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Obama, Suu Kyi, Albright remember Vclav
Havel at NED memorial event.more
Civil society targeted by government in Egypt. more
Daily NK continues difficult reporting on North Korea. more
Democracy Spotlight Vclav Havel Honored at NED Memorial
Vclav Havel’s “peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon,” President Barack Obama said in his statement to the Havel memorial meeting at the National Endowment for Democracy. more
The Jan. 6 event focused on Havel’s dedication to supporting dissidents everywhere who struggle for democracy. Close Havel friend Madeleine Albright made remarks and was joined by Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (by video) and other prominent democracy activists from Cuba, Syria, Iran, and Ethiopia. Event video is online. watch
The Voice of America covered the proceedings. watch
“In Praise of Vclav Havel” from the July 2010 Journal of Democracy is available online for a limited time. more
News & Events
Egyptian and international civil society organizations are being targeted by Egyptian authorities. more
“Hands off NGOs, Obama tells Egypt’s junta.” more
Facts on NDI’s presence and programs in Egypt. more
IRI statement regarding raids on its offices in Egypt. more Burma
Long-jailed reporters with NED grantee Democratic Voice of Burma have been freed. more
“Journalists fighting an information war in secretive North Korea” is a profile of NED grantee DailyNK by The National (UAE). more
Answering Common Questions About NED
From Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street, NED President Carl Gershman answers many common questions about NED, including how NED operates and whether democracy assistance is “interference,” in a recent interview with Polish magazine Kultura Liberalna. more
“What’s Happening in Iraq? Prelude to civil war, or politics as usual,” a New America Foundation panel, featured NED Senior Program Officer Rahman Aljebouri. listen
Journalist Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of NED grantee the Awramba Times, faces the death penalty after Ethiopian courts judged him guilty of “terrorism.” more
“Nigerian Spring, Averted?,” by NED Program Officer Oge Onubogu in Democracy Digest. more
Journal of Democracy
In the Jan. 2012 issue, Stanford political scientist and JoD coeditor Larry Diamond writes, “If there is going to be a big new lift to global democratic prospects in this decade, the region from which it will emanate is most likely to be East Asia.” more
IFES Photo Competition
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is accepting submissions to its annual democracy-themed photo competition until Feb. 16. more
Upcoming & Recent Events
Jan. 30, 2012, 12:00-2:00pm: Can media development make aid more effective?, a CIMA event at NED, moderated by Sina Odugbemi of the World Bank. more
Feb. 2, 2012, 9:30am-2:00pm: Burma’s Changing Political Landscape: a conversation with three leading activists, at NED, with luncheon address by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner. more
Feb. 9, 2012, 12:00-2:00pm: Colombia’s Intelligence Services vs. Civil Liberties, at NED featuring Reagan-Fascell Fellow Hollman Morris. more
Jan. 25, 2012: What is to be done with Pseudo-Democracies: The Case of Azerbaijan, featured Reagan-Fascell Fellow Hikmet Hadjy-zadeh. more
Dec. 13, 2011: Hungary’s Media Law: One Year Later, a CIMA event at NED. more
Dec. 15, 2011: Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?, featured Reagan-Fascell Fellow Dr. Tamirlan Kurbanov. more
Videos of most recent events are available online.more
World Bank Shines Spotlight on Anti-Corruption with New Sanctions Board Law Digest The World Bank Group announced another milestone in its leadership on anticorruption with the release of the Sanctions Board Law Digest, publicly detailing for the first time the rationale behind how the Bank Group holds entities accountable for fraud, corruption, and other wrongdoing. Please clickﾠhereﾠfor a copy of the Law Digest 2011.
Consultations on the Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability The World Bank Group is launching consultations for a new Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability. The Global Partnership would aim at strengthening beneficiary feedback and participation by supporting civil society capacity to engage with governments and improve development effectiveness.
Strengthening Governance, Tackling Corruption: Consultations on the World Bank’s Updated Strategy and Implementation Plan In 2007 the World Bank adopted the strategy, Strengthening World Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption (GAC). Now the Bank is updating the strategy for engaging with countries on governance and anti-corruption as an integral part of our work to improve development effectiveness, reduce poverty and promote growth. Please clickﾠhereﾠfor the PowerPoint Presentation.
Governance and Anticorruption: Progress and Challenges in World Bank’s Work Lead Evaluation Officer of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), discusses the World Bank’s Governance and Anticorruption (GAC) Strategy. In this short video interview, Navin Girishankar highlights the rapidly evolving global context for the Bank’s work on governance and anticorruption and summarizes the findings of IEG’s recent flagship evaluation.
