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Friday, August 13, 2010

Government Unveils Traffic Safety Initiative

The government has unveiled a new set of measures to decrease the number of deaths on Cambodian roads.

The National Road Safety Action Plan calls for better designed roads, better law enforcement, better treatment of accident victims and other measures aimed at lowering the fatality rate 30 percent, or about 4,700 lives, over the next 10 years.

Nearly 1,000 people died on the roads in the first six months of 2010. That number is an apparent increase from the total 1,700 deaths in all of 2009.

The plan, devised by a multi-agency road safety committee, calls for increased funding and the development of expertise in order to improve road safety.

Improved safety will require better infrastructure, better trained drivers and speed and traffic flow management, according to the plan, released earlier this week.

The plan also calls for improved major national roads and the training of engineers for road safety audits and other oversight. It will target major risks, including speeding, driving without a helmet, seatbelt or child restraint and drunk driving. It will also target overloaded vehicles and improve the reaction time for first responders.

Other strategies include public education, road safety curriculum in schools and universities and peer-to-peer education. Education campaigns will be linked to law enforcement initiatives.

Under the plan, the Ministry of Health hopes to strengthen national emergency medical services, including first aid, transport, capacity of hospitals, mechanisms to manage the system and integrated information systems. Physical rehabilitation of the victim post-crash will also become a feature in the plan.

Traffic legislation will also need updated for modern traffic conditions, and the laws must be better enforced, according to the plan. This will include better drivers licensing in a database linked between police and the judiciary.
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Ban to visit Cambodia

Hun Sen seeks talks over dispute

PRIME Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that he planned to discuss the Preah Vihear border dispute with Ban Ki-moon when the United Nations secretary general visited Phnom Penh later this year.

In remarks at a meeting on the protection of the Tonle Sap lake at the Ministry of Water Resources yesterday, the premier said that Ban Ki-moon would come to Cambodia for an official visit.

“I will talk [about the border dispute] with Ban Ki-moon on October 27-28 when he visits here,” Hun Sen said.

“I will seek a compromise from the UN representative.
“Thailand should not be afraid of international intervention … and if Thailand is afraid, it means Thailand does not have good intentions.

“Real gold is never afraid of fire.”
A statement from the Thai government’s public relations department on Wednesday said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva would meet Ban during
a trip to New York next month.

Abhisit planned to “clarify the Thai-Cambodian rift resulting from the registration of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site” and “discuss with Mr Ban an exit for the dispute”, the statement said.

Margaret Lamb, a spokeswoman for the UN in Phnom Penh, and Farhan Haq, an associate spokesman for the UN secretary general in New York, said they could not confirm Ban’s visit to Cambodia.

Thai ministry of foreign affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said yesterday that Thailand’s position on the issue was “unchanged in that we believe that any outstanding issues between Thailand and Cambodia should be addressed bilaterally within the existing mechanisms”.

In a speech on Monday, Hun Sen called for an international conference to resolve the ongoing border dispute, saying that the existing bilateral mechanisms were not working. A day earlier, he wrote to the UN Security Council and General Assembly to denounce comments printed in Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper in which Abhisit reportedly contemplated the use of military force at the border.

“No Thai prime ministers have ever spoken of using armed force against Cambodia, only Abhisit Vejjajiva,” Hun Sen said yesterday.

“This matter is very serious, and it looks down on the Cambodian people as well as [abuses] the UN Charter.”

The Thai government has since said Abhisit’s comments were misquoted and “taken out of context”.

The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia stretches back to July 2008, when Preah Vihear temple was listed as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Both countries claim a 4.6-square-kilometre zone adjacent to the temple.

The latest round of bilateral antagonism came to a head after a meeting of UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee in Brazil that concluded earlier this month.

The Cambodian delegation to the meeting submitted a management plan for Preah Vihear that will be discussed by the committee next year.
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Center Seeks To Publish Names of All Khmer Rouge Victims

A Cambodian child holds a recent verdict book of Khmer Rouge leader Duch, during the books delivering by the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal staff officials at Prey Sar villag.

The Documentation Center of Cambodia is preparing a book that aims to list the names of every person who died under the Khmer Rouge.

An estimated 2 million people, or a quarter of the population, perished under the regime. The book will be a legacy to those victims, said Kok Thai Eng, deputy director of the center, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“For Cambodia, we have never listed the names of those who died, so I think those 2 million victims should be named in a book, as history, to be distributed to all institutions in Cambodia,” he said.

Other countries have similarly listed those who died in plane crashes or wars, he said. The Documentation Center will seek to do the same, soliciting e-mails or phone calls from the families of the dead. Family members who wish to participate can call 012 95 58 58, he said.

The book aims to list where people died, where they were from and other basic information. The center hopes to publish it over the next two years and place one in each of Cambodia's 1,621 communes.

Kok Thai Eng said he hoped the book will bring peace of mind to people after they see their loved ones listed.

“People who have called in to tell the center to list their family member's names have been really supportive and very happy,” he said.

The book project marks a next step for the Documentation Center, which has already collected thousands of documents related to the Khmer Rouge and submitted them to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal.
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