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Why Japan is supporting Cambodia’s election ថ្ងៃសុក្រ 13 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in នយោបាយ, បោះ​ឆ្នោត​២០១៨, ប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ, 日本語.
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Japan has remained steadfast in its support of the upcoming Cambodian general election on 29 July amid growing pressure by its citizens, civil society organisations, and supporters of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – Cambodia’s former main opposition party.

Japan’s approach to the Cambodian general election is highly strategic, seeking to maintain its influence and presence in Cambodia at the same time as being gravely concerned about China’s growing role in the region.

Supporters of the CNRP have led many demonstrations in Japan, the US, South Korea, and Canada, calling on the Japanese government to end its backing of the upcoming election, citing it will not be free or fair given the CNRP’s absence.

Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP in November 2017 amid allegations it was plotting to overthrow the government with US support. Kem Sokha, leader of the CNRP, is currently in detention and awaiting trial for charges of treason. The CNRP denies the charges and describes the move by the government as politically motivated.

Given Japan’s political and socio-economic influence on Cambodia, Tokyo has been identified as a key target, in addition to many other Western countries, of the CNRP’s efforts to delegitimise the upcoming elections, which the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) led by Hun Sen – who has been Cambodia’s prime minister for 33 years – is expected to win.

Self-exiled former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy met with Japanese lawmakers, the business community, and the Cambodian expatriate community in April with the aim of starting a pro-democracy movement in the country and securing the support of the Japanese government.

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1. Japan urges parties to talk

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ឯកសារ​ប្រវត្តិ​សាស្ត្រ ៖ Cambodia: EU mission assesses human rights and labour situation ថ្ងៃ​ព្រហស្បតិ៍ 12 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in នយោបាយ, ប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ, អំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ, English.
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European Commission – Press release

Cambodia: EU mission assesses human rights and labour situation

Brussels, 12 July 2018

A delegation of the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) visited Cambodia from 5 to 11 July 2018 to evaluate the situation on the ground following recent worrying human rights and labour rights developments in the country.

The European Union will now analyse as a matter of priority the information gathered during the mission to consider further steps. This analysis will also take into account further written submissions from the Cambodian authorities, reports of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other bodies responsible for monitoring the implementation by Cambodia of the international conventions relevant to the EU duty-free trade scheme Everything But Arms (EBA). The EBA trade scheme allows Cambodia to export all products (except arms and ammunition) into the EU, free of quotas and tariffs.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The EU is proud to provide the most economically vulnerable countries of the world with free access to our market. The Everything But Arms initiative has had a significant impact on development and poverty eradication in Cambodia. Nevertheless, the recent worrying developments in the country have called for a closer assessment of whether Cambodia is fulfilling its commitments. The discussions and information gathering during our EU mission have focused on the serious decline in the area of political and electoral rights, as well as a curbing of civil society activities. There are also deficiencies when it comes to land dispute resolution mechanisms, and serious threats to freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. In the trade policy of the European Union, social justice is a vital aspect, including the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and labour standards. Following the fact-finding mission, we will now analyse the facts in detail, and consider further steps. Removing Cambodia from the trade scheme is a measure of last resort, if all our other efforts have failed to address these concerns.”

The EU delegation met with several members of the Cambodian government, as well as trade unions, civil society, businesses, and the United Nations (UN) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) representatives in the country.

Background

Under the EBA arrangement of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences the EU unilaterally grants exporters from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) tariff-free and quota-free access to its market for all products (except arms and ammunition) with the aim to contribute to the economic development of these countries and their integration into the global trading system.

The EBA has brought important benefits to the Cambodian economy. The EU is the main export destination, accounting for 40% of Cambodia’s overall exports. Cambodian exports to the EU have risen sharply in recent years, increasing by 227% between 2011 and 2016. In 2017, Cambodia’s total exports to the EU reached €5 billion, placing it second amongst all EBA beneficiaries. Out of all of Cambodia’s EBA-eligible exports, 95.5% were made under EBA preferences.

EBA has contributed in particular to significant job creation and growth in the textile sector, which accounts for 75% of Cambodia’s exports to the EU, providing employment for some of the most vulnerable sectors of Cambodian society.

