Demolition workers for the 7NG company are obligated "to negotiate with the squatters in order to make appropriate resettlement arrangement," Hor 5 Hong's ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed -sic!-
The ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects US criticisms on human rights issues
15 March 2009
By Ky Soklim Cambodge Soir Hebdo Translated from French by Luc Sâr Click here to read the article in Khmer
The ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a press communiqué on Friday 13 March, i.e. exactly two weeks to the date after the US Department of State issued a scathing report on human rights conditions in Cambodia. Like every year, the US thrashed the lack of
human rights respect by the Cambodian governmentThe US singled out forced evictions, lynching scenes, endemic corruption and regular threats issued to human rights defenders in Cambodia. The MFA called these criticisms “baseless”. The MFA denies all attacks on freedom of expression in Cambodia by citing as example the existence of opposition newspapers published in Khmer, as well as foreign-language periodicals that “do not hesitate to harshly criticize the government.” The MFA also denies the alleged abuses exacted by the police forces. Regarding the forced evictions, the MFA declared: “Which country in the world is forced like us to negotiate with squatters who occupy public land? We strive to find the best possible solution.”
Statement of the Spokesman of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia
The “2008 Country Report on Human Rights Practices” on Cambodia issued by the US State Department seems to be a routine that has nothing to do with human rights reality in Cambodia, and appears to be almost a carbon copy of the reports of the previous years with a few cosmetic changes here and there.
The report contains a number of unsubstantiated assertions which appear to be relied on misleading information supplied by certain organizations, which are monitored and financially supported by certain foreign countries.
In this connection, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation wishes to make clarifications on some issues raised in the report as follows:
* First, it is very normal in democratic countries that political party which wins landslide victory in democratic elections has to lead the country; and there is nothing unusual about such democratic practice everywhere in the world.
* Second, there is simply never “extrajudicial killing” by security forces in Cambodia as mentioned in the report. This is only vulgar lie.
* Third, with regard to the freedom of speech and press in Cambodia, one only need to read and see how the ubiquitous opposition newspapers attack the Royal Government of Cambodia. Even the newspapers written in foreign languages, financed and managed by foreigners do not have the slightest reservation or hesitation in criticizing the Royal Government of Cambodia.
* Fourth, for the so-called “unlawful forced eviction”, one must ponder whether there is any country in the world which allows squatters to takeover possession of or occupy permanently private properties or public areas such as public gardens, sidewalk and streets. Nonetheless, in the recent cases in Cambodia, the owners of the occupied private properties were always obligated to negotiate with the squatters in order to make appropriate resettlement arrangement. At the same time, notice had always been given well in advance in order to facilitate a smooth process of resettlement. For instance, as reported by the Phnom Penh Post news paper on 11 March 2009, an overwhelming majority of families from the Dey Kramham community has accepted housing at a relocation site. Furthermore, the RGC has put in place a “Social Land Concession Policy”, providing poor and landless people with access to plots of land which they can now own. Presently, approximately 4000 hectares of land in Kratie province and 870 hectares in Kampong Cham Province have been registered as state private land and allocated to the landless poor for housing and family farming. At the same time, around 10,118 hectares of land in Kampog Thom province have been proposed for the same purpose. The implementation of this policy will be expanded all over the country, in order improve the livelihood of the poor and alleviate poverty reduction as set out in the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Finally, if enforcing rules to maintain public order is construed as human rights violation, then what does one have to say in terms of human rights respect on the condition in the secret prisons of a certain country where torture of prisoners is practiced as reported in the media such as the Nation on 4 and 10 March 2009 and the Bangkok Post on 4 March 2009?