Khy Sovuthy, The Cambodia Daily, Mar. 30-31 2013
Phnom Penh, a city once fabled for its stately colonial buildings and boulevards, and its serene riverside setting, is becoming a city of glaring contrasts.
An economy left in ruins by the years of war and violent revolution in the 1970s and 80s grew at a rate of almost 10% a year from 1998 to 2008. Cheap land, cheap labour and rich natural resources have attracted big inflows of foreign investment, especially from Asian neighbours like China, Vietnam and Thailand. That has ignited a property boom.
For the first time in its history Phnom Penh’s skyline is being pierced by modern high-rise towers, offering new office space and luxury apartments. Land prices are soaring, and developers are constantly seeking out new possibilities for construction.
One area they targeted was the city’s largest lake, Boeng Kak. A company owned by a senator from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Shukaku, was given a 99-year lease to drain and build on the lake in 2007.
Another was the centre city neighbourhood of Borei Keila, which another politically-connected company, Phanimex, was given the right to develop in 2003.
But there was a problem. People already lived on this land. Like most of Phnom Penh’s residents, they had moved to the city after the fall of the radical Khmer Rouge regime, which had emptied Phnom Penh in 1975, and following the decade of civil war in the 1980s.
They did not have land titles; very few people do in Cambodia, as the Khmer Rouge abolished private property and nearly all documents were destroyed.
So the state claims to own more than 80% of Cambodia’s land. That gives the government the final say over who gets to develop it.
The bulldozers moved in to start demolishing the flimsy houses around Boeng Kak lake in 2008. There have been clashes with local residents ever since. Some have been beaten by riot police as they tried to block the developers, other have been arrested and charged. Many of them are women.
One of them, 31 year-old Tep Vanny, has become the leader of the women who are still protesting against their treatment by the company. A passionate and outspoken mother of two, she and her husband were previously evicted from land they lived on in Kampong Speu province near Phnom Penh, and moved to Boeng Kak in 2004.
Last year she was charged with rebellion and illegally occupying land, and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. She was released on appeal after two months.
“I’ve been detained by the police five times,” she told me in the house next to the drained lake that the women use as a campaign headquarters.
“The last time I was sentenced to jail. This is normal in my country. Before I started this work I thought hard about what I would face, but I knew I could not back down. I had to fight the corrupt officials and the greedy companies which are harming the lives of our people.”
More than 4,000 families were evicted from the area around the lake, which has since been filled with sand. There was no prior consultation, and the World Bank responded by suspending all loans to Cambodia in August 2011.
The government then ordered the company to allocate a small portion of land to some of the evicted families, but there are still more than 60 families who have been excluded.
Tep Vanny and her movement have vowed to keep protesting until all the families have replacement homes. They are also supporting other poor Cambodians who have lost homes to the country’s breakneck development. There are plenty of them.
Tim Sakmony is a 64 year-old grandmother and, like Tep Vanny, she has also spent time in jail.
She lives in Borei Keila, and has led the families protesting against their exclusion from the deal under which Phanimex would be allowed to redevelop the site in return for building 10 apartment blocks for the displaced residents. The company only built eight.
Tim Sakmony was given a six-month sentence for “making a false declaration”, a complaint filed by the owner of Phanimex. She was released after three months, but still cries when she talks about her treatment.
“I went to see the owner of Phanimex, to claim a home for my son, who is disabled and cannot speak for himself. After that I was summoned to court.”
“I thought it was an opportunity to explain about my case. But the judge sentenced me to six months.”
She and her son, a former soldier who bought a small plot of land at Borei Keila, are now living with his 12 year-old twins in the stairwell of one of the completed apartment blocks. The area lies next to a festering rubbish dump.
A few hundred metres away, upmarket apartments are under construction.
Last year the government responded to international pressure over widespread land grabs by politically-connected companies by authorising a project to give land titles to 470,000 people.
But the student volunteers carrying out the project are only allowed to work on uncontested land. That excludes the many thousands of Cambodians who are fighting eviction.
Human rights groups estimate that 700,000 people have been adversely affected by land development, and they say the government and the courts openly side with the developers.
Speaking about the case of Yorm Bopha, another activist who was jailed for three years for protesting against the evictions from Boeng Kak, Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch said this week that “a politically controlled judiciary has targeted a brave woman who has the audacity to challenge powerful interests and people”.
