Saturday, December 3, 2016


លោកប៉ាធានតូចជនមិនទុច្ចរិតនិងមិនពុករលួយរួចខ្លួនហើយ!
ជ័យោ! ជ័យោ! ឆាប់ចេញមកជួបលោកប៉ាធានធំ និងមកប្រមូលលុយឲ្យកំណាន់ចិត្តទៀត!
អ្នកនយោបាយធំ ...​​ អ្នកនយោបោកសំរាប់ស្រី!
សុទ្ធតែជាល្ខោន!
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Cambodian opposition figure pardoned
2 Dec 2016 at 20:25 2,305 WRITER: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHNOM PENH: King Norodom Sihamoni on Friday pardoned a top Cambodian opposition figure, at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen, in a complicated manoeuvre that could have a major political impact ahead of nationwide local elections next June.
The royal pardon of Kem Sokha, deputy head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), allows him to avoid five months in prison for failing to answer a summons in a case involving his alleged mistress.
Kem Sokha, who has claimed his legal problems were concocted for political reasons, has sheltered in his party's headquarters for months to avoid the authorities.
His situation contrasts with that of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who faces a two-year prison term and new charges and is barred from returning from self-imposed exile.
The pardon could deepen a rift between the two opposition leaders and their supporters, weakening their unity ahead of the polls. Sam Rainsy has long been Hun Sen's most formidable critic, but some leading opposition members have already criticised him for failing to return from abroad to challenge the prime minister.
The two opposition figures are rivals as well as allies, and Hun Sen has a history of using a carrot-and-stick approach to successfully divide his opponents.
Those he has managed to co-opt usually find themselves marginalised, and those that resist operate under constant threat of retaliation, lately in the courts, but sometimes physical, as two opposition lawmakers found out last year when they were badly beaten by a pro-government mob outside Parliament.
The CNRP ended a six-month boycott of Parliament in November, saying it wanted to ensure the national budget for 2017 was debated properly. It had stopped attending parliamentary sessions after some of its members were stripped of their parliamentary immunity and confronted with lawsuits.
Legal cases against opposition members and rights activists are generally seen as an effort by Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to harass opponents ahead of next year's polls. Cambodia's courts have a reputation for political bias.
Hun Sen's grip on power seemed shaken in the general election in 2013 when the CNRP mounted a strong challenge, winning 55 seats in the National Assembly and leaving the CPP with 68. The opposition said they had been cheated and staged a boycott of Parliament. Seeking to shore up his legitimacy, Hun Sen reached a political truce with them in 2014, making some minor concessions over electoral and parliamentary procedures.
But relations between the government and the opposition deteriorated last year after the opposition tried to exploit a volatile issue by accusing Vietnam, with which Hun Sen's government maintains good relations, of land encroachment. The move proved politically popular, and the government reacted by stepping up intimidation of the opposition party in the courts.
More than three dozen opposition politicians, their supporters and civil society activists are currently in prison.
In a letter to Hun Sen, Kem Sokha thanked him for asking the king for the pardon, calling it a good decision showing correct consideration by the prime minister based on Cambodians solving problems among themselves.
He also said it showed that Cambodian politicians could be tolerant with each other, reflecting a civilised history and Buddhist practice.
The letter and the pardon were published online by pro-government media, and Sam Rainsy posted the pardon on his Facebook page.
"This pardon for Kem Sokha is very welcome, but that doesn't change the fact that he should have never been hit in the first place with this bogus, politically motivated charge designed to cripple the leadership of the parliamentary opposition," commented Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.
"If Prime Minister Hun Sen is really being forthright in wanting reconciliation, then he should also request an immediate pardon for exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, and let him return home."




Fledgling Cambodian solar industry sees glimpse of light
Cambodia is trailing its neighbours in encouraging alternative power sources to reduce the strain on its environment. In the final part of a special series looking at energy provision along the Mekong, Jack Board looks at how the solar industry could be set for a timely expansion.

By Jack Board  Posted 30 Nov 2016 08:53 Updated 30 Nov 2016 09:00



PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian government is slowly starting to accept and explore opportunities for solar energy in the country, which has a growing need for electricity to sustain its development.
But it seems unlikely that this form of renewable energy will substitute coal power plants and large-scale hydropower projects, which come with potentially-damaging environmental effects.

Cambodia has been identified as a hotspot - literally - when it comes to solar radiation levels, but even with international investors lining up to soak up the sun, the government is taking it “step by step”.



In August, Singaporean firm Sunseap won the first government tender to build a large-scale solar project in the country. Its output of 10 megawatts remains modest compared to the mega hydropower planned or underway in the country, but it is progress, according to the firm’s director Frank Phuan.

“We are seeing clear signs from the Cambodian government on willingness to expand the industry,” he said. “I believe that the rate of solar proliferation in the country will pick up.”



