Monthly Archives: August 2012

Employment Recruitment Agencies Closed – Investigation and Prosecution Stalled

Heng Hak in hospital after surgery -17 March, 2011

Over a year after jumping from the third story of T&P recruitment agency, Heng Hak is homeless with no compensation from the company.

Press conference tomorrow, Thursday 30 August at my National Assembly office at 8.30AM.

Heng Hak will be present.

SRP MPs continue to seek results of court investigation.

 

 

 

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Free and Fair Elections- A matter that concerns us all

 

These recommendations are sound and based on EU recommendations as well as opinions of political parties and local committee for free and fair elections.

The recommendations protect the constitutional rights of voters as well as candidates.

it is all feasible and crucial for the protection of democratic principles.

Immediate steps must be taken. The term of the current NEC is coming to an end .

The Cambodia Democratic Movement for National Rescue will propose amendments  of the existing laws as mentioned in the UN report.

 

 

 

 

August 28, 2012

UNITED NATIONS CALLS FOR DRASTIC REFORM OF
CAMBODIA’S ELECTION SYSTEM AND RETURN OF OPPOSITION LEADER PRIOR TO
JULY 2013 POLLS

In his most recent report published on August 27, 2012, the United
Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia addresses the
issue of election organization.

“There are major flaws in the administration of elections in Cambodia
and urgent and longer-term reforms are needed to give Cambodians
confidence in the electoral process and in the workings of the
National Election Committee,” Professor Surya Subedi wrote in the
report.

“If the electoral process is unable to command the trust and
confidence of the electorate, the very foundation of the Cambodian
political and constitutional architecture embodied in the Paris Peace
Agreements will be shaken and the country may run the risk of a return
to violence.”

SUMMARY

In order for Cambodia’s elections to meet “international standards for
democratic elections” Professor Subedi makes the following
recommendations regarding preparations for the national polls to be
held in July 2013:

1- The National Election Committee (NEC) should be reformed so as to
have independent and autonomous status.

2- There should be consensus among the major political parties
represented in the parliament on the appointment of the president and
members of the NEC and the provincial election committees (PECs).

3- Election bodies at all level should have balanced representation of
all political parties in the National Assembly.

4- The president and members of the NEC and the PECs should be
appointed for a fixed term and have security of tenure.

5- New judicial bodies and mechanisms must be established outside the
NEC in order to resolve election-related disputes properly.

6- All major political parties should have fair and equal access to
the mass media to convey their messages to the electorate. The way
forward could be to establish an independent committee on the
management and use of state-run television and radio stations.

7- The government must ensure that all civil servants, police and
military personnel do not participate in political activities or use
government resources while working in their official capacities.

8- The government must ensure that opposition parties are free to
carry out their political activities without harassment and
intimidation, not only around the dates of elections but also in the
lead-up to the elections and throughout the parliamentary cycle.

9- Regarding the registration of voters the government should provide
necessary documents, Khmer nationality identity cards, passports and
other necessary civil registration documents to all citizens for
nominal fees and should reregister voters using the data from those
cards as a basis to establish a new electoral roll.

10- Any Cambodian citizen eligible to vote should be entitled to
request registration with the electoral and/or local authorities at
any point during the year. Once he or she is issued with an
identification card, that card should be valid for life.

11- Regarding the continuing problems with voter identity documents,
especially the issuance and use of fraudulent documents (such as the
old form 1018 and its current version) the NEC should review the
process of issuing such documents to ensure that the system is not
abused by political parties in their favour and that there are no
electoral malpractices.

12- The NEC should devise special measures to ensure that those who
are homeless or have been recently evicted from their land are not
disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections.

13- The NEC should make public the names of polling officers and make
the voter list available to candidates from all political parties upon
request, affording them an opportunity to challenge the fraudulent
inclusion of names on the list.

14- The NEC should appoint professional election administrators to
replace village chiefs during voter registration and on election day
and bring all commune election officers and processes under its own
stricter supervision mechanism.

15- The current law, which requires a person to be nominated to stand
for election by a political party, should be amended to make it
possible for independent candidates to stand in the national
elections.

16- The NEC should make it possible for Cambodians living abroad to
exercise their voting rights, at least in the countries where it has
diplomatic and/or consular representation.

17- Regarding the situation of Sam Rainsy, the leader of the Sam
Rainsy Party, who has been convicted on charges that are allegedly
politically motivated, a political solution should be found to enable
him, as the leader of the opposition, to play a full role in Cambodian
politics.

Read full text at
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A-HRC-21-63_en.pdf

National Royalist Party defectors welcomed in new merger

They really do not want to join CPP, although they have that choice.

More new members in Kompong Cham.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

National Royalist Party defectors welcomed in new merger

Thursday, 23 August 2012
Meas Sokchea
The Phnom Penh Post

Hundreds of members of Prince Norodom Ranarridhs erstwhile eponymous party in Kampot have decided to follow their former leader out the door, bolting for the newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party, officials said yesterday.