Supporters of imprisoned Boeung Kak lake land activist Yorm Bopha surged into the grounds of the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh yesterday morning, screaming and crying, after Bopha’s second appeal for bail was rejected and she was escorted to a van bound for Prey Sar prison.
The protesters, among more than 100 who had gathered outside, screamed at officials and banged on the windows of the van before it sped off – with Bopha shouting out of the window. In the streets, others tore a styrofoam “scales of justice” apart before setting the pieces alight.
Bopha, 29, who was sentenced in December to three years in prison, had quietly entered the court hours before, hopeful a panel of five judges would release her on bail before her appeal hearing – a date for which has not been set.
“I think that if the court is independent, I will be released on bail,” the activist said. “I hope to get justice and I will not surrender – I’m going to struggle until I get it.”
Bopha was arrested in September on intentional-violence charges, accused of ordering an axe attack on two motodops in Boeung Kak’s Village 22 on August 7.
Her supporters and rights groups call the charges baseless and motivated by a desire to silence her community.
In a hearing that lasted about 25 minutes yesterday, Bopha said her reasons for seeking bail were a heart condition that required regular treatment and a need to care for her family, including her nine-year-old son, Lihour.
“My husband will put forward four million riel [$1,000] for bail, and I will report to the court when asked to,” she told judges.
In putting forward reasons why the court should reject that application, court prosecutor Seng Bunkheang said Bopha had already been found guilty of the assault and was a flight risk.
In a curious moment, Bunkheang added that Bopha’s was a “special case”.
When one of Bopha’s two lawyers, Horm Sunrith, asked what the prosecutor meant by “special”, a judge intervened to say that Bunkheang did not have time to explain it in detail.
In delivering the judges’ decision some hours later – after a smiling Bopha, with her son on her knee, had held a press conference outside – Khim Punn, president of the five judges, said Bopha would remain in Prey Sar prison.
“The Supreme Court has not approved her application, because the heart condition Yorm Bopha has spoken of has not been verified in official documents from health authorities,” he said. “Furthermore, the suspect was already sentenced to prison by the municipal court on December 27.”
A calm Bopha, surrounded by security guards and fellow Boeung Kak activist Heng Mom, said her fight for justice would continue.
“This is my message to our community: Don’t give up or think that I can’t be freed. We must keep going in our struggle for our land rights,” she said, raising her hand before being forced into the awaiting van. “Struggle, struggle – justice will happen.”
Like many other supporters, Mom was overcome with emotion at the sight of her friend being taken away.
“I hoped today would be freedom day for Yorm Bopha, but this is unjust… very unjust. Why?” she said, crying.
As news spread of the court’s decision, protesters, many dressed in “Free Bopha” T-shirts and some armed with megaphones, shouted that the court “was blind and unjust” and later made their way to the Royal Palace to appeal for King Norodom Sihamoni’s intervention.
During Bopha’s trial in December, her husband, Lous Sakhon, received the same sentence, though it was immediately suspended, while her brothers Yorm Kanlong and Yorm Sith – who allegedly committed the violence on motodops Nget Chet and Vath Thaiseng – were sentenced to three years in absentia and warrants issued for their arrest.
Sakhon yesterday maintained that his family had not played any part in the attack.
“[The court] demanded evidence from Yorm Bopha, but they did not demand that the motodops show evidence that Bopha was involved in beating them,” he said.
Among the crowd at the court’s entrance, on the corner of Sothearos Boulevard and Street 240, was Tim Sakmony, a 65-year-old activist from Borei Keila who spent months in Prey Sar prison with Bopha last year before her release in December.
“We were arrested within a day of each other,” she said. “She’s like a little girl – she has no power to fight against the two men. Where is the justice and where are the human rights?”
Rights groups were asking the same questions yesterday as they called for the Appeal Court to set a date for her hearing.
“The procedural and substantive flaws in Bopha’s original trial were so dramatic, so blatant, that it’s impossible to conclude that this conviction isn’t politically motivated,” Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, said in a statement that also carried the names of NGOs STT, Equitable Cambodia and Cambodian Legal Education Centre.
“The evidence against Yorm Bopha is very weak, with some witnesses admitting to being intoxicated when the incident took place,” rights group Adhoc said in its own statement.
“Not a single witness has claimed that she or her husband took part in the violence themselves.”
Bopha’s son Lihour, 9, was also questioning the justice system yesterday, as he explained that his mother’s absence was affecting his performance at school.