If the sector is allowed to expand, there would be no shortage of interested backers, according to John McGinley of Mekong Strategic Partners, a group keenly eyeing opportunities in renewables.

“Geographically, it's spot on. There's a need, it's cheap and it makes sense on so many levels,” he said. “We just need to get this industry moving. But we're definitely hearing the right sounds from the government.”

About six million people are estimated to live without access to regular grid power. Outages are common in rural areas, including regional hubs like Stung Treng, which is close to the development of major hydropower dam project Lower Sesan 2.

The government has said it understands the need to electrify the country and has set bold targets to power up every household in some way by 2020. Largely, hydropower has become the solution to Cambodia’s power shortage issue, with developers, mostly from China, filling a funding and expertise void and taking charge of building dams across the country’s rivers.

Most projects have long-term contracts and “take-or-pay” agreements, which means that all electricity generated not used in the grid comes at a cost to the government. While there are vast profits to be made during the construction process, including by clearing swathes of forest, the heavy investment poses financial risks.



For that reason, the government remains cautious when it comes to moving ahead with solar energy, a technology it has long appeared sceptical of.

Cambodia’s neighbours, however, have largely taken the plunge. McGinley explained the speed and flexibility of solar energy, which many countries in the region, notably Thailand and Vietnam, have taken advantage of.

“Compare what it would take to produce the same amount of power with hydro versus solar. A hydropower dam that could take seven years to build, you could build a similar capacity solar plant in six to 12 months. It's really rapid to roll out,” he said.

“We could take 200 hectares of shrub, bush land and build the same amount of electricity. The cost of building transmission lines is really high, whereas with solar you can build it where you need it.”



It is a position largely supported by environment groups, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which produced a major report earlier this year outlining the possibilities for renewable energy. It aimed to encourage the government to transition from old technologies and identified solar as the solution.

Concerns about the viability of dozens of large Mekong dam projects upriver in Laos and China interrupting the natural flow of the river and more intense dry seasons, as was experienced this year, have added to the calls for change.

And there could be bigger things at stake.

(Video : click on the link at the end of this page)

“NOT JUST A DAM”

Cambodia currently has eight operational hydropower dams with a combined maximum capacity of 1,049 megawatts of power, according to Open Development Cambodia (ODC).

However, examining the pure number of dam projects or potential sites under consideration highlights the possible extent of Cambodia’s reliance on hydropower. The data compiled by ODC lists a total of 73, including those already being constructed or already completed.

While that would be unrealistic - politically, environmentally and financially - the blueprint is indicative for a country that still currently has zero formal renewable energy targets.

“Now Cambodia is in a transitional period. Hydropower actually is a very old technology,” said Oudom Ham, a leading environmental campaigner from EarthRights International.

“If we do not look properly into the cost and benefits of hydropower dams, it will impact many things. It will cause migration, it will cause social unrest and people will keep blaming the government about human rights. It’s not just a dam.”



Among those projects being seriously considered is the monstrous Sambor dam, with a capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts. It poses major environmental concerns and is slated to be built across the main Mekong River channel in Kratie, although not likely for at least a decade.

Many doubts surround the viability of Sambor; a US team is currently leading a study on the government’s behalf. But there is no escaping dam projects remaining firmly entrenched in Cambodia’s future. And, realistically, there is little choice in the matter.

“Developed countries want developing countries to do solar,” said Tun Lean, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. “We need cheap electricity to develop the country. Industry development requires cheap power."

“If you request developing countries to use solar energy the same (way) as Germany (does), the tariff is very expensive. How to do it?”

“Our master plan says that even if we promote solar, we need another source.”

(Video : click on the link at the end of this page)

McGinley agreed. “Solar can’t be the answer on its own; there will be still be a need for hydro or coal to some extent,” he said. “But it's about providing a better mix.”

“The issue with solar is the technology, batteries that can store solar. But that's not ready yet in Cambodia and it's not currently economical. The idea is that in the dry season when the hydros are running with really low productivity, they actually complement each other really well.”

There is little citizen pressure on the government to implement greener technologies, even on a small scale.

Currently, private solar installations such as on house rooftops are technically illegal in Cambodia. The national power body - Electricite du Cambodge - blocks individuals or private enterprises from generating their own electricity, which would be fed into the grid should there be any excess. It still remains wary about private citizens reducing their power bills via feed-in tariffs.



While awareness and shifting attitudes could help encourage the government to be more open to solar energy, what is more important is an urgent upgrade to the national grid, according to Phuan.

“There is also a need to have more skilled labour with the necessary technical skills to construct and develop these projects. Grid expansion and upscaling are also crucial in making this vision a reality,” he said.

For now, that reality is still on a shaky foundation. One way or another, it is clear that Cambodia does not intend to be left in the dark. 

