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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hun Sen Slams UN for Giving Asylum to Refugees in Cambodia

Cambodia's prime minister slammed the UN's refugee agency Thursday for using Cambodian territory to grant political asylum to foreign refugees without first consulting his government.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Cambodian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has granted asylum to refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

"What right does it (UNHCR) have to use Cambodian territory to provide foreign nationals with political asylum without seeking permission from the Cambodian authorities," Hun Sen said in a speech at a development conference.

He did not say how many refugees were in Cambodia or how long they had been there. He said he ordered the foreign affairs and interior ministries to look into the issue with the UNHCR.

Toshi Kawauchi, a UNHCR protection officer, declined to comment on the issue, saying in an e-mail his office is "not in a position to discuss the numbers and other details of the refugees."

The relationship between Cambodia and the UN agency has been rocky in recent years, especially over the issue of refugees fleeing neighboring Vietnam.

Thousands of Vietnamese hill tribe people known as Montagnards have fled to Cambodia since 2001, when Vietnam's communist government cracked down on protests against land confiscation and restrictions on religious freedom. Many have been resettled in the United States, and a small number have voluntarily returned to Vietnam.

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Deputy PM attends Vietnam-Cambodia meeting on border co-operation

Yuon Communist always need border cooperations from Cambodia side, but there were no cooperations from Yuon Hanoi side for Cambodia. The more cooperation mean more Yuon immigrant free flowed into Cambodia with creeping political organizations in every province.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung arrived in Cambodia on February 27 to attend and co-chair the fourth Vietnam-Cambodia meeting on development cooperation in border provinces held in Sihanoukville from Feb. 27-28.

After an official welcome ceremony, Deputy PM Hung exchanged views at a closed session with Cambodian Deputy PM and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Vietnam-Cambodia bilateral ties and cooperation between border sharing provinces.

In the evening, Deputy PM Sar Kheng hosted a banquet for Deputy PM Hung his delegation.

At a senior officials meeting (SOM) held the same day, the two sides reviewed their cooperation in implementing agreements reached at the third meeting, which was held in Vietnam ’s An Giang province in 2006. They discussed measures to promote cooperation between border provinces in security, economy, culture, education, vocational training and health care.

The two sides approved contents of documents which will be presented at a plenary session on February 28. (VNA)
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Cambodia bans songs deemed to incite marital infidelity

Phnom Penh - The titles of the three songs banned from public broadcast for inciting infidelity say it all, according to Cambodian government and cultural officials, local media reported Thursday. The offending songs, If I Can't Be First Can I Be Second?, Love Another's Husband and May I Have a Piece of Your Heart Too? have been banished from the nation's thousands of karaoke restaurants, Khmer-language Koh Santepheap reported.

"We are searching for other songs which affect people's honour, especially that of women," the paper quoted Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema as saying.

The three songs are all written to be sung by women, but pop music analysts said Thursday they are relatively obscure tunes.

The ban is a further step by the government to crack down on unfaithfulness and "uphold cultural values."

Cambodia passed a controversial monogamy law in September 2006 which would see adulterers punished by up to 250 dollars in fines and a year in jail, though only one case has so far gone to court.

Although an outwardly conservative culture, the practice of keeping second wives, or mistresses, remains common, and many karaoke girls seek out "sweethearts" to supplement their earnings.

"People can still play the songs in private - this is only a public ban," one official said on condition of anonymity. "I don't think music has much to do with it, but it's an official request."
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