Sunday, 24 January 2010
COOLING OFF AT THE CHAA ONG WATERFALL IN BAN LUNG, CAMBODIA, DEC. 21, 2009 Richard Pearshouse, 35, a public health researcher living in Phnom Penh. “Cambodia has a very clearly defined tourist path that involves some time in Phnom Penh, and then the Angkor Wat temples. But because I’m living there it was possible to try and see a different facet of Cambodia, to explore some unusual and unique places that are a little bit off the beaten path. This photo was taken in the province of Ratanakiri, in the northeast corner of Cambodia. It’s quite remote; it takes two days or a little bit longer to get up there by a series of local buses. There are still some forested areas left in that part of Cambodia: it hasn’t all yet been logged and converted over to plantations or rice paddies. But there’s a lot of development. To get to the waterfall I had been cycling through kilometer after kilometer of plantations with rubber trees planted all in rows. I was thinking about the way in which development is happening and the landscape is changing and just how special that waterfall is, how important it is. It was sort of a small oasis. I guess I shouldn’t use the word ‘oasis’ to describe a waterfall. But it was an oasis.”
As told to Seth Kugel
Photo: Arantxa Cedillo
A Cambodian Buddhist monk draws a picture depicting the arrest of a Cambodian civilian by Khmer Rouge soldiers, during an art workshop in Kampot province about 90 miles west of the capital, Phnom Penh, July 25, 2009. (Chor Sokunthea/Reuters)
13 years of working to ensure that the Khmer Rouge trials belong to Cambodians
By Youk Chhang — Special to GlobalPost
Published: January 23, 2010
via CAAI News Media
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — During the Khmer Rouge period from April 17, 1975, to Jan. 7, 1979, Cambodians walked constantly. They walked from the cities to the countryside, from their villages to distant provinces, and from the rice fields to the battlefields. After Jan. 7, 1979, the survivors of our country's genocide walked again; this time back to their homes.
In 1997, Cambodians began another journey: the journey to seek justice for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. And today, 31 years after the Khmer Rouge regime fell, we are taking a giant step along the road to justice.
On Feb. 6, 2006, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) — commonly referred to as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) — officially began setting up offices at the military barracks outside of Phnom Penh. The first trial, Case 001, began on March 30, 2009, two years behind schedule. The case opened with the defendant, former head of S-21 prison Duch (Kaing Geuk Eav), apologizing to victims and accepting responsibility, but ended shockingly however on Nov. 27, 2009, with Duch rejecting responsibility on jurisdictional grounds because he was not a "senior Khmer Rouge leader or those most responsible" as stated in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law. The judgment of Duch will be delivered this March.
In late 2010 or early 2011, the most important Khmer Rouge trial will begin. Case 002 will try the highest level Khmer Rouge leaders still alive today: Noun Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith. This trial will be a crucial moment in Cambodia's road to justice because the evidences and analyses brought forth will provide answers to many fundamental questions about the Khmer Rouge regime that survivors had wondered for more than three decades.
The United Nations, Cambodia and several other countries have worked for many years to help us see justice delivered. The United Nations and national governments raised much of the initial $56 million budget for the KRT and stepped in during budgetary shortfalls in late 2008.
These governments have also generously funded many Cambodian human rights and international NGOs that support and monitor the trial process by helping victims file complaints of Khmer Rouge atrocities to the court, observing and reporting on the activities of the Cambodian government and United Nations, providing counseling to those who suffered during Democratic Kampuchea and other activities.
Perhaps the most important way that NGOs can help is to work with the Extraordinary Chambers and each other to ensure that the public is informed about the trials and involved in them.
These trials are about seeking justice for victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. These are your trials, Cambodians, and without your participation in them, we will not be able to judge whether the trials are fair, of high standards, and accessible to all.
But how can the people of Cambodia participate in the trials? They are far away and it is expensive to travel to Phnom Penh. Many NGOs in Cambodia are working to make certain that people can read about the trials through magazines and other written materials that are delivered to sub-district and district offices across the country. Others will broadcast news on the radio, and the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) is working with TVK and other stations to produce television programs that will help educate people about the Extraordinary Chambers.
In the past few years, DC-Cam has also implemented a project, called the Living Documents Project, which brought up to 500 villagers every month from across Cambodia to Phnom Penh to visit genocide memorial sites and meet with officials at the KRT courtroom. Phase two of the Living Documents Project began in early 2009, and allowed victims to directly attend Duch's trial hearing, participate in KRT educational workshops and view Khmer Rouge-related videos.
