Home Authors Posts by Aisha Down

Aisha Down


Opportunity Falls

Near Sihanoukville’s Kbal Chhay waterfall, mass evictions of the poor at the hands of the powerful expose the divide between beliefs and reality around who owns Cambodia’s land.

Students From Around Region Combat Trash

Hailing from a port city in East Java, Indonesia, Namira Najma Kaestiah Putri Poesli, an eighth grader, said on her second day in Phnom Penh that she could sympathize with Cambodia’s trash problem.

Sugar Company Worn Out by Empty Promises

Some 100 farmers who have spent the past 11 days sleeping on land to guard it from bulldozers in Preah Vihear province are exhausted by empty promises from the government to solve their problem.

Rights Worker Terminated After Surprise Defection

Rights group Adhoc on Monday terminated its longtime Ratanakkiri coordinator Chhay Thy, who jumped ship to the ruling party and intends to run for commune chief in upcoming elections.

Military Looks to Project Softer Image With January 7 Games

More than 600 civilians and soldiers competed in annual military games on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island on Sunday, hoisting heavy tires, racing with weighted backpacks and marching in formation in an event intended to warm public attitudes toward the armed forces.

Preah Vihear Villagers Fend Off Sugar Company’s 10 Bulldozers

A group of villagers chased off 10 bulldozers belonging to the Ruifeng Sugar Company on Thursday on the fifth day of a standoff between an ethnic Kuy community and the Chinese firm trying to clear the land in Preah Vihear province.

Two Months On, SIM Card Crackdown Fizzles

Citing threats to security and the potential for terrorism, the government pledged to ensure that every active mobile phone SIM card in the country was registered by the end of October last year.

First Large-Scale Marine Fish Farm in Works

A proposal for the country’s first large-scale marine fish farm that would raise grouper, sea bass and other valuable dinner-table species has been sent to the Council of Development for Cambodia for approval, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Hopes, Doubts as Environmental Code Finalized

The new Environmental Code, a sweeping piece of legislation that is set to overhaul how protected and communal land are governed and give unprecedented control to the Environment Ministry, was finalized on Sunday and will be released to the public this week, those involved in drafting it said.

No Place Left for the Poor in Sihanoukville

While officials tout the economic benefits of a coastal boom, NGOs and those living in town wonder what benefits locals will actually see—and where the families of those serving all the additional tourists will live.

Conservationists Concerned as Code Allows Wildlife Farming

With Cambodia’s Environmental Code set to be finalized by the end of this week, conservation NGOs expressed deep frustration that their repeated appeals to take the farming of wild animals out of the new law have gone unanswered.

Dolphins Keep Calving Despite Dam, Dynamite

In spite of concerns over dynamite fishing and the construction of a major hydropower dam, a year-end tally found 10 calves among Cambodia’s endangered Irawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported.

Sihanoukville Seeks Chinese Appeal as Airport Expands

Construction of a new terminal at Sihanoukville’s international airport amid increasing traffic—quickly approaching 500,000 passengers a year—could help the seaside city ride a wave of increasing Asian visitors, particularly from China, tourism officials said.

Deputy PM Wants Cooperation On Cambodia’s Land—Or Else

In remarks opening the Ministry of Environment’s annual progress meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin exhorted the three ministries dealing with protected areas and economic land concessions to cooperate—or risk causing the CPP to lose upcoming elections.

Ivory Worth Millions Uncovered After Bust

Customs officials continued on Monday to slowly unpack a haul of hollowed-out logs from Africa crammed with endangered animal parts, initially revealing more than 140 ivory tusks and pieces of ivory valued at millions of dollars.

Government Dismisses Concerns as Farmers Boycott Land Law Meeting

A group representing 2,000 farming families from 15 provinces boycotted a workshop on Monday on the final draft of the Agricultural Land Law after the Agriculture Ministry rejected their concerns and pushed to finish public consultation on the law.

Amid Building Boom, Safety Left Dangling

While there are tens of sub-decrees on the subject of occupational safety in Cambodia, enforcement is either poor or non-existent, leaving the safety of workers almost entirely up to employers.

Witness, Tribunal Struggle to Number Remains

The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday attempted to clarify discrepancies between tallies of the dead at several mass graves around the country as an expert witness gave an account of insects eating bones kept in wooden stupas and locals picking over corpses.

Tax Department Set to Penalize Unlicensed Agents

In a push to better manage tax compliance, the General Department of Taxation (GDT) has issued a notification promising to start enforcing a 2013 sub-decree preventing unlicensed tax agents from operating in the country, beginning next month.

Local Voices Turn to Jazz for Authentic Notes

Less than a week before showtime, Jimmy Kiss was wired with nervous energy. Like most of the Cambodian singers in this week’s International Jazz Festival in Phnom Penh, the 32-year-old musician, best known for his pop hit “Baby I’m Sorry,” has never before performed jazz.