Explore the whole series: Power Struggle - Damming the Mekong. Follow Jack Board on Twitter: @JackBoardCNA
- CNA/jb

Video : click on the link below:





Arrested Aussie mum knew surrogacy laws would be targeted by Cambodia government
By nine.com.au staff

Just days before she was thrown in a Cambodian jail, Australian Tammy Davis-Charles took to Facebook to voice her fears the Government would shut down the same surrogacy laws she was arrested for.
The 49-year-old nurse and fertility expert was arrested on November 20 along with two Cambodians during a raid on a rented house in Phnom Penh.
She was charged with being an intermediary in surrogacy and falsifying documents and faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
About two weeks before her arrest Ms Davis-Charles wrote on her Fertility Solutions PGD Facebook page there were "rumours" the Cambodian government was considering ending commercial surrogacy, The Daily Telegraph reports.
"The Government are reviewing laws. Honestly it could go either way," Ms Davis-Charles wrote on November 4.
"Please be warned do not sign up with anyone trying to push you through!!!!.
"As you will most likely be caught up in the end when the baby is born which becomes a nightmare."
However Ms Davis-Charles did not foresee getting caught up in her own nightmare.
The mother-of-six faces a potentially years-long wait before she goes to trial.
The Cambodian government outlawed surrogacy earlier this month, throwing about 80 Australian families into uncertainty about the babies they had already paid for.
Police Colonel Keo Thea, head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Office, said Ms Davis-Charles had moved to Cambodia from Thailand for more than a year, and alleged that she had arranged for some 23 Cambodian women to carry babies for Australian couples.
"Australian people who wanted kids would contact her and she would charge US$50,000 for each request," he said.
"Five babies have been born," he said, adding that a Cambodian girl received between $10,000 and $12,000 in each case.
However, despite the ban on commercial surrogacy Cambodia has offered amnesty to a small number of Australian families who have paid for surrogacy services.
The Cambodian government has decided to allow Australians who paid for babies via Ms Davis-Charles to collect their infants without fear of being arrested, the ABC reports.
The south-east Asian nation wants the Australians to fulfill their financial commitments to the Cambodian surrogate women, who are owed $13,500 each.
However, the government says the deal is limited to this set of 23 pregnancies arranged by Ms Davis-Charles and will not make exceptions in the future.

Monday, November 28, 2016



Cambodia sticks by tough stance on Australian surrogacies, likens practice to child trafficking
By South-East Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane Updated Fri Nov 25 06:35:24 EST 2016

The Cambodian official leading the country's crackdown on surrogacy wants prospective parents from Australia to come forward for DNA tests.
Key points:
  • Cambodia says Australians responsible for instigating the pregnancies should come forward
  • Officials liken the practice to human trafficking
  • Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles was arrested over the weekend
Representatives from the Australian embassy met with the Cambodian Government in Phnom Penh on Thursday, but made no comment as they left the meeting.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles was arrested last weekend, accused of running an illegal surrogacy agency and falsifying documents.
"Those responsible for the pregnancies should come forward," said Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior.
"He [the father] should come to apply and file documents that are acceptable to both parties [surrogate and client]," she said, using patriarchal language to refer to the intended parents.
But the message was mixed, with Ms Chou also referring to foreign surrogacy clients at times as "perpetrators" and equating the practice with human trafficking.
"What if the children are born disabled and the client won't take them or won't pay the full amount?" she asked reporters.
"This equates to child trafficking — if it's a good one it's expensive, a bad one is discounted, or maybe not taken at all — and who will be responsible if they're left behind?"
Women are being offered $13,500 to act as surrogates, the equivalent of around eight years' wages for a garment factory worker — the most common job for young Cambodian women.
The kingdom became a new frontier for low-cost surrogacy last year, when Thailand banned the trade.
'I don't want Cambodia to be taken advantage of'
The move was partly attributed to the case of Baby Gammy — a boy with Down syndrome who was left with his surrogate mother in Thailand by an Australian couple, who took his sister home.
Surrogacy under the spotlight
Ms Chou, who leads Cambodia's anti-human trafficking efforts, said the arrest of Ms Davis-Charles came after nearly a year of investigations.
"We tracked them in and out, watched their networking with clinics and doctors, and we saw the surrogate leave the clinic without the baby," she said.
"We have found more than 50 women selected to be surrogates and 23 already pregnant.
"I don't want Cambodia to be taken advantage of by this growing business, it violates the baby and child rights."
One former surrogate for an Australian couple told the ABC it was a chance to pay off debts and escape poverty.
But there are concerns about Cambodia's capacity to manage commercial surrogacy and the potential for exploitation of vulnerable women.
Posted Thu Nov 24 23:31:30 EST 2016


Cambodia verdict a warning to N Korea, IS and Philippines: UN
Agence France-Presse - Posted at Nov 23 2016 06:17 PM

PHNOM PENH - The life sentences given to two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge should serve as a warning to other rights abusers, including in North Korea, the Philippines and the Islamic State group, a United Nations envoy said Wednesday.

