Monday, September 22, 2014


Khmer Guardians

ខែ្មរ សុវណ្ណភូមិ

Brands say they will pay more for clothes made in Cambodia

Sep 19, 2014

In an unprecedented move, eight major fashion retailers have said they are prepared to pay more for clothes made in Cambodia. It follows a global day of action by unions in support of garment workers’ demands for a higher
The brands, which include one of Cambodia’s biggest buyers, H&M, as well as Inditex (Zara) and Primark, have written to the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Garments Manufacturers Association (GMAC) saying they are ready to factor higher wages into their pricing.
Furthermore, the brands, which also include Next, New Look, C&A, Tchibo and N Brown Group, say they want to see cooperation with trade unions in the workplace.
The letter, sent the day after the global day of action on 17 September, states:
“Our purchasing practices will enable the payment of a fair living wage and increased wages will be reflected in our FOB prices, taking also into account productivity and efficiency gains and the development of the skills of workers, carried out in cooperation with unions at workplace level.”
Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, said:
“We welcome this unparalleled letter in which the brands state their willingness to incorporate higher wages by paying more for garments. Factory owners have no excuse not to pay their workers more. What's more, the Cambodian government should raise the minimum wage significantly. The letter also shows the brands recognize that unions are key to securing better worker rights, a fair living wage and a stable market.
The letter also met with approval from Ath Thorn, president Cambodian garment, C.CAWDU, who stated: "The message from the brands is an important development. It is progress for Cambodian workers but it doesn't absolve the brands of their responsibility to take real action and negotiate directly with workers. We know from past experience that just a letter isn't strong enough - the brands must take additional action immediately to ensure a higher wage for Cambodian workers. To achieve long-term stability and decent wages, we need the ones who make the biggest profits to be accountable." 
Ken Loo, GMAC’s secretary-general, said: “GMAC is pleased to receive this letter as this is the first official commitment that we are aware from any buyer committing to pay higher FOB prices to ensure that workers can be paid a fair living wage.”
However, Loo added that other brands needed to offer similar assurance.
The brands go on to warn that while they are committed to sourcing from Cambodia, they expect the government and employer’s association GMAC to resolve the current deadlock in labour relations.
“To support the forecast volumes, there is a requirement to see a positive attitude and support for the establishment of freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, fair living wages, stability and peaceful conflict resolution. This will then deliver the assurance and necessary trust in Cambodia to continue promoting the market as a strategic sourcing country.”
Thousands of garment workers donned orange T-shirts in their lunch hour to demonstrate outside factories on 17 September for an increase in the minimum wage from US$100 to US$177 per month. The action was supported by IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the ITUC. Scores of NGOs also supported and there were pickets at stores across the world.
On the same day, tri-partite discussions took place between the government, GMAC and unions. The Labour Advisory Committee, charged with determining the new minimum wage, is set to meet again on 26 September with a decision expected in early October.

IndustriALL has eight garment union affiliates in Cambodia. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Henry Kissinger is not telling the truth about his past. Again.
He is letting himself off the hook for the U.S. bombing of tens of thousands of civilians.
     September 18