Bou Luon, deputy executive president of the NRP in Kampot, along with the partys Chhouk and Dorng Tung district presidents Sim Sok and Ouk Dul said yesterday that the ouster of Ranarridh and the push to merge with royalist party Funcinpec had been the one-two punch that sent them looking for a new political home.

In addition to themselves, there will be about 500-600 members in three districts joining CNRP, the tri o said.

I had followed Samdech Krom Preah [Ranariddh] since 1992. When he resigned, we must find out who can rescue the nation, Bou Luon said in a thinly veiled reference to the name given to the party being formed out of a union of the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party.

I followed the prince. I cannot join Funcinpec because it [joins hand with the ruling party] for power, Ouk Dul added.

Lawmaker Chea Poch, the SRPs president in Kampot province, said he was thrilled at the addition of the NRP defectors, saying it showed momentum heading toward the 2013 National Assembly election.

But acting NRP president Sao Rany, the man largely responsible for Ranariddhs ouster, sniffed at the move yesterday, saying that the CNRP was inflating the figures and that it would have no effect on his partys planned merger with Funcinpec.

It is nothing to be worried about. I recognise there are few [members] going to [CNRP]. It does not affect the NRP vote, Sao Rany said.

A Modern Cambodian Woman

Chantha 7 Questions.pdf

A Hero Remembered

Another murder of a national hero swept under the carpet.
The people of Prey Lang continue the watch and have denounced those who continue to rape Prey Lang. Why doesn’t our PM make a five-hour speech about saving Prey lang?
Chut Wutty sought to save one of Indochina’s last great ecological sanctuaries. It cost him his life.

DO NOT MAKE HER DRINK WITH YOU- SHE IS A DIGNIFIED WORKER

 

 

Statistics reveal job risks for beer promoters

Wednesday, 22 August 2012
 Shane Worrell and Mom Kunthear 
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An Anchor beer promoter serves a customer at a beer garden in Phnom Penh on Monday night. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Malis, not her real name, appears forlorn as she describes what her daughters go through to secure tips from their customers.

The young women, promoters for a major beer company, reluctantly spend their nights getting drunk on their own product – it’s what customers demand and can be the difference between the promoters earning tips and leaving their restaurants empty-handed.

Malis would know – she sells for the same beer company.

“I very much pity my daughters for following me into this work, but what can I do?” the 42-year-old says.

Getting drunk may be only a weekly or monthly pleasure for the customers, but for the women who serve them in restaurants, beer gardens and karaoke venues, it can be a full-time job – 27 nights a month.

“Every night, I have to talk to clients and persuade them to drink my beer,” Malis says. “I have to force myself to drink with the clients because it’s the only way they will buy it – I can’t avoid it.”

According to Ian Lubek, adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Guelph in Canada, about 85 per cent of 1,660 Cambodian beer promoters he has surveyed between 2004 and 2012 regularly drink at work.

“Our research shows that beer promoters are consuming on average 1.5 litres of beer per night – that’s six glasses of beer, 27 nights per month,” Lubek says.

Research Lubek conducted in 2002 showed that the average beer promoter made US$55 per month, but had monthly living expenses of about $110.

Women were drinking with customers and offering sexual services as a way of making up the difference – ensuring they could provide for their children or send money to their provincial families.

According to Lubek’s most recent study, conducted this year, the promoters’ average monthly wage has climbed to $75, but expenses have grown even faster, to about $180 per month.

“[Now] they’re averaging a BAC or blood-alcohol content of .05. They’re basically drunk every night,” Lubek says.

“Overuse of alcohol at such a high rate leads to liver disease. Also, women aren’t told not to drink when they’re pregnant.”

Major companies involved in Cambodia’s beer industry including Carlsberg (an owner of Angkor Beer) and Heineken (an owner of Anchor, ABC and Tiger) established Beer Selling Industry Cambodia (BSIC) in 2006.

Included in a code of conduct it released were commitments to increase education for beer promoters, scrap demeaning uniforms, provide contracts and crack down on sexual harassment.

To address drinking, the COC specifies that beer promoters “should not” drink with customers.

According to the BSIC Monitoring Report 2011, authored by Indochina Research, there is a marked difference between the conditions of beer promoters employed by BSIC companies and those working for non-BSIC companies.

The report, based on monthly interviews of beer promoters last year, says 61 per cent from BSIC companies never drank with customers, while 38 per cent sometimes did.

Only 31 per cent of beer promoters from companies not part of BSIC never drank with customers, while 56 per cent sometimes did, the report claims.

Vo Thi Mai Trang, public relations and communications manager for Carlsberg Indochina, says the number of beer promoters drinking in Cambodian workplaces has decreased dramatically since BSIC was formed.