“I do not know what I can do if the court is not independent,” he said.
Thousands of families have been evicted from the now filled-in lake area since 2007, when the government granted a concession to CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc to develop a satellite city.
To contact the reporters on this story: Shane Worrell at firstname.lastname@example.org and Khouth Sophak Chakrya at email@example.com
Follow Shane Worrel on twitter at: @shaneworrell
The contentious dispute over the residents displaced from Phnom Penh’s lakeside district has been captured in a photography exhibition now on display at Meta House.
French photographer Jean-Francois Perigois, a resident of Cambodia for the past five years, has spent the past 18 months compiling the works, in the process repeatedly raising the ire of police officers stationed to keep the Boeung Kak development site away from prying eyes.
Attempts by authorities to prevent documentation of the dramatic changes in the neighbourhood’s landscape are what Perigois has sought to remedy with his latest collection,Boeung Kak Was A Lake.
“Of course, it’s a controversial issue,” he says. “But I’m a witness. I’m just providing a picture, and hopefully discussion comes from there. People should be able to talk, to explain and to say why this is happening.”
The elegantly framed exhibition highlights the dichotomy between Boeung Kak’s lingering residents and the machinery of development that has drained the lake and flattened surrounding buildings.
In Watchers, two moto drivers with their backs to the lens gaze out from an overpass into the barren gulf of what was once a thriving community, while Death by the Mud depicts a lone man staring balefully into the distance while perched on a drainage pipe being used to clear the lake’s water.
In 2007, Shukaku Inc, a development consortium with ties to the Cambodian People’s Party, was granted a 99-year lease for land around the Boeung Kak area.
More than 4,000 residents have been moved from the site as a result of subsequent development works.
The issue of the remaining families flared up again late last month, with the arrest of 13 Boeung Kak women who were supporting a family trying to build a new home on land they were evicted from two years earlier.
Before their trial, monk and rights activist Loun Savath was briefly detained for leading a protest rally against the arrests.
For the photographer, the story of Boeung Kak epitomises the fraught and uncertain path of Cambodia’s recent economic development.
