Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cambodia and Cronyism

Phnom Penh's foreign donors are enabling abuses of human rights.
The WALL STREET JOURNAL

On Sept. 11, the body of Cambodian journalist Hang Serei Oudom was found stuffed into the trunk of his car with his head bashed in. At the time of his death, Mr. Oudom was writing about collusion between local businessmen and officials in the mountainous northwest. There as elsewhere in the country politicians, officials and logging companies have conspired to clear-cut virgin forests that are supposedly protected by the government.

The murder of Mr. Oudom is hardly an aberration in Cambodia. At least 10 journalists have been killed in Cambodia since 1996. Social activists have fared no better: In April, a military policeman shot and killed environmentalist Chhut Vuthy as he investigated illegal logging in southwestern Koh Kong province. Dozens more have been summarily imprisoned for protesting illegal land seizures.
European Pressphoto Agency Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

In 2011, Transparency International ranked Cambodia 164th out of 182 countries in its annual Corruption Perception Index. Rampant cronyism also suits Cambodia's one true foreign friend, China, which has poured billions of dollars of aid and soft loans into the country. In the process it has secured economic concessions and diplomatic fealty. At the July 11-12 summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh, Cambodian diplomats scuppered a collective response to Beijing's encroachment in the South China Sea. Coincidentally, Beijing this month announced another $2.5 billion in investment and soft loans. 

Trade between America and Cambodia is also on the rise, with the U.S. accounting for 41% of Cambodia's garment-driven exports. Yet the Obama Administration has remained largely silent about Cambodia's recent malfeasance, most notably at the Asean summit. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made no public mention of Cambodia's rights record. Two days after Mrs. Clinton left the country, the authorities imprisoned one of the country's leading opposition figures on dubious charges of secessionism. 

Cambodia's ongoing genocide tribunal still receives a lion's share of Western attention when it comes to human rights. But the most pressing issue for most Cambodians is land use. In the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have endured land grabs and evictions. They have suffered further when they dared to protest these abuses. 

Phnom Penh's international donors might stop to consider that Cambodia's oppressive cronyism is ultimately a manifestation of its disregard for the human right of private property. Absent meaningful pressure to protect property rights, foreign aid and investment will bring limited benefits.

Labels:


» Read more!
October 1997
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
July 2014
September 2014
January 2015
February 2015
September 2015
October 2015
August 2016
September 2016

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Powered by Blogger


 Home   |   About Us   |   Submit URL or Your Company Address First Launched: 08/15/95 - Copyright © 2010 Cambodian Information Center. All rights reserved.