Rethinking Justice Reform in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States. Drawing on donor experiences in Liberia and Afghanistan, this chapter first problematizes the conceptual underpinnings of existing justice reform efforts: that of rule of law linked to state building, and that of justice reform linked to economic growth.ﾠ The chapter then argues that justice reform is best understood as an adaptive rather than (primarily) technical problem and one that requires a sustained commitment to understanding the idiosyncrasies of the context(s) in order to more correctly identify binding constraint problems and possible solutions.
Making Civil Society Integral to Public Financial Management Reforms Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms around the world are often designed and monitored by a handful of ‘technical experts’. Not in Sierra Leone as it is one of the few Bank-funded projects in which a Government has decided to channel $ 1.0 million of its grant funds to civil society to monitor the use of public funds. Read more on emerging lessons from this ongoing experience.
Second Conference on Evidence-Based Anti-Corruption Policies, Thailand TheﾠSecond Conference on Evidence-Based Anti-Corruption Policies (CEBAP II) was held in Bangkok by Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in collaboration with the World Bank and Transparency International – Thailand Chapter. Read more to view abstracts and papers from the event.
International Public Management Network (IPMN) 2012 Hawaii Conference- Call for Paper IPMN annual conference will be held on 27-29 June, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, in partnership with the East West Center. The theme of the conference will be Innovations in Public Management for Combating Corruption and the key research question is whether innovations in public management are helping to reduce levels of corruption. The conference is open to all participants who wish to submit proposals.
The Open Doors 2009 Regional Forum on Procurement Monitoring, Philippines The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) organized this second regional conference to contribute to the regional procurement agenda of ANSA-EAP and its partners by sustaining the connection and dynamic exchange among the country groups involved in the procurement monitoring.
Innovative Sources of Development Finance There has for decades been concern to find ways of supplementing ODA with more reliable and preferably automatic forms of financial transfer to developing countries, for their needs for external additions to revenue are often great. Read moreﾠon new innovations in sourcing development finance.
Why Eliminating Corruption is Crucial to Sustainability Bribery and corruption present significant risks to business and tackling them increases an organization’s resilience to shocks. As corruption continues to have a dire effect on the global economy, read on to find out why companies should care.
People, Politics, and Change: Building Communication Capacity for Governance Reformﾠ
People, Politics and Change: Building Communication Capacity for Governance Reform is an applied facilitator’s guide for reform managers, change agents, development practitioners, and training professionals who need to use smart communication techniques—the relevant concepts, frameworks and applications—to promote change through governance reform.
Taxation, and Accountability in Oil-Rich Economies: A Proposalﾠ The book To enhance efficiency of public spending in oil-rich economies, this paper proposes that some of the oil revenues be transferred directly to citizens, and then taxed to finance public expenditures. The argument is that spending that is financed by taxation—rather than by resource revenues accruing directly to the government—is more likely to be scrutinized by citizens and hence subject to greater efficiency.
Accountability Initiative India Accountability initiative is a research initiative that works to promote accountability for service delivery by developing innovative models for tracking government programs, disseminating this information to policy makers as well as citizens, and undertaking research on how to strengthen accountability for improved service delivery in India.
The Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 We know corruption is a problem around the world, but how bad is it? And what can be done? Creative video by Transparency International.
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Established in January 2009, the Regional Governance Hub seeks to improve the effectiveness of the World Bank’s work on governance in the region.ﾠ
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We urge you all to mobilize your local and national politicians to send similar a letter to the Prime Minister of Cambodia.
It does have an effect, in particular if you are from a country that is a member of the UN Security Council as Cambodia is seeking a seat on the Council.
Members of the UN Security Council should at least have clean human rights records inside its own country.
State violence against women constitute a very serious violations on women’s human rights and lead to long-term impact on women’s lives.
January 24, 2012
H.E. Samdech Hun Sen
Cabinet of the Prime Minister Council of Ministers Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
Via facsimile: +855 23 360-666
Re: Borei Keila forced eviction and arbitrary detention of 22 women and 6 children
Dear Prime Minister,
I, the undersigned, write to you to express our very serious concerns regarding the forced eviction of the Borei Keila community in Phnom Penh and the arbitrary detention on January 11, 2012, of 22 women and six children while peacefully protesting their eviction. Police and Daun Penh district security guards conducted the arrests on January 11 in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality building where protesters had gathered to demand a halt to the evictions and the release of fellow protesters arrested on January 3.
