The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Thursday, June 17, 2010

U.N. envoy warns of failing judiciary in Cambodia+

PHNOM PENH, June 17 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Concluding a 10-day working mission in Cambodia, the U.N. special envoy on human rights in Cambodia said Thursday the country's judiciary is facing tremendous challenges.

"The judiciary in Cambodia is facing tremendous challenges in delivering justice for the people of the country, especially the poor and marginalized," Professor Surya Subedi, the U.N. special rapporteur, said.

While considering the overall state of the judicial system in Cambodia, he raised specific concerns relating to the judiciary's role in protecting freedom of expression and in cases involving land- related rights.

"I am troubled by the impact of land disputes, land concessions and resettlements on the lives of ordinary people, both in rural and urban areas, miscarriages of justice and the narrowing of political space for critical debate in society due to the disproportionate use of defamation, disinformation and incitement lawsuits against journalists, human rights activists and political opponents," he said in a statement.

He called on the government "to introduce appropriate measures to enhance the independence and capacity of the judiciary to enable it to function as an institution capable of providing justice to all in Cambodia."

"If you are poor, weak and dispossessed of your land, you seem to have limited chance to obtain redress either through existing administrative land management systems, or through the courts," he said.

Subedi did, however, welcome the adoption of a series of new laws in recent years, including a new penal code, an anticorruption law and a criminal procedure code that are designed to strengthen the system of justice.

But, he warned, a combination of a lack of adequate resources, organizational and institutional shortcomings, a lack of full awareness of the relevant human rights standards and external interference, financial or otherwise, in the work of the judiciary, has resulted in an institution that "does not command the confidence of people from many walks of life."

Subedi was on his third mission to Cambodia since being appointed special envoy last year.

During his stay, he met with Cambodian leaders including King Sihamoni, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee Om Yentieng and President of the Supreme Court Dith Munthy.

But he failed to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen despite having a prior arrangement to do so.

Read more!

US returns stolen Angkorian sculptures to Cambodia

PHNOM PENH — The United States on Thursday returned seven sculptures created in the great Angkorian era that had been smuggled from Cambodia, a US embassy spokesman said.

John Johnson said the sandstone artefacts, dating from between 1000 and 1500 AD, arrived by ship and were blessed by Buddhist monks in a handover ceremony in the southwestern port of Sihanoukville.

The sculptures, which include a head of the Buddha, a large bas-relief and an engraved plinth, were recovered by US immigration and customs enforcement officials in Los Angeles in 2008, Johnson added.

The great Angkorian empire emerged as a powerful regional force beginning in the ninth century and built the stunning Angkor temple complex in northwestern Cambodia, which remains the country's main tourist attraction.

But the country's key temples suffered huge damage from looters during three decades of civil war, which ended in 1998.
Read more!

Travel: Cambodia, Myanmar photo workshop

Viewpoint Photographic Art Center and Rick Murai will host Cambodia/Myanmar: Through the Lens photography workshop, Jan. 2 through 17, 2011. This is a good opportunity to produce unique and personal photographs amidst exotic cultures, ancient temple architecture and stunning landscapes.

Noted Penn Valley fine art photographer Rick Murai will present his photographs from Southeast Asia and discuss the itinerary and highlights of this custom tailored workshop at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, at Viewpoint Gallery, 2015 J St., Sacramento. Admission is free and all are welcomed to attend.

The cost is $3765/person and includes intra Asia airfare, lodging, land travel, guides and most meals. The workshop is limited to 14 participants.

Participants of this travel workshop will photograph and experience remote cultures, ancient temple architecture and stunning landscapes. Designed for photographers of all proficiency levels and varied mediums, this custom crafted workshop will insure ample time to effectively photograph at each location. There will be early morning and evening photo sessions, guest speakers, group/individual formal and informal instruction and image sharing.

Photographers will visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital and Tuol Sleng prison and the Killing Fields. The tour will then journey to the villages and markets of Siem Reap and the sprawling temple complex of Angkor Wat. The next stop is Myanmar's capital, Yangon, for visits to the imposing Schwedigon Pagoda and then on to the revered ancient sacred center of Bagan to photograph its thousands of pagodas. The tour will end with the intriguing floating villages of Inle Lake.

Murai is widely exhibited and published and a recipient of the 2008 UK Travel Photographer of the Year award. His extensive global travel is sure to make this a fascinating and highly productive experience.
Read more!