The EU has stepped up its engagement with Cambodia (see the EU biennial GSP report of January 2018) in response to serious concerns about the continuing deterioration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, as flagged also by the European Parliament (Resolution of 14 December 2017) and the Council (the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Council of 26 February 2018).

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1. NGOS, Unions Urge Intervention in Cambodia’s Political Crisis Amid EU Fact-Finding Mission
2. បក្សកាន់អំណាច៖ EU ត្រូវដឹងសភាពការណ៍កម្ពុជា មិនត្រូវចាប់បង្ខំឡើយ

ឯកសារ​ប្រវត្តិ​សាស្ត្រ ៖ NGOS, Unions Urge Intervention in Cambodia’s Political Crisis Amid EU Fact-Finding Mission ថ្ងៃពុធ 11 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in ប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ, អំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ, English.
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NGOs and unions are calling on the European Union to help resolve Cambodia’s political crisis ahead of a general election this month, as a delegation from the bloc wraps up a fact-finding mission to assess the country’s compliance with its human rights obligations as dictated by a tariff-free export scheme.

Nearly a dozen commissioners from the EU were set to meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, according to local media reports, in the delegation’s last stop on its seven-day mission to determine whether to suspend Cambodia from its Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, under which all exports to the bloc are tariff-free, with the exception of weapons.

Since the mission began on July 4, delegates have met with several local rights groups and trade unions, as well as Te Chanmono—the wife of the now-dissolved main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Kem Sokha, who has been held in prison since his arrest in September on charges of treason—to discuss Cambodia’s rights record and the state of democracy in the country.

Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP in November over allegations it was involved in a plot to topple the government, stripping the party’s officials of their posts and banning many lawmakers from politics for five years. The CNRP’s seats in parliament were distributed to government-friendly parties that had been rejected by voters.

The dissolution of the CNRP and the arrest of Kem Sokha, as well as a months-long crackdown on NGOs and the independent media, are measures widely seen as part of a bid by Prime Minister Hun Sen to ensure that his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) stays in power in Cambodia following the July 29 general election. Hun Sen marks 33 years in office this year.

Soeung Sen Karona, spokesman for local rights group Adhoc, told RFA’s Khmer Service Wednesday that he and other NGO representatives met with EU delegates on July 6 and expressed their concerns over ongoing rights violations in Cambodia.

He said the mission had “accepted our concerns” and pledged to include them in its findings to the European Commission for consideration on whether the EU should reconsider preferential trade treatment for Cambodia.

“We also requested that the EU intervene and pressure the Cambodian government to respond to its recommendation to restore democracy in the country, or lose economic benefits from EBA scheme,” he said.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union President Ath Thon told RFA that EU delegates met with representatives of his union and other independent unions on July 9 and asked them about the status of freedom of expression and assembly in Cambodia, as well as restrictions on labor rights.

“[We told them that] we want more freedom for unions and workers,” Ath Thon said, adding that he and other union representatives had urged the EU to pressure Cambodia’s government on their behalf.

“We also want better working conditions and benefits for workers.”

Ath Thon said that the union representatives did not have time to speak with the delegates about their assessment of whether the EU should suspend the EBA scheme.

A day later, delegates met with Te Chanmono, senior CNRP official Muth Chantha confirmed in a post on his Facebook page, saying that members of the fact-finding mission had “expressed concerns over the continued detention of Kem Sokha and demanded that he be released immediately.”

EU mission

EU ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar confirmed to RFA that the delegation met with a wide variety of stakeholders during its visit.

“The mission has met a range of interlocutors from government, civil society, labour unions, the private sector and the international community,” he wrote in an email.

“The purpose has been to learn more about the situation in Cambodia in terms of human rights and labour rights, in the context of the EU’s enhanced engagement with Cambodia under the Everything But Arms arrangement. The information gathered by the mission will feed into the decision making process in the European Commission and the European External Action Service.”

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1. Cambodia: EU mission assesses human rights and labour situation

Japan urges parties to talk ថ្ងៃអង្គារ 10 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in ប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ, អំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ, 日本語.
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Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Ney Sam Ol, Cambodia’s permanent representative to the UN office.

The Japanese delegation to the United Nations (UN) expressed concern for the current political situation in Cambodia and urged all stakeholders to promote dialogue. The delegation’s remarks were read out at the UN’s 38th session on Human Rights on Thursday.