Henry Kissinger is back. With this new book, World Order, he attempts to explain the chaotic state of the world through the lens of history. But in the interviews he is giving to promote his book, he rewrites history and obfuscates facts—about U.S. war policy and his own bloody legacy—to make himself look good. He has done this before. Here are some of Kissinger’s biggest distortions.
(1) On NPR’s Weekend Edition, Kissinger told host Scott Simon that the ISIS problem could be fixed by thwarting the group’s goals with “superior air power.” Sound familiar? That was the plan President Nixon undertook—in Southeast Asia more than 40 years ago—with the help of Kissinger, his then-national security adviser. The policy not only failed, it left tens of thousands of civilians dead. And that’s a conservative estimate. Nevertheless, he asserted: “I bet if one did an honest account, there were fewer civilian casualties in Cambodia than there have been from American drone attacks.”
It’s a clever argument but disingenuous on two counts. One, the drone strikes are nearly impossible to tally, because the U.S. government won’t release the information. But on Cambodia, Kissinger already has numbers. He writes in his own 2003 book, Ending the Vietnam War, that he was in “no position to make an accurate estimate” of civilian casualties in Cambodia. So he requested one from the Historical Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The answer, noted in his own book: “an estimate of 50,000 based on the tonnage of bombs delivered over a period of four and a half years.”
Furthermore, Cambodia wasn’t the only country that U.S. forces bombed without the public’s knowledge during the Vietnam War. American forces also conducted more than 580,000 bombing missions in Laos over nine years. They failed in their two missions—to stop the Ho Chi Minh Trail and to keep the Communists from power—but they left a tragic trail of casualties. As we reported in our book Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, that nation has, to the best extent possible, created an “honest account” of its casualties from the U.S. bombings: more than 50,000 people killed and injured by accidents with unexploded ordnance, more than 20,000 of them since the end of war. This is the most accurate account we have of Kissinger’s “superior air power.”
Meanwhile, deaths from drone strikes remain nearly impossible to tally accurately because the U.S. government won’t release the information. Still, several organizations track specific elements of the ongoing drone wars across the Middle East and Central Asia. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism tracks drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, estimating up to nearly 600 total strikes since 2002, with as many as 1089 civilian casualties. While these may not be hard numbers, they are orders of magnitude less than the numbers we do have from Cambodia and Laos.
(2) In the same interview, Kissinger contended that “Drones are far more deadly because they are much more accurate.” False. Ordnance dropped by American airstrikes in Southeast Asia continue to be deadly—40 years later—precisely because those strikes were inaccurate, indiscriminate, overwhelming, and had a high failure rate. Hundreds of unguided bombs were dropped at a time from B-52s at 30,000 feet. At the end of the bombings, an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs remained in the ground just in Laos. There is nothing more deadly—or terrifying—than a weapon that kills decades after it fell. (This is not to condone President Obama’s drone program or to trivialize the civilian deaths caused by American drone strikes. Every casualty is a tragedy, but proportionality matters, and no civilian killed by an American bomb should remain a state secret.)
(3) Kissinger continued his campaign against facts on “The Takeaway.” In Cambodia, he said, “We bombed these areas that were largely uninhabited…. The bombing that people are talking about, that they’re criticizing the White House, was a 10-mile strip in which very few people were killed—if any.”
False. U.S. bombs landed on populated areas of Cambodia, too. As Kissinger himself reports in an endnote in his 2003 book, “The worst error occurred at Neak Luong, when more than a hundred civilians were killed” by a B-52 strike on the banks of the Mekong River on Aug. 6, 1973. Furthermore, an overlay of U.S. bombing coordinates onto historical maps of Cambodia clearly shows that U.S. planes targeted populated areas, again and again and again, as reported by Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan in anOctober 2006 article in The Walrus.
(4) On the same show, Kissinger said: “And really, for 50 years after, an interview that would spend this much time on this is outrageous.” Kissinger asks Americans to assume their leaders are doing what’s best for the country and for peace, saying, “National debate would be helped if we assumed that serious people were trying to achieve serious objectives.” He advises us not to question 50-year-old history. Particularly his own.

New from Thmey Thmey

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cambodge: des médecins chinois impliqués dans un réseau de trafic d’organes

