UNESCO and the Cambodian Villagers in Siem Reap

Op-Ed: sophanseng.info

This time, I am reminded of an article I wrote about “The Repute of Angkor Wat” in 2002. Once, the Siamese army tried to relocate the Ta Phrom Temple to rebuild in Thailand under the order of King of Ayuthya, those armies were beheaded and let them back a few to report to the King that all Khmer ruins were not abandoned as perceived. Few survival armies mentioned the swift and brave Angkor warriors whose villagers living in the nearby areas, appeared from the forest with horses and swords killed the Siamese armies in a sudden.

Bad rumours or news on Angkor Wat resulted in many catastrophes such as the burning of Thai embassy in 2004. When a Phnom Penh newspaper falsely reported that a popular Thai actress claimed that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand, Cambodians rioted in the capital, destroying the Thai Embassy and dozens of Thai-owned businesses (Los Angeles Time).

UNESCO’s Authenticity

Prof. Dr. Ang Chulean, who were first President of Apsara Authority, and later were believed left the post because of his critical opinion against the building of toilets surrounding Angkor ruins complex, articulated the important villages and people living surrounding the complex. Those people and villages must not be relocated and demolished. In his interview with Thmey Thmey local online newspaper, he called those people and villages the “life heritage” reflecting the contrast to of those stone-castle heritage of Angkor Wat and nearby ruins.

Actually, the UNESCO’s Articles on Angkor Protection under World Heritage Scheme in the initial legal adoption chaired by King Norodom Sihanouk, descripted the important of having villagers settled around the ruins decades or centuries ago.

According to UNESCO’s online documentation, the Angkor Wat and nearby ruins heritage clearly unspoken of the dismantling and relocating villagers in order to avoid maintaining “status” as “world cultural heritage” listing with the UNESCO like what Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned at all.

Current Scheme

With the repeating escalating speech to relocating villagers surrounding Angkor Wat and nearby ruins by Prime Minister Hun Sen, over 3000 people rallied to Banteay Srey commune headquarter in October 6-7-8-9, to protest against these relocating attempts. Villagers whom feared of reprisal and traumatized by egregious political intimidations, conducted both anonymous protests through social media and come out to the streets with face masked on, demanding the authority not to relocate them by allowing them to live peacefully in their inheriting property such as homes and lands; they reject any cost of compensation to relocate them; they reject negotiation with the authority; they are desiring only to live peacefully in their inheriting lands and homes passed to them many generations; they are proud of their ancestors leaving them current plot of land, etc.

According to Hun Sen, Ron Ta Ek new development is a new plot of land for those villagers to relocate to. Looking closely, the villagers most of them are new settlers to the ruins vicinity, accepted the small amount of compensation and monthly social service money (named poor certificate card), to live in Ron Ta Ek two years ago, hence the area itself is not visibly developed and most of the villagers are not living there, major homes are abandoned. They have come back to live where they can afford income and employment, or migrated to work in Thailand.

In contrast, like Sihanouk Ville or other special economic zone (SMDs) entire Cambodia, Cambodian tycoons and Chinese companies have worked with powerful Cambodian shareholders in the secrete and bribery deals to relocate villagers in the name of development. For Siem Reap, according to this news outlet, NagaCorp which is the notorious beneficiaries of Naga World Casino, is going to invest over 350 millions dollars covering lands of 75 hectare in the 500m distance surrounding Angkor Wat and ruins complex.

Future Recommendations

  • Abdicate the policy of development for the riches, or use development schemes as excuse to lure Cambodian citizens to be prey and dismantle their livelihood existence as well as family harmony.
  • Be confident on the UNESCO’s policy as well as United Nations’; all developments are placing human rights and human dignity first, not profit or partisan first at all.
  • Cambodian citizens must stand firm, from lessons learnt entire Cambodia, no body can help us beside ourselves. All Siem Reapers must stand up against all injustice and relocation policy, not only today, this month, but keep close pre-alert forever.
  • Use community media (social media, cell phones, youtube, twitter, etc.) effectively to protect your own interests.

Article by Sophoan Seng, October 15, 2022, @copyrights

Happy Canada Day 1 July 2022

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada Day:

“Today, we celebrate the country we love, and the people we share it with. Canada is home to over 38 million people: Canadians who live in cities and towns – big and small; people who are indigenous to this land; and those who’ve been here for weeks, months, years, or for generations.“

Canada is strong because of our diversity. No matter what our faith is, where we were born, what colour our skin is, what language we speak, or who we love – we are all equal members of this great country.“

Today, we celebrate the place we all call home. I know for some, our country’s historic wrongs can make that difficult. But while we can’t change history, we can put in the work to build a better future; one that reflects our values of hope, resilience, kindness, respect, and generosity.