“It’s so sad to see the destruction of an area that should be a public space,” Perigois says. “The country has evolved a great deal in the past 10 years, but sometimes in the wrong way.
“Even though it has become less poor in that time, the social distortion between rich and poor has in many respects become larger.”
Boeung Kak Was A Lake will be on display at Meta House until Sunday, June 24.
ភ្នំពេញៈ ស្រ្តីមកពីតំបន់បឹងកក់ចំនួន ១៣ នាក់ ដែលកំពុងជាប់ឃុំ នៅពន្ធនាគារព្រៃស បន្ទាប់ពីជំនុំជម្រះរយៈពេល ៣ ម៉ោងកាលពីថ្ងៃទី ២៤ ខែឧសភា បានគំរាមធ្វើកូដកម្មអត់អាហារដើម្បីតវ៉ាប្រឆាំងនឹងការឃុំ ខ្លួនពួកគាត់។ នេះបើយោងតាម តំណាងរាស្រ្តម្នាក់មកពីគណបក្ស សម រង្ស៊ី។
ក្រុមតំណាងរាស្រ្តគណបក្ស សម រង្ស៊ី ក្នុងនោះ ក៏មានលោកស្រី មូរ សុខហួរ ផងដែរ ត្រូវបានអនុញ្ញាតឲ្យចូលទៅពន្ធនាគារ ព្រៃស កាលពីថ្ងៃចន្ទ ដើម្បីពិនិត្យសុខភាពរបស់ស្រ្តីទាំង ១៣ នាក់ និងអ្នកស្រី លី ចាន់ណារី ស្រ្តីម្នាក់ទៀត ដែលត្រូវបានចាប់ខ្លួន ប៉ុន្តែមិនទាន់ត្រូវបានជំនុំជម្រះ។
លោក កើត ឃី តំណាងរាស្ត្រគណបក្សសម រង្ស៊ី បានថ្លែងថា៖ «ពួកគេប្រាប់យើងថា សុខភាពរបស់ពួកគេល្អទេ ហើយគ្មានអ្នកណាម្នាក់ ទទួលរងការធ្វើទារុណកម្មទេ ប៉ុន្តែពួកគេនឹកកូនៗរបស់ពួកគេ»។
លោកបញ្ជាក់ថា៖ «ស្រ្តីទាំងនោះ បានប្រាប់យើងថា ពួកគេចង់ធ្វើកូដកម្មអត់អាហារ។ យើងបានសុំពួកគេកុំឲ្យធ្វើបែបនោះ ហើយទទួលយកសំណើរបស់ពួកគេ សម្រាប់យើងស្នើសុំព្រះមហាក្សត្រព្រះរាជទានដោះលែងពួកគេ»។ លោក កើត ឃី ថ្លែងថា លោកស្រី មូរ សុខហួរ បានចាកចេញពីប្រទេសកម្ពុជាឆ្ពោះទៅសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក បន្ទាប់ពីបានជួបស្រ្តីទាំងនោះ ដែលលោកស្រី នឹងជួបជាមួយលោកស្រី ហ៊ីឡារី គ្លីនតុនរដ្ឋមន្រ្តីក្រសួងការបរទេសសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ដើម្បីស្នើសុំការជួយធ្វើអន្តរាគមន៍។
គ្រួសារ មិត្តភក្តិ និងអ្នកគាំទ្រ ស្រ្តីមកពីតំបន់បឹងកក់ទាំង ១៥ នាក់ ដែលក្នុងនោះមានបុរសម្នាក់ឈ្មោះ សៅ សារឿន បានទៅពន្ធនាគារព្រៃស កាលពីថ្ងៃទី ២៦ ខែឧសភា ប៉ុន្តែពួកគេ មិនត្រូវបានអនុញ្ញាតឲ្យជួបស្រ្តីទាំងនោះទេ។ នៅពេលភ្នំពេញ ប៉ុស្តិ៍ ទៅពន្ធនាគារព្រៃសកាលពីថ្ងៃពុធសប្តាហ៍មុនអនុរក្សពន្ធនាគារ ដែលពាក់សម្លៀកបំពាក់គ្មានសញ្ញាសម្គាល់បានរារាំងសមាជិកពីអង្គការ លីកាដូ មជ្ឈមណ្ឌលសិទិ្ធមនុស្សកម្ពុជា និងអ្នកយកព័ត៌មានមិនឲ្យទៅជិតរបងលួសដែលស្រ្តីទាំងនោះ នៅពីក្រោយនោះទេ។
ស្រ្តីដែលត្រូវបានកាត់ទោសទាំង ១៣ នាក់ ត្រូវបានចាប់ខ្លួននៅបឹងកក់ កាលពីថ្ងៃទី ២២ ខែឧសភា។ ពួកគេត្រូវបានចោទប្រកាន់ ២ ថ្ងៃក្រោយមក ពីបទប្រឆាំងនឹងអាជ្ញាធរ និងរំលោភកាន់កាប់លើដីអ្នកដទៃ ដែលជាកម្មសិទិ្ធក្រុមហ៊ុន ស៊ូកាគូអ៊ីនរបស់លោក ឡាវ ម៉េងឃីន ព្រឹទ្ធសមាជិកគណបក្សប្រជាជន។
ប៉ុន្តែក្រុមអ្នកភូមិបឹងកក់ ជាពិសេសកូនៗរបស់ស្ត្រីដែលជាប់ឃុំទាំងនោះ បានធ្វើការតវ៉ាដោយហៅការឃុំខ្លួននេះថា ជាការ«ចាប់ម្ចាស់ដីដាក់គុកចោរប្លន់ដីរួចខ្លួន» ជាអ្វីដែលពួកគេសំដៅទៅដល់លោកឡាវ ម៉េងឃីន ដែលជាអ្នកបូមខ្សាច់កប់ពន្លិចផ្ទះ រំលោភយកដីរបស់ពួកគេ ទាំងបំពានបែរជាគ្មានទោស ប៉ុន្តែពួកគេ គ្រាន់តែធ្វើការតវ៉ាដើម្បីការពារផ្ទះរបស់ខ្លួន ពីការរំលោភបំពាន ត្រូវចាប់ដាក់គុកទៅវិញ៕ TK