Écrit par Matthew Robertson, Epoch Times

Un réseau de trafic d’organes opérant à partir d’un hôpital militaire cambodgien a été démantelé en août. Lors d’une opération-surprise, la police cambodgienne a opéré neuf arrestations, dont celle d’un médecin et professeur chinois agissant comme consultant et formateur pour le groupe.
Les prélèvements d’organes organisés par l’État sont communs en République populaire de Chine, impliquant spécialement des hôpitaux militaires, mais jusqu’à présent, cela était resté confiné à la Chine.
«Ce n’est pas le modèle exact de prélèvements d’organes se diffusant dans les autres pays – cela ne va pas aussi loin,» a déclaré le Dr Torsten Trey, directeur général de DAFOH (en français Médecins contre les prélèvements forcés d’organes), un groupe médical de défense des droits basé à Washington DC. «Cependant, il semble qu’il y ait une approche systématique favorisant le trafic d’organes dans des régions où il n’existait pas auparavant.» 
Le médecin chinois pris lors du coup de filet était en train de former des médecins locaux aux greffes d’organes – une pratique qui, en Chine, selon des recherches documentées, vise principalement les prisonniers condamnés à mort et les prisonniers de conscience.
La plupart des patients rassemblés aux fins de cette formation seraient chinois et vietnamiens, alors que les donneurs étaient des cambodgiens locaux.
Le journal cambodgien Deum Ampli a rapporté que l’an dernier, entre trois et cinq Cambodgiens avaient subi le prélèvement d’un rein à l’hôpital militaire de Preah Ket Mealea – dans un bâtiment donné par la Chine. L’article citait un médecin identifié affirmant que les reins étaient vendus à des receveurs chinois pour une somme comprise entre 27.000 et 31.000 euros, alors que les donneurs cambodgiens ne recevaient qu’un peu plus de 3 800 euros.
D’après le Phnom Penh Post, la police aurait déclaré que parmi les personnes arrêtées se trouvaient le directeur et le directeur adjoint de l’hôpital, tous deux responsables de l’armée cambodgienne, ainsi que trois «ressortissants sino-vietnamiens». 
Selon le Cambodia Daily, le lieutenant colonel Keo Theo, directeur des forces de police anti-trafic de Phnom Penh, a déclaré: «La personne chinoise est médecin et professeur et a été invité à l’hôpital. Il n’est pas ici en permanence, seulement lorsque cela est nécessaire.»
«Le fait qu’il y ait un professeur chinois, de toute évidence une personne disposant de connaissances et d’expériences, dans un hôpital militaire cambodgien, est intéressant. D’une part, puisqu’il s’agit d’un hôpital militaire et non d’un institut médical privé, cela doit se produire avec l’approbation du gouvernement ou de certains responsables,» a remarqué le Dr Trey. «De ce point de vue, le système est comparable à la chaîne d’approvisionnement d’organes chinois, également concentrée autour des hôpitaux militaires.» 
En Chine, les prisonniers criminels condamnés à mort ou les prisonniers de conscience sont assassinés pour permettre l’utilisation d’organes vitaux comme le cœur et le foie. Au Cambodge, le système semble être limité aux reins, donnés par les résidents locaux en échange de paiement en espèces.
«Le point est que la Chine est en train de saper les normes éthiques des autres pays,» a affirmé le Dr Trey. Cela pourrait avoir l’effet de «détourner l’attention» des propres exactions de la Chine, qui incluent les prélèvements de masse sur des prisonniers de conscience, parmi lesquels les pratiquants de la discipline spirituelle Falun Gong représentent le plus grand groupe.  
The Slaughter, le dernier ouvrage de l’auteur Ethan Gutmann, donne un aperçu détaillé des preuves liées à ces exactions, concluant que plus de 60.000 pratiquants de Falun Gong ont été assassinés pour leurs organes entre 2000 et 2008.
Peu de détails sont connus concernant les opérations internes des trafiquants au Cambodge. Peu après l’intervention de la police, menée après plusieurs mois d’enquête, l’armée cambodgienne s’est manifestée et a avorté toute initiative d’enquête, affirmant que les donations étaient volontaires.
Le ministre cambodgien de la Défense, Tea Banh, a personnellement critiqué la police. «Les accusations de trafic de reins sont gravement dommageables» a-t-il déclaré.
«L’histoire a rapporté qu’il existait un trafic de reins, mais l’opération était volontaire, [il n’y avait] pas de trafic» a déclaré M. Banh aux médias cambodgiens.
Les autres acteurs au Cambodge ne sont pas convaincus par cette déclaration, ce qui constitue sûrement une singularité dans le domaine du tourisme international de transplantation.
«Chaque fois qu’un officier supérieur est impliqué dans un crime au Cambodge, la question de savoir s’il sera tenu responsable ou non reste ouverte», a déclaré Phil Robertson, directeur adjoint de la division asiatique de Human Rights Watch, au Phnom Penh Post.
Le Cambodge est une monarchie constitutionnelle où le système politique est dominé par le Parti du peuple cambodgien, arrivé au pouvoir grâce à un violent coup d’État. Transparency International le considère comme l’un des pays les plus corrompus du sud-est asiatique.
Selon le Parti du salut national, force politique de l’opposition cambodgienne, les déclarations de l’armée selon lesquelles le trafic d’organes est volontaire sont suspectes.
Mu Sochua, législateur du Parti du salut national et directeur de la commission sanitaire, a déclaré au Phnom Penh Post: «S’il existe suffisamment de preuves, nous organiserons une enquête indépendante.»
Selon le même journal, Sam Rainsy, dirigeant du Parti du salut national, a affirmé que ces déclarations ne constituent «que le sommet de l’iceberg».
«Les dénégations ne sont pas convaincantes du tout», a-t-il déclaré, concluant que cette affaire «dessert certainement de nombreux intérêts».