Mitsuko Shino, speaking for the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN, said: “In order to resolve this issue, Japan believes it is important for all stakeholders, including the ruling party as well as the opposition, to promote dialogue among the Cambodian people.

“The government of Japan, therefore, requests that all sides do their utmost to resolve the current situation. There is not much time left until the national elections scheduled for the end of this month.”

“We call for a further effort by the Cambodian government and other stakeholders to ensure that the national election will be carried out in the proper manner that reflects the will of Cambodia’s citizens.”

Last year, Cambodia shut down about 30 radio stations, most of which rented airtime to US-based Radio Free Asia, and Voice of America.

The independent English-language Cambodia Daily also ceased operations due to unpaid taxes while the main opposition party – the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – was dissolved by the Supreme Court.

Its leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested on treason charges and 118 of its members have been barred from taking part in politics for five years.

Nevertheless, the Japanese delegation said it would continue providing assistance to Cambodia, and Shino said Japan is helping to strengthen the rule of law in the Kingdom by assisting its legal system and donating to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

“We will continue to actively contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights in Cambodia,” she said.

Ney Sam Ol, Cambodia’s permanent representative to the UN office, defended the Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the CNRP and noted that the decision cannot be appealed. “The government and ruling party have no role to play in that decision,” he said.

Sam Ol continued that recent criticism of Cambodia has followed a familiar script.

“It is no surprise that this prejudice [against Cambodia] has become a customary political practice and bargaining tactic of opposition parties and their cohorts,” he said, stressing that the previous election was deemed free and fair by international observers.

He also called on the international community to provide support and assistance to the Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC).

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1. Why Japan is supporting Cambodia’s election

ព្រះ​មហា​ក្សត្រិយ៍​យាង​ចូល​រួម​ក្នុង​បុណ្យ​រុក្ខ​ទិវា នៅ​ខេត្ត​​កំពត ថ្ងៃចន្ទ 9 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in អំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ.
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ថ្ងៃ​នេះ ០៩ កក្កដា ២០១៨ គឺ​ជា​ថ្ងៃ​បុណ្យ​រុក្ខ​ទិវា ដែល​ព្រះ​រាជាណាចក្រ​កម្ពុជា​ប្រារព្ធ​ជា​រៀង​រាល់​ឆ្នាំ​។ ដោយ​ឡែក​នៅ​ឆ្នាំ​នេះ រាជការ​បាន​ចាត់​ពិធី​នេះ​នៅ​ឯ​​ភូមិព្រែកអំពិល ឃុំកោះតូច ស្រុកទឹកឈូ ខេត្ត​កំ​ពត​។

ដូច​បណ្ដា​ឆ្នាំ​មុន​ៗ​ដែរ ព្រះ​ករុណា​ជា​អម្ចាស់​ជីវិត​តម្កល់​លើ​ត្បូង​ជា​ទី​គោរព​សក្ការៈ​ដ៏​ខ្ពង់​ខ្ពស់​បំផុត ព្រះ​អង្គ​បាន​យាង​ចូល​រួម​ជា​ព្រះ​រាជា​ធិបតី​ដ៏​ខ្ពង់​ខ្ពស់​បំផុត និង​បាន​យាង​ដាំ​កូន​ឈើ​នៅ​ក្នុង​ពិធី​បុណ្យ​នេះ​ដែរ​។

ចាប់​តាំង​ពី​ព្រះ​អង្គ​ឡើង​គ្រង​រាជ្យ​សម្បត្តិ​កាល​ពី​ខែ​តុលា ឆ្នាំ​២០០៤ មក ព្រះ​ករុណា​ជា​អម្ចាស់​ជីវិត​តម្កល់​លើ​ត្បូង​ជា​ទី​គោរព​សក្ការៈ​ដ៏​ខ្ពង់​ខ្ពស់​បំផុត ព្រះ​អង្គ​បាន​យាង​ចូល​រួម​ក្នុង​បុណ្យ​រុក្ខ​ទិវា​ជា​រៀង​រាល់​ឆ្នាំ (លើក​លែង​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៦) មិន​ដែល​អាក់​ខាន​ឡើយ​។ ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ​ជា​ទី​កន្លែង​ដែល​ព្រះ​អង្គ​បាន​យាង​ចូល​រួម​រាប់​ចាប់​តាំង​ពី​ឆ្នាំ​ទី​១ បន្ទាប់​ពី​ព្រះ​អង្គ​បាន​ឡើង​សោយ​សិរី​រាជ្យ​សម្បត្តិ​​​៕