ភ្នំពេញៈ ពលរដ្ឋក្នុងសហគមន៍បឹងកក់ប្រមាណជា ៥០ នាក់ កាលពីម្សិលមិញ បានសម្ដែងការខកចិត្តយ៉ាងខ្លាំង ខណៈគ្មានមន្ត្រីក្នុងព្រះបរមរាជវាំងណាម្នាក់ចេញមកទទួលយកញត្តិរបស់ពួកគេ ដែលគ្រោងដាក់ថ្វាយព្រះមហាក្សត្រ ព្រះបាទ សម្តេចព្រះបរមនាថ នរោត្ដម សីហមុនី ទូលសូមឲ្យព្រះអង្គ ជួយអន្តរាគមន៍ដោះលែងឪពុកម្តាយ និងអ្នកភូមិដែលត្រូវតុលាការឃុំខ្លួននៅពន្ធនាគារ។
បន្ទាប់ពីត្រឡប់ពីសាកសួរព័ត៌មាននៅរដ្ឋសភា អំពីសំណើពួកគេ ដែលបានដាក់ពីពាក់កណ្ដាលខែឧសភា ស្នើសុំសភាអន្តរាគមន៍ទៅប្រមុខរដ្ឋាភិបាលឲ្យជំរុញទៅអាជ្ញាធររាជធានីឲ្យពន្លឿនការកំណត់ព្រំប្រទល់ដី ១២,៤៤ ហិកតា ឲ្យច្បាស់ដើម្បីជាមូលដ្ឋានក្នុងការដោះស្រាយបញ្ចប់វិវាទដីធ្លីក្នុងតំបន់បឹងកក់នោះ ក្រុមអ្នកភូមិបឹងកក់ដែលមានក្មេងៗកូនអ្នកជាប់ឃុំផងនោះ បាននាំគ្នាទៅប្រមូលផ្តុំនៅលើសួនច្បារមុខព្រះបរមរាជវាំង ដើម្បីដាក់ញត្តិ ថ្វាយព្រះមហាក្សត្រ។ ប៉ុន្តែ គ្មានមន្ត្រីព្រះបរមរាជវាំងណាម្នាក់ចេញមកទទួលញតិ្ត ពីពួកគេឡើយ បើទោះជាមានកុមារា កុមារី ដែលជាកូនៗអ្នកត្រូវឃុំខ្លួននៅពន្ធនាគារព្រៃស ស្រែកយំសំពះអង្វរយ៉ាងទ្រហឹងអឺងកងក៏ដោយ។
ក្រុមសមត្ថកិច្ចនគរបាលខណ្ឌដូនពេញ បានស្នើឲ្យអ្នកភូមិទាំងនេះរំសាយការប្រមូលផ្ដុំចេញពីទីនោះ ដោយអនុញ្ញាតឲ្យតំណាងពួកគេ៥នាក់យកញត្តិទៅដាក់។
លោក លឹម ហុង អធិការងនគរបាលខណ្ឌដូនពេញ បានថ្លែងថា ៖ «ខ្ញុំសុំឲ្យបងប្អូនទុកតំណាងប្រាំនាក់នៅទីនេះ ដើម្បីដាក់ញត្តិនោះ ក្រៅពីនេះសុំធ្វើការរំសាយ ហើយខ្ញុំសុំធានាថានឹងជូនតំណាងទៅដាក់ញត្តិ»។
អ្នកស្រី យោម បុប្ផា តំណាងក្រុមអ្នកតវ៉ាទាំងនេះនិយាយថា៖«ខ្ញុំសុំឲ្យអ្នកភូមិដែលមកគាំទ្រការដាក់ញត្តិនៅរង់ចាំ ហើយខ្ញុំប្រាំនាក់នឹងតាមលោកចូលទៅដាក់ញត្តិ»។ តែយ៉ាងណាការចរចានោះមិនបានសម្រេចឡើយ ដោយអាជ្ញាធរមិនយល់ព្រមតាមពលរដ្ឋ ហើយពលរដ្ឋក៏មិនជឿជាក់លើសមត្ថកិច្ច។
ក្រុមអង្គការសង្គមស៊ីវិល ដែលឃ្លាំមើលពីបញ្ហានេះយល់ថា កាលដែលគ្មានមន្ត្រីព្រះបរមរាជវាំង ចេញមកទទួលញត្តិពីអ្នកភូមិបឹងកក់ អាចមកពីគេជាប់រវល់កិច្ចការច្រើន ឬមួយជាចេតនាមិនចង់អើពើចំពោះសុខទុក្ខរបស់អ្នកភូមិទាំងនេះ។
លោក ណើប លី ប្រធានកម្មវិធីពង្រឹងអំណាចសហគមន៍នៃក្រុម ការងារពិសេសសិទ្ធិលំនៅដ្ឋាន និយាយថា៖«យើងពិតជាអាណិតអាសូរពលរដ្ឋទាំងនេះ ពួកគេអស់ជម្រើសទើបមករកការជួយអន្តរាគមន៍ពីព្រះមហាក្សត្រ តែ គ្មានមន្ត្រីព្រះបរមរាជវាំងណាចេញមកទទួលញត្តិពួកគេទេ»។
កាលពីម្សិលមិញ មិនអាចទំនាក់ទំនងសុំការបញ្ជាក់ពីមន្ត្រីខុទ្ទកាល័យព្រះបរមរាជវាំងបានទេ។ ក្រុមអ្នកភូមិបានរំសាយចេញពីមុខព្រះបរមរាជវាំងនៅម៉ោង១១៖៤៥នាទីព្រឹក ហើយពួកគេអះអាងថា នឹងលើកគ្នាវិលត្រឡប់មកដាក់ញត្តិថ្វាយដល់ព្រះមហាក្សត្រឲ្យខាងតែបាននៅថ្ងៃក្រោយទៀត៕
Thirteen Boeung Kak women locked in Prey Sar prison after a three-hour trial on May 24 are threatening to go on a hunger strike in protest, an opposition Sam Rainsy lawmaker said yesterday.
