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Monday, September 14, 2009

Thai FM visits area near Preah Vihear temple

Thailand's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya Sunday visited the area near Preah Vihear Temple during which he was welcomed by Cambodia's military leaders and both sides agreed to avoid more clashes, an official said on Monday.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman of National Defense, said on Monday that Kasit Piromya was inspecting his Thai military that have been posted at the border front lines before entering into the area near Preah Vihear Temple.

According to Chhum Socheat, Kasit was welcomed by Gen. Chea Dara, deputy commander-in-chief of Cambodia's armed forces, and both held a brief talk on the situation and exchanged pledges from the two countries' leaders of not having more clashes and were committed to solve the border issue by peaceful means.

Socheat said Kasit had requested a prior permission from Cambodia before entering into the area, for a one-hour visit, to learn and understand the situation there.

Kasit's visit to the area was made more than two weeks after Cambodia had withdrawn half of its troops from the disputed area to ease the tension.

Skirmishes between Cambodia and Thai forces occurred four times since the border conflict began in July last year.

The border conflict began after Preah Vihear Temple was listed as the World Heritage Site on 7 July, 2008.

Source: Xinhua
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Cambodia PM lauds China's aid

Cambodia's premier lauded China for providing billions of dollars of aid without imposing conditions, a subtle jibe at Western donors who seek curbs on human rights abuses and corruption.

"They are quiet, but at the same time they build bridges and roads, and there are no complicated conditions," Prime Minister Hun Sen at a ceremony for the construction of a new bridge built with $US128 million of Chinese aid.

Hun Sen recently rejected World Bank aid intended for settling land disputes after the Washington-based institution and rights groups accused Cambodian authorities of forcibly evicting tens of thousands of people from their homes.

Speaking to about 1,000 villagers and China's ambassador in Prek Kdam, about 50 km north of the capital Phnom Phen, Hun Sen said Beijing's aid had helped Cambodia become more independent while fostering social and economic development.

"China respects the political decisions of Cambodia," he said. "We have a mutual understanding and respect each other."

Cambodia's government has come under fire recently, accused of corruption and undermining the judiciary, although analysts say the investment environment is stable after decades of poverty, brutalilty and instability.

China is Cambodia's biggest aid donor, providing $US600 million in 2007 and about $260 million in 2008.

It also leads the country's foreign direct investment, with about $US1 billion spent in the war-scarred Southeast Asian nation this year.

Hun Sen added he also supported China's multimillion dollar investments in hydroelectric power.
Western environmentalists have accused Cambodia of failing to provide adequate environmental safeguards for such projects.

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Cambodia accuses Thai soldiers of killing teenager

It have been years after years, the THAI soldiers have been shooting and killing Cambodian civilians. All victims were shot or burned alive in execution style. Those evil Thai soldiers are cold blood killer and never getting punishment. They had no rights to kill Cambodian Citizens. Those Evil must be taken to justice.

A Cambodian provincial official has accused Thai soldiers of shooting a Cambodian teenager engaged in illegal logging and then setting him on fire, the website of the Phnom Penh Post newspaper reported.

Thon Nol, governor of Samrong district in Oddar Meanchey province, claimed Thai soldiers accused Yon Rith, 16. of illegally felling trees and shot him.

The victim's family found his charred body and took it to their village for a funeral, he said.

He also accused the Thai soldiers of shooting and seriously wounding another teenage boy from the same village in Kon Kreal commune. Friends carried him to Cambodian territory and the teenager was being treated at a local hospital.

Cambodian officials denounced the violence as "cruel" acts.

"Why did they burn a person alive? [The armed forces] should have arrested them if they did anything wrong in Thailand," a Cambodian cabinet official Pich Ratana was quoted as saying.

The governor said Cambodian authorities were trying to help the victims.

Nanh Sovann, a Cambodian military officer who has worked with the Thai army, said he had heard of the incident but was waiting to see an official report.

The Thai army had not responded to the news report as of Monday evening.
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UN names Cambodian genocide museum leading archive

PHNOM PENH (AP) - Cambodia's Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly a prison and torture center operated by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, has been declared by the U.N. to be an archive of worldwide significance for its historical documents.

The Cambodian government and U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO - opened a meeting Monday to establish a national committee to oversee the museum's operation as a newly designated "Memory of the World" site.

A UNESCO meeting at the end of July in Bridgetown, Barbados named the museum as one of 35 archives worldwide added to a list of almost 200 that are exceptional historical repositories.

The museum, formerly a high school in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, was turned into S-21 prison after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975. Of the estimated 16,000 men, women and children who passed through its gates, only a handful survived. An estimated 1.7 million people died as a result of the communist Khmer Rouge's radical policies from 1975 to 1979.

The museum's archive includes 4,186 confessions - often falsely given by prisoners under torture - 6,226 biographies of prisoners, 6,147 photographic prints and negatives of prisoners and other items.

The prison was headed by Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who is currently being tried by Cambodia's U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

About 30 people attended the workshop, including officials from Tuol Sleng, the National Museum and the Culture Ministry, government advisers and UNESCO officials.

Helen Jarvis, a government adviser, told the workshop that the archive constitutes the most complete extant documentary picture of the Khmer Rouge regime and an essential part of Cambodia's recent history. It is also being used to provide pivotal evidence at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, she said.

Some aspects of the Memory of the World project deal with man's inhumanity to man, and the Tuol Sleng museum has "documentation of one of the most extreme examples of crimes against humanity in the 20th century with a major impact on world history," Jarvis said.

UNESCO established the Memory of the World Program in 1992 to respond to the growing awareness of the problems of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world.

