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Will EU Endorse Petition That Denounces Sugar Firm’s Abuses?

Among the many arguments in favor of the European Union’s position in the May 29 letter to the editor “E.U. not insensitive to human rights abuse on land concessions” (page 26), what was not mentioned was that many of these concessions appear to be impoverishing the very vulnerable rural people that the E.U. is trying to assist through its development support.

Serious Efforts Are Needed to Tackle Cambodia’s Traffic Issues

It is stating the obvious to say that traffic congestion in Phnom Penh is approaching a crisis. Will Phnom Penh be another Bangkok or Jakarta? Both reached gridlock before being forced to tackle the problem. Or might Phnom Penh be able to avoid the inevitable in the same way that it has gone from having almost no landline phones to having one of the most extensive mobile phone networks in the region? With road infrastructure becoming overwhelmed with vehicles, how will the country cope with this challenge in the future? Will the rise of car ownership be counterbalanced by rising fuel prices and, yet, increasing pollution and smog?

Met’s Decision to Repatriate Statues to Cambodia Sets Example

The decision by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to repatriate two 10th century statues to Cambodia comes at an important time as Cambodia continues its struggle to reclaim its cultural heritage.

UN Did Not ‘Warn’ Government During Rights Review Meeting

I refer to this weekend’s article “UN Official Tells Govern­ment Not to Be Defensive on Rights Record.” The article reports on a meeting convened jointly between the Cambodian Human Rights Com­mittee and the local U.N. Hu­­­man Rights Of­fice (OHCHR) on Friday, which addressed the preparation for Cambodia’s next human rights review by the U.N. Human Right Council 2014.

Ieng Sary’s Death Highlights the Failures of the KR Tribunal

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cam­bodia (ECCC) stands as a shining example of all that is wrong with the U.N.’s post Cold War paradigm of therapeutic legalism. A credible trial for Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Ieng Thirith would have made it possible to overlook the Cambo­dian mixed tribunal’s corruption and over­all inefficiency. Due to Ieng Sary’s death on Thursday, this is no longer a possibility. Not only has the ECCC lost two of its most important defendants due to old age, it is unlikely that the remaining two will live to hear their verdicts.

Global Movement for Clean Cooking Solutions Comes to Cambodia

Cooking shouldn't kill, but 4 million people worldwide die annually from the seemingly simple act of cooking a meal.

Death, Injury by Lightning Strike in Cambodia Can Be Reduced

Cambodia has one of the highest rates in the world of deaths by lightning. At 7.8 deaths per million people, (2007 to 2011) the measure is exceeded by only a few other countries, for example, South Africa, at 8.8.

Hun Sen Is Doing Some Things Right

I recently visited Phnom Penh from my home in Tokyo and found that things are getting better and better in Cambodia. Cambodia is basically...

Lon Nol Debt Demand Legal, But Not Moral

U.S. Ambassador William Todd is to be congratulated on his attempts to reach out to the Cambodian community to explain the U.S. government’s position on the debt incurred by the Lon Nol regime to the U.S.

History Weighs Heavily on Cambodia’s Human Rights Struggle

More than 30 years after the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia is still struggling to build a strong foundation for human rights.

National Budget Alternatives to Increased Borrowing

On Friday the government approved the $3.1 billion National Budget for 2013, despite the strong critiques upheld by opposition parties. With actions such as this, the ruling party continues to offer reasons for our concern over Cambodia’s future. The budget law’s proposed spending increase, which will be supported by heavy external borrowing, will enable the government to borrow up to $923 million. This is an outrageously high figure, especially considering this year’s IMF and World Bank report which warned Cambodia that it would enter risky territories if the rate of borrowing continued to increase.

Salvaging the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Legacy

In a recent legacy conference on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), it was reported that former Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde, in commenting on the achievements and failures of the ECCC, bemoaned: “The dish is not exactly what we ordered.” Perhaps not, but it should be underscored that those in the kitchen (then and now) bear responsibility for the dish presently being served.

At Upcoming Conference, Cambodia Needs Climate Justice

Still fresh in the minds of many, last year Cambodia faced its worst flooding in many decades. Hang Davi, a Cambodian farmer, declared at the time, “This flood is the biggest I have ever seen in my life. The floods have completely destroyed our hope.” The flood affected over 1.5 million people, killed 250, inundated 400,000 hectares of cultivated land, and caused estimated losses of $520 million. While the causes of the flooding are numerous, one of them is likely climate change, which scientists have found will cause more frequent occurrences of extreme precipitation events.

West Should Focus on Flexing Soft Power in Hun Sen’s Cambodia

The effectiveness of international pressure intended to improve human rights in Cambodia is being rightly questioned. As with other authoritarian regimes, engagement could prove disappointing, but censure or sanctions could be ineffective or even counterproductive.

Cambodia’s Energy Security Is at Risk

Cambodia’s energy security is at risk. Insufficient domestic energy production and poor physical infrastructure cause dependency, accessibility, reliability and affordability issues. The country relies almost entirely on the import of fossil fuel, mainly diesel and heavy oil, for electricity production. Apart from Burma, Cambodia has the lowest electrification rate in the region—only 35 percent of its entire population has access to reliable electricity, while its electricity price is one of the highest in the world.

An Ode to Norodom Sihanouk—A Rock Star King

You read Philip Gourevitch’s piece on Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihanouk in The New Yorker.

Cambodia, Nepal Can Learn From Their Shared Experiences

First of all, I have a great deal of respect for the prime minister of Cambodia both as a person and as the leader of the country and the government. I recognize that he has achieved a great deal for Cambodia. But there is room for improvement in the governance of Cambodia and my job is to identify the shortcomings that exist in the system and offer my recommendations to address them.

On World Teachers’ Day 2012, ‘Take a Stand for Teachers’

Teaching is a challenging professional task. It requires knowledge, motivation and adaptability. Each day offers new difficulties, and each day we witness how individual teachers find creative ways to overcome the difficult conditions exacerbated by limited equipment and material resources with which to carry out their professional responsibilities.

When Genocide Justice is Unfair

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) recently confirmed that Case 002 accused Ieng Thirith is unfit to stand trial as a result of suffering a progressive form of cognitive impairment. Despite being long-anticipated, this news remains a difficult reality for many victims of the Khmer Rouge to accept.

North Korean Regime Doesn’t Care About Its People

Regrettably, my trip to North Korea last week to donate food and medications to the starving population there, which is in dire need of...


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