Archive for Cambodia
Around 100 ethnic minority Khmer Krom monks and activists in Cambodia continued their rally in front of the Vietnamese Embassy here on Sunday, marking the 2nd day of a fresh protest against a Vietnamese diplomat. The rally, expected to last until Wednesday, is to demand a Vietnamese diplomat to recognize that Kampuchea Krom, which is now a part of Vietnam, is Cambodia’s former territory. Protesters are rallying outside the embassy, which is fortified by riot police and heavy steel barricades. There is no report of violence even though those protesters gather without permission from the Phnom Penh Municipality. On Saturday, the first day of the protest, activists set Vietnamese flags on fire outside the embassy. The minority Khmer Krom community has launched a number of protests against Vietnam in recent months after Trung Van Thong, a spokesman for the Vietnamese embassy to Cambodia, commented on a radio program in June that South Vietnam, which protesters claim was once part of former Kampuchea Krom provinces, belonged to Vietnam “long” before France’s official transfer of the land in 1949. A protest leader Thach Sitha, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, said Saturday that the protest was to demand an apology from the Vietnamese diplomat and to urge him to accept the true history of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces.
Newsline: Cambodian protesters clash with police outside Australian embassy ahead of refugee resettlement deal
Cambodian protesters clashed with police outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh, as Immigration Minister Scott Morrison prepared to sign a deal in which the impoverished South-East Asian country would resettle Australian-bound refugees. At least one protester was knocked down by police, suffered a cut head and was dragged away during the protests, as more than 100 Cambodians demanded Canberra abandon the agreement. Cambodia’s Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, told reporters in Cambodia on Friday that the resettlement deal, to be signed at a table in a bare meeting hall in Phnom Penh with a tiny Australian flag and a tiny Cambodian flag on the table, by Mr Morrison and Mr Kheng, will initially involve a small number of refugees moving to Cambodia under a pilot project.
The government hit back at criticism of its embassies in China, Malaysia and Thailand, insisting that they are helping migrants in need. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to so-called allegations made in Post articles and by rights group Adhoc that embassies had failed to protect migrants. In the statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong wrote that between January and September 2014, the embassy repatriated 28 women who were trafficked to China for marriage. The embassy in Thailand, he said, found jobs for 11 workers after they were abandoned by private companies, and helped two others return home. In Malaysia, he added, two domestic workers had been repatriated since August. Chhan Sokunthea, of rights group Adhoc said there is a problem with “slow coordination” between the ministry and the embassies, but noted that this has recently shown improvement.
Cambodia’s embassy in Malaysia denied pressuring domestic workers from the Kingdom into renewing their visas, after rights groups told the Post last week that the embassy exploited a legal loophole to keep maids in the country. The statement came as a Malaysian employers association, which has observed the drafting of a new agreement to send more maids to the country following the imposition of a ban in 2011, for the first time revealed details of the proposed agreement. In a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s Ambassador to Malaysia Arun Rasmey defended the embassy’s policy of renewing maids’ visas. A moratorium was placed on sending domestic workers to Malaysia in 2011 amid mounting concerns over abuses, including rape and the withholding of salaries.
About 100 Cambodian students clashed briefly with police while protesting remarks made by a Vietnamese embassy official on the issue of Cambodian land lost to Hanoi. The protesters, from the Cambodian Students and Intellectuals movement, gathered outside the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh. No one was seriously injured in the scuffle with police, who tried to end what city officials called an illegal assembly. The student anger stems from reports in which a Vietnamese embassy spokesman, Tran Van Thong, is quoted as saying the Mekong River Delta had not belonged to Cambodia in the past. That portion of Vietnam today was once called Lower Cambodia, or Kampuchea Krom, and was partitioned to Vietnam by the French when they withdrew from their colonization of Indochina. It is a nationalistic flashpoint for many Cambodians. In a statement, the Vietnamese embassy said its spokesman had in fact said the region “is an integral part of the territory of Vietnam, in compliance with international law.” It said Vietnam condemns any “distortion” of the matter.
Taing Sokly, the former general consul for the Cambodian embassies in Vietnam and Brunei, was charged by the Phnom Penh court with allegedly faking documents permitting the export of 100 tonnes of illegal luxury timber from Cambodia to Vietnam in 2013. The Forestry Department’s complaint against Sokly named Heng Ly Company as the exporter of the wood, said municipal military police official Pou Davy. Sokly claimed he was innocent yesterday, saying he signed the documents, but “did not know that they were fake”.
Two cars belonging to the Cambodian Embassy in Germany, parked on the embassy grounds in Berlin, were set on fire in what police believe was an act of arson, German authorities said. “Two cars on the grounds of the embassy, a Mercedes and a BMW, burned out,” said Stefan Redlich, spokesperson for the Berlin Police. The incident, Mr. Redlich said, is being investigated by the police for state security, who are responsible for politically motivated crimes and acts of terror. “Because this is about an embassy, we are taking this very seriously, and it is possible that somebody wanted to put down a marker against the country.” Berlin’s fire department is working to find the source of the blaze that engulfed the embassy cars, but both the fire brigade and the police for state security had little doubt that it was arson, police said, adding that the embassy building had been slightly damaged. Srey Chandara, a private assistant to Chun Thai, Cambodian Ambassador in Germany, said that staff are cooperating with local police. Koy Kong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh, declined to comment about the Berlin incident.