are now equipped with the electoral list available to them, they could participate more actively to ensure that their supporters are properly registered on the voters’ list.

Cambodia has gained significant experience in election management; I suggest that all tasks be not handled by the NEC alone. All partners, including political parties and NGOs, should work hand in hand with us. The election process would gain efficiency and transparency.

I would like to thank you very much for bringing this important point to your readers’ attention.


Tep Nytha
Secretary General
National Election Committee
The Public Information Bureau of the National Election Committee
E-mail Address: necinfo@forum.org.kh
Fax/Phone: 023 214 374, (012) 855 018
Website Address: www.necelect.org.kh

» Read more!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

US Embassy To Restart Immigrant Visa Processing


US Embassy To Restart Immigrant Visa Processing
Thursday, September 14, 2006

By Elizabeth Tomei
THE CAMBODIA DAILY


The US Embassy in Phnom Penh will resume processing immigrant visas for Cambodians seeking to live and work in the US, US Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Maura Harty announced Wednesday.

Since 2002, Cambodians applying for US immigrant visas have had to travel to the US embassy in Bangkok to have them processed. Non-immigrant visas, including tourist and student visas, are currently processed at the Phnom Penh embassy. Officials said immigrant visa processing will begin soon but would not specify a date.

Harty announced the change during a press conference at the embassy. "We intend to resume the processing of immigrant visas...in Phnom Penh so that Cambodian citizens in the future who would like to immigrate to the United States will not have to travel to Thailand to process their visas," Harty said.

Harty said the previous decision to divide services between embassies in Cambodia and Thailand was largely practical: the old Phnom Penh embassy lacked the space and capacity to accommodate the volume of applicants.

Between October 2005 and July 2006, 2,300 immigrant visas were issued to Cambodians in Bangkok, while 2,500 non-immigrant visas were issued in Phnom Penh, said embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle.

The new, larger embassy building next to Wat Phnom has the space and personnel to process all visas in the country, Harty said.

But internal embassy problems have also delayed the start date for processing immigrant visas, officials said.

The embassy recently fired three Cambodian consular employees over issues of visa "malfeasance" following an investigation by diplomatic security officials that began in mid-August and ended several days ago, Daigle said.

"I'm very sad to acknowledge that we recently had to terminate the employment of several of our employees in the consular section," Harry said.

The embassy has "zero tolerance" for any digression from the observation of the rule of law, Harty said. Neither Harty nor Daigle would elaborate on the offenses committed by the employees, or name them.

The embassy will not begin processing immigrant visas until the three vacant positions have been filled and existing consular employees have received additional training, Harty said. Daigle said the embassy has around 570 employees, 500 of whom are Cambodian.

» Read more!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Op/Ed : CCHR Faces Transparency Questions

By Kok Sap
September 12, 2006

Since CCHR inception, none had ever heard its Board of Director public statement to press about organization. Even during its director imprisonment, none ever seen or heard Board Directors utterance over agency function. All have seen and heard of CCHR is Kem Sokha alone.

Also note, Mr. Kem Sokha had stated the problem occurred over a year ago but why did he not correct it internally? It is his job to address management and employee problems. All left impression that CCHR operation must use a singular position which stemmed rivalry in both as policy maker and administrator. Not for profit organization is the most notably difficult for the management to handle even in US but why Mr. Kem Sokha neglected his job for this far?

If it is so, the IRS 501 (c) (3) codes may have been critically as far as entity receiving public funding especially US tax dollars. All understood USAID is the primary funding source and a federal and public supported agency. In accordance with Freedom of Information Act, that has raised legitimate questions for any taxpayer to request copy of annual report, financial statement, internal control policy, financial policy, and audit report if any finding irregularity corrected timely.

It is rather interesting for Mr. Clean to have thorns on side over contractual agreement in let go 12 people due to 30% reduction, if it is credible, in $800,000 budget. This is not unheard of in public funded agency of budget cut and people lost jobs. Also the allegation from laid off workers is normal. But the suspicion is that CCHR Board of Directors has no say so all these years but only Mr. Kem Sokha. It is rather critically and unusually.

Beside it is unlikely for such large US fund given to a foreign country without attaining not for profit organization status. Yet the public needs to know, if the policy making -Board of Directors and administration (Kem Sokha) is in place and separated body. The question remains why no Board of Directors Chairperson comes out to make any statement over the allegations to the public and press. Where is the Board of Directors and what is its position in regard to the internal disagreement?

Out of huge budget cut, if it is true, what is the actual cost to retain 12 workers? What is the operating expense for the entire operations? What is the cost for the President and his assistants in salary? What is CCHR President overseas travel allowance annually? Is there anything can be cut in management to save workers?

Now it is the time if CCHR has a sounding Board with transparency, therefore, it must perform its role and responsibility. It must come out to hear and investigate the allegations. Also if there is a problem in organization such as CCHR employee complaint, it is the Board role to see the merit in part of agency or the administrator.