“Generation after generation, Canadians have shown that we can deliver on those values. We did it when we adopted our charter in 1982, we did it when we took care of each other during the pandemic, and we do it every day when we welcome refugees with open arms.

“Today is an opportunity for us all to recommit ourselves to those values – values that the Maple Leaf represents. Because our flag is more than a symbol, it’s also a promise. A promise of opportunity. A promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war. And a promise of a better life.

“As we come together today, let’s think about what this country means to us – and tomorrow, let’s challenge ourselves to find new ways to live up to the great promise of Canada.

From my family to yours, happy Canada Day!”

===នាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តី Justin Trudeau នៅថ្ងៃនេះបានចេញសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍ដូចខាងក្រោមនៅថ្ងៃទិវាជាតិកាណាដា:

“ថ្ងៃនេះ យើងអបអរសាទរប្រទេសដែលយើងស្រលាញ់ និងមនុស្សដែលយើងចែករំលែកជាមួយ។ ប្រទេសកាណាដាគឺជាផ្ទះសម្រាប់ប្រជាជនជាង 38 លាននាក់: ជនជាតិកាណាដាដែលរស់នៅក្នុងទីក្រុងនិងរាជធានី – ធំនិងតូច; ជនជាតិដើមភាគតិចនៃទឹកដីនេះ; និងអ្នកដែលនៅទីនេះសម្រាប់សប្តាហ៍ ខែ ឆ្នាំ ឬជាច្រើនជំនាន់។“

កាណាដាមានភាពរឹងមាំដោយសារតែភាពចម្រុះរបស់យើង។ មិន​ថា​ជំនឿ​របស់​យើង​ជា​អ្វី កើត​នៅ​កន្លែង​ណា ស្បែក​ពណ៌​អ្វី ភាសា​អ្វី​ដែល​យើង​និយាយ ឬ​អ្នក​ណា​ដែល​យើង​ស្រឡាញ់​ទេ យើង​ទាំង​អស់​គ្នា​គឺ​ជា​សមាជិក​ស្មើគ្នា​នៃ​ប្រទេស​ដ៏​អស្ចារ្យ​នេះ។“

ថ្ងៃនេះ យើងប្រារព្ធកន្លែងដែលយើងទាំងអស់គ្នាហៅថាផ្ទះ។ ខ្ញុំ​ដឹង​សម្រាប់​អ្នក​ខ្លះ​ថា កំហុស​ជា​ប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ​របស់​ប្រទេស​យើង​អាច​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​មាន​ការ​លំបាក។ ប៉ុន្តែខណៈពេលដែលយើងមិនអាចផ្លាស់ប្តូរប្រវត្តិសាស្រ្ត យើងអាចដាក់នៅក្នុងការងារដើម្បីកសាងអនាគតដ៏ល្អប្រសើរមួយដែលឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងពីតម្លៃនៃក្តីសង្ឃឹម ភាពធន់ សេចក្តីសប្បុរស ការគោរព និងសេចក្តីសប្បុរសរបស់យើង។

“ពីមួយជំនាន់ទៅមួយជំនាន់ ប្រជាជនកាណាដាបានបង្ហាញថាយើងអាចផ្តល់តម្លៃទាំងនោះបាន។ យើងបានធ្វើវានៅពេលដែលយើងបានអនុម័តធម្មនុញ្ញរបស់យើងក្នុងឆ្នាំ 1982 យើងបានធ្វើវានៅពេលដែលយើងថែរក្សាគ្នាទៅវិញទៅមកក្នុងអំឡុងពេលជំងឺរាតត្បាត ហើយយើងធ្វើវាជារៀងរាល់ថ្ងៃនៅពេលដែលយើងស្វាគមន៍ជនភៀសខ្លួនដោយបើកចំហរ។“ថ្ងៃនេះគឺជាឱកាសមួយសម្រាប់យើងទាំងអស់គ្នាដើម្បីប្តេជ្ញាខ្លួនយើងចំពោះគុណតម្លៃទាំងនោះ – តម្លៃដែលស្លឹក Maple តំណាងឱ្យ។ ដោយសារតែទង់ជាតិរបស់យើងគឺលើសពីនិមិត្តសញ្ញា វាក៏ជាការសន្យាផងដែរ។ ការសន្យានៃឱកាស។ ការសន្យាសុវត្ថិភាពសម្រាប់អ្នកដែលភៀសខ្លួនចេញពីអំពើហិង្សា និងសង្គ្រាម។ និងការសន្យានៃជីវិតកាន់តែប្រសើរ។

