Tag Archives: Freedom

SRP claims ruling party busted for vote-buying

The courage of our elected councilors who will vote this week-end to choose members of the Cambodian senate, deserves more than respect.

CPP vote buying tactics are revealed each time by these very brave grassroots councilors.

“You can threaten us, you can try to buy us but you will never have our votes”, that is the message to CPP.

Is there no shame?

Next step: how will the National election Committee going to deal with this case.

SRP has long talked about CPP vote buying.

Cambodian awarded Nobel prize of Asia

Koul Panha is a true believer of free and fair elections. His team of local observers know the real flaws of the electoral process in Cambodia.

Democracy starts with free and fair elections. Uneven level playing field set a wrong start for democracy.

EU election observers in Cambodia rated the 2008 parliamentary elections in Cambodia as “falling far short of international standards”.

Less than one year before local elections in Cambodia and 4 million Cambodians have expired I.D. cards while another 2 million need new I.D. cards.

The opposition and civil society working together to demand a new and clean voter list and equal access to media-99% controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party, lead by former Khmer Rouge that has ruled Cambodia over 30 years.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Cambodian awarded Nobel prize of Asia

Friday, 29 July 2011 15:01
Daniel Sherrell
Phnom Penh Post

Cambodian citizen Koul Panha has been awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, often referred to as Asias Nobel peace prize, for his work with the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.

He is one of six people to receive this years award, which will be presented to them at a ceremony in Manila on August 31.

He is being recognised for his determined and courageous leadership of the sustained campaign to build an enlightened, organised and vigilant citizenry who will ensure fair and free elections as well as demand accountable governance by their elected officials in Cambodias nascent democracy, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said.

In an interview with The Post, Koul Panha said he was surprised and excited to receive the award.

Koul Panha is executive director of Comfrel, which seeks to increase electoral transparency and voter participation.
Since 1997 it has enlisted more than 50,000 election volunteers and held election-related workshops for about 150,000 voters, he said.

Koul Panha said the award would encourage his organisation to work harder, especially in preparation for the commune elections next year and national elections in 2013.

We will deploy our volunteers to inform people about the importance of elections and their right to vote, as well as advocating electoral fairness, integrity and an even playing field for all [political] parties, he said.

The history of Cambodia is full of conflict. People want, finally, to enjoy democracy and fair elections.

The award is named after a president of the Philippines who died in a plane crash in 1957. The foundation that oversees the award was established by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to honour his memory and perpetuate his example of integrity in public service and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.

Koul Panha will receive a certificate, a cash prize and a medallion emblazoned with the image of Ramon Magsaysay. A total of 290 people in 22 Asian countries have been given the award.

Posted by CamWatch at Friday, July 29, 2011

Tycoon Admits Land Policy Hurts Poor

Amazingly rare critics from inside the ruling party official. Very courageous, a sign of change? Grassroots power!

Tycoon lands surprise | National news | The Phnom Penh Post

One of the country’s best known tycoons yesterday delivered an impromptu speech to senators and parliamentarians that was as surprising in its content as it was in context… Photo by: Heng Chivoanc

www.phnompenhpost.com

Beer Women Demand Fair Pay from Angkor Beer – Stop Exploitation of Women

Women selling beer at beer gardens in Cambodia have long demanded protection from physical and sexual harassment. Their demand for pay raise is legitimate as US$50/month can not provide them a life with dignity. Their right to form their union is covered in the 1997 Labor Law as well as the Cambodian Constitution.

This is an appeal to all consumers to join our women in their demand and the end of exploitation. For the women to strike is a very courageous public demonstration of their rights.

Enjoy your drink.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2011072250581/National-news/beer-girl-exploitation-revealed.html

Fight for Your Land-Use Your Collective Power

Planting Democracy Seeds-Part 2

Rattanak Mondoul-Battambang Province-North West Cambodia

“My first husband died when he was just 25 years old. We had two children. We came to this part of the forest over 10 years ago. It was nothing but land mines. We were too desperate for land. Our young children watched their children blown up by a land mine”.

“I was clearing the forest and there it was: 3 land mines. I was so terrified, I was paralyzed. I will never forget that day”.

“The rich man tells me that I do not own this land, because I am too young. I say to him that I came with my father to plant these mango trees. I crossed this creek with my father every day. I know every parcel of this land. Do you?”