Prior to these arrests, on January 3, workers from the Phan Imex company destroyed the homes of around 300 families living in Borei Keila. State security forces that were present used tear gas and rubber bullets against the residents, and both sides threw rocks, sticks, and bottles. More than 64 people were reportedly injured. The authorities arrested at least eight of the residents, one of whom was released on bail on January 18 while seven remain in detention. These eight residents, including two children, have all been charged under both article 218 (intentional acts of violence with aggravating circumstances) and article 504 (obstruction of public officials with aggravating circumstances) of the Cambodian penal code.
Borei Keila has been the home to a large poor urban community for many years. The Cambodian government designated the area as a social land concession in 2003, sharing land with Phan Imex, which promised to build housing for the poor. However, it has been reported that the Phan Imex owner wrote to you in April 2010 requesting permission to be relieved of the obligation to build two of the ten buildings promised for the community. Many of the 300 families have been protesting against the company and local authority since then.
The authorities have relocated most of those evicted on January 3 to two remote resettlement sites, Tuol Sambo, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, and Srah Po, also known as Phnom Bat, in Kandal province. Many are now living in makeshift tents, without access to electricity, sanitation or clean drinking water, schools, and employment opportunities. At least 30 families with people living with HIV/AIDS are among those evicted. The precarious situation facing these homeless families reflects a serious failure by the Cambodian government to fulfill its international legal obligations to respect the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing, as recognized under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which Cambodia has ratified.
As a state party to the ICESCR, Cambodia is obliged to ensure, before any planned evictions, that all alternatives are explored in consultation with those affected by the eviction. Evictions may only occur in accordance with the law and in conformity with international standards, including genuine consultation with those affected, adequate notice and information on the proposed eviction, and provisions of legal remedies for those affected. Evictions may only occur if they do not render individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights.
In 2009, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations body charged with monitoring the implementation of the ICESCR, expressed its serious concerns at the increasing scale of forced evictions in Cambodia and made the following recommendation:
The Committee strongly recommends that the State party, as a matter of priority, undertake open, participatory and meaningful consultations with affected residents and communities prior to implementing development and urban renewal projects and to ensure that persons forcibly evicted from their properties be provided with adequate compensation and/or offered relocation that complies with the guidelines adopted by the Committee in its general comment No. 7 (1997) on forced evictions and guarantee that relocation sites are provided with basic services including drinking water, electricity, washing and sanitation, as well as adequate facilities including schools, health care centres and transportation at the time the resettlement takes place.
The 22 women and six children arrested during a peaceful protest on January 11 were arbitrarily detained at Prey Speu Social Affairs Center in Phnom Penh without access to their families, legal counsel, and medical care. In the past, Prey Speu has been used by the authorities to arbitrarily detain homeless people, drug users, and sex workers rounded up from the streets. Detainees there have been subjected to abuses including suspicious deaths, rape, torture, and beatings. Several of the women detainees told us that Phan Imex representatives had sought to intimidate them and told them that they would only be released if they agreed to sign or thumbprint documents to accept land in Tuol Sambo or Srah Po. Three women were released on January 16 and another woman on January 17, all after agreeing to sign a contract to accept land in Srah Po. On January 18, the remaining women and children climbed the fences around the center and escaped from Prey Speu during a visit to the facility by two opposition parliamentarians and the media.
I respectfully call on the Cambodian government to:
cease and refrain from all forms of intimidation, including arbitrary detention, against those forcibly evicted from the Borei Keila community;
initiate a full and independent investigation into the arrest of the 22 women and six children on January 11 and their subsequent arbitrary detention at Prey Speu Social Affairs Center;
release the seven Borei Keila residents still detained since the January 3 incident, pending further investigation;
ensure that Phan Imex company is held to its original undertaking to build housing for all persons evicted from the Borei Keila community;
ensure that all those forcibly evicted are provided with adequate compensation and suitable alternative accommodation that meets international standards for adequate housing;
initiate a full and independent investigation into the Borei Keila forced eviction, examining why the eviction took place, the apparent use of excessive force by security forces, and the use of prolonged detention to coerce agreement to forced relocation;
ensure that all members of the security forces found responsible for using or ordering the excessive use of force are held accountable in fair proceedings; and
end all forced evictions and introduce a moratorium on mass evictions in Cambodia until a legal framework and relevant policies are in place to ensure that evictions are conducted only in accordance with Cambodias international human rights obligations.
I have been monitoring the human rights situation in Cambodia for many years and have witnessed the tragic loss of homes and livelihoods of countless Cambodians, and the enormous social costs of forced evictions. As the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2012, Cambodia should abide by its legal obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms under the ASEAN Charter and end the practice of forced evictions that is a blot on the countrys reputation internationally.