“នៅពេលយើងមកជាមួយគ្នាថ្ងៃនេះ ចូរយើងគិតអំពីអ្វីដែលប្រទេសនេះមានន័យចំពោះយើង ហើយថ្ងៃស្អែក ចូរយើងប្រកួតប្រជែងគ្នាដើម្បីស្វែងរកវិធីថ្មីដើម្បីរស់នៅតាមការសន្យាដ៏អស្ចារ្យរបស់ប្រទេសកាណាដា។

ពីគ្រួសាររបស់ខ្ញុំទៅកាន់អ្នក រីករាយថ្ងៃទិវាជាតិកាណាដា!”

We are monitoring upcoming subnational election 5 June 2022

Next month, Cambodia will hold elections for its 1,652 communes and sangkats, an event that normally foreshadows the result of the national elections held the following year. The June 5 polls will see about 9.2 million registered voters elect the chief and councilors from among more than 80,000 candidates belonging to 17 political parties.

But barring “genuine efforts toward democratization and political reform” by the the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)-controlled government, the election is likely to fall far short of being “fair, credible, transparent, inclusive, and peaceful,” the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) said in a pre-election analysis of the country’s political landscape and legal framework.

The analysis, based on more than 60 interviews with electoral stakeholders including  representatives of civil society groups, political parties, the media, labor unions, academia, the diplomatic community, and international organizations, found that political repression and a restrictive legal framework have narrowed the country’s political space since the last commune elections in 2017.

“Overall, Cambodia still falls short of the standard of democratic elections according to ANFREL’s Dili Indicator for Democratic Elections,” the report concluded. “There will be no genuine and legitimate election outcome as long as threats against the opposition and civic society remain prevalent.”

The reasons adduced by ANFREL include the effective control by the CPP of the National Election Committee and other key state bodies and institutions; the sustained crackdowns on the political opposition, civil society groups, activists, and the independent media; and the CPP’s intimidation of opposition parties seeking to run in the upcoming elections. While the June 5 poll will involve more parties than participated in the last election in 2017, “many opposition candidates and members… continue to experience harassment and intimidation on the ground,” the report found.

Read detail in The Diplomate: https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/cambodia-polls-unlikely-to-be-credible-and-transparent-says-watchdog/


“The workers encourage the government to arrange voting at the embassy [in Bangkok],” Sophen said.

Civil society election observers have previously said that overseas Cambodians should be better enfranchised by creating mechanisms to allow them to participate in elections. Opposition politicians have suggested that the ruling party was dragging its feet because those voters would likely vote against the CPP.

Read details in VOD: https://vodenglish.news/hun-sen-rules-out-postal-voting-for-cambodia-during-his-us-tour/

Letter of President Joe Biden on ASEAN-US Summit 12 May 2022

លោកប្រធានាធិបតីចូ បៃដិន

កម្ពុជាសព្វថ្ងៃជារដ្ឋកបក្ស មិនប្រជាធិបតេយ្យស្របរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញទេ

យោងទៅលើ៖ កិច្ចប្រជុំអាស៊ាន-អាមេរិក ថ្ងៃទី១២-១៣ ឧសភា ឆ្នាំ២០២២

         គណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសហៅកាត់ថាស៊ីរ៉ក់ សូមគោរពនិងរំលឹកដល់គោលជំហរនយោបាយការបរទេសរបស់សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកដែលមានតំលៃតែមួយគត់គឺតំលៃប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងការគោរពសិទ្ធិមនុស្ស។

        ក្នុងជំនួបការប្រជុំរវាងអាស៊ាននិងអាមេរិកនៅពេលនេះ យើងខ្ញុំជឿជាក់យ៉ាងមុតមាំថា អាមេរិកមិនអាចមើលឃើញតែជញ្ជីងតុល្យភាពអំណាចភូមិសាស្ត្រនយោបាយតែមួយមុខនោះទេ ការដើរផ្ទុយពីតំលៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងសិទ្ធិមនុស្សរបស់កម្ពុជា ភូមា ឡាវ និងវៀតណាម ពិតជាធ្វើ អោយរង្គោះរង្គើរដល់តុល្យភាពភូមិសាស្ត្រនយោបាយរបស់សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកនៅតំបន់នេះជាក់ជាមិនខាន

        ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់លោកហ៊ុន សែន ក្នុងនាមជាប្រធានអាស៊ានដាក់វេននៅ ឆ្នាំនេះ បានកំទេចតំលៃប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងសិទ្ធិមនុស្សដូចមានចែងក្នុងរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជាដែលជាស្តង់ ដារប្រជាធិបតេយ្យដូចសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ក្រោយពីរំលាយគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិឆ្នាំ២០១៧ ហាមឃាត់ សិទ្ធិធ្វើនយោបាយរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ យកប្រព័ន្ធតុលាការដែលជាស្ថាប័នជាតិសម្រាប់ធានាសិទ្ធិសេរី ភាពរបស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋមកធ្វើជាឧបករណ៍នយោបាយបម្រើអោយបក្សពួកខ្លួន បិទចោលសារពត៌មាន ឯករាជ្យ គាបសង្កត់និងយាយីសង្គមស៊ីវិល បង្កើតស្ថាប័នបោះឆ្នោតមិនឯករាជ្យ និងបន្តគំរាមកំហែង បេក្ខជនឈរឈ្មោះឃុំសង្កាត់គណបក្សភ្លើងទៀន សម្រាប់ការបោះឆ្នោតថ្នាក់ក្រោមជាតិថ្ងៃទី៥ ខែ មិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០២២ ខាងមុខ។

        ដូច្នេះយើងខ្ញុំសង្ឃឹមមុតមាំថាសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកនឹងបន្តអប់រំដល់លោកហ៊ុន សែននិងក្រុមការ ងាររបស់គាត់អំពីតំលៃពិតនៃប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនិងសិទ្ធិមនុស្សប្រកបដោយយន្តការជាក់ស្តែងនិងមាន

ប្រសិទ្ធិភាពបំផុត។ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរសង្ឃឹមនិងជឿជាក់លើនយោបាយការគោរពសិទ្ធិមនុស្សជានិច្ច!

ធ្វើនៅប្រទេសកាណាដា ថ្ងៃទី១០ ឧសភា ២០២២

សេង សុភ័ណ



President Joe Biden

Cambodia today is a one-party state, a non-democratic, contradictory to the Cambodian National Constitution

Ref: ASEAN-US Summit, 12-13 May 2022

The Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians known as The CEROC, respects and recalls the United States’ foreign policy stance, which is firm in its values ​​of democracy and respect for human rights.

At this ASEAN-US Summit, we firmly believe that the United States can not only put effort for the balance of geopolitical power alone, but also the non-democratic Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam, can certainly ruin the geopolitical efforts of the United States in the region.

Cambodia under the leadership of Hun Sen as the chair of ASEAN this year, has destroyed the values ​​of democracy and human rights as stated in the Cambodian Constitution, a democratic standard like the United States, after the dissolution of the CNRP in 2017, banned the political rights of Cambodian citizens, utilize the judiciary national institution which guarantees the rights and freedoms of the people as their political tools to serve their party interests, shut down independent media, oppress and harass civil society, establish non-independent electoral body, and continue to intimidate Commune/Sangkat candidates from Candle Light Party for the upcoming June 5, 2022 sub-national election.

Therefore, we strongly hope that the United States will continue to educate Hun Sen and his team about the true values ​​of democracy and human rights in a practical and meaningful mechanism. Khmer people always hope and believe in the respect for human rights!

Canada, May 10, 2022

Sophoan SENG

President of The CEROC


សួស្ដីឆ្នាំថ្មីឆ្នាំខាល ចត្វាស័ក ព.ស.២៥៦៦ គ.ស. ២០២២ឆ្នាំថ្មី សូមសុខសួស្ដី សន្តិភាពកាយចិត្ត និងប្រជាធិបតេយ្យពិតប្រាកដ ចម្រើនដល់ជាតិខ្មែរជានិច្ចនិរន្តតរៀងទៀ🙏

Biography Documentation of Khmers Overseas: Marin Ngeth

Watch in youtube link


លោកព្រឹទ្ធាចារ្យង៉ែត ម៉ារិន ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ-កាណាដា រស់នៅទីក្រុងហ្គាល់ការី ប្រទេសកាណាដា

ថ្ងៃសៅរ៍ ទី២៦ ខែមីនា ២០២២

Biography Documentation of Khmers Overseas Part I:

Mr. Marin Ngeth, Khmer-Canadian living in Calgary, Canada Saturday, March 26, 2022

១. តេីដឺស៊ីរ៉ក់ជាអ្វី? ដឺសេរ៉ក់ជាពាក្យកាត់ភាសាអង់គ្លេសដែលមានន័យថា គណកម្មាធិការដេីម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស ជាអង្គការក្រៅរដ្ឋាភិបាល មិនស្វែងរកកម្រៃ មានទីស្នាក់ការធំនៅប្រទេសកាណាដា។ 1. What is the CEROC? The CEROC is an abbreviation of “Committee for Election Right of Overseas Cambodians”, is a non-governmental organization (NGO), non-profit orientation, and main office is based at Canada.

២. តេីដឺស៊ីរ៉ក់មានគំរោងដេីម្បីសំរេចយុទ្ធនាការរបស់ខ្លួនយ៉ាងណា? តាមរយះការចូលរួមពីប្រជាពលរដ្ឋកម្ពុជានិងមិត្តអ្នកស្រឡាញ់លទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យទាំងអស់ យេីងកំពុងតំរង់ទិសដេីម្បីសម្រេចគោលដៅរួមតែមួយគឺសិទ្ធិមូលដ្ឋានរបស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ ដែលកំពុងរស់នៅឯនាយសមុទ្របានចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតនូវរាល់ការបោះឆ្នោតជាតិរបស់កម្ពុជា ដែលសិទ្វិនេះត្រូវបានធានាដោយរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជានិងសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍ជាសាកលស្តីពីសិទ្ធិមនុស្សរបស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ។ យុទ្ធនាការចំបងរបស់យេីងគឺការផ្្តល់ចំណេះដឹងដល់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ ការស្នើរអោយរដ្ឋសភាធ្វើវិសោធនកម្មច្បាប់រដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញដោយនិយាយអោយច្បាស់ថាប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេសអាចមានសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតបាន និងបោះពុម្ពផ្សាយនានាទាក់ទងនឹងសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស។ 2. How does the CEROC plan to achieve this campaign? Through participation from all Cambodians and democratic friends around the globe, we are aiming to achieve the common goal: the basic right of all Cambodians overseas to vote in Cambodia elections, which are guaranteed by the Cambodia Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Our primary campaign is to provide well-informed education to all Cambodians, to propose Cambodia parliament to amend the laws to clearly state that Cambodians overseas have right to vote with Cambodia elections, and to disseminate information through publications relating to Absentee Overseas Voting (AOV).

៣. ហេតុអ្វីបានជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរដែលកំពុងរស់នៅក្រៅស្រុកត្រូវការសិទ្ធិដេីម្បីបោះឆ្នោត? តេីសិទ្ធិរបស់គេត្រូវបានដកហូតឬយ៉ាងណា? សិទ្វិដេីម្បីបោះឆ្នោតត្រូវបានធានាដោយរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជានិងសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍ជាសាកលស្តីពីសិទ្ធិមនុស្សរបស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ។ ក្រៅពីអារម្មណ៍ជាប់ជំពាក់មាតុភូមិកំណេីត ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរក្រៅប្រទេសបានទំនុកបំរុងទាំងសតិបញ្ញាស្មារតីនិងសំភារៈក្នុងដំណេីរការកសាងប្រទេសកម្ពុជា។ ក្នុងមួយឆ្នាំៗ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅស្រុកបានផ្ញេីរលុយចូលទៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជាមិនតិចជាង៥០០លានដុល្លាក្នុងរូបភាពជារូបីយប័ណ្ណអន្តរជាតិដេីម្បីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍សេដ្ឋកិច្ច។ តែផ្ទុយពីការគាំទ្រទាំងផ្នែកផ្លូវចិត្ត ផ្លូវកាយ និងហិរញ្ញវត្ថុ សិទ្ធិរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅស្រុកត្រូវបានគេដកហូតមិនអោយចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតនូវរាល់ការបោះឆ្នោតនៅកម្ពុជា។ 3. Why do Khmers Overseas need right to vote? Has their right been distorted? Right to vote is guaranteed by the Cambodia Constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Beside of the attachment feeling with their motherland, Cambodians overseas have helped both soft skill and hard skill in building the nation. Each year, Cambodians overseas have sent in remittance not less than 500 millions US dollar for country’s economic development. In contrasting of continuing spiritual, moral, and financial supports; right of Cambodians overseas have been deprived in each Cambodia election.