“And this is thanks to [the] BSIC Code of Conduct (COC) as well as the intensive training that we provided to our [beer promoters],” she says, adding that Carlsberg’s beer promoters are the highest paid after two pay increases last year.

John-Paul Schuirink, a spokesman for Heineken International, says promoters who sell his company’s beer are also well paid.

“The current average base salary . . . is $92 per month for a 30-hour working week. A 10 per cent increase was implemented this year. [It] compares favourably to the average income in Cambodia,” he says.

Schuirink says his company recognises the risks associated with beer promotion, which is why it founded BSIC and banned workers from drinking.

“Research shows that the beer promoters working for Attwood [a distributor for the company in Cambodia] have the highest rate of awareness and compliance with this rule,” he says.

Heineken’s priority was preventing alcohol use during working hours by giving training and information about its consequences, Schuirink adds.

“Besides that there is medical assistance available in case of problems,” he said.

Lubek, however, believes the COC has been largely ineffective.

“Statistics don’t show any improvement in the amount of beer drunk in the workplace . . . our research shows that company health education, if any, may come six to 12 months after they begin working . . That’s too late to prevent HIV/AIDS and alcohol dependence.”

One company not affiliated with BSIC, the Phnom Penh Beer Company, says its workers are “not encouraged” to drink.

“We don’t want them to drink because we want them to maintain their dignity . . . It also looks bad for the company if they drink,” a spokesman says.

When asked if the company provides health services for workers battling alcohol addiction, he says, “No, we don’t have any problems like that.”

Kingdom Breweries, also not affiliated with BSIC, says it no longer has beer promoters, but would not elaborate.

Dave Welsh, country director of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, says beer companies need to do much more to ensure their promoters’ rights are protected.

“There’s a real health issue with unregulated drinking,” Welsh says. “It’s an unhealthy environment to work in, frankly.”

Offering beer promoters a wage that covered their monthly expenses is something beer companies should consider, he says.

“The amount of profits that are flowing back, not just to Angkor or Anchor, but to world-famous breweries like Carlsberg gives them a lot of leverage.”

Carlsberg is, however, taking positive steps toward establishing a memorandum of understanding that could improve conditions for its workers, Welsh adds.

Phol Sophea, deputy director of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation(CFSWF), in Siem Reap province, believes some progress is being made to improve conditions for beer promoters, but problems such as drinking remain.

“Many workers have problems with physical health,” Sophea says.

“I ask them to visit the health centre, a service the companies provide free of charge. “But there is no support from the companies if a beer promoter becomes dependent on alcohol.”

CFSWF advises its members to tell customers that drinking on the job will make them sick.

“But some clients just don’t listen,” Sophea says. “So if the women don’t sit and drink beer with clients, they won’t sell their products and they won’t have any tips.

“The clients are kings to them, because they have money.”


To contact the reporters on this story: Shane Worrell atshane.worrell@phonmpenhpost.com
Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

 

Sexual Harassment at GAP Factory

Factory workers allege sexual harassment

Tuesday, 21 August 2012
 Mom Kunthear and Claire Knox
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Police clash briefly with factory workers employed by Ocean Garment Co Ltd during a protest in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Thousands of angry garment factory workers, en route yesterday to the Ministry of Social Affairs in a protest over alleged sexual harassment, were stopped in their tracks by about 100 armed police and ordered back to the workplace.

More than 2,500 workers from Phnom Penh’s Ocean Garment factory, which manufactures clothing and footwear for retail giant Gap, made it barely 100 metres from the Dangkor-district site before police, bearing batons, intervened.

On strike for more than a week, the workers have demanded the company’s director dismiss a manager who allegedly sexually harassed four female workers.

None of the women have thus far made criminal complaints.

Ocean Garment worker representative Keo Kim Heang said a slew of staff had faced unfair treatment from the manager, and would continue to strike until he was sacked.

“He threatened the female workers . . . or did not allow them to work overtime when they refused to go out or sleep with him,” she said.

Although the company yesterday agreed to negotiate with workers, Kim Heang said the workers had appealed to the ministry as a last resort after hearing nothing since the strike began on August 11.

Ocean Garment administrative manager Choun Vicheka said he could not comment.

“I do not want to say anything, because tomorrow [Tuesday] we are meeting with the workers and social affairs ministry officials to find out the solution,” he said.

Houn Vanna, general secretary of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said he thought the company should mediate with workers.

Dave Welsh, country director of the American Centre for International Labor Solidarity, said the allegations were serious and it was crucial to resolve the issue immediately.

“There are other ways to legally go about this. These fall under criminal charges, and we would give the unions and workers full support to go down that avenue,” Welsh said. “If they do not deal with this, more pressure will follow,”

The workers, union delegates and government officials are due to sit down with company representatives today.


To contact the reporters on this story: Mom Kunthear atkunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com
Claire Knox at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com