When the ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan visited Cambodia in December last year, King Norodom Sihamoni advised him that beyond achieving material progress, it is important to develop a peaceful and sustainable region. Failure to fully address forced evictions and related widespread human rights abuses not only violates Cambodias international obligations, it also risks undermining social stability and economic development.
Thank you for taking into consideration our concerns and recommendations.
William Nicholas Gomes
Williams Desk wwww.williamgomes.org
H.E. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
H.E. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
H.E. Ith Sam Heng, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation
H.E. Om Yentieng, President, Cambodian Human Rights Committee, and current Chair, ASEAN Inter-Government Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)
My deputy who won his seat at yesterday’s senatorial elections said to me: “Sister, allow me to go back to my native village to pray at the tomb of my parents. I want them to be proud of their son”, he made me cry as he is one of the true local leaders who has nothing but his conscience and belief that Justice will prevail.
We will all gather at our party HQs this morning to take a deep breath and to congratulate the newly elected Senators.
We are proud of our local leaders who voted their conscience. Of the SRP 2, 662 votes, we only lost 159 votes.
A local SRP voter called to tell me””my wife has kicked me out of the house after I kept my vote for SRP. She is furious at me for not accepting the hundreds of dollars offered by the CPP for my vote. Our family is in serious debt but I will never sell my vote”.
We will hold a permanent committee meeting this afternoon to plan for the 3 June 2012 local elections.
We are confident that the people of Cambodia will vote for their local councilors who repres ent justice and a Cambodia ruled by laws.
I was really hoping for a day off, today.
January 29, 2012 SAM RAINSY PARTY SCORES SIGNIFICANT VICTORY IN SENATORIAL ELECTIONS The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) has achieved a notable success in senatorial elections today, Sunday January 29, with the number of SRP senators jumping from two to 11. This result is the latest in a string of electoral successes -- legislative, communal, provincial and senatorial -- since the party's creation in 1995. The party has again confirmed its place as the second-largest in Cambodia, and the only political force capable of mounting a long-term challenge to the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), in power since 1979. These senatorial elections are significant in several respects and should be understood in the following context: - Only two parties were competing, the CPP and the SRP, the rest being too small to have a chance of winning a senatorial seat. The SRP is the only force which can provide a clear alternative to the CPP. - The CPP controls the national committee that organises the elections, which makes all kinds of manipulation possible. The CPP controls all the television stations as well as the country's administrative machinery, the police, the judiciary, as well as corrupt sources of finance. It does not hesitate to use these tools to weaken the SRP by harassment, intimidation and the buying of votes. This makes the opposition's success today all the more remarkable. - Sam Rainsy, leader of the SRP, was forced into exile at the end of 2009 after a series of politically motivated judicial decisions. By decapitating the SRP and depriving it of its historic leader in Cambodia, the CPP thought it could destroy the only opposition of which it is really afraid. Today's results show, on the contrary, an SRP that is stronger than ever and a CPP that has lamentably failed in its anti-democratic effort, already condemned by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament, human rights organisations worldwide and numerous friendly governments. SRP parliamentarians demand reform of the current unjust electoral system, as recommended by Professor Surya Subedi, United Nations Special Rapporteur, and the return of Sam Rainsy for the communal elections of June 2012 and the legislative elections of July 2013, in accordance with the spirit of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords on Cambodia. SRP Members of Parliament
We honor all and in particular our brave grassroots elected officials who stand tall for democracy.
The ruling party of Cambodia should know by now that money does not buy people’s conscience. Ill gotten money ruins the nation and we are taking every democratic, legal and honorable step to bring down powers that oppress the people.
28 January, 2012
Today, Battambang Provincial Election Committee fines Cheam Pe A, an official of the Cambodian People’s Party the equivalent of US$1,250 for vote buying. The complaint was filed by the Sam Rainsy Party, the lead opposition party in Cambodia, on 21 January, 2012.
The Sam Rainsy Party considers Mr. Mok Ra, one of SRP 2,662 elected councilors who will cast their votes on 29January senatorial election, a true fighter for democracy and a hero. He never intended to sell his conscience. He took the risk of meeting with the CPP officials with the intention of bringing evidence to support the SRP complaint.
The Cambodian People’s Party was fined in previous elections for vote buying.Vote buying is an electoral fraud, it is illegal according to the Cambodian electoral law. Universally vote buying is morally unacceptable and a grave violation of the principles of democracy. It brings dishonor to the party found guilty.
We must seriously and openly condemn vote buying as it leads to the establishment of a one-party system and to dictatorship.
SRP will continue to commit itself to free, fair and clean elections as it is one of the first steps towards building true democracy.