Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ces ouvrires chante nt le chaos de la cr oissance cambodgienn e

Elles ne luttent pas dans le silence parce qu’ellles vivent leur vie d’ouvrieres, parce qu’elles vivent dans l’injustice, parce qu’elles sont solidaires.

Souvent je murmure les paroles de leurs chansons pour me donner l’espoir, pour qu’un jour on reconnaitra la vraie vie de nos femmes.

From silence to power because they are workers, because they are women, because they know about injustice.

Often times, I sing their songs – land is Life; Struggle(Tar So); and many more- to give myself courage.

We shall overcome.

TRIBUNE DES DROITS HUMAINS

Ces ouvrires chantent le chaos de la croissance cambodgienne

Par Carole Vann | Infosud/Tribune des droits humains | 26/09/2011 | 12H31
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le groupe Messenger Band (Carole Vann)

En partenariat avec la Tribune des droits humains

(De Phnom Penh) Exploitation dans les usines textiles, esclavage sexuel, victions forces, sida, corruption : elles sept, ces jeunes femmes ont subi tous les flaux du Cambodge. Ouvrires reconverties en chanteuses, elles ont constitu voil six ans un groupe a cappella, The Messenger Band.

Mais les textes de Vun Em, Sothany, Chivika, Sompose, Somneang, Leakna, Van Huon ne racontent pas des amours impossibles dupliques l’infini comme le font les chanteurs populaires. Le Messenger Band, empruntant les mlodies des tubes khmers, aborde des thmes autrement corss.

Ainsi, elles appellent la compassion envers les filles lgres , si souvent mprises par leur socit, qui se sont retrouves ds leur jeune ge devoir vendre leur corps, au risque d’tre contamines par le sida, parce que les dollars sont le seul pont permettant leur famille de survivre .

Des concerts au milieu des manifs ouvrires

Avec des paroles d’une simplicit poignante, elles chantent aussi le travail l’usine, les mfaits de la libralisation, les familles chasses coups de bton de leurs maisons, les paysans qui se retrouvent vagabonds, leurs terres ayant t livres aux concessions trangres ou des membres de l’lite politique.

La dmarche de Messenger Band est particulirement courageuse dans un pays o les artistes subissent des intimidations et sont mme menaces d’assassinat.

Loin des scnes kitsch, les sept chanteuses aiment se produire au beau milieu d’une manifestation ouvrire ou d’une confrontation entre la police et des habitants refusant tre expulss de leur quartier.

Et le Messenger Band ne risque pas de manquer d’inspiration. A Phnom Penh, le visiteur est frapp par les multiples chantiers qui mettent la ville sens dessus dessous. Sur la route de l’aroport s’tendent perte de vue des enfilades de constructions deux tages flambant neufs, mais tous vides.

La capitale rve d’arborer les signes de russite des autres mtropoles asiatiques. Sur le boulevard Monivong, l’une des artres principales, deux tours jumelles sont censes se dresser sur plus de 40 tages. De ces gratte-ciel financs par des capitaux sud-corens, l’un n’en finit pas d’tre en construction, l’autre n’existe qu’ l’tat virtuel.

La croissance conomique profite une minorit

Ainsi que ne cesse de le rappeler le ministre des Finances Keat Chhon, le Cambodge peut se targuer d’une croissance conomique de 6% pour 2011 un chiffre encourageant pour l’un des pays les plus pauvres du monde. De 1997 2007, le PIB progressait de 10% annuellement, avec un revenu mensuel par habitant passant de 300 dollars 600.

Mais cette croissance fragile, base sur la spculation, ne profite qu’aux riches lites. Un fait que n’hsitent pas reconnatre nombre d’conomistes et hommes d’affaires, qui prfrent garder l’anonymat. Seules des bases plus saines permettront une conomie solide, affirment-ils.

Cette anne, le gouvernement cambodgien et la bourse sud-corenne lancent Phnom Penh la toute premire bourse du Cambodge. Les perspectives concernent surtout la construction avec des dispositions censes pousser les autorits et les entreprises cambodgiennes lutter contre la corruption.

Les centres commerciaux ne sont presque jamais achevs

Un boom conomique factice dans un pays gonfl artificiellement , ricane Thun Saray, prsident de l’Association pour les droits de l’homme et le dveloppement au Cambodge (Adhoc).

Les usines textiles sont de plus en plus nombreuses, mais qui en sont les propritaires ? Des Corens, des Malais, des Singapouriens Les bnfices partent l-bas, et ne restent ici que les misrables 60 dollars mensuels des ouvrires.

Quant aux buildings et gigantesques centres commerciaux, ils ne sont presque jamais achevs : il n’y a pas de demande, seulement des spculateurs. Les gens sont bien trop pauvres pour acheter.

La croissance ne profite qu’ une infime minorit, tandis que les autres en paient le prix fort.