A team of SRP MPs, including Mu Sochua, was granted access to the prison yesterday to check on the health and well-being of the 13 and another Boeung Kak woman, Ly Chanary, who was arrested outside the women’s trial.
“They told us their health is OK and none of them are being tortured, but they miss their families,” lawmaker Keth Khy said, adding that the MPs had been the first visitors the women had been allowed to see.
“The women told us they want to hunger strike. We asked them not to do this and accepted their request for us to approach the King to ask for their release,” he said.
Mu Sochua left for the US after the visit, where she will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Keth Ky said.
“Mu Sochua has promised to ask her to intervene,” he said.
Mu Sochua called for Clinton to take action immediately after the women’s three-hour trial and sentencing.
“I’m calling on the international community to suspend aid,” she told the Post on May 24, adding that financial contributions from overseas should no longer be given directly to the government, but to NGOs.
Families, friends and supporters of the Boeung Kak 15, which also includes Sao Sareoun, a man, visited Prey Sar on May 26, but were not allowed in.
The 13 women were arrested at Boeung Kak lake on May 22.
They were charged two days later with disputing authority and illegally occupying land owned by Shukaku, CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s firm.
Ly Chanary and Sao Sareoun were later charged with the same offences.
Children of imprisoned Boeung Kak lake women pleaded for their mothers’ release outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday.
The demonstration, which included more than 200 Boeung Kak residents and activist monk Loun Savath, was held on the eve of International Children’s Day.
It also coincided with more than 100 NGOs writing a letter to the World Bank asking it not to end its suspension of new loans to Cambodia.
Children sang about their mothers, 13 of whom were convicted to two and a half years in prison on May 24 after a three-hour trial, and called for the government to “free the 15”, who also include two who were arrested the day of the trial. All 15 are in Prey Sar prison.
Heng Sreyleak, 13, the daughter of Heng Mom, said the charges were “unjust”.
“All they were doing was protesting for the 12.44 hectares of land promised to them by . . . Hun Sen,” she said.
The World Bank suspended all new loans to Cambodia last year, indicating it would not issue more until the government reached an agreement with Boeung Kak villagers.
Hun Sen pledged 12.44 hectares of land to residents in August, but that land is yet to be marked and some families remain without titles.
Amid fears the World Bank is set to lift its suspension, 116 organisations sent an open letter to the bank’s president, Robert Zoellick, and president-elect Jim Yong Kim yesterday.
“Now is the wrong time to end the suspension,” the letter reads. “Doing so would not only risk undoing gains made, but would also send a dangerous message to the [government] in light of the spate of recent killings and unwarran-ted jailing of activists.”
Demonstrators yesterday delivered a petition to Bun Yai Narin, director of the Ministry of Justice’s cabinet. “I feel pity on them when I see their little children crying and asking for their mothers,” he said.
Activist monk Loun Savath, who was detained last Thursday and released after being “forced” to sign a document agreeing to stay away from protests, blessed the children.
He told the Post he was not worried about being detained.
“I worry about Cambodia. It is a dark situation right now relating to human rights,” Loun Savath said.