As I listen to this group of 40 farmers talking about their desperate search for land to cultivate, I hear their burning need for justice. For over a decade, they have farmed these plots of land collectively and have managed to build a community and survived year after year from the crops.

Today, rich and powerful men claim that every single plot of land in this community is theirs. They have the backing of the new village chief and the commune chief. They are protected by police and local authorities.

I say to the villagers:

Tell your stories. Tell the truth. That is your power.

Stand up together. That is your power.

Speak with one voice. That is your power.

The rich men do not have your power.

“Land is life- land is hope. ” a song from the messenger band. A group of young women who put justice into songs.

Planting Democracy Seeds in Former Khmer Rouge Territory

Building democracy in this part of Cambodia-a strong hold of the Cambodian People’s Party is a challenge to the mind and the body. The CPP in Samlot is led by former Khmer Rouge soldiers who reintegrated with the Cambodian Royal Armed Forces in 1997.

Inspecting party signs

For our team, coming to this territory to bring a message of change is similar to the farmers preparing the field. The hard work continues on with seed planting, weeding, watering, till it is time for harvest.

My body is aching from a cold and weakened by the challenge of walking from field to field. Members of the team consult each other when we can’t seem to get the message of change through to the villagers who have lived with fear for over two decades-the legacy of the Khmer Rouges, responsible for the killing of 1.7 million Cambodians.

Despite daily threats, intimidation, villagers who have lost or about to lose their land seem to be stuck with the same feeling: what if the village chief finds ut that we are from the opposition.

My colleagues and I use the word “democracy”, “human rights”, “freedom” with a lot of caution. We spend hours listening, convincing, and reassuring that only when farmers have title of their land can they live in peace. Land tenure is a right, to men and women.

We have been coming to this territory for the past 15 years but our votes go no farther than 10%.

We train women and youth, we empower the few who have shown courage to continue the struggle.

12 more months before local elections. Time is short. In Some villages, we have no representatives.

Very few organizations here. very little attention given to human rights and democracy.

A true challenge but we are inspired by the courage of our representatives.

Thanks to IT, I am able to blog, tweet and post on facebook.

blogging and tweeting with the help of a 3G cell card

Forgot malaria pills back in the city. Spread myself with mosquito repellant, hoping that it will work.

 

Typing this inside a mosquito net and under a light run on battery.

 

All for Democracy.

Samlot

19 July, 2011

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Monday, 11 July 2011

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

Photo: Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer

Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake, (File photo).

The city develops with the rich. But we are poor.

The controversial development of Boeung Kak lake saw a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, despite months or even years of protest from villagers who said they didnt agree with a company buyout or resettlement plans.

The development company, Shukaku, Inc., which is owned by a ruling party senator, held its groundbreaking ceremony even as Phnom Penh authorities announced they would not consider a proposal by villagers to have a portion of the development set aside for them.

The ceremony marked a defeat for residents who have helplessly watched Shukaku pump fill from the bottom of the Tonle Sap into the lake, sending a rising tide of water into neighborhoods and replacing a massive body of fresh water in the north of the capital with sand.

Steadily evicted, bought out or flooded from their homes, angry residents have made numerous protests in front of City Hall and most recently filed complaints to the US Embassy, the EU and the British Embassy.

Im disappointed in the local authorities, for we have always believed in them to solve this land dispute for us, said Su Sophal, a 33-year-old resident of the lakeside community. But now the city has denied my proposal. I have no belief left in the city. I do not know that I can depend on someone to help solve this problem.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said the city had not made leadership mistakes, but he acknowledged there remained complications for villagers who refuse to leave.

We will continue to solve some remaining problems with the residents at Boeung Kak lake, he said. My officials and I have not done anything wrong from the principle of government.

Lao Van, a representative of Shukaku, said at the ceremony the company had followed its development plan since 2007.

The master plan for Boeung Kak development includes a trade center, a modern supermarket, conference hall, entertainment, nightclub, hotel, university, hospital, residences, pleasant and attractive places and infrastructure, he said.

Such plans were little consolation for villagers like Pol Srey Pov, 36, who said she considered herself a legal landholder whose rights were violated by the citys 99-year-lease with the developer. She and others had hoped to have a plot of land 4 meters by 16 meters on some 15 hectares of the 133-hectare development.