In all aspects, the consideration should be taken to assure the credibility of the administrator and the Board. The Board of Directors must declare position internally in regard to internal disagreement before any public statement made by its administrator. But all happened seems fit allegations that elevate the lack of credibility of internal control and singular operative.

Clearly, Mr. Kem Sokha has his hands fuller than ever if this situation becomes out of control. Who knows what the ramification could lead to, if the employees' claims merited? The open end conclusion may included but not limited to fraudulency, management impropriety, and best if taxpayers pushed, USAID may have to suspend fund until further notice

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An Endorsement to Prime Minister Hun Sen's Remarks on Precluding Miss Cambodia from National Arena

Very recently, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen stated: "As long as I remain as prime minister, a Miss Cambodian contest will only be permitted until the poverty rate drops to 15 percent or GDP (gross domestic product) per capita reaches $1,000 a year from the current $448." I do and heartfelt endorse such the patriotic stance. To me, I name this quote: patriotic quote of Prime Minister Hun Sen for September 2006. And this quote is the first reason that makes me support his premiership.

Regardless of his many scandals alleged from Cambodia and other countries, his stance on precluding Miss Cambodia contest would save government more time and resources, and transferring these saves to bring faster and more desirable developments to Cambodia.

Like Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen, I have never seen any use from Miss Cambodia's beauty contest. A huge portion of the population are living on less than one US dollar per day, so why Cambodia need to spend for Miss Cambodia? Of course, even in the world's richest country, there are also gaps between the rich and the poor, but the huge gaps are not acceptable. Having such the beauty contest would boost the gaps between the rich and the poor.

I cannot stance seeing huge parts of Cambodian population living with less than one dollar per day, surviving in slums and even the most basic daily physiological needs and facility are not met; whereas a very few young girls, with government supports, compete in indulging with cosmetics, travel abroad, craze with daily unnecessary luxury. Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen is right and absolutely right in balancing the rich and the poor within his administration first, before we go on to compete on the international stage, Cambodian people shall be at the heart of Samdech's every decision.

Satisfying the majority first, to me, is one of the most valid democracy theories, and what the prime minister is doing is to more validate this theory. And I also appreciate another of this quote: There is no need to show a Miss Cambodia at the international arena. The Angkor Wat temple should be a better choice.

Samdech Prime Minister, I hope what you said will become a reality.

Phnom Penh, September 11, 2006, 8:15 P.M.
LAY VICHEKA

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10 Reasons To Drink More Water (HEALTH)


Thursday, September 07, 2006
10 Reasons To Drink More Water
The Ririan Project
http://projectririan.blogspot.com/2006/09/10-reasons-to-drink-more-water.html

I know you've heard this many times - "Drink more water!". Yet, 99% of the people don't heed this advice. Maybe if water was more expensive, people would pay more attention to consume enough of it on a daily basis. We are living in a dehydrated world of carbonated beverages, caffeine and alcohol.

I bet you don't know how important is water for your health, figure and well-being. But sipping water from fancy bottles is not just a trend, it's essential! Everything your body does it does better with a healthy supply of water, every system in your body depends on water.

So here are 10 reasons why drinking water is good for you and why you should make drinking water part of your daily routine:

1. Get Healthy Skin

Nothing will improve the appearance of your skin better than consuming enough water. It's a pity women spend so much money on skin products, while neglecting the cheapest and most effective one - water. Water is the single most important element for cellular integrity. Drinking water moisturizes your skin from the inside out. Water is also essential to maintaining elasticity and suppleness and helps prevent dryness. The real fountain of youth can be found in a glass of water.

2. Flush Toxins

Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. Our kidney system is unique in its filtering capabilities and totally dependent upon water in order for it to work. Daily fluid intake is essential to its efficient operation, particularly because there is some decrease in function with age. Water helps get rid of excess nitrogen, urea, and ketones, so it is particularly important when following a high protein diet. You need even more water to help your kidneys do their work if you’re eating big to gain weight.

3. Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California studied more than 20,000 healthy men and women and found that people who drink more than five glasses of water a day were less likely to die from a heart attack or heart disease than those who drank fewer than two glasses a day.

4. Cushion And Lube Your Joints And Muscles


Water makes up a large part of the fluid that lubricates and cushions your joints and muscles. And although not the only element associated with muscle cramps, athletes have long recognized that even mild dehydration can produce cramps. So drinking water before, during and after exercise can also help reduce muscle cramping and premature fatigue.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adequate fluid replacement helps to maintain hydration therefore optimizing and enhancing performance of those participating in regular exercise. They suggest flavored waters to promote hydration and to increase palatability. Products such as Gatorade’s Propel Fitness Water are, therefore, terrific substitutes for plain water to increase fluid intake and meet the optimum consumption of water per day, thus enhancing performance and lessening the possibility of dehydration.