Villagers returned home afterward to share their experiences with community members during village forums, so that Cambodians have the opportunity to learn about the trials from people like themselves, in addition to tribunal officials and NGO staff. All of these activities have helped villagers understand how the trials work and to become familiar with the tribunal process. For Case 002, DC-Cam will increase its activities and outreach efforts given the significance of this trial.
All of us want to see trials that are fair and just, and for the Cambodian people to participate in them without fear of intimidation or uncertainty. Learning about the tribunal from the written word, radio and television, and from family, friends and neighbors will help you see that justice can work in Cambodia and that building a more just future for our children can become a reality.
Youk Chhang is the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. This month marks the 10th anniversary of the publishing of DC-Cam Genocide Magazine: "Searching for the Truth." With the ministries of Interior and Information, DC-Cam has distributed 1.5 million copies of the magazine to the villagers within Cambodia. DC-Cam is 13 years old.
via CAAI News Media
PHNOM PENH— Viet Nam wanted to expand its co-operation with Cambodia to the fields of education and training, culture, music and sports, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Nhan said at the end of his two-day visit that the new fields would be in addition to the existing co-operation in air services, banking and telecommunications.
During the visit, he paid a courtesy call on Cambodian Prime Minister Hunsen.
The two leaders discussed measure to accelerate co-operation between the two countries, particularly the establishment of an architecture faculty affiliated to the Ho Chi Minh Architecture University in Phnom Penh.
Nhan offered to train Cambodians in circus, dancing, culture and arts.
In his meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Im Sathy, Nhan pledged Viet Nam would grant 120 scholarships annually to Cambodians over the next five years.
He also proposed the nations’ respective ministries of education should organise rotating meetings between their youths to further consolidate the friendship between the two nations.
In addition, the education services between HCM City and Phnom Penh and neighbouring provinces should help each other advance.
Nhan announced Viet Nam’s decision to build a high-quality primary school and high school for Phnom Penh in recognition of their traditional friendship.
Im Sathy thanked Viet Nam for helping his country, in particular the building of many boarding schools in its northeastern provinces.
"Cambodia wants to learn more about Viet Nam’s educational policies so that it can achieve the target ‘education for all’", Im Sathy said.
He said he wanted to see diverse forms of educational co-operation, including scholarships for private students in tertiary education.
Nhan said an education agreement between Viet Nam and Cambodia was expected to be signed before February 15.
There are 553 Cambodians studying in Viet Nam and 84 Vietnamese studying in Cambodia. — VNS
via CAAI News Media
Readers of influential US travel magazine Travel + Leisure have voted stylish Siem Reap boutique property Hôtel de la Paix the best in Cambodia in the latest ‘T+L 500’ annual list of the world’s top hotels.
Based on based on readers’ ratings across a range of criteria, Hôtel de la Paix achieved an overall score of 88.68 – comfortably the best in Cambodia and 33rd in the entire Asia region, ahead of countless competitors from prominent international luxury brands.
The new T+L 500 list, published in the January 2010 issue of Travel + Leisure, is based on the results of the magazine’s 2009 readers’ survey, in which readers rate hotels in several categories including rooms/facilities; location; service; restaurants/food; and value.
In the 2010 T+L 500 guide Travel + Leisure editors noted Hôtel de la Paix’s marriage of traditional Khmer and Art Deco design influences and its innovative Arts Lounge gallery and restaurant. T+L editors also recommend that readers book into a Courtyard Garden suite - complete with outdoor tub - and reserve a swinging dining bed at the hotel’s signature Meric restaurant.
The full T+L 500 list can be found in the January 2010 issue of Travel + Leisure, or online at travelandleisure.com/tl500.
For further information on Hôtel de la Paix, visit hoteldelapaixangkor.com
All Press Releases for January 23, 2010
via CAAI News Media
The people of Siem Reap will be celebrating the Chinese new year next month.
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA, January 23, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Like most major cities of south-east Asia, Siem Reap in Cambodia will be celebrating the Chinese lunar new year with fireworks and festivities next month.
For 2010, the Chinese new year falls on February 14th, when revellers will be welcoming in the year of the tiger.
Although perhaps not as high-profile as events in neighbouring Vietnam and China, the new year celebrations in Siem Reap remain an important part of the city's social calendar.