Grve dans une usine textile, aprs 3 mois de salaires impays (Carole Vann)

Actuellement, 500 000 Cambodgiens travers le pays sont victimes d’victions forces. Kek Galabru, fondatrice de la Licadho (l’autre principale organisation de dfense des droits de l’homme au Cambodge), raconte :

S’ils refusent de partir, les forces de l’ordre dbarquent et brlent les logements, tabassent les habitants, arrtent les contestataires.

Le problme des victions forces est li l’histoire rcente du pays. A la chute desKhmers rouges en 1979, les survivants ont regagn les villes entirement vacues par le rgime de Pol Pot, en occupant les logements. A la campagne, ils se sont installs sur un lopin et n’ont plus boug.

En 2001, une loi foncire est entre en vigueur, qui stipulait que toute personne installe sur une terre depuis cinq ans, sans tre conteste, en devient propritaire. Mais pour obtenir un titre de proprit, il faut arroser une multitude de fonctionnaires, et la plupart des habitants n’en ont pas les moyens.

La mme loi foncire prvoit aussi que l’Etat peut rquisitionner des terrains pour le dveloppement communautaire . Les luxueux centres commerciaux, inabordables pour la plupart des Khmers, sont donc tiquets d’intrt public.

En dix ans, 100 000 habitants dlogs de la capitale

Plus de 100 000 personnes ont t dloges de la capitale au cours de ces dix dernires annes. Elles se sont retrouves parachutes des dizaines de kilomtres de la ville dans des terrains vagues. Pas d’eau, pas d’lectricit, pas d’gouts. Isols de tout, les relocaliss deviennent des citoyens fantmes, privs de tout droit lmentaire , souligne Thun Saray.

Dans les zones rurales, les terres et les forts continuent d’tre pilles sans vergogne, au profit de l’lite au pouvoir et des entreprises trangres. En 2007, Global Witness publiait un rapport explosif nommant les membres de familles influentes impliqus dans ce pillage.

Selon l’institut de recherche bas Londres, 30% des forts avaient t dtruites en cinq ans, rapportant plus de treize millions de dollars aux proches du premier ministre Hun Sen. Alors que 40% de la population vit en dessous du seuil de pauvret.

Le rapport, interdit au Cambodge, rvlait aussi que depuis le dbut des annes 90, plus d’un million d’hectares de terre avaient t cds des concessions trangres ou appartenant l’lite locale, ce malgr une loi interdisant ce genre de transaction.

Photos : le Messenger Band en cyclo Phnom Penh ; grve dans une usine textile, aprs trois mois de salaires impays (Carole Vann)

En partenariat avec La Tribune des droits humains

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Message from Nobel Women on death of Wangari Maathai

The passing away of a very great woman who paid a great deal to find real solutions to poverty and the empowerment of women.

Reading her book gave me the strength to continue the fight for democracy and freedoms. Her message to us is: you take up a fight and you set the scenario till the very end.

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Nobel Women’s Initiative Update

September 26, 2011

News

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Dear Friends:

It is with great sadness that we write you today. As you may know, our friend, and sister Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai, passed away in Nairobi yesterday.

Today the women Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative released a message and we wanted to share it with you.

We hope that you might take a moment to honour her memory with some small action to make the world a better place. We thank those of you who have sent messages of condolence and we invite you to share your memories of her on her Facebook page.

In peace,

The staff and Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative

-Message from Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Mench Tum, and Mairead Maguire:

We are terribly saddened by the death of our beloved friend and sister Nobel Peace Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai. Wangari was a true visionary whose work and life served as a powerful example to women everywhere. She showed us that the eradication of poverty, the empowerment of women, and a sustainable future for our planet are all essential building blocks of a more just and peaceful world. She lived her belief that all of us have a role to play in creating sustainable peace.

It has been a great privilege to know and work with Wangari through our joint efforts in the Nobel Women’s Initiative, launched in January 2006. Her tireless commitment to humanity was evident in everything she did–from planting trees and listening to women in refugee camps to amplifying the voices of the disempowered to leaders and decision makers around the globe.

Wangari’s fearless strength in adversity, her creative approach to building a peaceful, healthy planet and her hard work to inspire and empower women will live on. Her passion and commitment have moved countless people to take action to improve their communities. We will miss her great shining smile and her indomitable spirit but all those she has inspired will keep her vision alive through each small action we take toward a better world.

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For more information, visit the Green Belt Movement or the Nobel Women’s Initiative web sites.

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Women’s Human Rights Guide – CEDAW Op Protocol +

Cambodia’s accession to the CEDAW Optional Protocol leaves opportunity for individual women to take their case to the CEDAW Committee.

UN Women in Cambodia provided a workshop on the use of the protocol to women’s groups.

I have proposed to the group to take police abuse of women during demonstrations as a case. The group has yet to reconvene to take action.

MECHANISMS FOR ADVANCING WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS
GUIDE TO USING CEDAW OPTIONAL PROTOCOL &
OTHER INTERNATIONAL COMPLAINT MECHANISMS

This is a practical guide for lawyers, advocates and women experiencing violations of their rights on how to use the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and other international complaint mechanisms to seek redress for alleged violations of womens human rights.