តែមប្រិ៍​រុក្ខ​ទិវា ថ្ងៃអាទិត្យ 8 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in ពីនេះពីនោះ.
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ខាង​ក្រោម​​ជា​តែមប្រិ៍​ប្រៃសណីយ៍​ខ្មែរ (​ទំនង​សម័យ​សង្គម​រាស្ត្រ​និយម) ប្រភេទ​១​រៀល​ ដែល​និយាយ​អំពី​បុណ្យ​រុក្ខ​ទិវា​។

តែមប្រិ៍​នេះ​មាន​​មនុស្ស​ក្នុង​សំលៀក​បំពាក់​យុវ័ន​កំពុង​ដាំ​ដើម​ឈើ ដោយ​នៅ​ពី​ខាង​ក្រោម​មាន​ចារិក​អក្សរ​មូល​ខ្មែរ​ថា «​រុក្ខ​ទិវា​-​ត្រូវ​ដាំ​ដើម​ឈើ​»​។

នៅ​ពី​ខាង​លើ​វិញ​មាន​សរសេរ​ជា​អក្សរ​បារាំង​ថា POSTES 1៛ CAMBODGE​៕

Garment workers pressured to vote in looming Cambodia elections ថ្ងៃ​ព្រហស្បតិ៍ 5 ខែកក្កដា 2018

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in អំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ, English.
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Voters apathetic after opposition party outlawed; turnout will hint at legitimacy

PHNOM PENH — With Cambodia’s national elections fast approaching, garment workers who had largely backed the opposition in the last poll say they are being coerced to vote and face hostility if they abstain, as the ruling party tries to paint the ballot as democratic.

Few groups have received Prime Minister Hun Sen’s attention like the 700,000-strong garment sector. Many of these workers voted for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2013 and took part in post-election protests that led to the deaths of at least five people when security forces fired into the crowds. The CNRP, the only realistic threat to Hun Sen’s 33-year reign, was outlawed last year.

Now workers in the garment sector say they are being hassled by bosses to cast their votes on July 29 or face consequences. A garment worker who only wanted to be identified as Sreymom on fears for her job said a supervisor warned that factory bosses would check for evidence that staff had voted.

“I heard that we need to show the management team our fingers. If they are not inked, we will face problems,” said Sreymom who voted for CNRP in 2013. “If the management tells us when to leave, I have to obey.”

Despite the dissolution of the CNRP and the imprisonment of its leader, Kem Sokha, on widely discredited claims the party was attempting to wage a U.S.-backed revolution, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has been anxious to present the upcoming election as legitimate.

Fearful of a drastically lower voter turnout in comparison to the last national and community elections, Hun Sen has been making efforts to ensure Cambodians do not pay heed to a “clean fingers” campaign waged by exiled opposition figures calling for the electorate to boycott the vote. One CPP official, Ieng Mouly, has called anyone who refuses to vote a “traitor.” Very few of the roughly 1.5 million Cambodian migrant workers are also expected to return home to vote.

Hun Sen has attempted to win favor with workers since the 2013 ballot with wage hikes, bonuses and free transport. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training last month instructed factories to give workers three days off on full pay to cast their votes.

But it’s not yet clear how many workers will indeed use their holiday to cast their vote for the CPP or one of 19 other minor opposition parties, some of which have been accused of being “puppet parties” of the incumbent.

Sreymom said she would return to her home province of Prey Veng on the Vietnamese border to avoid any repercussions. “I am afraid they will label me as an opposition supporter,” she said. “These days, you don’t want to be outspoken or in the spotlight alone. You need to follow the trend so that you are not targeted.”

Bun Chanda, 30, who earns around $200 a month in a Phnom Penh factory, said the deadly crackdown on post-election protesters in January 2014 had instilled fear among garment workers.

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