Its guidelines state that the world's documentary heritage should be preserved, protected and made permanently accessible to the public.
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Cambodian-Chinese friendship benefits two peoples:Hun Sen

PHNOM PENH, The friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and China have brought continued benefits to the two peoples, said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1958 under their then leaderships -- His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, he said in a recent written interview with Xinhua.

"Until now, the Cambodian people always consider the relations a valuable legacy of the two leaders," he said, adding that "such good relations have been constantly strengthened by their succeeding leaders and their peoples."

He said the Kingdom of Cambodia have always staunchly adhered to the one-China policy and regard Taiwan and Tibet as inalienable parts of China.

Hun Sen said that over the recent years, there have been frequent exchanges of high-level visits between both countries. "And as for myself, since 2004, I, as a Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, have paid eight visits to China," he said.

"Obviously, such visits have further strengthened the friendship" between the two countries and promoted their economic, trade, culture and tourism cooperation.

He noted that China has provided huge financial assistance in the forms of grants and loans for major infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and hydro power stations.

From 1992 to June 2009, China's financial aid to Cambodia has totaled some 923 million U.S. dollars, Hun Sen said.

He also extended his congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the birth of New China which falls on Oct. 1.

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China becomes Cambodia's biggest development partner: PM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday that China became a biggest development partner that has assisted to build Cambodia's infrastructure.

"China is a big country but they always respected us the small one. China has always followed our decision for constructing the infrastructure in Cambodia. That is the greatest value for us," he said while attending the closing ceremony of the Prek Kdam Bridge which is under preferential buyer's credit loan from China.

"I have always told Chinese leadership that the assistance from China not only helps economic and social development in Cambodia but also helps Cambodia to strengthen the independence of Cambodian politics," he added.

He pointed out that "the good cooperation and relationship between the two countries also got the in-heritage from former king father Preah Norodom Sihanouk because former king exercised one china policy in years and I myself has been continuing to do it."

China has a special habit, he noted, which is that Chinese speak less but do a lot and it is good point, adding that "I could work with Chinese leaders. China always keeps quiet but they offered the assistance for us and do more for us, and their assistance is without conditions."

He also highlighted that he has worked with three Chinese prime ministers including Li Peng and Zhu Rongji and has been continuing to work with Prime Miniter Wen Jinbao. Moreover, he said "Chinese leaders' language are easy to understand because Chinese side has always said that assistance from them focus on the infrastructure projects on economic development effectively and helps poverty reduction in the country."

"I also thanked Chinese side that they considered me as their old friend. We have confidence each other in cooperation between the two countries," he said.

"We all thanked Chinese government and their people for their efforts which have contributed to develop Cambodia's infrastructure." He asked the Chinese ambassador who are in the presence to convey his words to the Chinese side.
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Child sex tourism study 'blames Aussies'


With a middle-class background and an internet connection, the Australian man is keen to explore travel deals advertised across the web.

He is the co-worker, relative and mate who awaits cheap flights to Southeast Asia that the economic downturn has made all the more plentiful.

But he is drawn to such tropical places not for the beaches, cheap drinks and a brief escape from the rat race.

He is the customer in a growing global issue that sees over 1.8 million children as young as eight years old being sold for sex - sometimes up to ten times a day - until they're considered "worthless" before they reach their 30th birthday.

And new studies reveal this man has more mates than ever who think and act just like him.

Australians make up the largest portion of foreign sex offenders against children in Thailand, according to research at John Hopkins University in Baltimore that studied patterns of arrests and prosecutions between 1995 and 2006.

His money is fuelling a $US31.6 billion ($A36.5 billion) industry in trafficking in what a recent report by a global network of groups against child sex slavery concludes is a "massive human rights violation that is currently going largely unnoticed around the world".

Bernadette McMenamin, CEO of Child Wise Australia, says child sex trafficking remains a hidden problem that most Australians have become complacent about - even though a main root of the global crime is the Australian offender.

"People tell us, 'It happens overseas. Isn't that an issue we talked about years ago?' But what we've found is that ... the supply and demand factors fuelling child sex slavery have actually grown," she told AAP.

"The number of children entering the trade has grown. Efforts to combat this problem have not succeeded despite pouring money into overseas governments."

A new global campaign called "Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People," will be launched on Monday to help reverse the trend and bring the issue back into the homes of the average Australian.

Being run across 45 countries, the campaign aims to raise awareness, conduct a survey on people's attitudes and lobby national governments.

In February, Child Wise will step up the campaign by backing stalled amendments to child sex tourism laws in the federal parliament.

Rather than seeing authorities wait for child sex to occur before acting, the amendments seek out preparatory offences: stopping sex offenders from travelling overseas, buying flights and possessing child pornography.

"We've waited long enough," Ms McMenamin says of the proposed changes. "We're simply not keeping up with travelling sex offenders."

Only small changes are required to save Asian girls from being sold into a life of slavery, she says.

The Body Shop has already joined the Child Wise campaign by selling a hand cream that directs profits to Cambodian outreach programs.

Such programs can provide support for girls and keep them in school with books, pens and bicycles.

It may not seem like a lot but the average child sex slave is sold for only a few hundred dollars by a family or boyfriend in poverty desperate for cash, she says.

In Cambodia children are brought in from Vietnam or taken from village to village, then off to Thailand.

All these victims suffer lifelong mental and physical damage. Some contract HIV/AIDS while most find it hard to reintegrate into society after a decade of such slavery.

Ms McMenamin says most Australians view the price of petrol as a greater concern than the welfare of foreign children.

"We have increased awareness and there have been some arrests but overall we're not putting a dent in the problem," she says.

"We need people to try and think beyond what's going on in their lives."

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