Simone Cusack, Author

DemocracyAlert: Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Members Arrested

In Cambodia, 150 activists were stopped by the municipality police from marching on International Day of Peace. No one was arrested.

The Cambodian women’s movement has taken a soft stance to the protection of women’s human rights by avoiding confrontation. There has been very little noise made by women organizations on the issue of land and police violence against women when women stand up to fight for their rights.

Defending human rights takes more than advocacy and campaign.

Justice is not served till there is prosecution and a demand for accountability of the state to take perpetrators to court. With no exceptions.

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DemocracyAlert


Newsletter of the World Movement for Democracy September 23, 2011
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DemocracyAlerts (www.wmd.org/alerts) is an electronic mailing list moderated by the National Endowment for Democracy as the Secretariat of the World Movement for Democracy (www.wmd.org).

The material presented in DemocracyAlerts is intended for information purposes only.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Members Arrested

On Wednesday, September 21, 12 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested during a peaceful demonstration to commemorate International Day of Peace in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. According to Freedom House, “WOZA was distributing leaflets and flowers when interrupted by nearly 50 riot police, who rounded up the group and beat them with batons – claiming they had ‘no permission’ to march.” WOZA is a participating organization in the World Movement for Democracy.

The Zimbabwean authorities have released 10 of the 12 women. Eight of the women sought medical attention after being released. WOZA reported in a press statement yesterday that eight members were seriously injured and three others suffered serious fractures.

The group’s leaders, Magodonga Mhlangu and Jenni Williams, have been denied bail and are being held at Mlondolozi, a female prison in Bulawayo. Amnesty International UK reports that Mhlangu and Williams are being charged with kidnapping and theft.

According to Freedom House, “WOZA has been a frequent and brutal target of Zimbabwean authorities as a result of their legitimate activities that address many of the most crucial human rights issues facing Zimbabwean women, including domestic violence and rape, the rights to food and education for children, and the rights to participation and association.”

For more information, go to:

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=1492

http://www.zlhr.org.zw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=84

http://action.amnesty.org.uk/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=1194&ea.campaign.id=8560

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR46/021/2011/en

http://wozazimbabwe.org/

http://rfkcenter.org/node/161469

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Taking Democracy to the Grassroots -Part 1

Part I

Since May of this year, I have visited 7 villages in the North West of Cambodia. The plots of land they cleared-some died from land mines and malaria- is now being offered to a private company by the prime minister

This journey to Sraloa Chrum village, Sampouv Loun district, Battamabang province was made on a road totally destroyed by rain. We had to take a Ko Youn or a lectric cow”, a sort of small tractor pulled with an engine set in the front. It took us 2 hours.We had already traveled by car, crossing through Bantey Meanchey province, for 3 hours.

We walked through the forest for another 40 minutes.

We finally arrived at the pagoda where people were waiting with a lot of patience for more than 4 hours.

The people welcomed us with open hearts and spoke of their fear for the lost of their land. A total of 4,095 hectares have already been offered by the prime minister without ever consulting the people. Local authorities are now forcing the villagers to comply with the order of the prime minister.

I spoke of their right to land. Land is life.

it got to be 7PM. we had to go to the next village as the chief of the village had prevented the people from coming to meet our team.

We would have to sleep in the next village.

Before leaving the pagoda, we prayed for the safety of the land. A 12 year-old chanted louder than the monks. He had been a monk for one year but had to leave monk hood because the village chief considered his family as part of the opposition. He had never been to school.

My heart breaks to see so much endurance, so much pain and suffering of our rural poor.

They work the land. They will die for their land.

The children roam around, the pigs roam around, the cows roam around.

Women, with their children behind and carrying another life inside their wombs, still work the land.

There is so much injustice.

This is my land. These are my people.

That night, I cried a river. I was too exhausted to think. I was very hungry but could not take the wild pig meat offered with a bottle of coke and pounded rice. Thank god for the sweet bananas.

I slept in borrowed clothes.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmkJ6J5Ffrk

Banned film an internet hit

Chea Vichea, a hero we can never forget.

I joined the opposition party, the day of his assassination.

The fight for the workers goes on. We know who killed Chea Vichea.

Boeung Kak lake eviction – Raw Brutality

State violence against women

CAMBODIA. Phnom Penh. 16/09/2011: Inhabitants witnessing destruction of their belongings during eviction of Boeung Kak Lake houses not included in the 12,44Ha granted by Prime Minister Hun Sen to some 750 families for an on-site relocation. Shukaku Inc. development company was granted a 99 year lease on the 144Ha on the Boeung Kak lake, filled it with sand and evicted some 3000 families.

I updated the story ‘Boeung Kak Lake Eviction’ on my website with pictures of the latest developments…

http://www.johnvink.com/JohnVinkSite/Cambodia_Stories/Cambodia_Land_Issues/099_Cambodia_Boeung_Kak_Lake_Eviction/index.html#VIJ2011001H0920

Enjoy?

John