A UN-backed court in Cambodia dismissed an appeal against lifetime jail sentences meted out to Nuon Chea, 90, Khieu Samphan, 85.

The pair were senior leaders of a regime responsible for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians from 1975-1979.

"The long arm of international justice ultimately can prevail," David Scheffer, the UN Secretary-General's envoy to the tribunal, told reporters after the verdict.

"Holding senior leaders accountable for the perpetration of atrocity crimes under their leadership, does happen, it does ultimately occur," he added.

He then mentioned a number of specific countries where leaders should "take note that what happened today".

The were the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria and North Korea. He also named the Islamic State group, which has committed widespread atrocities across swathes of Iraq and Syria.

"What happened today in this courtroom ultimately can reach their domain because international justice is not backing down," he added.

The Khmer Rouge regime dismantled modern society in Cambodia in their quest for an agrarian Marxist utopia, killing vast numbers and leaving a generational scar.

Some analysts have compared the Khmer Rouge to the Islamic State group, for their ruthless pursuit of revolution and sheer barbarity.

But while the court has brought a handful of senior Khmer Rouge leaders to book, the vast majority of perpetrators remain unpunished.

The movement's leader Pol Pot died in 1998, and the government of Cambodian strongman Hun Sen has become increasingly wary about prosecuting lower level cadres.




Cambodia's timber exports to Vietnam continue despite ban
21 Nov, 2016 Jack Davies
A man transports a trailer load of timber through Kratie province
toward the Cambodia-Vietnam border earlier this year. Pha Lina

Despite the establishment of a dedicated anti-logging taskforce and the implementation of a ban on the export of logs, Cambodia exported $121 million of wood to Vietnam in the first nine months of this year, according to Vietnamese customs data shared with the Post by NGO Forest Trends.
Observers say the data give lie to the government’s oft-repeated claims this year that large-scale logging and exports to Vietnam have been ended in Cambodia.
“Well-connected timber tycoons [are] running sawmills and sourcing indiscriminately,” conservationist Marcus Hardtke said in an email yesterday. “It is organized and systemic, undermining forest management efforts. This cannot be pushed under the carpet as ‘small-scale’.”
His sentiments were echoed by Goldman Prize-winning conservationist Ouch Leng, who wrote in an email: “I found that business is more [of a] priority than protection [of] the forest, what they think is how to make money with the timber.”
Julian Newman – campaigns director at London-based NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which has researched illicit timber trading in the Mekong region extensively – wrote in an email that it would not be possible for small-scale logging to generate $121 million of timber in nine months “unless it’s high value rosewood”.
Contacted yesterday even-ing, Environment Ministry spokesman Eang Sophalleth said that while he could not comment directly on the Vietnamese customs data without having the opportunity to verify it, the government’s official position is that all large-scale logging in Cambodia has finished.
“As far as we’re concerned, all the major logging has been ended with operations that have been carried out in the last couple of months by the anti-logging taskforce,” Sophalleth said.
Eng Hy, spokesman for the anti-logging taskforce established earlier this year with a mandate directly from Prime Minister Hun Sen to stamp out illegal logging, also declined to comment on the data yesterday.
The data cover January to September of this year. In that period, Vietnamese customs authorities registered 115,694 cubic metres of sawn wood valued at $105.9 million as having entered from Cambodia along with 59,128 cubic metres of logs, valued at $15.5 million.
Hardtke, the conservationist, noted that the export of logs from Cambodia is illegal, having been banned in mid-January.
“If we are looking at logs from natural forests, it is either done with the collusion of authorities in Cambodia, or the [Vietnamese] side is including smuggled timber into their databases,” Hardtke wrote.
EIA’s Newman said that Vietnam’s acceptance of Cambodian logs despite Phnom Penh’s outlawing their export meant Hanoi bore some responsibility for Cambodian logging: “It should respect the laws and regulations of neighbouring countries.”
Both he and Goldman Prize-winner Leng cautioned that the EU, too, risked becoming complicit in Cambodia’s timber trade if it was not careful.
“Vietnam is currently discussing a timber trade agreement with the EU,” Newman wrote. “EIA is pushing to ensure that under this agreement, Vietnam had to exclude illegal timber from its market.
“EU [has] to make sure to stop importing all kinds of timber products from Vietnam too,” Leng wrote. “If not, [the] EU [is] also [involved in] and responsible [for] deforestation in Cambodia.”
Imports spiked in April and May, totalling $27 million, almost a quarter of the nine months’ imports. Hardtke noted that this coincided with the peak of the anti-logging taskforce’s crackdown, which kicked off in mid-January.
“[It] could be timber confiscated during the crackdown in Eastern Cambodia already being moved across the border,” Hardtke wrote.