5. Get Energized And Be Alert

On average, most adults lose about 10 cups of fluid a day through sweating, exhaling, urinating, and bowel movements. Even minor dehydration can cause impaired concentration, headaches, irritability and fatigue.

Water is also essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because there are increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy.

Drinking more water everyday will help your think more clearly. Research has repeatedly shown that staying hydrated is necessary for the human brain, which is 85 percent water, to function at optimal levels. That is why many school systems throughout the country now encourage students to keep a bottle of water at their desks and to drink it throughout the day.

6. Stay Regular


Water helps prevent constipation by adding fluid to the colon and bulk to stools. Something as simple as fluid plays a major role in preventing constipation. Not only does the liquid encourage bowel movement, but it also softens the stools.

Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. But no less important is the ability of water to transport waste material out of our bodies.


7. Reduce Your Risk Of Disease And Infection


Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. This condition where the body's cell are never quite hydrated enough leave them in a weakened state, vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body's overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.

When you don’t have enough water in your body, your cells start to draw water from the bloodstream. Your heart has to work harder because your blood gets sludgy, and your body starts to redirect blood away from less vital areas. Dehydration can set in even before you start to feel thirsty. This is a great strain on the body because it impairs the kidneys in their vital function of purifying the blood and helping the body get rid of toxins.

Also Michaud and coworkers found that the incidence of cancer in the urinary bladder was reduced significantly by a high fluid intake in a ten-year study involving nearly 48,000 men. The top 20% of subjects who participated in the study drank 2500 ml per day or more, while the bottom 20% drank 1200 ml or less. The authors concluded that within this range, the risk of bladder cancer decreased by 7% for every 240 ml of fluid added.


8. Regulate Your Body Temperature


Water regulates the body's cooling system. Sports drinks are useful when consumed after or during vigorous and prolonged exercise in high heat. But most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise. For instance, if you drink 12 ounces of plain water, your body will absorb 8 ounces of it within 15 minutes. If you drink 12 ounces of a 10% sugar solution, less than 1 ounce will be absorbed in the same period. The typical soft drink is a 10 to 12% sugar solution.

Water is the nutrient your body needs the most. Between 55 and 75 percent of adult body weight is water, and it is critical in regulating all body organs and temperature.


9. Burn More Fat And Build More Muscle

It has been shown that dehydration decreases protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is what builds muscle. It is an energy costly process. When you suppress protein synthesis, fewer calories end up building proteins and more calories end up in your fat stores. It's elementary: calories have two possible fates - they either get burned, or they get stored. When more of the calories you eat get burned, less will get stored.

Increased water consumption can help you control weight by preventing you from confusing hunger with thirst. Water will also keep your body systems, including metabolism and digestion, working properly and give you the energy (and hydration) necessary for exercise.


10. Get Well

The traditional prescription to ‛drink plenty of fluids‛ when you're sick still holds strong. Water can help control a fever, replace lost fluids, and thin out mucus. Water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

Water is the substance of life. Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. Water can be a miracle cure for many common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and much more.


Be sure to drink even more fluid whenever you increase your physical activity, when eating a high fiber diet, during hot weather, at high altitudes, in low humidity locations, and when you're sick, especially if you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The best way to figure out if you’re drinking enough water is to look at your urine. It should be a very light shade of yellow. Drink up if it’s darker. Let your thirst guide you, also. You might not need eight glasses to feel hydrated on a mild day. You could crave nine or 10 if it’s hot or you’re exercising. Bottom line? Your body is 90 percent water and needs it for digestion, healthy skin, blood circulation, temperature control and lots of other reasons.

It is important to know that the body can only absorb 4 ounces of water every 10 minutes, so like many things in life, it is important to be proactive with drinking water. Aim to drink one glass of pure water every hour you are awake. And make the process enjoyable. Many people complain that they don't like the taste of water, or that it is boring to drink! Try these tips for making drinking water an enjoyable process:

- Add fresh mint leaves, slices of strawberry, apple, lemon, or lime to a pitcher of water. Serve chilled. Keep a pitcher of "fruit water" in the refrigerator so you always have great-tasting water available.

- Try Glaceu Fruit Water, which is distilled water with added fruit essence, without added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is available at most health food stores. It comes in a variety of fabulous flavors including, watermelon, honeydew melon, raspberry/lime, and strawberry/banana.

- Drink herbal teas. Herbal teas have a variety of healing properties and come in a multitude of flavors. Try green tea, yerba matte, chai, chamomile, mint, raspberry leaf, and cinnamon/apple. In the summer time you can serve them over ice. In winter, drink them hot. Yogi Tea is one of my favorite brands.

- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to water. Warm water with the juice of 1 lemon taken in the morning on an empty stomach is a great liver detoxifier, and has been shown to aid in weight loss.


By the way the eHow wiki has an interesting entry on how to drink more water everyday. They offer 7 steps for increasing your water intake, along with several useful tips.

Drink your water! Stay well hydrated! Stay healthy!

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