People staying in the region during this time can expect to see local residents visiting relatives, greeting their friends and preparing dishes such as Samlor Chab Chhay, which is a special kind of soup made for the event.
One of the venues those staying in Siem Reap hotels may like to experience during the new year celebrations is the Singing Tree.
Described by the Phnom Penh Post as the city's "first California-style juice bar", the cafe offers a range of exotic juice drinks for travellers and locals looking to quench their thirst.
The venue is also keen to promote environmentally-friendly business practices and uses a solar-powered cooker to prepare its food, the newspaper reports.
Singing Tree is located in an up-and-coming area of Siem Reap recently dubbed Alley West.
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via CAAI News Media
Vietnam will provide 120 scholarships each year to Cambodian students majoring in agriculture, healthcare, and information technology from now to 2015, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan.
Deputy PM Nhan, who is also Minister of Education and Training (MOET), made the announcement at his talks with Cambodian Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Im Sethi, in Phnom Penh on January 22.
He also suggested organising workshops on education and training to share experiences and provide mutual assistance.
During the talks, both sides agreed to foster cooperation in education during the 2010-2020 period and they were unanimous about developing an annual plan and promoting exchanges of information, to improve the management of students.
The two sides discussed the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam cooperation framework, under which Vietnam will continue to provide 20 scholarships for Cambodian personnel and students to study in Vietnam, commencing with the 2009-2010 academic year.
Deputy PM Nhan took this opportunity to announce that Vietnam will build a senior secondary school for the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh as a token of the Vietnam-Cambodia friendship.
Minister Im Sethi thanked the Vietnamese Government and people for their assistance in education and training, especially with the construction of boarding schools in Cambodia’s north-eastern provinces.
Aproximately 100 Cambodian students travel to Vietnam to study tertiary and postgraduate levels each year and in the 2009-2010 academic year, the Vietnam MOET received 116 Cambodian students.
During his two-day working visit to Cambodia that ended on January 22, the Deputy PM also met with Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, and toured the Norodom and Sisovat High Schools and the Royal University in Phnom Penh.
Mendel relief fund also aims to assist disabled adults, national parks
By Robert Allen
summit daily news
via CAAI News Media
SUMMIT COUNTY — A local man departs for Cambodia next month on one of many philanthropic trips to support firefighting services in the impoverished nation.
“The people are just so friendly, caring and giving,” Doug Mendel said, adding that they're “spiritually rich” and “materialistically poor.”
He'll leave Feb. 12 on his 16th trip to the Cambodia, where he'll distribute goods that have already set sail for the South East Asian country. Mendel has run The Douglas Mendel Cambodian Relief Fund since 2003; it has been a nonprofit since 2005.
He most recently collected goods donated by Colorado fire stations and shipped a 20-foot container with 100 sets of bunker gear, 115 helmets, 5,000 feet of fire hose, 200 pair of firefighting pants and more on Jan. 13.
The ship is expected to arrive in the country Feb. 8. It was insured for $110,000.
Three firefighters from Denver International Airport are traveling with Mendel to help train about 25 Cambodian firefighters in Phnom Penh, the nation's capitol.
Mendel said he hopes the firefighters will begin making regular trips to the country.
Cambodia has about 14 million people divided among about 25 provinces — each with only about one fire station.
Phnom Penh (pop. 2 million) has about 90 firefighters and 12 trucks “to protect the whole capital,” Mendel said.
He is trying to raise $25,000 to $30,000 for a fire station in the remote Ratanakiri Province, to which a fire truck was donated in 2007. He's raised about $15,000 so far.
In 2006, an old fire engine from the Breckenridge's Red, White and Blue Fire District was donated to Sihanoukville.
Mendel is packing several donated toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste among other items to distribute to the Cambodian people.
His relief fund's objectives also include supporting organizations that care for disadvantaged children and disabled adults, and assisting Cambodia's national parks.
Mendel lived in Summit County from 1991 to 2006. He moved to Moab, Utah and also lived in Montrose before moving to Silverthorne, where he now resides.
He sells Cambodian crafts, such as purses, through local vendors including the Next Page Bookstore in Frisco.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a donation to The Douglas Mendel Cambodian Relief Fund, call (970) 333-2285 or e-mail email@example.com.
Fundraiser event planned for Food Hedz in Frisco on March 12, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.